There is a litany of amazing day trips from Madrid, all within just three hours of the Spanish capital. There are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic cities, wine experiences, and expansive mountains. However, you must carefully choose your day trips out of Central Madrid or you could waste an entire excursion.
On my recent trip through Spain, I was impressed by the many interesting things to do in Madrid. But I also thought it was awesome just how many accessible Madrid day trips there are from the city, too. Read on for my favorites.
Table of Contents
- 17 Best Madrid Day Trips
- FAQs About Madrid Day Trips
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17 Best Madrid Day Trips
One of Spain’s oldest cities, featuring ancient history and culture with Christian, Jewish, and Islamic influences.
An hour away from the capital, Toledo is known as the city of three cultures because it was greatly influenced by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As one of the oldest cities in Spain, historical attractions are the name of the game in Toledo.
The must-see spots on a day out in Toledo include the Alcazar de Toledo, the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the El Greco Museum, and the Toledo Cathedral. Once you’ve knocked those out, stick around to take photos at San Martin’s Bridge. Then, grab a scrumptious selection of tapas from Restaurante Alfileritos 24.
Finally, head up to the Mirador del Valle viewpoint for a picturesque sunset over the city before heading back to Madrid.
This little city is known for its distinctive sandstone architecture and beautiful plaza.
One of my favorite things about Spain is that every place you visit feels like stepping into a new world. Just take Salamanca and Madrid for instance. Even though it’s just a little over 2.5 hours away, it feels like a totally different experience – perfect for a day trip!
Salamanca is a lovely city known for its Old Town and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a few attractions that have earned the town this title, but the main one is the gigantic Romanesque Salamanca Cathedral. It’s so big you can spot it in the skyline from a mile away.
There are also quite a few other historic sites in Salamanca, like the Roman Bridge, Casa de las Conchas, and the Convent of San Esteban.
👉 Pro Tip: One of the easiest ways to go on day trips from Madrid is by joining a guided tour. This Avila and Salamanca Tour from Madrid will take you to two of the best places in the region.
A key Spanish UNESCO site that’s actually the biggest Renaissance building on the planet.
It’s fairly easy to find an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s close enough to Madrid to be a day trip, such as El Escorial.
The 439-year-old El Escorial is a multi-faceted royal complex less than an hour away from Madrid. It’s actually the largest Renaissance building on the planet, so prepare to feel tiny in comparison. On the site, there is a monastery, royal palace, pantheon, museum, school, library, and even a hospital.
It’s difficult to understand the full depth of this day trip without the knowledge of a guide. That’s why I’d recommend opting for this Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen Tour from Madrid. You’ll be escorted to El Escorial with a stop at another important Spanish monument that was designed to honor people who died in the Spanish Civil War.
Royal Palace of Aranjuez
A 16th-century manor with a labyrinth of gardens that serves as an official residence of the Spanish Royal Family.
Yet another of the region’s World Heritage Sites is the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Just an hour outside of Madrid, this is a fantastic day trip for people who want to deep dive into Spain’s history and culture.
The building is officially recognized as one of the many residences of the Spanish Royal Family. In the warmer months, Spain’s kings and queens relax their summer away at the Palace of Aranjuez.
Aranjuez can be equally as fun for visitors that aren’t big history buffs thanks to the insanely beautiful maze of gardens. Wandering around these lush, royal gardens can keep kids happily occupied for hours, so it’s a great day trip for families.
👉 Don’t Miss: For visitors who want an intense, Instagrammable experience at the Royal Palace, consider booking this Hot-Air Balloon Ride over Aranjuez with Optional Transport from Madrid. Needless to say, it’ll be something you remember forever.
A highly elevated, historic city surrounded by medieval city walls with no shortage of culture to dive into.
Avila is often the first stop for travelers who want to get more familiar with Spanish history on a quick day trip. Avila is actually so ripe with cultural attractions that it’s a UNESCO-listed city.
The first thing most people do here is stop by the towering Walls of Avila to get a sense of how well-preserved history is in the city.
Next, wander the Real Monasterio de Santo Tomás, Puerta del Alcázar, and Plaza Mercado Chico. The list goes on because there are endless churches, palaces, and historic squares to explore in Avila. Each of these attractions is very different from one another and shows you just how unique the city is.
👉 Pro Tip: Visitors who have limited time for all the best things to do in Spain can be more efficient by joining a tour to a couple of cities in one day trip. For example, this Avila and Segovia Full Day Tour from Madrid will take you to all the top sites in both cities on a luxury bus with a bilingual guide.
A gem of western Spain with 825-year-old medieval walls, aqueducts, and more – a must-visit for history buffs.
Plasencia is one of the best nearby day trips from Madrid for history lovers. I’m the type of traveler who appreciates lesser-known wonders that have a calmer vibe and Plasencia definitely fits that bill. Although it’s less busy than the most popular day trips from Madrid, there is still plenty to do here in the way of historical attractions.
