Day trip options from Madrid
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Famous for its historic university building and culinary delights
- 90 min by train from Madrid Chamartín
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.
How to decide your excursion destination from Madrid
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Salamanca and Aranjuez are nice but only if you are in the area for a very long time.