Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Best Day Trips from Madrid

The 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

While Madrid is a mecca of art, culture and world-renowned gastronomy, sometimes it's necessary to escape its bustling metropolis for some fresh country air. Thankfully there are plenty of countryside escapes to be found just outside of Spain's largest city, each offering their own unique set of charms and attractions. Of the many jaunts just a stone's throw away from the capital, here are the five best day trips from Madrid that you simply can't miss:

Toledo: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

Once the former capital of Spain, the historical city of Toledo defines old world charm. This medieval hilltop town is one of the most sublime and picturesque views into Spain's glory days. 

Toledo's must-see attractions include the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the Alcázar fortress, the El Greco Museum, the Church of Santo Tome and the Museum of Santa Cruz. However, the best way to transport yourself back into Toledo's captivating past is by strolling through the town and getting lost within its colorful, charismatic streets.

Toledo: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

VISITING TOLEDO:

Travel time: 
35 minutes by high speed train

How to get there: 
Take the AVE high speed train from Madrid's Atocha station. 
Get off ~35 minutes later at the Estación de Toledo. 
Take bus #5, #61 or #62 to Plaza de Zocodover.

Segovia: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

Emanating charm and character, Segovia is the perfect place to step back in time and live within a fairytale. Just a 30 minute train ride away from Madrid, this picturesque medieval town is the ideal escape from city life. 

While Segovia is most famous for its historic Roman aqueduct, it also boasts an impressive castle and cathedral. The Alcázar of Segovia is even said to be one of the several castles that inspired Walt Disney! Wander through the romantic alleys, enjoy a glass of vino tinto in the lively Plaza Mayor, savor Segovia's gastronomic specialty of cochinillo - roasted suckling pig, and climb to the top of the Alcázar for breathtaking panoramas of the city. 

Segovia: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

VISITING SEGOVIA

Travel time:
30 minutes by high speed train

How to get there:
Take the AVE high speed train from Madrid's Chamartín station. 
Get off ~30 minutes later at the Estación de Segovia-Guiomar. 
Take bus #11 to the Aqueduct.

Ávila: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

This quaint pueblo  is most famous for its ancient medieval walls surrounding the town, also known as La Muralla de Ávila. From atop these walls you can admire spectacular views of the colorful village below, as well as the rolling hills of the Spanish countryside in the distance. 

Although the sights to see are limited, the old-fashioned squares and quiet alleys nestled within the walls are perfect for wandering aimlessly. With nuns ambling down the street and abuelos  leisurely chatting in picturesque plazas, Ávila takes small town charm to a whole new level.

Ávila: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

VISITING ÁVILA

Travel time:
1 hour and 30 minutes by train

How to get there:
Take the train from Madrid's Chamartín station.
Get off ~90 minutes later at the Estación de Ávila.
The city center is a 12-15 minute walk away.

Alcalá de Henares: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

More than just your average Spanish small town, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is where acclaimed author Miguel de Cervantes was born and baptized. Nestled between the old buildings and lively plazas, one can find many homages to the iconic creator of Don Quixote

Alcalá de Henares is also home to one of the oldest universities in the world, and it's where Christopher Columbus had his first meeting with the Catholic Monarchs to receive funding for his voyage to America. Be sure to check out the city's many tapas bars and the medieval Cervantes festival held in the fall.

Alcalá de Henares: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

VISITING ALCALÁ DE HENARES

Travel time:
45 minutes by train

How to get there:
Take the C2 or C7 commuter train from Madrid's Atocha, Chamartín or Nuevos Ministerios stations.
Get off ~45 minutes later at the Estación de Alcalá de Henares.
The city center is a 10-12 minute walk away.

El Escorial: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

Just an hour northwest of Madrid in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, you can find a gargantuan royal complex in the small, pristine town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Commissioned in the 16th century by King Felipe II, this regal structure houses a royal palace, a monastery, a school, a church and a Royal Pantheon where most Spanish kings from the past five centuries are buried. 

Only a short drive away is the Valley of the Fallen, Franco's monument honoring those who were killed in the Spanish Civil War (and where the fascist dictator himself is buried). While not as romantic or charming as the other day trips from Madrid, this royal complex is brimming with captivating history.

