14 day trips from Madrid that blow your mind

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When you feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of Madrid’s city life, there are plenty of fascinating day trips to choose from. Just a short drive from the city, you find charming villages, historical sites, and natural beauty that provide a refreshing change of pace. Whether you’re a lover of history or an adventurer seeking outdoor activities, these day trips from Madrid offer something to suit every taste. Join us as we explore these hidden gems close to Spain’s capital city.

1. The Verdant Oasis: Day Trip to El Pardo

El Pardo - day trip from Madrid

Just a stone’s throw from the central neighbourhoods lies El Pardo, a serene neighbourhood that’s part of district 8, Fuencarral-El Pardo, surrounded by natural beauty.

Visiting El Pardo is a journey back in time, where the grandeur of the Royal Palace meets the tranquillity of the surrounding forest.

With its unique combination of cultural attractions and beautiful landscapes, El Pardo is a hidden neighbourhood waiting to be explored.

Day trips from Madrid - El Pardo Royal Palace
El Pardo Royal Palace

Things to See and Do in El Pardo

Visit the Royal Palace – The Royal Palace of El Pardo has been the residence of various monarchs since the 15th century, including the infamous dictator Francisco Franco. Check for tickets & opening hours.

Nature walks in El Pardo Forest: A beautiful area ideal for a leisurely walk, quiet picnic, or wildlife (especially birds) spotting.

Trail running day trip

If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous and active, join a guided trail running day trip.

You don’t need any experience to join. Your guide leads you through some of the best scenery surrounding the capital, including El Pardo and a part of Sierra de Guadarrama.

Your guide picks you up at your hotel and adapts the route and makes it fit your preferences and experience level. 

Getting from Madrid to El Pardo

By Car to El Pardo Mountain: A Short Drive Away

Making your way to El Pardo Mountain by car is a convenient and straightforward option. El Pardo is located merely 15 kilometres north-west of central Madrid, which translates to a journey of approximately 20–30 minutes, depending on traffic. Using the M-30 and M-605 highways, you’ll be in the natural surroundings of El Pardo in no time.

By Train to El Pardo Mountain: A Scenic Journey

If you’re planning to reach El Pardo Mountain by train, you can take a Cercanías train from Madrid to Pitis station. From Pitis, it’s a short bus ride to El Pardo. The total journey time is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. This method not only allows you to avoid any potential traffic, but also offers a scenic overview of the Spanish countryside en route.

2. A Day in Chinchón: Capture the Essence of Traditional Spain


Experience the charm of traditional Spain in a single day with a trip to Chinchón.

This picturesque town, near Madrid, is a cultural gem. From its historic Plaza Mayor to the enchanting medieval streets, Chinchón gives you a taste of the Spain’s rich heritage.

The serene ambience, coupled with the town’s well-preserved traditional architecture, provides a refreshing contrast to the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

Chinchón is famous for its traditional anise liqueur, a must-try for any visitor.

Things to See and Do in Chinchón

Day trips from Madrid - Chinchon central square
Central square of Chinchon in Madrid, typical houses with wooden balconies

Plaza Mayor: A stunning medieval square, perfect for a leisurely stroll and a coffee.

Clock Tower: A historical landmark offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción: An architectural gem with a remarkable collection of artworks.

Chinchón Castle: Although ruins, it’s worth a visit. 

Local Cuisine: Indulge in traditional Spanish dishes and the town’s famous anise liqueur.

If you’re a wine enthusiast, this might be a perfect trip for you. The Castilian countryside, surrounding Chinchón, is dotted with olive groves and vineyards.

Your guide takes you on a trip to 2 wineries, where you will learn more about their wines from the cellar masters and winemakers. 

Enjoy a day of tastings and sightseeing with your expert guide. 

Getting from Madrid to Chinchón

Day trips from Madrid - Chinchon
Chinchón Castle ruins

By Car: Chinchón is roughly 45 kilometres southeast of Madrid, a drive that typically takes around 50 minutes.

By Bus: The 337 bus from Madrid’s Conde de Casal bus station will get you there in about an hour.

