Day Trips from Madrid

Madrid, the sunniest European capital, is famous for its gorgeous churches, elegant boulevards, manicured parks, and world-class museums. There are also a couple of surprises in the city, such as El Retiro Park, an incredible oasis in the heart of the city, or the Temple of Debod, a piece of Ancient Egypt behind the largest Royal Palace in Europe. But let us assume that you already know about all of these places. Maybe you have already read our One Day in Madrid Itinerary or, even better, maybe you have already been to Madrid. Are there any other places of interest to visit in Madrid and the surrounding area that you should know about? Well, in addition to quaint medieval towns, fortresses, and palaces, some of the best wineries in Spain are within easy reach. The broader area of Madrid also retains some of the most diverse and well-preserved landscapes in Europe – especially the magnificent Guadarrama mountain range, whose slopes are covered in dense forests of Pyrenean oak and Scots pine. Check out these and other destinations below, where we list the best day trips from Madrid.

Day trips from Madrid,-Spain

Toledo

DISTANCE FROM MADRID

Toledo is located approximately 72 km southwest of Madrid, meaning you can easily get there in an hour or less by car via A-42.

GETTING THERE

While driving to Toledo from Madrid is relatively easy, most travelers who come to Madrid like to rely on public transport instead. Luckily, Madrid and Toledo are well-connected. ALSA (the Spanish subsidiary of UK’s National Express) operates a coach service between Madrid’s Plaza Eliptica and Estación de Autobuses de Toledo. The trip by bus takes 50 minutes (no stops along the way), and the bus leaves basically every 20 minutes. The ticket costs 5.47 €.

Your other option is taking the AVE, the Spanish high-speed train service. It takes only 30 minutes to get to Toledo by high-speed rail, which is one of the reasons why Toledo is the most popular day trip from Madrid. The train leaves from Atocha, the central train station in Madrid, and the ticket costs around 10 €.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

If you are a fan of history, art, and gorgeous architecture, you will absolutely love Toledo. The city, which was known as Toletum in ancient times, predates even the Romans, although it eventually became a part of Rome in 193 BC. Due to its strategic position atop a hill overlooking the Castilla-La Mancha plains, Toledo served as an important administrative and military center for most of its history, even prospering as a capital of the Visigoths in the 6th century. Today, the Toledo is filled with architectural wonders that serve as a testament to the city’s rich history, including Christian, Arab, and Jewish monuments. The city walls are particularly impressive, not to mention the Moorish Bisagra Gate. The celebrated, revolutionary Spanish painter El Greco also called Toledo his home, so make sure to check out the Museo del Greco in addition to Toledo’s numerous churches and cathedrals. 

Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is open between 10 AM and 6 PM. You can book a complete tour of the cathedral for 12,50 €, or you can just tour the museums for 10 €, including the Treasury, the Bayeu paintings, the Cloister, and other attractions. 

The Museo del Greco is open from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM between March 1 and October 31. The rest of the year, it closes at 6:00 PM. No matter the season, it is closed on Mondays, and is open only from 10:00 AM to 3 PM on Sundays and holidays. Entrance is free on Sundays, Saturdays after 2 PM, and certain holidays. Other days, you can tour the museum for 3 €

Museums and churches notwithstanding, most of the biggest attractions are free and open 24 hours, especially historical landmarks such as the Puerta Del Cambrón and beautiful scenic overlooks such as the Mirador del Valle.

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

If you decide to stay in Toledo, the hotel Cigarral de Caravantes is a great option, located on the edge of Toledo’s historic district. The gorgeous panoramic views of the city are among the hotel’s many strong points. 

ORGANIZED TOURS

Toledo Full-Day Tour from Madrid

This excellent day tour of Toledo, certified by GetYourGuide, offers round-trip transportation in a comfortable, luxury bus. A t a price that is only slightly higher than a round-trip high-speed train ticket, you also get a tour of the city with an expert bilingual guide.

Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, SpainRoyal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

DISTANCE FROM MADRID

El Escorial is located slightly over 60 km northwest of Madrid, halfway between Madrid and Ávila‎, via the regional interurban highway. 

GETTING THERE

If you’re driving, you can take the A-6 northwest. After approximately 53 km, take exit 47 for M-600 toward Guadarrama and El Escorial.

