9 Best Day Trips From Madrid, Spain

Madrid is known for its youthful energy and an old-world vibe. Along with its delicious cuisine and one of the best nightlife in Europe, this vibrant Spanish city clearly has a thriving cultural atmosphere.

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Located right in the heart of Spain, Madrid is an ideal starting point if you’d like to explore other cities and towns — and you must!

You could probably spend days exploring Madrid, but its reliable transport system also makes it easy for anyone to see more of Spain beyond its capital city.

From ancient towns set on rock mounds to hanging houses to vineyards or a walled city — spend a day outside Madrid in destinations that are just within thirty minutes to two and a half hours away.

Here are ten of the best day trips from Madrid, Spain.

9 Best Day Trips From Madrid, Spain

1. Avila

Walls of Ávila

One of the easiest day trips from Madrid takes you to the historic walled city of Avila in under two hours. Set out early and see the well-preserved city walls, all built during the 12th century.

Avila is surrounded by 88 of these semi-circular towers, along with 9 gates, all with an average height of 12 meters.

You can also walk on the top of these walls for a few euros, and enjoy sprawling views over this quaint city located in the west of Madrid.

While exploring the city walls, check out the most impressive gates: the Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcazar.

Within these ancient walls is a charming old city seemingly stuck in time, with winding alleys, hidden plazas and the highest number of Gothic and Romanesque churches in Spain.

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2. Barcelona‬

Sagrada Família

Barcelona is easily reached via high-speed rail from Madrid, and travel time is two and a half hours.

It is the second-largest city in Spain and regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting destinations.

The city is best known for the unfinished but still magnificent Sagrada Família Church as well as the picturesque and distinctly  Catalan Gracia neighborhood.

While in Barcelona, be sure to explore the cafes, restaurants, and pubs, as it has diverse drinks and dining scene.

If you want to veer away from exploring the city and want a bit of relaxing time, head towards one of its many beaches, for. Leisurely walk along the shore or watching the sunset before going back to Madrid. ‬

To book, click here.

3. Cordoba

puente romano cordoba

A one-of-a-kind day trip from Madrid that’s easily reached in less than two hours, Córdoba is a must for history buffs and those who are into old architecture.

Leave Madrid early so you’d arrive here by 8 a.m. to save on entrance fees to Mezquita, a former mosque turned cathedral that’s considered as one of the best examples of Moorish architecture.

The historic Córdoba also has the ‪Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Spanish for “Castle of the Christian Monarchs”), a stunning medieval fortress that has pretty gardens and scenic views of the city from its towers.

Another must-visit is the ‪Medina Azahara, a splendid palace-city found in‬ the western outskirts of Córdoba

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4. Granada

Palace Alhambra_Granada Andalusia Spain

The city of Granada has to be one of the most picturesque places in Spain. You simply cannot miss the Sierra Nevada mountain range that acts as the backdrop to its medieval castles, opulent palaces, and forested hills.

A worthy day trip from Madrid, Granada is home to the 13th-century Moorish palace Alhambra.

This stunning palace and citadel complex is the most popular attraction in the city that it gets thousands of visitors per day so book your tickets in advance. There’s also the former summer palace of Alhambra rulers, Generalife.

It is surrounded by a colorful garden that’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Other must-visit places are the Granada Cathedral, the Palace of Charles V and the Royal Chapel of Granada, the final resting place for Catholic kings.

Before leaving Granada, head to a bar for a drink and you just might score a platter of free delicious tapas.

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5. The Ribera del Duero Wine Region

Ribera del Duero Wine Region

Regarded as among the best day tours from Madrid, a visit to the Ribera del Duero wine region makes for a unique experience in completely different surroundings.

It takes two hours to get to this place via rail from Madrid, but it’s recommended to book a tour online where a car would take you there and to better maximize your trip and to ensure that you get a tour In English.

At Ribera del Duero, you get to visit a vineyard or winery, and get a closer look at how some of the best Spanish wines are made.

There are guided tours to wineries, where you get samples, sometimes served with tapas. The region is quite scenic and most likely, you get to enjoy views of lush vineyards as you sip some local red.

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6. Segovia

Alcázar de Segovia

Best known for the picturesque Roman aqueduct that winds through the middle of the city, Segovia is one of the more interesting Madrid day trips that should be part of your itinerary.

For one, this city is situated on a huge rock precipice that overlooks the scenic countryside.

That dramatic setting is further enhanced by the presence of its Gothic cathedral, its fairytale-like Alcazar with its tall towers and turrets, the 13th century Vera Cruz church and the lovely Old Town.

To get here, you can either take the regional train from Madrid’s Atocha station that will take you to Segovia in two hours or the high-speed rail from the Chamartin station that reaches Segovia-Guiomar in an impressive twenty-eight minutes.

To book, click here. 

7. ‪Seville‬

Seville cathedral

‪This colorful and vibrant Andalusian capital is probably the most ‘Spanish’ in all of Spain’s cities.

Old city streets lined with quaint buildings and houses, the intricately decorated churches, the smell of tapas, the cathedral and Alcazar and a seemingly constant flamenco soundtrack — Seville is probably that city that’ll remind you that yes, you’re really in Spain.

While here, be sure to visit the pretty  Plaza de España, the‬UNESCO World Heritage Site Cathedral of Seville, the fascinating Barrio Santa Cruz or Triana neighborhoods and the Real Alcázar de Sevilla, which was featured in the hit HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Seville is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid and the AVE train from Spain’s capital takes two and a half hours.

To book, click here

 

8. Toledo

Toledo

This popular day trip from Madrid is also the easiest, ad it only takes thirty-three minutes to reach Toledo from Madrid’s Atocha station.

The capital of the Castilla la Mancha region, Toledo is a brilliantly preserved ancient city that’s steeped in a multicultural history as seen its Catholic, Jewish and Moorish monuments.

It is also known to be the home of some incredible art seen in the Cathedral, such as the baroque Transparente and El Greco’s, The Disrobing of Christ.

Its dramatic setting on a rocky mound also makes it one of the most scenic cities in Spain, with a stunning view of the looping gorge carved by the River Tajo.

Toledo’s proximity to Madrid makes it a famous day trip destination that it can get crowded especially during summer, but a worthy place to visit nonetheless.

To book, click here. 

9. ‪Valencia‬

L'Oceanografic Valencia Spain

A haven for foodies and a must for culture and history buffs, Valencia makes for a fascinating day trip from Madrid. It is only an hour and forty minutes away via the AVE train, which means that for a day trip, you get plenty of time to explore Valencia.

Stroll through the city’s charming charming old town, with its diverse architecture and monuments showcasing influences from the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors.

Be sure to visit the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, and for an experience that’s quite unique to this city, spend hours at the massive Mercado Central.

This is the largest fresh food market and a definite must visit to sample the region’s and perhaps the entire country’s gastronomical delights. ‬

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