3. A Royal Retreat to Aranjuez

Day trips from Madrid - Aranjuez
Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Aranjuez, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers an enchanting escape into Spain’s royal past.

Located just south of Madrid, this charming town is a living testament to Spain’s historical grandeur, showcasing an integration of nature, art, and architecture.

The lush gardens, opulent palace, and idyllic streets, invite visitors for a day trip filled with culture and history.

The town is renowned for its strawberries and asparagus – don’t miss trying them when you visit.

Day trips from Madrid - Aranjuez
Mariblanca fountain - Aranjuez

Things to See and Do in Aranjuez

Royal Palace of Aranjuez: A monument reflecting the opulence of Spanish royalty.

Prince’s Garden: Stroll through this picturesque garden with a rich variety of flora.

Historic Boat Trips: Hop on a ‘barco’ and enjoy a guided boat tour on the Tagus River.

Strawberry Train: Ride this historic train between Madrid and Aranjuez, and enjoy delicious strawberries along the way.

Day trips from Madrid - Aranjuez
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Getting from Madrid to Aranjuez

By Car: Aranjuez is approximately 48 kilometres south of Madrid, a drive that typically takes around 45 minutes.

By Train: The journey from Madrid by train takes about 50 minutes.(You could also opt for the strawberry train) 

4. A Cultural trip to Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the birthplace of the renowned writer Miguel de Cervantes. Its cobblestone streets, traditional tapas bars, and stunning architecture transport you back to the times of the Spanish Golden Age.

This charming city, filled with intellectual history and cultural treasures, is a fun day trip from Madrid.

Alcalá de Henares means ‘Citadel on the river Henares‘ in Arabic.

Day trips from Madrid - Archbishop's Palace - Alcala de Henares
Archbishop's Palace - Alcala de Henares

Things to See and Do in Alcalá de Henares

University of Alcalá: Visit one of the oldest universities in the world.

Cervantes Birthplace Museum: Explore the home where the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes was born. (Don Quichote de la Mancha)

Alcalá’s Old Town: Wander through the charming, historic streets.

Archbishop’s Palace: Discover the gothic beauty of this architectural masterpiece.

Laredo Palace: 19th century building by the architect and mayor of Alcalá, Manuel de Laredo

Torre de Santa Maria: viewpoint over the city from the tower of the missing church Santa Maria la Mayor.

Day trips from Madrid - Laredo Palace - Alcala de Henares
Laredo Palace

Getting from Madrid to Alcalá de Henares

By Car: It’s approximately 35 kilometres northeast of Madrid, a drive that takes around 30 minutes.

By Train: The journey from Madrid by train takes about 40 minutes.

5. A Day tour to Pedraza: A Journey into the Past

Day trips from Madrid - Pedraza street
Calle de Pedraza

Take a day trip to Pedraza, a beautifully preserved medieval village in Castilla y León.

Meander through its charming cobblestone streets, admire the remarkable castle that overlooks the village, and taste the authentic Spanish cuisine.

An excursion to Pedraza is a blend of history with culture, and culinary experiences.

Pedraza is a village so well-preserved that it has been declared a Historic-Artistic site.

Day trips from Madrid - Pedraza Castle
Pedraza Castle

Things to See and Do in Pedraza

Pedraza Castle: Visit the impressive castle that dates back to the 13th century.

Plaza Mayor: Enjoy the picturesque main square filled with traditional Spanish architecture.

Church of San Juan: Explore this historic church known for its intricate carvings.

Local Cuisine: Indulge in ‘cordero asado’, a traditional roasted lamb dish popular in the region.

Pedraza town

Getting from Madrid to Pedraza

By Car: The drive to Pedraza is about 115 kilometres and typically takes around 1.5 hours.

By Train: There is no direct train service to Pedraza from Madrid. You can take a train to Segovia and then catch a bus or taxi to Pedraza.

