Madrid is a city that offers anything and everything you need to know about Spain. From its culture, cuisine, and attractions, there are lots of things to do and places to see in Madrid to keep its visitors entertained. But why stop at the Spanish capital when you can explore and discover other cities within your reach? Day trips from Madrid are a breath of fresh air especially if you want a change of scenery and pace. It also lets you see a different side of Spain: from tranquil towns, snow-capped mountains, and UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites.\r\nFrom the cafes and museums in Madrid, go on a one-day excursion outside the city and see what other cities Spain has in store of you. Best of all, you can reach these cities by bus or by train. Additionally, you can join pre-arranged group tours, have your hotel arrange them for you, or plan your own itinerary!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nWhere Is Madrid?\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Jorge Fern\u00e1ndez Salas on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocated in Central Spain, Madrid is the country\u2019s capital and most populous city. It is also one of the largest cities in Europe in terms of population along with Berlin, Moscow, and London. As the capital city, Madrid is also the economic, cultural, and political center of Spain. \r\nFrom Barcelona, Madrid is more or less a seven-hour drive away. In terms of location, cities like Avila, Toledo, and Guadalajara are the closest to Madrid.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nBest Day Trips From Madrid\r\n1. Toledo\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by steven_yu on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nToledo is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid. Also known as the \u201cCity of Three Cultures\u201d, the city boasts influences from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures, which is evident in its landmarks and attractions. It is also one of the most accessible cities from Madrid, only a short train ride or drive away.\r\nHow to Get There: You can visit Toledo by taking a train from Madrid\u2019s Atocha Station to Toledo. There are about 8 trips to and from Toledo daily and travel time is 30 minutes to an hour depending on which train you\u2019ll take. Another option is by driving to Toledo from Madrid which takes about an hour or more depending on the traffic situation. Take note that the highway can get busy especially on weekends and during the rush hour. \r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tEat marzipan, a local treat made from sugar and almond meal\r\n\tVisit the Alc\u00e1zar of Toledo, the city\u2019s highest point\r\n\tSee different works of art at the El Greco Museum\r\n\tMarvel at the Cathedral of Toledo \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n2. Salamanca\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by NakNakNak on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe charming city of Salamanca offers plenty of tourism opportunities for a day trip from Madrid. Splendid cathedrals, a picturesque old town, and a bustling university culture make it a popular destination among tourists. Start your journey at the Plaza Mayor then visit the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in the Hispanic world. Finally, end your day tour at the Roman Bridge as you watch the sunset.\r\nHow to Get There: Salamanca is accessible by car, train, and bus. The city is a two-hour drive away by car. On the other hand, taking the train is the most convenient at two and a half hours, however, the first trip is usually before noon. Some trains also stop in different cities, which can take time. \r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tCross the Roman Bridge and see the River Tormes\r\n\tStop by Plaza Mayor for drinks and coffee\r\n\tTry a traditional hornazo, a meat pie stuffed with pork, chorizo, and hard-boiled eggs\r\n\tVisit the New Cathedral of Salamanca\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n3. Segovia\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by BarbeeAnne on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWith its fairytale-like castle, historic aqueduct, and beautiful cathedral, Segovia is definitely one of the must-visit cities. Its city center, hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, should be enough reason for one to take day trips from Madrid to Seville. But aside from its swoon-worthy sites, Segovia is also famous for its architecture, parks and gardens, and cuisine. \r\nHow to Get There: Take a high-speed train from Madrid to Segovia for less than an hour. From the station in Segovia, you can ride a bus or taxi to get to the historical center. Additionally, you can take a bus that stops near the town center, although travel time can reach up to more than an hour.