You can also get there by coach. ALSA operates a bus line from Princesa 89 (bus station in Madrid) to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, where the complex of royal buildings is located. The trip takes one hour and 15 minutes.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

The vast complex known as known as Monasterio del Escorial is a magnificent historic residence of the King of Spain, dating back to the 1500s. The Royal Seat has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 due to its immense cultural and historical significance.  El Escorial is comprised of two architectural complexes that have served as a monastery, a boarding school, and a Spanish royal palace. It was built by Philip II of Spain, using infinite supplies of gold and silver from the New World, when Spain was at the peak of its power.

 

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo of El Escorial is open every day except Monday. It opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 6 PM from October to March, and 8 PM from April to September. The basic ticket for an unguided tour costs 12.00 €, half price for children under 16, students, and the elderly (65+). 

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

The town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a charming little community and a great starting for touring the royal palace and the nearby Valley of the Fallen. If you decide to spend the night, you can experience what it’s like to stay at an 18th-century Royal Palace. Exe Victoria Palace is a beautifully renovated property with views of El Escorial. 

ORGANIZED TOURS

El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen: Skip-the-Line Tour

If you’re going to see El Escorial, you might as well also visit the Valley of the Fallen and the enormous basilica that was built by Francisco Franco with the intention of national reconciliation. This tour includes round-trip transportation in a luxury bus, as well as a guided tour of both El Escorial and the basilica, with all the little details and admission fees taken care of. 

Segovia

Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain
Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain

DISTANCE FROM MADRID

The shortest (bird fly) distance between Segovia and Madrid is 69 km or 43 miles. By car or bus, you need to cross 93 km/58 miles. Segovia is north of Madrid. 

GETTING THERE

By car, the fastest route to Segovia is via A-6 and AP-61. It takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes. 

You can also take the train from the Madrid Chamartín Railway Station North Madrid). Go to the AVE train station and hop aboard the AVE high-speed train. The train ride takes only 30 minutes and costs 12 €. You can buy the ticket through Renfe (the Spanish rail line), or at El Corte Ingles, which is a large department store with a travel agency. 

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

While the most famous attraction in Segovia is the Aqueduct of Segovia, a towering masterpiece of Roman architecture with 167 arches, there are many other exciting landmarks to see there. Alcázar de Segovia is an imposing medieval castle atop a rocky crag and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a museum inside. It is one of the most distinctive castles in the country, with tall spires rising from the foundations of a former Roman military fort. The royal summer residence of La Granja and the magnificent Gothic cathedral are just as impressive, even though they have plenty of competition in this historic city in central Spain. 

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

Similar to El Escorial, many of the major attractions in Segovia open at 10 AM, Including the Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso and the Alcázar of Segovia. The Royal Palace is closed on Mondays and state holidays. Between October and March, its is open until 6 PM, and between April and September, until 8 PM. The basic admission rate is 9 €, half that for students, children under 16 and the elderly (over 65). Free admission for children younger than 5, people with disabilities, professors, and citizens of the EU and Latin American countries several times a week. For Alcázar of Segovia, the general fee is 3.50 €, and the reduced fee a euro less. Alcázar of Segovia is open until 7 PM from 1 April to 30 September, and closes at 6 PM the rest of the year. The Segovia Cathedral opens and closes half an hour earlier than the other two attractions, and the fee is lower- only 2 €. 

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

If you want to stay in Segovia and enjoy a beautiful view of the Alcázar, then very few properties can compete with Hotel Don Felipe. Beautifully furnished, quiet, and affordable, the hotel is conveniently close to everything, yet feels like a sanctuary after the busy, vibrant streets near the major points of interest. 

ORGANIZED TOURS

Avila and Segovia: Full-Day Guided Trip from Madrid

This tour is slightly longer than some of the alternatives, however it is more than worth it because you get to see both Segovia and Avila, another historic city famous for its preserved 12th-century medieval walls. The professional tour guide speaks Spanish and English and is capable of providing in-depth insights into the intricate history of the two cities.

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Spain
Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Spain

DISTANCE FROM MADRID

Sierra de Guadarrama is located approximately 75 km (46 miles) north of Madrid, three quarters of the way between Madrid and Segovia. 

GETTING THERE

By car, getting to Sierra de Guadarrama takes one hour and 15 minutes on average via A-6 and M-601. You turn onto M-601 in Collado Villalba, 45 km (28 miles) from Madrid.