Mix and match attractions like Acueducto de Plasencia, the towering Cathedral of Plasencia, Plaza Mayor, or Palacio de Mirabel. In the afternoon, take a stroll around the Medieval City Walls of Plasencia, which are over 825 years old. Finally, grab a late lunch or early dinner at Restaurante Succo to try the Spanish-style suckling pig dish.
An ancient city offering Roman aqueducts, cathedrals, and a castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
Segovia is one of the most convenient day trips from Madrid because it only takes 30 minutes by high-speed train to reach the city. Once the train hits the station, you’ll be spoiled for activity choices.
First, check out some of the historic buildings and architectural pieces around the city, like Segovia Cathedral, Casa De Los Picos, and the Puerta de San Andrés in the Jewish Quarter. Afterward, make your way to the nearby Aqueduct of Segovia, a preserved Roman aqueduct that was built all the way back in 50 BCE.
Before you leave the magical little city of Segovia, you have to stop by its prized gem – the Alcazar of Segovia. This grand palace is said to have inspired the Walt Disney Castle that’s famous for making kids’ eyes light up. The simplicity of getting to Segovia coupled with its kid-friendly activities makes Segovia a terrific day trip for families.
👉 Pro Tip: Make your day trip to Segovia more magical with this Hot-Air Balloon Ride over Segovia with Optional Transport from Madrid. Additional plus – you can get a ride over to Segovia, too.
An upbeat town on the hilltops with an inviting medieval square, delicious restaurants, and several wineries.
Sometimes, you just want to embark on an excursion to try new foods. Just an hour away, Chinchón is a relaxed type of day trip from Madrid. There are a few attractions around this little municipality, like the Medieval town square, but the main pull is all the delectable food and drink around town.
Begin your food day trip to Chinchón by visiting the Plaza Mayor and stop by La Repesca Casa de Vinos for a quick tapas lunch. Alternatively, eat at Restaurante La Casa del Pregonero for a slightly fancier experience. After satisfying your appetite, embark on a winery tour and tasting at Bodega del Nero.
A fantastical fortified city with famous hanging houses built into the side of a mountain.
Cuenca’s most recognizable landmark is its UNESCO-listed Casas Colgadas – aka Hanging Houses. As their title suggests, these 15th-century homes quite literally hang over the edge of the Cuenca Gorge. It’s pretty impressive to see ancient buildings like these achieve such a feat of balance.
After you see and take plenty of photos of the famous landmark, check out the Spanish Abstract Art Museum right next door. This museum is totally free, so it’s excellent for travelers on a budget in Europe. Next, make your way to some of Cuenca’s other attractions, San Pablo Bridge and Cuenca Cathedral.
There are also tons of hiking areas near Cuenca for outdoor enthusiasts, such as Sendero al Mirador Turístico Monjas.
Ribera del Duero
One of Spain’s most famous red wine regions featuring several world-class wineries and impressive castles.
Wine lovers rejoice! You’ve found Ribera del Duero, the perfect day trip from Madrid for all things wine. There’s a high possibility that it came from this bountiful region if you ever sipped on a Spanish red wine. From the opulent Bodegas Portia to the more intimate and authentic Bodega Historica Don Carlos – you’ll be flush with choice.
When you’re all wined out, there are a couple of gorgeous castles to visit around this region, too. Take some time to wander around Peñaranda de Duero or Peñafiel Castle before returning back to Madrid.
Since most of the activities in Ribera del Duero are alcohol-focused, you may want to consider joining a tour to make things a bit easier. This Wineries Guided Tour to Ribera del Duero with Wine Tasting from Madrid is a solid option. It takes you to three different wineries in just one day.
A university town north of Madrid with exceptional historic sites and intriguing museums.
Valladolid is another one of those places to visit in Spain that you might know the name of, but probably aren’t well-versed in why it’s so special. People who love a good museum on a day trip are going to get excited when they learn about just how many museums fit into this compact town.
Whether your style is science, art, or somewhere in between, you’ll find a museum that fits your taste in Valladolid. The town features the Valladolid Science Museum, Museo Patio Herreriano, the Museum of African Art, the National Museum of Sculpture, and much more.
There are also a bunch of interesting historic sites around Valladolid, like Palacio de Santa Cruz and the Cathedral of Valladolid. Alternatively, you can go shopping at Pasaje Gutiérrez Mall or Mercado del Val market.
Gredos Mountains Regional Park
An expansive mountain range on the Iberian Peninsula with ideal conditions for stargazing.
Technically, a day trip should take place when the sun is up. However, you might want to flip that schedule on its head when you visit the Gredos Mountains Regional Park.
This area is well-known for stargazing thanks to its wide open skies and limited light pollution. Visitors who choose to visit Gredos during the day will still have plenty of fun. There is mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and even horseback riding.
👉 Pro Tip: You’ll need your own car to make this type of night/day trip feasible, and I recommend booking your rental with Discover Cars. You can take the bus during the day, but it takes 3 hours and doesn’t run very late into the night.
A charming area that’s completely surrounded by an exciting range of outdoor activities and pub options.