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee the Segovia Aqueduct\r\n\tExplore the Alcazar of Segovia, one of the most beautiful castles in Europe \r\n\tWalk along the streets of the Jewish District\r\n\tSavor a delicious roasted suckling pig, locally known as cochinillo asado\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n4. Aranjuez\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by JoaquinAranoa on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocated less than an hour south of Madrid, Aranjuez makes a perfect day trip. Its main star is the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, a stunning Renaissance-French palace reminiscent of Versailles and other castles in France. Other than the palace, Aranjuez also has several noteworthy sites and activities. Its old town, with its Baroque style, is perfect for morning walking tours while its gardens are the best place to visit for a relaxing afternoon.\r\nHow to Get There: You can take the commuter train from Madrid to Aranjuez. Travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour. On weekends from summer to autumn, ride the Strawberry Train, a vintage-style carriage that also offers strawberry tastings. Other transportation options for day trips from Madrid to Aranjuez include buses, cars, or private transfers.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tVisit the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.\r\n\tRide the Strawberry Train to and from Madrid (available only from summer to autumn)\r\n\tExplore Casa del Labrador\r\n\tTake a walk along Jard\u00edn del Pr\u00edncipe\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n5. Avila\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by jackmac34 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAvila is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid due to its proximity and tourist landmarks. As one of the well-preserved cities in Spain, Avila boasts stunning cathedrals, monasteries, and churches, earning it its nickname, the \u201cTown of Stones and Saints\u201d. Its iconic medieval walls are intimidating from afar, but upon climbing it, you can see the beauty of the city. For travelers who are fascinated with Gothic cathedrals, churches, and ancient places of worship, Avila is definitely one of the must-visit cities.\r\nHow to Get There: Avila is 80 minutes away from Madrid by car and two hours by train from Principe Pio. In addition, buses from Estaci\u00f3n Sur take about an hour and 20 minutes. You can join organized group tours and combine your Avila day trip with another nearby city for convenience.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tWalk along the city walls\r\n\tTry Amarguillos (traditional almond-flavored pastry) and yemas de \u00c1vila (snacks made of candied egg yolk and sugar)\r\n\tVisit different churches and cathedrals\r\n\tLearn about the city\u2019s history on a visit to Museo de \u00c1vila\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n6. Cuenca\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by ellenwhyte on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPerched on top of a rocky hill, Cuenca is a beautiful city waiting to be discovered. It is most famous for its Casas Colgadas, a complex of houses located near the ravine of the Hu\u00e9car River. Cuenca offers picturesque views of the mountains, whether you\u2019re looking from the hanging houses or the San Pablo Bridge. In addition, its historic center and museums are also worth visiting on your short day trip from Madrid.\r\nHow to Get There: Take the high-speed train from Atocha to Cuenca. Depending on what kind of train you\u2019ll choose, travel time ranges between an hour by high-speed train and around three hours for regular commuter trains. Buses are also available at Estaci\u00f3n Sur and travel time from Madrid to Cuenca is around two hours.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee the Hanging Houses of Cuenca\r\n\tCross the San Pablo Bridge\r\n\tEnjoy drinks at Plaza Mayor\r\n\tVisit the Museum of Abstract Art\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n7. Valencia\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by ebroslu on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPast Cuenca is another quintessential must visit city in Spain, Valencia. This city on the eastern coast of the country offers stunning beaches, breathtaking architecture, and delectable cuisine making it one of the best day trips from Madrid. Taste an authentic paella, explore the neighborhood of El Carmen, and stop by the Central Market for fresh local produce. Lastly, don\u2019t miss the City of Arts and Sciences, an impressive complex that showcases the best of Valencia\u2019s architecture.\r\nHow to Get There: Driving to Valencia takes more or less four hours, so it\u2019s highly recommended to take a train from Madrid. High-speed trains from the Atocha Station in Madrid to Valencia only take less than two hours.