Day trips from Madrid: Top 10 places to visit in one day

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If you live in Madrid or if you are in Madrid for your vacations, you might want to take a day trip to visit another place. Indeed, there are a lot of beautiful cities to go to that are close to the capital. A day trip allows you to discover other places without having to find a place to sleep. So these trips will be pretty cheap, the cost of the gas or train ticket being the only major expense. Enjoy this selection of 10 day trips from Madrid!

#1 Days trips from Madrid: Toledo

Toledo is only an hour away from Madrid by car. This World Heritage Site is a beautiful ancient city at the top of a hill on the banks of the Tagus River. Must-sees in Toledo include the Toledo Cathedral, an impressive 13th- century High Gothic cathedral. You should also take the time to see the Alcazar fortress which overlooks the city, as well as the Greco Museum. For lunch, you will be able to discover traditional Castile-La Mancha cuisine.

#2 Segovia

You will arrive at Segovia from Madrid in a little more than an hour. Segovia is truly a magnificent city and one of the best day trips from Madrid. The three main landmarks that you should not miss are the Roman aqueduct, the cathedral, and the castle. These three monuments are breathtaking and worth a few pictures. You should also know that the castle served as a model for Disney’s Cinderella Castle!

Day trips from Madrid
Segovia, Image from Pixabay

#3 Days trips from Madrid: Salamanca

Salamanca is two and a half hours away from Madrid. It is a little further than the other day trips from Madrid, but it will be worth it. But you will probably need to get up early so that you have enough time in the city. Indeed, it is a lively city thanks to the numerous students there. You can start by walking around the Plaza Mayor, an 18th-century baroque square. The cathedral is also an interesting sight as well as the convent.

#4 Royal Palace of Aranjuez

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is just under an hour away from the capital city. This palace is a former Spanish royal residence that opened to the public in 1931. Its history as a royal residence began in the 16th century when the construction of a grand hunting lodge started. The building was modified several times through the years, with parts added or altered. This allows a big diversity of architectural styles such as Renaissance, French Empire, or Rococo for example. There are numerous rooms to discover: salons, offices, bedrooms, and of course the gardens.

Day trips from Madrid, Royal Palace of Aranjuez
Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Image from Pixabay

#5 San Lorenzo de El Escorial

The town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is 50 minutes away from Madrid. It is at the foot of Mount Abantos. The main must-see in this town is El Escorial or the “Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial”. This enormous Renaissance complex functions as a basilica, royal palace, monastery, pantheon, library, and more. You will also be able to go to the Valley of the Fallen, a monumental memorial for reconciliation where dictator Franco was buried until 2019. You can also go on a hike on Mount Abantos or in the woods surrounding San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This day trip combines nature and culture.

#6 Days trips from Madrid: Chinchón 

Chinchón is under 50 minutes from Madrid. What is very interesting about this town is its whole architecture. Chinchón is also known for its festivals that attract a lot of people from Madrid. The two main festivals are the Chinchón Festival de anís y vino and the October garlic festival. In addition, the Plaza Mayor is also an interesting site, with galleried houses and cafés surrounding it. You can also go see the medieval castle to take pictures from the outside, but you won’t be able to go inside.

#7 Cuenca

You will need to drive for an hour and a half to reach Cuenca. This city is in Castile-La Mancha, across a steep spur with the Júcar and Huécar rivers below. When you go to Cuenca, you have to go see the hanging houses. They are very impressive as the houses are built right on the edge of the cliff. You can also admire the cathedral, the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, or walk around the Ciudad Encantada, a site where the rock formations have beautiful abstract shapes that create a magical landscape.

Cuenca, Picture from Unsplash

#8 Valencia

By train, it will only take you two hours to get to Valencia. This day trip is perfect if you want to take a day to go to the beach. Indeed, Valencia is on the East coast of Spain. For example, you can reach Malvarrosa Beach in 15 minutes from the city center with public transportation. If you do not want to spend the whole day on the beach, there are also numerous sites to visit. You can go see the cathedral, the City of Arts and Sciences, or take a stroll in one of the squares and gardens.

#9 Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero is a two-hour drive away from Madrid. This region is the perfect destination if you are a wine-lover. Indeed, Ribera del Duero is a famous wine-producing region along the Duero River. While you are there, you can enjoy traditional and local food, as is it as important as the wine in this area. You will be able to visit wine caves and vineyards. There are also a few castles worth visiting, such as the castle of Gormaz. This gastronomic day trip will be a great way to relax during your vacations.

Ribera del Duero
Try the local wine in the Ribera del Duero region, Picture from Unsplash

#10 Days trips from Madrid: Ávila

You will find this city a little more than an hour away from Madrid. This city with an extensive history has a lot of monuments to see as well as museums and sights. First of all, you will be able to see the Walls of Ávila, the medieval walls that surround the city. You can also visit the cathedral which is of the Gothic style, from the 12th century. The Basilica is also very impressive by its architecture, as well as the Convent of Saint Joseph. Even if you can choose to go on a day trip out of Ávila, you might be tempted to go back because of the number of things to see and visit.

That is all for the 10 day trips from Madrid! Continue to read by clicking here for an article on the different types of accommodations for your vacations.