Best day trips from Madrid

What to do around Madrid

If you are planning to visit Madrid, you are about to discover one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Europe. But did you know that the Spanish capital is also the perfect starting point for exploring other nearby cities and towns? From the impressive fortified city of Toledo to historic Segovia and the beautiful town of Ávila, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the center of Spain.

Read on if you want to discover some of the best day trips from Madrid so you can extend your journey and explore all that this part of Spain has to offer.

The 12 Best Day Trips from Madrid


Toledo – culture in the former capital of Spain

Toledo & the Tagus River at night – one of the best day trips from Madrid
Toledo, one of the best day trips from Madrid
Train Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Toledo    Travel time: 35 minutes by train or 1 hour by car

Visiting Toledo from Madrid is one of the best excursions you can do during your stay in the Spanish capital. This fortified city on the banks of the Tagus River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s famous for its ancient walls, narrow cobblestone streets and impressive gothic cathedral.

Toledo is also known for being the city of the three cultures, since for centuries Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in harmony. This cultural mix is reflected in its architecture, gastronomy and history.

Madrid Day Trips Tip Icon - toledo capital of Spain    Did you know? Until the mid-16th century, Toledo was the capital of the Spanish empire.

Visiting Toledo is a unique experience that will appeal to all history and culture lovers. Two of the best options to visit Toledo from Madrid are:

In any case, don't miss the opportunity to discover this medieval jewel of Spain!


Segovia – Roman aqueduct, castle & roast suckling pig

Roman aqueduct in Segovia (Castile & Leon) – Spain
Roman aqueduct in Segovia
Train Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Segovia    Travel time: 30 minutes by train or 1 hour by car

Visiting Segovia is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid. This city is known for its impressive 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct and for its charming fairytale castle, the Alcázar de Segovia.

But that's not all. Segovia is also famous for its gastronomy, especially its cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and its judión, a large and tasty type of bean. Visiting Segovia is a unique experience that will please both history lovers and foodies.

Madrid Day trips - Best hotels in Madrid Icon    Where to stay? Check out our curated list of The Best Hotels in Madrid

To get to Segovia from Madrid, you can participate in this guided tour to Segovia and Toledo. This tour lasts approximately 10 hours and includes two of the best destinations from Madrid in one day.

If you don't have much time in the Spanish capital, but want to make the most of it, this is the perfect excursion.


Hot air balloon ride with brunch

Hot air balloon ride over Segovia - Spain
Hot air balloon ride over Segovia
© We Experiential Travel Club
Clock Icon - Hot air balloon ride duration    Total tour time: 5 hours

If you are looking for something to do near Madrid that’s both unique and exciting, then this could be the ideal excursion for you.

You will be able to fly in a hot air balloon over Segovia, one of the most beautiful historical cities in Spain, in an unforgettable experience that will allow you to admire breathtaking panoramic views from above. In addition, you will enjoy a delicious brunch in a unique and unforgettable setting.

This unique activity, which also includes transport from Madrid and a city tour, lasts around 5 hours.

Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Spanish sky!


Ávila – A fortified medieval delight

Medieval wall of Avila at sunset - Spain
Medieval wall of Avila at sunset
Car Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Avila    Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes by car or 1 1/2 hours by train

Ávila is a historical gem whose old town is surrounded by a medieval wall that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s definitely one of our favorite day trips from Madrid.

The city occupies a privileged defensive location and boasts an impressive walled complex, which is actually one of the best preserved in Europe.

Madrid Day Trips Tip Icon - Ávila is the highest provincial capital    Did you know? Located at 1131 m above sea level, Ávila is the highest provincial capital in Spain.

In addition, Avila is famous for its delicious gastronomy, which includes dishes such as chuletón de Avila (huge ox steak), cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and yemas de Santa Teresa (a traditional dessert made of egg yolks, sugar and water).

From Madrid, you can take this day trip to Avila and Segovia, which includes entrance fees to monuments, and lasts approximately 9 hours. This tour is ideal for those looking to explore historic cities in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.