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tExplore the City of Arts and Sciences\r\n\tTry the local cuisine at the Central Market\r\n\tAttend the Fallas Festival, one of the best festivals in Spain\r\n\tRelax at its beaches\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n8. Ribera Del Duero\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Berho on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFor wine lovers, day trips from Madrid to the gorgeous Ribera del Duero region are a must. It stands out as one of the best Spanish wine regions thanks to its geography and climate, producing some of the world\u2019s best red wines. Explore different wineries and learn about the meticulous process of winemaking while sipping on a glass of wine. If you\u2019re up for it, you can also hike the Zarceras or grab a bite at Aranda de Duero.\r\nHow to Get There: Unlike other cities, it\u2019s best to visit Ribera del Duero by car. If you\u2019ll take the train from Madrid\u2019s Chamart\u00edn Station, you\u2019ll have to take a bus or taxi to get to the city centre. Travel time is also at four hours as compared to a two-hour drive by car. Lastly, driving to Ribera del Duero is better since you can also enjoy the view of the vineyards.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tVisit different wineries\r\n\tExplore Aranda de Duero\r\n\tJoin pre-arranged wine tasting tours around Ribera del Duero\r\n\tHike and see the Zarceras\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n9. Cordoba\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by franky1st on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile people tend to favor Granada or Seville as Andalusian destinations, one shouldn\u2019t miss Cordoba. The city is a quick train ride away from the capital and offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Cordoba\u2019s historic centre alone is a must-visit area with its courtyards and narrow, cobbled streets. Plan your visit on the second and third weeks of the month and you\u2019ll get a chance to see the houses in bloom for the Courtyard Festival.\r\nHow to Get There: High-speed trains from Madrid\u2019s Atocha Station to Cordoba only takes roughly two hours. On the other hand, it\u2019s a four-hour drive from the capital via the A-4 highway.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tWatch a Flamenco show\r\n\tVisit the Mezquita of Cordoba\r\n\tCross the Roman Bridge and see picturesque views of Cordoba\r\n\tTry a bowl of salmorejo, a soup made of tomato, bread, and garlic\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n10. Zaragoza\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Pedro Sanz on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBetween Barcelona and Madrid is another city worth visiting for a day, Zaragoza. It isn\u2019t heavily visited unlike its neighboring cities, but it boasts an interesting culture and history, visible in its cathedrals and plazas. The Bas\u00edlica de Nuestra Se\u00f1ora del Pilar is arguably the city\u2019s most popular sight due to its mosaic roof and stunning Baroque design. Additionally, its plaza is filled with several traditional restaurants, cafes, and other establishments you can visit.\r\nHow to Get There: High-speed trains are the best option for transportation to get to Zaragoza. From the Atocha Station, Zaragoza is only a two-hour train ride away.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tVisit the impressive Bas\u00edlica de Nuestra Se\u00f1ora del Pilar\r\n\tExplore the courtyards of the Aljafer\u00eda Palace\r\n\tCross the Stone Bridge\r\n\tSee intricate tapestries at the Museo de Tapices\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n11. Pedraza\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Richard Mortel on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re planning to visit Segovia, you can also add in a side trip to Pedraza. Although an underrated destination, Pedraza is one of the best day trips from Madrid if you want to go somewhere less touristy yet still beautiful. Feel as if you\u2019ve stepped back in time as you walk around its cobbled streets, admiring its medieval architecture. \r\nHow to Get There: By car, Pedraza is only an hour and 30 minutes away via the A-1 highway. This is better than taking a train and bus, which takes more or less four hours since you have to switch trains at Segovia.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tWatch the Concierto de las Velas held on the first two Sundays of July\r\n\tSee the ruins of Pedraza Castle\r\n\tTake photos of the buildings at Plaza Mayor\r\n\tSavor a plate of delicious cordero asado (roasted lamb)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n12. San Lorenzo de El Escorial\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by hruskajar on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSan Lorenzo de El Escorial is home to two of the country\u2019s most famous landmarks: the Monastery of El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen. Visiting these two sites is easily one of the best day trips from Madrid and allows you to get a better insight into its history. Explore the opulent Monastery of El Escorial and roam around its halls, catacombs, libraries, and more. At the controversial Valley of the Fallen, learn more about Spain\u2019s dark past and find out what makes the site the topic of so many debates.