6. Discover the captivating charm of Pantano de San Juan.

Day trips from Madrid - Pantano de San Juan
Pantano de San Juan

Escape the bustle of Madrid and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Pantano de San Juan. Known as ‘the Beach of Madrid‘, this charming reservoir offers a perfect blend of scenic water views and natural landscapes.

Whether you’re seeking tranquil relaxation on the sandy shores or water sports. you can do it here. 

Pantano de San Juan is one of the few places in Madrid where swimming is officially permitted. Ideal on a hot summer day.

Things to See and Do in Pantano de San Juan

Swimming: go for a dip at Playa de la Virgen de la Nueva or Playa de El Muro.

Outdoor activities: Enjoy activities such as kayaking, rock-climbing, and paddleboarding.

Explore Nature: Hike or cycle around the trails surrounding the reservoir.

Wildlife Spotting: Look out for diverse bird species that inhabit the area.

Photography: Capture the beautiful sunsets and scenic landscapes.

Getting from Madrid to Pantano de San Juan

By Car: Travelling to Pantano de San Juan is approximately 70 kilometres and typically takes around 1 hour.

By Train: There is no direct train service from Madrid to Pantano de San Juan. You can take a train to Pelayos de la Presa and then a taxi to the reservoir.

7. Experience the Majesty of the Valle de los Caídos

Valle de los Caidos

Discover the serenity of Valle de los Caídos, a monumental site within the Sierra de Guadarrama.

This architectural testament to Spain’s past, is a unique blend of natural splendour and cultural heritage. With its towering cross and expansive library, Valle de los Caídos beckons the global traveller with its allure.

Did you know that the cross at Valle de los Caídos is the tallest memorial cross in the world? It’s 150 metres tall.

Things to See and Do in Valle de los Caídos

Visit the Basilica: Explore the grandeur of the basilica carved into the mountain.

Admire the Cross: Marvel at the world’s tallest memorial cross.

Explore the Library: Dive into history at the site’s comprehensive library.

Nature Trails: Enjoy the scenic trails that surround the monument.

Photography: Capture stunning shots of this monumental site and its natural surroundings.

Getting from Madrid to Valle de los Caídos

By Car: The distance to Valle de los Caídos is roughly 60 kilometres, and the drive typically takes about an hour.

By Train: You can take a train from Madrid to El Escorial and then take a bus to the monument.

8. A Day Out in El Escorial

Day trips from Madrid - El escorial
Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

This small town is a nice excursion from Madrid, and it is often coupled with a visit to Valle de los Caídos.

The most famous part is the Royal Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s adorned with green landscapes and quaint streets, capturing the essence of classic Spain.

The journey there is a scenic route from Madrid offering views of the Spanish countryside.

It was once considered the eighth wonder of the world due to its architectural beauty.

Things to See and Do in El Escorial

Visit the Royal Monastery: Step back in time and witness its architectural beauty

Explore the Gardens: Enjoy the serenity of the surrounding gardens.

Art and History: Visit the art and history museums in the building.

Local Cuisine: Delight in the local delicacies at the town’s traditional Spanish restaurants.

Nature Trails: Take a leisurely stroll around the natural landscapes surrounding the town.

Getting from Madrid to El Escorial

By Car: The distance is approximately 45 kilometres, with a typical driving time of around an hour.

By Train: A train takes about an hour, followed by a short walk to the town centre.

9. A Refreshing trip to Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

Get outside the city and enjoy the fresh, natural spectacle of Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. This Spanish gem is an unforgettable day trip for nature lovers. With majestic peaks, diverse wildlife, and idyllic hiking trails, it has it all. The soaring mountain ranges and verdant landscapes invite the curious traveller to step into a world untamed by time.

The park is home to the Spanish Imperial Eagle, a species once on the brink of extinction.

Things to See and Do in Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

Horse riding: Go on a guided horse riding trip and enjoy the scenery. (Tour also suitable for beginners)

Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for wildlife, including the Spanish Imperial Eagle.

Photography: Capture the park’s stunning landscapes through your lens.

Picnic: Savour a tranquil picnic amidst the beauty of nature.

Cycling: Explore the park’s extensive network of cycling trails.