El Escorial – Monastery of the Spanish Royals

El Escorial Monastery, a great day trip from Madrid
El Escorial Monastery, a great day trip from Madrid
Bus Icon - Travel time from Madrid to El Escorial    Travel time: 50 minutes by car or 70 minutes by bus

El Escorial is one of the most impressive and fascinating places to visit in the surroundings of Madrid. This monastery was built in the 16th century by King Philip II and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its architectural beauty and historical importance.

El Escorial is the perfect place for those wishing to explore Spain's cultural heritage and learn about the history of Spanish royalty. In addition, the monastery houses a large collection of art and books, which reflect the rich culture and tradition of Spain.

If you wish to visit it, a highly recommended option is this tour of El Escorial from Madrid, which also includes a visit to the Valley of the Fallen and Segovia with lunch. It lasts approximately 10 hours.

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Salamanca – A lively renaissance charmer

Gorgeous medieval courtyard in Salamanca, Spain
Medieval courtyard in Salamanca
Train Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Salamanca    Travel time: 1 hour 40 minutes by train or 2 hours by car

Salamanca is a city that enchants any traveler who visits it. Known as "the golden city" for the color of its monuments at sunset, Salamanca is famous for its beautiful baroque and renaissance architecture, its lively university life and its delicious gastronomy.

Madrid Day Trips Tip Icon - University in Salamanca    Did you know? Salamanca is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, which gives it a young and vibrant atmosphere.

Salamanca is an ideal place to stroll through its cobblestone streets and discover its highlights, such as the Cathedral, the Plaza Mayor and the famous University of Salamanca.

The city is approximately a 2-hour drive from Madrid, and can be visited on a day trip, such as this Avila and Salamanca tour option from Madrid - the perfect way to explore these two beautiful cities to see near Madrid in a single day!


Ribera del Duero – For Wine Lovers

Room full of barrels during a winery visit in Ribera del Duero
Winery visit in Ribera del Duero
© We Experiential Travel Club
Car Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Ribera del Duero    Travel time: 2 hours by car

A wine tour to Ribera del Duero is an unforgettable experience for wine and food lovers.

This wine region is located along the banks of the Duero river in Castilla y León. It’s famous for its red wines made from the Tempranillo grape, and is home to some of the most important wineries in the country.

It’s possible to visit the area by participating in this Ribera del Duero wineries tour with lunch and tastings. During the tour, you will be able to visit vineyards and wineries and taste wines from the region. In addition, you can enjoy a delicious traditional meal and discover some of the most charming villages in the area.

Two other tour options available for wine lovers are this visit to Toledo that includes wine tasting or this tour of the wineries of Madrid.

All these tours include transportation from Madrid, so you can forget about driving and concentrate on enjoying the delicious local wines. In any case, remember to book in advance to secure your place.


Cuenca – Quaint town in a beautiful nature setting

Cuenca and its hanging houses, one of the best day trips from Madrid
Cuenca, one of the best day trips from Madrid
Train Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Cuenca    Travel time: 1 hour by train or 1 hour 45 minutes by car

Cuenca is a historic city known for its Gothic architecture, hanging houses and stunning natural landscape.

Visiting Cuenca is like stepping back in time, as the city is largely preserved as it was in the Middle Ages. It’s located on top of a rocky cliff and is surrounded by impressive mountains and rivers.

Madrid Day Trips - Top things to do in Madrid Icon    Don't miss: Check out our full list of The Best Things to Do in Madrid

The Bridge of San Pablo, the Cathedral of Cuenca and the famous Hanging Houses are some of the places that make Cuenca such a special town.

If you like history and architecture, you will definitely enjoy your visit to Cuenca. This day trip to Cuenca and the Enchanted City is an excellent option to explore the city and its surroundings from Madrid in a short time.


Guadarrama National Park and Manzanares Castle

Manzanares Castle near Madrid, Spain
Manzanares Castle near Madrid
Car Icon - Travel time from Madrid to the Guadarrama National Park    Travel time: 1 hour 40 minutes by car

The Manzanares Castle and the Guadarrama National Park are two beautiful places to visit on a day trip from Madrid.