\r\nHow to Get There: San Lorenzo de El Escorial is easily accessible by bus, train, and private car. By car, the city is only an hour away depending on the traffic conditions. There are also plenty of buses at Moncloa and trains at Atocha or Chamart\u00edn that depart hourly.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tVisit the Monastery of El Escorial \r\n\tTake a trip to the Valley of the Fallen\r\n\tSee different insects and other crawling creatures at the Insect Park\r\n\tWalk around the Bosque de La Herrer\u00eda\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n13. Sig\u00fcenza\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Angel de los Rios on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDespite being a relatively small town, Sig\u00fcenza is a charming place to spend the day at. Taking the Medieval Train, a unique form of transportation to get to the city is already one of the best things to do in Sig\u00fcenza. Like most Spanish towns, the area surrounding the Plaza Mayor is perfect for walking tours as it lets you learn more about its history and heritage.\r\nHow to Get There: Driving to Sig\u00fcenza by car takes less than an hour via the A-2 highway. From April to November, you can also get to Siguenza by taking the Medieval Train from Chamart\u00edn. The train service includes food tasting, informative commentary, and performance of troubadour songs.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tHave a meal at Parador de Sig\u00fcenza Restaurant\r\n\tRelax or go people-watching at Plaza Mayor\r\n\tVisit Catedral de Sig\u00fcenza\r\n\tTake a tour of the massive Castle of the Bishops of Sig\u00fcenza\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n14. Alcal\u00e1 de Henares\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by metalvibes on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlcal\u00e1 de Henares\u2019 claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the famous Don Quixote. That being said, Alcal\u00e1 de Henares is one of the must-visit day trips from Madrid especially for fans of the literary masterpiece. But even if you haven\u2019t read Don Quixote, the city is still perfect for spontaneous day trips due to its proximity to Madrid.\r\nHow to Get There: Alcal\u00e1 de Henares is one of the most easily accessible cities near Madrid. By car, it only takes less than an hour to get here while trains take more or less 40 minutes from Atocha to Alcal\u00e1 de Henares.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tLearn about the life of Miguel de Cervantes at the Cervantes Birthplace Museum\r\n\tVisit the Magisterial-Cathedral\r\n\tAdmire the houses of Calle Mayor\r\n\tGo for a stroll at Plaza de Cervantes\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n15. Consuegra\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by javierAlamo on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTake a break from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Mudejar-style buildings and marvel at the windmills of Consuegra. Don Quixote reads can immediately recognize the municipality as its windmills played an important part in the novel. But aside from these popular windmills, Consuegra has other attractions and landmarks. If you\u2019re visiting Toledo from Madrid, you can easily squeeze in a short sightseeing tour of Consuegra.\r\nHow to Get There: Bus rides from Madrid\u2019s Estaci\u00f3n Sur to Consuegra take more or less two hours. Meanwhile, it is easier if you go to Consuegra by car as the travel time is only an hour and 30 minutes via the A-42 and CM-42 highways.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee the white windmills\r\n\tExplore the castle grounds of the Castle of La Muela\r\n\tDine at Gastromolino, an old windmill turned into a restaurant\r\n\tMarvel at the saffron flower fields in October \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n16. Chinch\u00f3n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Fernando Garc\u00eda Redondo on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile most cities in Spain are famous for their Plaza Mayors, the small town of Chinch\u00f3n takes the cake of having one of the most unique plazas. The oval-shaped plaza is surrounded by traditional green-and-white buildings lined with arcades, restaurants, and other establishments. From the plaza, you can begin your sightseeing: whether to the Iglesia de la Asunci\u00f3n or to the 14th century Clock Tower.\r\nHow to Get There: From the Conde de Casal bus stop in Madrid, Chinch\u00f3n is only 45 minutes away by bus. From the bus stop in Chinch\u00f3n, Plaza Mayor is only a walking distance away. By car, the city is only a one-hour drive away.