You can also hop aboard the bus line #684 from Madrid to Cercedilla. The trip by bus shouldn’t take more than 75 minutes, departing from Intercambiador de Moncloa (metro Moncloa). The bus fare is around 6 €.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT 

Unlike many other day trips from Madrid, which are mostly about exploring medieval castles and palaces, this trip is special in that it shows you a different side of Spain, especially the area around Madrid. The National Park is just one part of the large mountain range whose vegetation and wildlife is quite different compared to the typical lower-elevation Mediterranean vegetation. Beautiful lakes, large pine forests, and rare animals such as the Spanish ibex and fallow deer are just some of the many things you can expect to encounter if you go hiking in Sierra de Guadarrama National Park.

OPENING HOURS

The National Park Visitor Centers are open year-round. Their opening hours are from 9 AM to 8 PM daily in July and August and on weekends and holidays in June and September. Otherwise, they close earlier, at 4:30 PM.

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

Hotel Rural Las Rozuelas is an absolutely stunning hotel in the countryside, only a 5 minutes’ drive from Cercedilla. Surrounded by a forest, this beautiful property is an excellent choice whether you wish to go hiking within the National Park in the summer or if you are looking to relax by the fireplace in the middle of winter.

ORGANIZED TOURS

Sierra de Guadarrama Hiking Day Trip

This tour is a great chance to visit the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park with a professional hiker who knows all the nooks and crannies in the park and can take you to all of the best places while pointing out the various unique photo opportunities. Best of all: transport from your hotel in Madrid and back again is included, guaranteeing a smooth, hassle-free experience.

Paragliding Tandem Flight from Madrid

A shorter tour mostly for adventurers, this is for everyone who wants to make their dream of flying come true. This unique chance to fly over the mountain pass of Somosierra or the Cebreros includes simple and easy-to-follow instructions from the professional pilot, as well as pick-up service as required. 

La Mancha

Castile-La Mancha, Spain
Castile-La Mancha, Spain

DISTANCE FROM MADRID

La Mancha, officially Castilla-La Mancha, is a large historic and natural region covering the sprawling elevated plateau east, southeast, and south of Madrid. Consuegra, a smaller municipality with the famous windmills, dry plains, castles, and vineyards, is located approximately 130 km (80 miles) south of Madrid. 

GETTING THERE

How to get to La Mancha depends on which area you’d like to visit. If you want to go to El Toboso and check out the House-Museum of Dulcinea del Toboso, it will take about an hour and a half via A-4 and AP-36. There are also 5 daily buses to El Toboso from Madrid, all of them operated by Grupo Samar. You can catch the bus from several stops in Madrid, including Avenida de América Metro, Aeropuerto MAD Barajas T4, Plaza Eliptica, Príncipe Pío, and Plaza Puerta del Sol.

Renfe also operates a train line to Alcazar de San Juan. There are 12 trains a day, the first one at 07:13 AM, and the last one at 9:28 PM. The lowest price for a train ticket is 7 €.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

Wine tasting, Don Quixote, and gorgeous arid landscapes. What more can you possibly ask for? While the Ribera de Duero is more famous for its wines, fans of the most celebrated novel in the world will love the chance to see some of the places that inspired Cervantes to create his memorable and complex character. 

OPENING HOURS

The aforementioned House-Museum of Dulcinea del Toboso is open every day except for Monday from 9:45 AM to 1:45 PM, and again from 3 to 6:15 PM.  

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

Most of the best hotels in the historic region are located in Alcazar de San Juan. Among them, Hotel Hidalgo Quijada stands out with its great, quiet location, lovely staff, and vicinity to the railway station.

ORGANIZED TOURS

Madrid Don Quixote Experience Since La Mancha is not just one specific town, but an entire region, it is hard to encompass everything in a single day trip from Madrid. A good organized tour like this one will capture the essence of the unique historical region and tick all the right boxes. You can discover the land of Don Quixote with a professional guide on a single tour with a single price that includes admission fees to all of the major attractions in La Mancha, including Mota del Cuervo Windmills and the Museum of Cervantes.

PIN FOR LATER!

If you have any other propositions for this Day Trips from Glasgow, feel free to share them in the comments below!

Logistical Tips and Tricks

Organize your trip in five easy steps!

BOOK A FLIGHT!

Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!

BOOK A ROOM!

To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.

GET A CAR!

If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.

INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!

Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.

FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!

Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED

Here are some of the top travel items you must bring to your next trip. These items will make your trip a lot more relaxing and you’ll surely get rid of some extra hassle.

Make sure to travel light, safe and stylish following our travel item guide for 2019.

Anca One Day Itinerary

Anca B.

Travel writer at

Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).

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