El Escorial: 5 best day trips from Madrid - all less than 2 hours away from the city center! | adelanteblog.com

VISITING EL ESCORIAL

Travel Time:
1 hour by bus

How to Get There:
Take bus #661 or #664 from Madrid's Intercambiador de Moncloa bus station.
Get off ~1 hour later at the San Lorenzo de El Escorial bus station.



Have you ever taken a day trip from Madrid?
What are some of your favorite day trips in Europe?




49 comments:

  1. What a fantastic round-up. I can't believe all of these (mostly) famous, (definitely) historical towns are so close to Madrid! Day trippin' is the best. It reminds me why I live abroad!

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  2. Oy! Been to all except Ávila ... next up on my list! As always amazing pictures! I'm also dying to get to Aranjuez! Have you been?! Still sad I missed the Cervantes Festival in Alcalá, but the town was still beautiful when I went!! (and your pictures pretty much make me feel like I went!) :D

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  3. Love all of the colors in these places! What fabulous day trips!

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  4. I think there needs to be more posts like this in the blogging universe - ones that emphasize smaller destinations that are near the more popular, big cities, but are equally impressive. I think this post has almost single handedly convinced me to visit spain. So thank you.

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  5. You are so privileged to live so close to such beautiful places! Seville is literally in the middle of la ná! I've been to every one of these and especially love Segovia. Need to make it to Aranjuez, Chinchon and loads of other little places.

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  6. Ávila looks gorgeous, I'd love to go exploring there. Spain's never been high on my list of places to see but I'm starting to be convinced... :)

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  7. I only made it to the first 2. The other 3 look gorgeous and worth a visit too! I'd add Cuenca to the list as well. It's an hour and a half east of Madrid. Not sure if it's accessible by train or not as we drove. Aww, love Spain!!

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  8. It's so great that all of these places are within such easy reach! So many beautiful colours :)

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  9. This is really, really lovelyl! I've never been to Spain but it's on the list of places to go! Bookmarked (pinned actually) for reference :)

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  10. I've only been through the Madrid airport, but Avila looks GORGEOUS!!! Amazing photos!!!

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  11. I definitely feel lucky to have all of these places so close! And there are still so many more notable day trips (most of which are only ~1 hour away!) that I have yet to explore. I totally agree with you - being able to take day trips is one of the best parts about living abroad or traveling to a new country!!

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  12. No, I haven't been to Aranjuez yet! And I'm dying to get to Cuenca as well! Adventure time soon?! :)

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  13. Me too - the warm colors are always one of my favorite parts about Spanish small towns :)

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  14. Thank you Marianne!!! :) You should definitely come visit - there are so many hidden gems here! Don't even get me started on the picturesque day trips in the south of Spain!!

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  15. I definitely feel lucky - although Seville is still my favorite city in Spain to visit ;) I haven't been to Aranjuez yet, but I went on a hike through Chinchon last year and it was thoroughly darling!

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  16. That's music to my ears!! What I love the most about Spain is its wide diversity of places to visit! These cute little towns just scratch the surface. I'm a firm believer that España has something to offer for every kind of traveler :)

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  17. I'm dying to get to Cuenca! The only thing deterring me from going immediately is the prospect of such a long bus ride... I'm hoping to find someone I can bum a ride with one of these days haha :)

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  18. I definitely love having plenty of nearby escapes for when the chaos of city life gets to me!

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  19. I've been to 3 out of the 5 on this list; Ávila is next for me the day after New Years and hopefully I can swing by Alcalá de Henares over Semana Santa. My favorite so far has been Segovia, and I'm hoping my family loves it as well when I take them there this Christmas! ^_^

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  20. All of these places are definitely worth checking out! And there are still sooo many more day trips around here... one day I'll get to them all, haha :)

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  21. Thanks Elizabeth! I hope you make it to Spain soon - there's definitely a ton of hidden gems to be found outside of the big cities :)

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  22. Personally, I hate Madrid's airport with a passion (it's so confusing and desolate!), so I hope it didn't give you any negative first impressions about the city! But Ávila is undoubtedly beautiful and worth a quick visit :)

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  23. Segovia is my favorite too! The aqueduct/cathedral/castle combo immediately won me over. The high speed train situation didn't hurt either ;) I hope you enjoy Ávila when you visit this winter - fingers crossed the weather is nice for you!