The Manzanares Castle sits atop a hill and offers stunning views of the Guadarrama River valley. Although it has been renovated to preserve its historical and cultural heritage, this medieval castle was originally built in the 15th century.

On the other hand, the Guadarrama National Park is a nature reserve that stretches across the central mountain range of Spain. Here you can enjoy breathtaking natural scenery, mountain hiking and adventure sports such as hiking, skiing and mountain biking.

This day tour to the Guadarrama National Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the region and explore the history of the Manzanares Castle.


Warner Park Excursion from Madrid

Bugs Bunny at the Warner Park, Madrid
Bugs Bunny in Madrid's Warner Park
Car Icon - Travel time from Madrid to the Warner Park    Travel time: 35 minutes by car

The Warner Park is a popular tourist destination located about 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Madrid. This theme park offers a variety of attractions for all ages, from roller coasters and water rides to live shows and themed areas based on characters from movies and TV shows.

What makes Warner Park special is its attention to detail in recreating imaginary worlds and its commitment to providing an exciting and fun experience for visitors.

Madrid Day Trips - Warner Park Tickets Icon    Save time: Get your Warner Park tickets here!

This park is an excellent choice for families with children or for those who want to spend an exciting and adrenaline-filled day near Madrid.


Córdoba – A former capital of Muslim Spain

Impressive row of arches in the interior of Cordoba's Mosque, Spain
Arches in the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
Train Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Cordoba    Travel time: 2 hours by train or over 4 hours by car

Cordoba is a city located in the region of Andalusia, in southern Spain, and is one of the most incredible visits you can make from Madrid.

What makes Cordoba so special is its historical and cultural heritage. The city is known for its impressive mosque-cathedral, an architectural jewel of the Muslim era in Spain. It is our personal favorite work of architecture in all of Spain.

In addition to it, the city's Jewish quarter offers a maze of narrow streets and flower-filled courtyards that are a pleasure to explore.

Madrid Day Trips Icon - Best Flamenco Shows in Cordoba    See a live flamenco show: Cordoba is also famous for its flamenco culture. Any visit to the city would not be complete without enjoying a live flamenco show.

The fastest way to get to Cordoba from Madrid is to use the high-speed train which makes the journey in less than 2 hours. By car, it will take you more than twice as long.

In any case, it’s a really worthwhile visit, either as a day trip or as a multi-day excursion.


Chinchón – Typical Spanish village

Traditional houses in Chinchón, Madrid
Traditional houses in Chinchón, Madrid
Car Icon - Travel time from Madrid to Chinchon    Travel time: 50 minutes by car

Chinchón is a beautiful medieval village located 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Madrid and is one of the most popular excursions from the capital.

The town is famous for its impressive Plaza Mayor, which is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Spain. It’s surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants and bars where you can taste the local gastronomy, such as the famous anisados de Chinchón (an aniseed-flavored alcoholic beverage).

In addition, the town has a 15th century church, several convents and numerous stately homes. Chinchón is an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a quiet and picturesque day in a typical Spanish village, admiring its historical heritage and enjoying the local gastronomy.


Bonus: Flamenco – Pure Spanish Passion

Three dancers at the stage of Teatro Flamenco Madrid
Great flamenco show in Madrid
Icon - Travel time from Madrid to a flamenco show    Travel time: 0 minutes

Ok, ok, seeing a flamenco show is not really an excursion from Madrid. It’s more of a staycation. But we thought we should include it in this list because it’s one of the best things to do in Madrid and it would be a shame to overlook it.

Madrid is home to one of the most active flamenco scenes in Spain and there are a lot great shows to check out. Whether you prefer to see a show accompanied by just a drink or an entire meal, we have put together a comprehensive list of the best flamenco shows in Madrid.

As flamenco enthusiast ourselves, we have visited the venues and give you tips on how to have the best flamenco experience possible.

We can guarantee that your first live flamenco show is something you will never forget.

More Day Trips from Madrid

Patio with trees and a pond in the Royal Alcazar of Seville
Patio in Seville's Royal Alcazar

The list of possible day trips from Madrid goes on and on. However, in our opinion some nearby destinations are better for exploring over multiple days instead of just a few hours. Here are some great examples:

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