Excursions from Madrid

If we have a day to spare at Madrid, What are the best day trip options from Madrid?

Recommended answer 1 of 2

Day trip options from Madrid

El Escorial

  • Famous for palace-monastery and the Valley of fallen (tomb of victims of the Spanish Civil War.)
  • 1 Hour by Cercanías train from Atocha station.

Toledo

  • Ancient city with many monuments. According to an old Spanish saying,
    until you've seen Toledo, you have not seen Spain
  • 30 min by AVE train from Puerta de Atocha station

Segovia

  • Famous for the well preserved Roman aqueduct and the fairytale castle, said to be the inspiration behind Disney's castle
  • 30 min by AVE train from Chamartín station

Avila

  • Extensive collection of Romanesque and Gothic churches and the medieval-era walls encircling the city's interior.
  • 90 min by AVE train from Chamartín station

Cuenca

  • Famous for its medieval town appeal complete with cobblestone lanes,
    town square, and casas colgadas ("hanging houses")
  • 50 min by AVE train from Atocha station.

Aranjuez

  • Spring residence of the Spanish royalty from the time of the Catholic
    Kings Ferdinand and Isabella. Also famous for nearby Macaw Sanctuary.
  • 1 hr. by Strawberry train from Madrid Príncipe Pío

Salamanca

  • Famous for its historic university building and culinary delights
  • 90 min by train from Madrid Chamartín

Toledo is the most popular excursion from Madrid
As you can see above, there are plenty of interesting options for day trips from Madrid. The availability of train makes it easy and convenient.

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Recommended answer 2 of 2

How to decide your excursion destination from Madrid

One day

Toledo is the best place to go with only 1 day to spare; you will love its diversity as the former capital city of Spain. Toledo has a great mix of all 3 important influences in Spain - Jewish, Christian, Muslim - and it is a lively city even today.

Toledo by night - a great place to stay for more than a day

Two days

Segovia is the ideal day trip destination from Madrid, after you are done with Toledo. Some also choose the second day to be in Toledo; it easily deserves an overnight stay if you like culture and history.

Segovia is much more than the famous aqueduct.

Less than a day

El Escorial is a unique royal destination and along with the nearby Vally of the Fallen, it can be visited in a few hours. Do not try and combine it a with Toledo visit.

El Escorial - Easy half day trip

Avila is on the way to Segovia; some visitors try to combine it with Segovia but that is not a good idea. Visit Avila if you have only a few hours to spare, and if you are interested in religion and (many) convents.

Avila - must consider, ideally at dusk

Consider

Cuenca is spectacular with its hanging houses but I will not recommend visiting it unless you are already done with Toledo, Segovia, and Avila. If you are going to Valencia, then Cuenca is a must stop on the way.

Avoid

Salamanca and Aranjuez are nice but only if you are in the area for a very long time.

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