Here are some of the best day trips from Madrid, in case you feel like exploring a little bit beyond the city limits. They are all ordered by how long it takes to get there so you can plan ahead.
I’ll assume you don’t have a car, so I’ll list all of the public transportation options. If the times don’t work for you, try to use Blablacar.
Have a look at the map to see the 5 best day trips from Madrid.
1. Toledo – one day trip
Toledo is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid. This city once was the capital of Spain, and it’s known for its winding streets and hills.
It’s only 30 minutes by high-speed train or 1 hour by bus—if prefer the cheaper alternative.
How to get to Toledo from Madrid
The buses to Toledo depart from Plaza Elíptica. The roundtrip is about 10€. You can get the tickets here and see what works best for you.
There are two departing buses every hour but make sure that you take the direct one or else it’ll end up taking you an extra 30 minutes.
What to do in Toledo
Toledo is known as the city of the three cultures. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived and shared this city peacefully for centuries. Pay attention to its architecture to see how different one building is from another depending on its origin.
Visit the synagogue to learn about the Jewish community in the city. It’s less than 5€.
The Alcazar was home to Spanish kings, and nowadays, it is an army museum. It’s free on Sundays.
Visit Toledo’s Gothic cathedral.
Toledo is well known for its marzipan. Personally, I don’t like it—it’s too sweet for my taste—but it’s worth trying. Get a little box at Santo Tomé.
Where to eat in Toledo:
If you want to try some Spanish delicacies you can have some tapas at Zocodover—Toledo’s main plaza.
Don’t miss the views of Toledo from the other side of the river. It takes about 30 minutes to get to El Mirador del Valle from the cathedral.
You’ll find a lot of companies in the city center offering day trips from Madrid to Toledo. Don’t fall for that, it’s easy enough to plan the trip yourself and it’ll save you some money to go towards more marzipan.
Chinchón has one of the most touristic plazas in the Community of Madrid, and contains one of the few plazas still being used as a bullring. This little town is only a 50 minutes bus ride from Madrid.
How to get to Chinchón from Madrid
Even though the optimal way to get to Chinchon is by car, you can also take bus 337 from Conde Casal (line 6). Once you get out of the metro station, look out for a green bus.
What to do in Chinchón
Soak up some Sun at Chinchon’s main plaza. Sit out on one of the green balconies and enjoy some Spanish wine.
Visit the wine museum to see how locals used to live. The ticket is less than 5€.
Walking around Chinchón you’ll find some pastry shops. Don’t leave without paying a visit to one of them, they make some delicious sweets.
Where to eat in Chinchón
There are numerous restaurants in Chinchón but it gets pretty busy on the weekend. Do some research beforehand, and make a reservation.
I like Mesón Quiñones best. After your meal, you can visit the Cuevas Murciélago. They are underneath the restaurant and you can get a sense of how they used to store the wine.
Some bullfighting takes place in the main plaza in August. They used to put some lodges around the Plaza to prevent the bull from escaping the ring. Nowadays they build an actual Plaza de Toros that they, later on, take apart.
3. Alcala de Henares – day trip
This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the birthplace of the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha.
How to get to Alcala de Henares from Madrid
Alcala de Henares is well-connected to Madrid. The best way to get to Alcala is by train (line C2). The train departs from Atocha and it’s a 40-minute ride.
What to do in Alcala de Henares.
Alcala de Henares University was founded in the 15th century. If you want to learn more about it, take one of the free tours. They are available in multiple languages.
One of the main attractions of this town is Cervantes’ house-museum. It’s open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and it’s free.
Alcala’s main plaza hosts events throughout the year. Take a stroll around the city and enjoy all this town has to offer.
Where to eat in Alcala de Henares
Alcala de Henares has a free tapas culture, which means that with your drink you’ll get some food. Have a few drinks and you’ll be nice and full. It’s a very inexpensive way to immerse yourself in Spanish cuisine.
The city’s Medieval Market of the city takes place in October. The city travels back in time a few hundred years and the citizens dress up and decorate the streets.
It’s worth visiting Alcala during this week to get a feeling of how they lived back then and enjoy some of the shows they put together.
4. El Escorial
El Escorial is the perfect day trip from Madrid if you want to enjoy some history along with Madrid’s nature.
How to get to El Escorial from Madrid.
It takes about an hour and a half to get to El Escorial by bus. Take bus 661 or 664. The tickets are about 5€ each way.
If you are under 26 and have an abono, you can take cercanías for free (line C3 or C8).
What to do in El Escorial
El Monasterio del Escorial is one of the most touristic spots in the area. This palace built in the 16th century was the full-time residence for the king of Spain and it’s where most of the Spanish kings were buried. It’s 12€ to go inside the Monastery.
Surrounding El Escorial, there are some fantastic hikes from which you’ll have an amazing view of the Monastery.
Where to eat in El Escorial.
One of the best restaurants in el Escorial is Parada y Fonda
If you want to immerse yourself in recent Spanish history, visit el Valle de los Caídos. It’s a very controversial monument built right after the Spanish Civil war in 1939.
Segovia is one of the Spanish cities with the best-preserved Roman architecture. Its most representative monument is the Roman aqueduct built almost 2000 years ago.
Segovia is small enough to visit in a day, which makes it one of the best day trips from Madrid
How to get to Segovia from Madrid
Segovia belongs to the region of Castilla y León. The best way to get to this beautiful city is by train. Here you have two options: the high-speed train that would take about 30 minutes, or the regular train which takes about 2 hours. It all depends on your budget.
The trains depart from Chamartín and you can get the tickets at Renfe.
What to do in Segovia
Visit the Roman aqueduct. It was designed to bring water from Sierra de Madrid. Fun fact, the Romans didn’t use any mortar or cement to build it, and it’s still standing.
The Alcazar de Segovia is an exceptional medieval castle with a cool story behind it. They say it was where Walt Disney drew his inspiration for the Disney castle. The tickets are 9€
Visit the Cathedral to admire the gothic style. The tickets are 3€ or 7€ if you want to go up the tower and enjoy the views.
Where to eat
Segovia is famous for its cochinillo—roast suckling pig. It’s impressive to watch how they cut it using just a plate to show off how tender it is. The most famous restaurants to have cochinillo at are Restaurante José María and Mesón Cándido, however, there are some other great options around town.
If you are taking this day trip from Madrid, keep in mind that Segovia is usually a few degrees colder. Therefore take into account the time of the year you are visiting Segovia and pack accordingly.
I hope you find this post useful. If you want to extend any day trip you can always find accommodation on Booking.