The Best Day Trips From Madrid

Updated February 2, 2018

Day Trips From Madrid Spain Toledo

The best day trips from Madrid will give you a taste of Spain, showing you it’s beauty, history, and charm. As the capital city of Spain, Madrid definitely isn’t lacking in sights to see and things to do. From the museums, to the extensive shopping on Gran Via, to the alternative neighbourhoods full of independent restaurants and cafes, there’s something for everyone. But if you have the time to step outside of this metropolis, you could spend many more days exploring the satellite towns surrounding it.

On my first visit, I knew I couldn’t leave without taking at least one day trip from Madrid. I researched the absolute best Madrid day trips, asking my local friends and Google. In the end, I discovered the three best places to visit near Madrid, each with their own unique history and things to see.

So here are my recommendations for three great day trips from Madrid!

Day trip to Toledo from Madrid

Toledo has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, and it’s now one of the most visited places in Spain. If you want to take the best day trip from Madrid then Toledo rates at the top of all of the must-see lists. Toledo’s history stretches back to the Roman occupation, and traces of Roman and Muslim history can be found throughout the town. Toledo was the capital of Spain after the reconquest, in 1085CE until the mid-1500s when it changed to Madrid.

Toledo has a number of historical religious buildings, and you can purchase a bracelet for €8 to visit six of the religious buildings in Toledo, excluding the Cathedral. But in my opinion, your day in Toledo is best spent wandering the medieval streets.

It is claimed that Marzipan (the almond sweets made into shapes and baked in the oven, not the soft Marzipan put on cakes) was invented in Toledo by nuns around 1150. It’s available in stores around Toledo, but you can also buy Marzipan directly from Convents, where it is still made by the nuns who live there. You just have to know which doorbells to ring! I went to Monasterio de San Clemente and Monasterio de Mochas Comemdadoras de Santiago and bought something from both, and I have to say the treats are delicious!

How to get to Toledo from Madrid

The train from Madrid Atocha station to Toledo takes half an hour and costs approximately €22 euros return. From the Toledo train station, you need to take the bus from just outside the station gates to the right (number 5, 61, or 62) until the last stop. The bus costs €1.40. The bus from Madrid to Toledo is much cheaper at around €10 from the Plaza Eliptica Station. You will also need to take another bus to get into town.

Day Trips From Madrid Spain Toledo Cathedral

Day Trips From Madrid Spain Toledo Marzapan

Day Trips From Madrid Spain Toledo Sunset

 Day trip to Ávila from Madrid

A day trip to Ávila from Madrid is a step back in time. Ávila is known for its city walls, and although the original foundations of the walls date back to the Roman time, the current construction above ground is from the Middle Ages. However, many of the same materials used originally were used in rebuilding the walls. The walls span 2.5km and have 9 entrances and defensive gates, with 88 different watchtowers.

Ávila was first a military outpost, which then turned into a city. At one time it was bustling and densely populated, but an epidemic of cholera in the 1700s reduced the population, filled by the industrial revolution. Tourism is now the principal industry of Ávila, like many of the villages surrounding Madrid, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral in Ávila is built into the city wall. It was built across a wide space of time, reflected in the Romanic style up to the windows, and the Gothic style further above. The two towers that were planned never materialised, and only one can be seen.

Ávila was the birthplace of Santa Teresa in 1515. She was a prominent author and theologist during the counter-reformation. You can visit the place of her birth and baptism, see where she played as a child, and if you really want to (I didn’t) see a relic of her finger!

Also like Toledo, Ávila is famous for a particular kind of food, this time “Yemas” which are a small, round sweet made from egg yolks, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Although they can be found across Spain, Yemas de Santa Teresa, or Yemas de Ávila, are the number one souvenir from here and something you should definitely pick up on a day trip to Avila.

How to get to Avila from Madrid

The train from Madrid Atocha station to Ávila is a similar price to Toledo, at approximately €23 euros return. It’s an easy day trip by train from Madrid! The bus from Madrid to Ávila is around €16 euros return.