Getting from Madrid to Sierra de Guadarrama

By Car: The trip is approximately 56 kilometres and typically takes just over an hour.

By Train: The train from Madrid to Cercedilla takes about an hour, followed by a scenic train ride to the park.

The most common way to reach the park by train is to take a Cercanías commuter train from Madrid to one of the stations located near the park’s entrances.

The C-8 and C-10 Cercanías train lines serve the Sierra de Guadarrama area. The primary train stations near the park include Cercedilla, Navacerrada, and Collado Mediano, among others. These stations are well-connected to the park’s hiking trails and natural attractions.

10. A Day Trip to Salamanca: Spain's Golden City

Salamanca - cathedral in the backdrop

Experience the charm of Salamanca, a city with gorgeous architecture and intellectual heritage.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, is often referred to as the ‘Golden City’ for its sandstone buildings that emit a warm glow. It is home to one of the oldest universities in the world.

The old city is known as ‘La Ciudad del Saber’ (The City of Knowledge) due to its prestigious university and intellectual history.

Day trips from Madrid - Salamanca
Plaza Mayor

Things to see and do in the old town of Salamanca

University: Visit one of the oldest universities in the world.

Salamanca Cathedral: Marvel at the intricate carvings on the facade of this historic cathedral.

Plaza Mayor: Enjoy a coffee in one of Spain’s grandest squares.

Casa de las Conchas: Admire the unique shell-covered building.

Museum of Art Deco and Art Nouveau: Explore an impressive collection of 20th-century decorative arts.

Getting from Madrid to Salamanca

By Car: The trip is about 212 kilometers and typically takes around 2.5 hours.

By Train: The train takes approximately 1.5 hours.


You can also go on a guided tour to discover the best of both Avila and Salamanca.

11. A Day Trip to Cuenca: A Harmony of Nature and Architecture


Cuenca has a unique charm. It’s a city where natural beauty meets architectural ingenuity. Perched high on a rocky hill between two river gorges, Cuenca’s famous “hanging houses” seem to defy gravity, offering a peculiar spectacle.

Wander through the cobbled streets of this UNESCO World Heritage city, and let the mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture transport you back in time.

Cuenca is renowned for its “Casas Colgadas,” or Hanging Houses, that appear to be clinging to the cliff’s edge.

Day trips from Madrid - Cuenca
Casas Colgadas

Things to See and Do in Cuenca

Hanging Houses of Cuenca: Explore the iconic “casas colgadas” and visit the Abstract Art Museum housed within.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace: Look at the stunning architecture and stained-glass windows.

San Pablo Bridge: Walk across this incredible iron and wood bridge for cool views.

Cuenca Museum: Discover interesting archaeological finds and history of the region.

Barrio del Castillo (Castle neighbourhood): Experience old-world charm in this medieval district with beautiful views of the city.

Day trips from Madrid - Cuenca
Cuenca and its surroundings

Getting from Madrid to Cuenca

By Car: The drive is approximately 168 kilometres and typically takes around 2 hours.

By Train: A train ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

You can also choose to discover Cuenca on a guided day trip from Madrid:

12. Experience the Timeless Charm of Ávila


One of the nicest Madrid day trips is Ávila, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Step back in time an imagine walking on ancient cobblestone streets, surrounded by the best-preserved medieval city walls in Spain.

Exploring centuries-old cathedrals and monasteries. Ávila offers a unique blend of history, culture, and exquisite Spanish cuisine, making it an ideal destination for a day trip.

Ávila is known as the “Town of Stones and Saints,” and reportedly has more Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita than any other Spanish city.

Day trips from Madrid - Ávila
Ávila old town

Things to See and Do in Ávila

The Walls of Ávila: Walk along the city’s most iconic structure, the walls of Ávila, offering panoramic views of the region.

Cathedral of Ávila: Visit this gorgeous cathedral, one of the first Gothic churches in Spain.

Basilica de San Vicente: Explore this grand Romanesque church, known for its stunning sculptures.

