Excursions from Madrid: the best day trips around Madrid

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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If you are planning a stay in Madrid, including some day trips to discover the surroundings is almost a must. It is true that you never get bored in the capital, but UNESCO cities, churches, palaces, castles, different architectural styles and finally historic centers that are characteristic to say the least surround Madrid, remaining enclosed in these small towns now classified as unmissable destinations. Here you go the best day trips around Madrid!


  1. Toledo
  2. Segovia
  3. Avila
  4. Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial
  5. Royal Palace of Aranjuez
  6. User questions and comments

1 - Toledo

Toledo is a small town ad just 64 km from Madrid, now a must for anyone who chooses to visit the capital and its surroundings. IS' among the Spanish cities richest in monuments and it is also known as the "city of the three cultures" as it has hosted Christians, Arabs and Jews for years. Each of these cultures left the city a great artistic heritage, today clearly visible within the walls of the historic center in which there are churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues of different styles and histories. This feature has given Toledo a place among the UNESCO lists as a World Heritage City and inspired the painter El Greco in many of his works, so much so that an entire museum has been dedicated to him.

What can't miss during a day in Toledo? Surely the Cathedral, the Alcázar, the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca and the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, all quite central attractions for which you will also go to the discovery of the characteristic alleys of the historic center adorned with restaurants and typical shops.

  • Range: 74,6 km
  • by train with the AVE lines departing from Atocha station at a cost of € 12,90 or by bus with the Alsa company which leaves from Plaza Elíptica station at a cost of € 6,00 - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free, a guided tour instead starts from € 25,00
  • Toledo tour with wine tasting and visit of 7 monuments

2 - Segovia

Segovia is another small pearl in the surroundings of Madrid which is worth visiting, a little more distant than the previous one but reachable in an hour by car or train. Segovia is also among the World Heritage Cities thanks to its long history that is found in the streets of the historic center between medieval structures, Renaissance buildings, Romanesque churches and noble villas.

The main attraction of Segovia is certainly the Roman aqueduct with its 167 arches, immediately followed by the majestic Cathedral and the Alcazar, an impressive castle that stands on a hill with a 152-step tower which offers a wonderful panoramic view. .

Other important and beautiful buildings are the Casa delle Punte, the Torrione dei Lozoya, the Floresta palace, the Trifontane palace, the palace of Count Cheste and that of Uceda-Peralta. But most of all, if you visit Segovia, you cannot leave without first tasting the cochinillo, the special local porchetta!

  • Range: 86,2 km
  • by train with the AVE lines from Atocha station or Chamartín with a cost of € 14,00 (round trip) - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free, while a guided tour is between € 40,00 and € 60,00
  • Ávila, Segovia and Escorial: full-day combo tour from Madrid

3 - Avila

Avila is located an hour and twenty away from Madrid, yet another World Heritage City, this time thanks to its own majestic medieval city walls, those best preserved in the world, of 2.500 meters in which the historic center is enclosed. The 87 towers and 9 access doors complete the work! Arriving in Avila, the walls will undoubtedly be the first thing you will see, but as you enter you will discover a succession of Renaissance palaces, churches and other buildings with a religious background dedicated to Saint Teresa of Jesus, born and lived in Avila. Do not miss the Cathedral, the Basilica of San Vicente and the Convent, as well as of course the museum dedicated to the Saint.

To conclude the visit of Avila in the best possible way don't forget to climb the walls and walk through them admiring the splendid views offered on the center and then head towards the Cuatro Postes viewpoint which at sunset gives its best thanks to the lighting of the walls.

  • Range: 106 km
  • by train on the AVE lines from Atocha or Chamartín station for € 24,00 or by bus from Avenida de Madrid or Plaza della Victoria station for € 9,00 - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free, instead the guided tours start from € 50,00
  • Ávila, Segovia and Escorial: full-day combo tour from Madrid

4 - Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial

Just 53 kilometers from Madrid (less than an hour away) is the Royal Monastery, located in San Lorenzo del Escorial, a much sought-after attraction for anyone in the city, also declared a World Heritage Site and even defined by many as the eighth wonder of the world.

The construction of the Monastery dates back to the th century, ordered by King Philip II. Its interior is nothing short of impressive, in fact the visit will take up most of the day to discover all the sections including the pantheon, the palace, the museums, the Basilica, the library, the Casetta dell'Infante and the Casetta del Principe, each of which contains period furniture and furnishings and extraordinary paintings by various artists Spanish. Usually a complete tour of the Royal Monastery also includes moving to the nearby rocky hill to visit the Silla del Rey, a hollow in the rock where the king used to sit to observe the construction work from above.

  • Range: 53 km
  • by train with the AVE lines from Atocha station at a cost of € 3,30 or by buses 661 and 664 from Moncloa station with a cost of € 4,20 - Get directions
  • open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 00pm with guided tours departing every 18 minutes, while guided tours from Madrid usually depart at 00am
  • tours start from € 40,00, finally the entrance to the monastery costs € 12,00 full price and € 6,00 reduced
  • Ávila, Segovia and Escorial: full-day combo tour from Madrid

5 - Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Another unmissable day trip from Madrid is the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, located 50 kilometers from the city (less than an hour's journey). It is one of the residences of the King of Spain, always commissioned by King Philip II but finished by Ferdinand VI e made by the best Spanish architects such as Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera, or the same ones who had already designed the previous Royal Monastery. The Italian Giuseppe Gricci instead gave an important artistic contribution as regards the sculptures. The palace, as can be expected from a royal residence, it preserves luxury and splendor within its halls and rooms clearly visible in the furnishings, furniture, walls and in every detail. The visit of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez also includes the two internal museums: the Museo de la Vida en Palacio which describes the daily life of the monarchs, and the Museo de las Falúas Reales with the richest collection of royal treasures. Do not miss a long and relaxing walk in the immense gardens surrounding the property, classified as the most beautiful in Spain!

  • Range: 50,4 km
  • by train with the AVE lines from Atocha station for € 4,00 or by bus from Sud Méndez Álvaro station for € 3,50 - Get directions
  • open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 00pm
  • tours start from € 50,00, finally the entrance to the palace costs € 9,00 full price and € 4,00 reduced

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