Madrid’s full of elegant wine bars, cosy cafes, and even some of the best churros in Spain. And, while you could easily spend a week or two exploring all of the hidden secrets that Spain’s capital city holds, there are quite a few adventures awaiting you just outside of the city limits.
From beautiful hikes to centuries-old architecture that’s sure to impress, the best day trips from Madrid are the ones that’ll allow you to dive a bit deeper into Spanish culture and history. Lucky for you, there’s quite the variety, which means that there’s something for every kind of traveller.
Pack your bags and head to the train station as you get ready to explore the seven best day trips from Madrid.
Best Day Trips From MadridHow do these rankings work?
Toledo is a beautiful city just a short bus ride away from Madrid, making it ideal for a quick day trip. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a lot to offer eager tourists looking to explore Spain’s rich cultural heritage. Locals might refer to Toledo as the “City of Three Cultures,” as it’s got heavy influences from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish culture and architecture.
To get to Toledo from Madrid, the quickest and easiest way is to take the train. Head to the Atocha train station in Madrid and take one of the over ten different trains that leave directly for Toledo. The journey lasts about 30 minutes and will cost around 10-15 euros.
Offering up such stunning architectural delights as the Aqueduct of Segovia and the famous Alcázar, Segovia is one of the best day trips from Madrid for those interested in impressive, historical constructions. Definitely take your time exploring the Alcázar of Segovia as the medieval castle is one of the most impressive in all of Spain. But, the Aqueduct of Segovia is extremely Instagrammable, too.
To get to Segovia from Madrid, it’s best to take the high-speed AVE train, which only takes just under two hours. You’ll find trains leaving pretty much every hour from the Chamartin train station, and a one-way ticket shouldn’t cost you more than ten euros.
3. El Escorial
San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a small mountainous town in the Guadarrama. And, it’s near impossible to visit Madrid and not make it out impressive Monastery of El Escorial is. In the Royal Library, you’ll find 15th and 16th-century manuscripts. And, there are nearby hiking trails that are a must if you’re looking for some fresh air. Check out Bosque de La Herrería and bring good hiking shoes.
To get from El Escorial from Madrid, the fastest way is to take a train. The train ride is about 40 minutes long. Then, you’ll have to walk about ten minutes to the entrance of the town. Like other day trips from Madrid, train tickets shouldn’t cost you more than about ten euros one way.
You’ll find Aranjuez situated just south of Madrid on the River Tagus. This royal town is filled with luxurious estates and opulent gardens to enjoy. After exploring the Old Quarter of Aranjuez, head over to the Royal Palace. If it’s nice outside, spend the entire afternoon exploring the three lush gardens. Jardín de la Isla, Jardín del Parterre, and Jardín del Príncipe are all beautiful and photo-worthy.
To get to Aranjuez from Madrid, head to the Take the Sol metro stop or Atocha train station and take the C-3 Cercanias, which is a local train. A return ticket should cost around 10-15 euros. Once in Aranjuez, check out the Chiquitren to get around.
Visiting Avila is one of the most unique day trips from Madrid. This small walled-in city still holds historic charm, and you can even walk along some of the sections of the walls to peer out over onto the city. If you love flying your drone, then, this might be one of the best places to do so near Madrid.
Trains from Madrid to Avila depart from the Chamartin station and the journey lasts just over an hour and a half. Make sure to leave early in the morning, however, as trains seem to book up in the afternoon.
Like Toledo, Salamanca is one of Spain’s many cities to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for a good reason. The New Cathedral of Salamanca juts out into the Spanish skyline. But, the real showstopper here is the Casa de las Conchas, which is covered in seashells and similarly themed decor.
Salamanca is the longest day trip from Madrid. Trains take about two and a half hours to reach the historic city. Because of the scenic route, however, we suggest renting a car and making your own way there. Compared to the 40 euro round-trip train ticket, it actually might be cheaper depending on how long you rent the car for.
7. The Ribera del Duero Wine Region
It’s no secret that Spain’s famous for producing some of the world’s best wine. And, while there are numerous wine regions you should visit if you’re touring the country, one of the best day trips from Madrid is to check out the Ribera del Duero wine region.
Visit the most popular areas of the region, which include Peñafie, Roa and Aranda del Duero. Due to the sheer diversity and information available to learn, we suggest taking a tour once you’ve arrived.