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Avila

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Avila

Day trip to Segovia from Madrid

Segovia is another UNESCO World Heritage Site (do you sense a theme?) that has several unique landmarks and makes a fantastic day trip from Madrid. The most impressive landmark is the Roman Viaduct. It was built by the Romans around 1 Century AD (yes, that old) and although it hasn’t been used fully since 1908 it still works today! The aqueduct is built entirely from stone, with no concrete or anything holding it together.

During the Middle Ages Segovia was known for its wool and tapestry production, with wool made here being sent all over Europe. The city was one of the King’s favourites, and he used to live in the castle called the Alcazar. This is now another of the main attractions in Segovia, with its unique architecture actually being the base for the castle at Disneyland in LA.

As far as food goes, Segovia is especially famous for it’s roasted suckling pig. There is even a statue of a pig in the Cathedral! Be sure to visit one of the restaurants in Segovia offering this special kind of pork that is so tender it can be sliced with a plate.

How to get to Segovia from Madrid

You can take an AVE high-speed train from Madrid to Segovia in half an hour and it costs around €20 return, making it one of the cheaper options for a day trip from Madrid. Although there is a bus from Madrid to Segovia, it’s not much cheaper and it’ll take much longer than the train.

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Segovia

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Segovia

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Segovia

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Segovia

Should you take a tour for a day trip near Madrid, or go on your own?

It won’t take you long to realise there are plenty of tours from Madrid offering to take you on day trips Toledo, Avila, and Segovia, among others.

I visited Toledo on my own by taking the train from Madrid, and Avila and Segovia as part of a tour with City Discovery, where you can search for tours and unique experiences all over the world.

For day trips from Madrid to Toledo, I would recommend a visit on your own. There is so much to see in Toledo and it really depends on what your preference is. Going on your own allows you to explore the city at your own pace and see what you’d like to. Plus if you want to capture the sunset then you have the freedom to do so!

For day trips from Madrid to Segovia, on your own would also be possible, but I really enjoyed the Segovia and Ávila tour I took as we were able to visit Avila on the way and see two places in one day. That’s not something that’s easy to achieve on your own! We spent the majority of our time in Segovia and had plenty of time to taste the local delicacy of pork for lunch and explore the rest of the town. If I had to choose, I would go to Segovia over Ávila, because I thought there was much more to see and do, but having the chance to see both on one day trip was the best option overall.

Read More: 5 Ways to Get Around Madrid

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Segovia

There’s plenty of things to see in Madrid, but if you have time to spare then taking a day trip from Madrid will allow you to see some smaller Spanish towns that have their own unique culture and stunning landmarks.

Have you taken any great day trips from Madrid, or been to these places before?

Sonja x

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The Best Day Trips From Madrid - Where to travel from Madrid to experience culture, history and small town Spain!
P.S. My tour to Segovia and Ávila was provided as a collaboration with City Discovery. As always though, all opinions are my own, and you can never expect anything less! 

Day Trip From Madrid Spain Day Trip From Madrid Spain Day Trip From Madrid Spain Day Trip From Madrid Spain

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26 Comments

  • Reply Alice @ girlwithasaddlebag November 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I love your suggestions. We visited Madrid for the first time earlier this year and took an overnight trip to Toledo. There’s a completely different, even more laid-back atmosphere on an evening and we found some great tapas bars. I’m looking forward to planning another visit and this adding Avila to the itinerary, I’d not realised it was possible to do in a day. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I can imagine overnight in Toledo would be even better! I wish I’d had the time. If I go back to Madrid soon then I’ll definitely try and stay there. You’re welcome!

  • Reply Abigail November 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Before I start off, that first photo is just beyond gorgeous. I love the comprehensive guide too. Spain is on my travel bucket list and I could a few more to my list from this post.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Thank you so much! Hopefully you make it over here soon. There’s so much to see the list might get very long haha.

  • Reply Mel I TravelingMel November 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    All three of those look like great side trips! We always think we don’t want a guide, but then when we get one, we love it. You learn so much from a tour.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      It’s so true! I’m quite often against having a guide but I think when you go for a short time it can really enhance your experience because you just can’t find out that information for yourself that quickly. Being able to learn so much about the history and then be taken exactly where we needed to go, then left to wander around more was just perfect.

