Madrid, Spain is a fascinating city but, what’s just as interesting are the many places just a couple of hours away from Madrid, places that are wonderful to go on a day trip. If you’re itching to get out of the city, or just to see something new, why not take a day trip to Segovia,Toledo or one of these other easy places to go for a day trip from Madrid.
Segovia – One of the closest cities to Madrid, Segovia is only 30 minutes north if you hop on the high-speed train. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Segovia is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, so if you can take a day trip there, don’t hesitate to go.
Once there, don’t miss the Museum of Segovia, the Museum of Arms and, of course, if you want to see something a little more unusual, the Museum of Witchcraft. The Alcazar Gardens, with their geometric designs, are absolutely gorgeous and the massive Roman Aquaduct is a must see.
Don’t miss having a drink at La Taberna Rubi, the oldest tavern in Segovia, and eat at least one meal at one of Segovia’s restaurants, as the area is famous for its incredible cuisine..
Toledo – Pronounced ‘Tolaydo’ and not ‘Toleedo’ like the city in Ohio, Toledo is another Spanish World Heritage site located just over an hour’s drive from Madrid (around 50 miles).
The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz is a must see as, built in the 10th century, it’s one of the oldest mosques in the city. The El Greco Museum is also wonderful, if you’re an art lover, and the Alcazar, high atop the city, is one of the few Moor fortresses still surviving in Spain today.
Toledo is also world-famous for its superb handicrafts, so you’ll be able to pick up handmade jewelry, ceramics and even swords. Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the city’s many tapas bars, and don’t forget that jug of sangria either.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial – One of the most popular places for a day trip from Madrid, the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is only 28 miles away, half way up Mount Abantos, just outside Madrid. And yes, it’s yet another Spanish UNESCO World Heritage site.
Famous as being the traditional seat of the King of Spain, nowadays it’s more of a tourist spot than a seat of government but don’t let that deter you. You must visit the Royal Seat of El Escorial, which is technically a royal palace and monastery combined. The site is absolutely massive and is the place more than half a million people visit every year, many of them from Madrid.
The Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, one of the largest buildings you’ll ever see, is part of the royal site, and founded in 1563. Although it has gone through various design additions through the centuries, it’s main architectural design has still survived.
The Architecture Museum is interesting too, as it features architectural finds from all over the Madrid and El Escorial area, and exhibits span several thousand years of history. You’ll find the museum in the basement of the monastery, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Plan on spending at least a full day in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. If you’re in Madrid for a few weeks though, you may even find yourself coming back for a repeat visit, as the site is so enormous, it takes a few days to be able to see everything.