Sure, Albacete is home to plenty of intriguing man-made attractions. The historic Pasaje de Lodares, Castle of Alcalá del Júcar, and even the Plaza de Toros de Albacete are all very thought-provoking stops on a day trip. However, I’d recommend leaning into Albacete’s natural attractions.
Albacete is right near a bunch of legendary local hiking spots, including Montes de Chinchilla just 20 minutes outside of the city center. The city is also pretty well-known for its nightlife scene and there are a surprising amount of bars around. Visitors who like beers and a more dive-y atmosphere will adore Pub Tnt Rock & Beer and Torito in Albacete.
A municipality mainly known for its unique ‘Route of Faces’ hike filled with sculptures.
When you take a day trip to Buendia, just under 2 hours outside of Madrid, prepare to spend most of the day outdoors. There is one major attraction around this area and it requires you to get walking through Spain’s nature – The Route of Faces.
Sound like an odd name for a hike? Well, it acquired that title from its grand finale. At the end of the hike, you’ll stumble across a sort of open-air sculpture museum with 18 unique faces carved into the surroundings. The hike up to the scenic area with the faces is around a mile long, so it’s brief enough to be an entertaining excursion for young kids. This is a fun, simple day trip from Madrid that will hardly cost more than a bus ticket.
This compact city northeast of Madrid with a range of cultural attractions including a one-of-a-kind palace.
In case you didn’t know, there are actually 20 different cities named Guadalajara around the world. It’s not just the one in Mexico! Spain’s Guadalajara is located just an hour away from Madrid and it makes for an amazing day trip for getting to know Spanish culture.
The city has the standard cathedral and major plaza that are available in most Spanish cities. However, the cultural attraction that really makes it stand out is the Palace of El Infantado. This golden spike-covered building’s architecture is unique from the outside in. The Museum of Guadalajara is also worth a visit if you want to dive into the regional art and culture.
A cool-weathered escape in the mountains that converts into a premiere skiing destination in the winter.
🗺️ Distance from Madrid: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps
Not every day trip from Madrid has to be a warm-weather escape. There is also stuff out there for the winter fanatics, like the mountain city of Cercedilla. During the winter season from roughly late December to early April, this area transforms into heaven for skiers.
Specifically, The Navacerrada Pass Ski Station resort is the place to be when you want to go soaring through Spain’s snow-covered mountains.
This Spanish city has a Gothic cathedral, panoramic viewpoints, and lots of places to try its distinctive signature dishes.
Burgos is a double whammy as a day trip because the city offers phenomenal things to do and a lot of interesting local foods to try.
Kick off a day in Burgos by making your way up to Mirador Del Castillo for sweeping views over the city. Once you see it from above, get on the ground to visit the massive Gothic Burgos Cathedral, Huelgas Monastery, and Castillo de Burgos. I’d also recommend stopping by the Museum of Evolution if you have time, as it’s less than $7 and very interesting.
Now that you’ve built up an appetite, try some of the local Burgos specialties like Morcilla de Burgos (blood sausage) and the famous local Queso de Burgos sheep’s milk cheese. The best place to try Morcilla in town is Cervecería El Morito. You can pick up Queso de Burgos at one of the local cheese shops like Queso la Casona de los Pisones.
👉 Need a Place to Stay in Madrid? Check out my guide to the best areas and hotels to stay in Madrid.
FAQs About Madrid Day Trips
Which is better, Toledo or Segovia?
Toledo is a better day trip for people who want to stay very close to Madrid, while Segovia is a slightly further excursion. Both ancient cities offer unique pieces of history. The major difference between the two cities is that Segovia is more famous for Roman architecture and castles and Toledo focuses more on religious history.
Can you do a day trip from Madrid to Seville?
It is possible to do a day trip from Madrid to Seville because there is a direct bullet train between the two cities. The train takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes each way. However, there are a great deal of things to do in Seville and it’s difficult to see it all in just one day. Plus, you want as much time as possible to try all the amazing restaurants in Seville. It’s better to take a weekend trip to Seville from Madrid instead of a day trip.
What are the best day trips from Madrid?
The best day trips from Madrid are Segovia, Toledo, Avila, and Cuenca. Each of these day trips is very easy and affordable to access on public transportation from Madrid. Once you arrive, these cities offer visitors a range of cultural attractions, historic sites, and museums to visit. Additionally, these destinations near Madrid all have really delicious restaurants for lunch or an early dinner.
Where can you travel from Madrid by train?
You can travel to any major city in Spain from Madrid on the train. Spain’s train system is very efficient and comprehensive. The trains can take you to municipalities just outside the city center or all the way to Barcelona, Seville, or Murcia. Most direct train rides in Spain are less than 3.5 hours long.
👉 Read Next: 6 Days in Madrid Itinerary
We’ve covered all the best day trips from Madrid! Which ones have made the cut for your excursion out of the capital city? Up next, check out my 10-Day Spain Itinerary — it’s the perfect resource if you’re still planning your Spain adventure.
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