Convent of Santa Teresa: Discover the life and works of St. Teresa at this historic site.

Palacio de Polentinos: Tour this 16th-century palace, now home to the Spanish Army Museum.

Day trips from Madrid - Ávila
Historic walls of Ávila

Getting from Madrid to Ávila

By Car: The drive is roughly 115 kilometres and usually takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

By Train: A train journey typically takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

You can also choose to discover Ávila and Segovia on a guided day trip from Madrid. 

13. Segovia in a Day: Exploring Spain's Fairytale City

Day trips from Madrid - Alcazar of Segovia
Alcazar of Segovia

One of the best day trips from Madrid is an excursion to Segovia. This picturesque town has a fairy-tale castle, a stunning Roman aqueduct, and charming medieval streets. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A day trip to Segovia is a voyage back in time, where you can walk in the footsteps of the Romans, Moors, and Kings of Spain.

Segovia is home to one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts in the world, which has stood in the city for nearly 2,000 years.

Day trips from Madrid - Segovia
Segovia Cathedral in the backdrop

Things to See and Do in Segovia

The Roman Aqueduct: Visit this iconic symbol of Segovia, a testament to the engineering genius of the ancient Romans.

Alcázar of Segovia: Tour the castle, which inspired the design of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World.

Segovia Cathedral: Visit this last Gothic cathedral built in Spain, known for its elegant architecture.

Plaza Mayor: Soak in the ambiance of this central square, lined with cafés, shops, and historic buildings.

Casa de los Picos: Explore this unique house covered with granite blocks carved into diamond-shaped points.

Enjoy the stunning views over Segovia from a hot air balloon. Transfer from Madrid included.

Day trips from Madrid - Segovia
Old town view at the ancient Roman aqueduct and Azoguejo Square.

Getting from Madrid to Segovia

By Car: The drive is approximately 90 kilometres and usually takes about 1 hour.

By Train: A train journey typically takes around 30 minutes.

You can also opt to discover Segovia and Toledo together on a guided tour from Madrid:

14. Discover the Timeless Charm of Toledo

Day trips from Madrid - Toledo
Old town city skyline.

High on a hill overlooking the Tagus River, Toledo is a mix of history and culture. This once was one of the most important cities in Spain because it served as the main venue for the court of Charles V. In that time, it was also known as the “Imperial City”.

It offers an enchanting blend of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish heritage. With its cobblestone streets, grand cathedrals, and storied synagogues, this might be the best day trip from Madrid.

Toledo, renowned as the “City of Three Cultures”, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 for its harmonious co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.

View of Toledo with the Alcázar in the backdrop

Things to See and Do in Toledo

Toledo Cathedral: Visit this gorgeous Gothic structure, one of the most significant in Spain.

Alcázar of Toledo: Discover the historic stronghold located in the highest part of Toledo.

Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca: Explore one of the oldest synagogues in Europe.

Museo El Greco: Pay homage to the famous painter El Greco in the museum devoted to his work.

Bridges of Toledo: Marvel at the Puente de Alcántara and Puente de San Martín, both excellent examples of medieval architecture.

Day trips from Madrid - Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue
Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue

Getting from Madrid to Toledo

By Car: The drive is approximately 75 kilometres and usually takes about an hour.

By Train: A train journey typically takes around 30 minutes.

You can also choose to discover Toledo on a guided tour from Madrid:

Finding fun day trips from Madrid is easy

So, with a day trip from Madrid, you have a fantastic opportunity to delve deeper into Spain’s culture, history, and landscapes. Whether it’s the “Imperial City” of Toledo or the other captivating destinations within reach, each excursion promises a unique experience.

So pack your travel essentials and get ready to explore the diverse attractions just a short journey away from Madrid. Create unforgettable memories and bring back stories that will last a lifetime!

If you want to know more about what to see and do in Madrid, check out our itinerary for 3 days in Madrid. If you like to upgrade your visit, check out the best boutique hotels in Madrid. Enjoy the personalised service, unique character and intimate atmosphere during your city exploration.

Safe travels!

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