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  24. So many lovely places to visit and they aren't even that far from Madrid. Thanks for the information!

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  25. Toledo and Segovia are at the top of my list for places to visit this year. It's just too bad that they aren't a little closer to Cantabria!

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  26. I've only made it to 3 of the 5 you listed, but hopefully I'll be able to make it to Ávila and Acalá de Henares sometime this year....or next because I'm almost positive that I'll be renewing for next year. I'm just not sure where yet. Also, I highly recommend visiting Toledo and Segovia to anyone visiting Madrid and looking for something else to do.

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  27. 1. YOU ARE A COHOST FOR THIS TRAVEL LINK UP NOW?!? I am so proud.
    2. Reading this made me not only miss the beautiful, wonderful, enchanting towns you listed here, but it also made me miss blog dates with you at La Bicicleta.
    3. You are inspiring me to write again. Let's see if this happens. hehe
    4. I MISS YOU.


    xoxoxox Jen

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  28. 1. I wouldn't be a host if it weren't for you!! I'm eternally grateful that you introduced me to the world of link ups :)
    2. The things I would do for a blogging date with you at La Bicicleta again! Or chatting at De Vinos, getting hangover Tierra Burrito, tapas crawling in La Latina, rooftop barrin' it up... I guess it's safe to say that I miss you being my Madrid adventure buddy.
    3. Please do! I have muchas ganas to read more Greece posts and get inspired by some new recipes ;)
    4. I MISS YOU MORE, y ya está.

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  29. Gracias Andrea! I hope you get there soon too! No rush though; the older Spain gets, the prettier it becomes ;)

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  30. It's true, I love how close all of these places are to the city center! So convenient! Thanks for reading :)

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  31. Bummer, I guess that is pretty far! But thankfully they're all super close to Madrid if your travels bring you here this year!
    (PS, what's the link to your blog? I can't find it in your Disqus profile!)

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  32. Hooray for possibly renewing! I would definitely recommend staying in España :) I'm currently thinking about doing a 3rd year in Madrid through a different program! Spain is just so addicting!

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  33. I'm the same way! I'm also a tad OCD, so I sometimes get a little too excited about the details of travel planning. But I'm glad you could appreciate it, haha :)

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  34. I'm often there, I'll have to plan it for the new year! :)

    It's: http://comoperderseenespana.WordPress.com ...I need to update that profile!

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  35. I've only been to two so far: Toledo and Sevilla. Really looking forward to expanding my knowledge about Madrid and what lies beyond. Thanks so much for this article!

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  36. Thanks! What program are you thinking of going through?

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  37. I had the chance to work in Madrid and I didn't take it...I kick myself now! This is a lovely idea for a post.

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  38. Well obviously your wrote this post for me, RIGHT!?? Because it's perfect. haha. Thank you!

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  39. Segovia will always be my favorite :) But the others are definitely worth exploring! Thanks for reading!!

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  40. Everything happens for a reason! That said, I hope you get to come visit Madrid sooner rather than later!

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  41. Thank YOU! I'm so glad you found it helpful!

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  42. I love visiting cities and I love escaping them to nearby cities even more :) thanks for sharing!

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  43. I mean nearby towns/countryside ha...

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  44. Right now I'm looking into BEDA or UCETAM. I still need to do lots of research though!!

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  45. Yes indeed, and I ended up living in Canada! I would love to come visit - sooner, rather than later!

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  46. Wow that's a great collection of nearby spots - so good to know it's as easy to escape as to get there :)

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  47. I love Toledo and Segovia! I visited both on a trip to Spain a few years ago. Toledo's historical blend of culture is absolutely fascinating, and Segovia's aqueduct is breathtakingly beautiful and impressive.

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  48. I lived in Segovia for two years and could never tire of it. Here's some more info on things to do there, places to eat, and what to order:
    http://jean-cientovolando.com/2014/07/14/segovia-in-pictures

    If you make your overnight trip into a weekend visit, be sure to check out La Granja and Pedraza...and the area is also fantastic for hiking...

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  49. Love your blog! I'm moving to Segovia as an auxiliar in the fall so I'm reading all of your auxiliar posts and stumbled upon this one. Bookmarking this page to reference when deciding on destinations for day trips :)

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