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tHave lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Plaza Mayor\r\n\tHead to the Iglesia de la Asunci\u00f3n for picturesque views of the city\r\n\tTry their local anise liquor, also known as Chinch\u00f3n\r\n\tAttend the Garlic festival, one of the unique festivals in Spain \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n17. Puerto de Navacerrada\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Antonio Tajuelo on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re visiting in the winter, Puerto de Navacerrada is one of the best day trips from Madrid to take. It is a ski resort along the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, towering 1,858 meters above the ground. Here\u2019s enjoy various winter activities: from Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ski mountaineering, and more. Amateur skiers and those without experience wouldn\u2019t have to worry as the ski resort has different ski schools and equipment rentals available.\r\nHow to Get There: Puerto de Navacerrada is only an hour away from Madrid via the A-6 and M-601 highways. There are also trains available at Chamart\u00edn and buses at Moncloa that take you to the ski resort\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tTry different winter activities and sports\r\n\tLearn how to ski at one of the schools\r\n\tExplore the nearby village of Navacerrada\r\n\tHave a relaxing winter staycation at one of the hotels\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n18. Guadalajara\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by jacinta lluch valero on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGuadalajara is one of the small municipalities near Madrid that offers unique architectural styles. Although it doesn\u2019t boast the styles of Barcelona or Madrid, its combination of different architectures is worth noting. Around the city, you can find religious buildings combining Romanesque and Mudejar elements as well as Moorish and Renaissance features. \r\nHow to Get There: Traveling to Guadalajara takes less than an hour by car via the A-2 highway. On the other hand, buses and trains to Guadalajara may take more than an hour depending on the stops and on the traffic conditions. \r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tAdmire the Gothic-Mudejar style of the Palacio del Infantado\r\n\tSee different art and archaeology collections at the Museum of Guadalajara\r\n\tPay respects at the Catedral de la Fuente\r\n\tVisit the Catedral de la Fuente\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n19. Cercedilla \r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Javier Costas Franco on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFor travelers who want to spend a day out in nature, Cercedilla and the neighboring Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range is one of the best day trips from Madrid. They offer picture-perfect trails that give you the best vantage points that overlook the Fuenfr\u00eda Valley. For the ultimate nature experience, head to the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, only a few minutes away from Cercedilla.\r\nHow to Get There: There are trains from Atocha to Cercedilla that only take about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the municipality. In addition, buses from Moncloa to Cercedilla take only an hour.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tExplore the vast Sierra de Guadarrama National Park\r\n\tCatch panoramic views at the miradores scattered around Cercedilla\r\n\tGo on nature walks and trails\r\n\tTake a dip at the pools of the Las Berceas leisure park\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n20. Buitrago de Lozoya\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by santiago lopez-pastor on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBuitrago de Lozoya is one of the most charming medieval villages near Segovia and Madrid. Its Old Town, surrounded by towering walls, gives you a different perspective of the municipality. As you explore, you can find various structures, churches, and chapels that date back to the 15th and 15th centuries. \r\nHow to Get There: Buitrago de Lozoya is only 45 minutes away from Madrid by car via the A-1 highway. For travelers who prefer public transport, take a bus from the Plaza de Castilla transport hub.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tExplore the Buitrago del Lozoya Castle\r\n\tSee the city from a different perspective on top of the city walls\r\n\tFind different works of art at the Picasso Museum\r\n\tGo for a swim at the Riosequillo Recreation Area\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDiscover the Cities and Municipalities Near Madrid\r\nWhile Madrid in itself is a must-visit destination, there are also neighboring cities and municipalities waiting to be discovered. They offer different cuisines, sites, and architectural styles that let you in on Spain\u2019s rich history. Because of their proximity to the capital, you can visit them by train, bus, private car, or by joining organized group tours.\r\nWhether you want to visit the beaches of Valencia, the vineyards of the Ribera del Duero region, or the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Guadarrama, you can all visit and explore them through convenient day trips from Madrid!