  • Reply Ticker Eats The World November 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the detailed and informative post. You’re right that often we plan our trips where the city remains are focus and we miss out on so many places around it that are as lovely and vibrant. Avila and Toledo look amazing and hope some day I can get there.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      You’re welcome! I always try to add an extra day or two for a day trip if I can. There’s usually some real gems near big cities!

  • Reply neha November 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Love you suggestions. Often people don’t go to these nearby places specially. So, when visiting madrid, it’s good to know where to head to when there are few spare days at hand.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks! I agree there are usually some fantastic places close to big cities, and it’s definitely worth trying to visit them.

  • Reply Sherri King November 28, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Great post! The views are spectacular and to have a few extra days to explore would be perfect. There’s something to be said about seeing the city from a native’s perspective, than a tourist’s, too!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Exactly! I’d love to have spent even more time in these places, but a day trip at least gave me the chance to get an overview.

  • Reply Daisy Huntington - DaisLikeThese November 28, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    These are great ideas. We are visiting Madrid in June 2017 and will have a hire car so I will definitely be checking one or more of these places out! I love the look of the roman viaduct in Segovia.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 28, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Having a car will make it much easier to see a lot more of the great places surrounding Madrid! I was so amazed at how big it was! Hope you have an amazing trip.

  • Reply Vicki Louise November 29, 2016 at 9:54 am

    These are great ideas for day trips and could really help you maximize your time whilst your in Spain. And a great way to fill in a few days with something different after you’ve explored the busy city of Madrid!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 29, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Definitely! They are easy to do in a day and it’s so nice to see some smaller places so close to such a huge place like Madrid!

  • Reply Jimmy and Tina November 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Wow Avila looks so beautiful and I love the old walls and castles surrounding the place. It reminds me of York but only on a grander scale. Segovia also looks like a wonderful place to stop and visit, I love them both. Toledo looks nice as well but the other two are at the top of my list!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      That’s so true I never thought of it being a bit like York too! They all have their merits but Toledo might have been my favourite haha.

  • Reply Aryane @ Valises & Gourmandises November 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I only spent two short days in Madrid last summer to catch a plane home. We drove by Avila on our way there from Porto and I just couldn’t believe my eyes! I would also love to visit Toledo. We learned in university that the first translation school was in Toledo (or something like that)!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 30, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Avila is really stunning especially from the outside! There was so much history in Toledo I found it really incredible, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that!

  • Reply Allison November 29, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I have been to Spain three time but never made it to Madrid. You post has me rethinking that. We are in the bey early stages of planning and eight week Europe trip. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 30, 2016 at 10:15 am

      You’re welcome! Hopefully you might make it this time! I have been living in Spain since January and I only just went now! There’s a lot to see there and close by, so I’d recommend a few days if you can spare it 🙂

  • Reply Jan Michael De Guzman November 30, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Wow they are all stunning and pretty. Toledo is awesome and i love the way how you took those photos especially the reflection of the building in the water.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 30, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Thank you! It was lucky I was there at the right time because when I returned the water had been drained a lot. I think they fill and drain it all day so you can see it in a different way.

  • Reply Christine April 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Hi,
    I’d like to do two day trips during my visit to Spain in October this year, hope you can give me some ideas & advice? My thinking is Toledo, Segovia or maybe Toledo & Montsareet ?? I know there are more, so please feel free to suggest otherwise. I can be flexible and willing to see different things.

    Thank you so much!

    • Reply Migrating Miss May 15, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Christine! Thanks for your comment. I’d highly recommend any of the three in this post, and you can do Segovia and Avila in one day if you like, then Toledo in another! That way you’d see 3 places within your two days. If you mean Montserrat that’s actually much closer to Barcelona, so if you’re headed there too I’ve heard amazing things, but the train from Madrid is over 3 hours so it wouldn’t be a great trip from there!

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