The capital of Spain is among the most vivid cities in Europe. It has it all – wonderful architecture, rich historical culture, great cuisine and most important of all, people which will welcome you no matter where do you come from. However, it is sometimes good to take a pause from the city that doesn’t sleep and relax in smaller, nearby towns. Here are some suggestions for the best day trips from Madrid where you can get more in touch with Spanish culture.
Known as the ‘Imperial City’, Toledo has been for centuries one of the most important cities of Spain. And it also earned the title of ‘the city of three cultures’ – Catholics, Muslims and Jews, so we could say that Toledo truly is a heterogenous city. Toledo’s top attractions are the Gothic cathedral with 100 meter tall spire (the second biggest cathedral in Spain, after the one in Seville). Some of the works by El Greco and Goya can be found in the cathedral. At the highest point of the city is situated Alcázar, the fortress with 4 towers, one on each side. Toledo is also known for making swords, made out of special, unusually hard steel, which made swordsman invincible throughout the centuries and today they’re even used in Hollywood movies!
How to get to Toledo:
- By bus: Buses depart every half hour from Madrid to Toledo, the first one at 06:00 and the last one at 00:00. The price of a single ticket is 5€ and the journey lasts around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- By train: AVE highspeed trains depart every hour from Madrid Puerta de Atocha railway station and the price of a single ticket is 12.9€. It is more expensive option but you’ll get to Toledo in 33 minutes
Avila is typical Medieval town which perfectly combines modern life with ancient architecture. Probably the most interesting thing about Avila are the walls which encircle Avila’s old town centre. The 12 meter high and more than 2 kilometres long walls were designed to defend the city from the potential invaders, but there were in total nine entrances. And the best thing is – the entrance fee is only 3.5€. As for the cuisine, try grilled veal steak from Avileña calves and yemas de Santa Teresa, small cupcakes made out of egg yolks iced with sugar.
How to get to Avila:
- By bus: from Madrid Estacion Sur bus station buses depart 7 times a day to Avila. The price of a one-way ticket is 8€ and the journey lasts approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- By train: RENFE direct trains depart 19 times a day from Madrid and the price of a single ticket is 12.25€. The journey lasts around 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Segovia is a small ancient city 65 kilometres from Madrid, known as World Heritage City since its Aqueduct was included in UNESCOs list in 1985. The majority of historic buildings in Segovia are mostly of Jewish origin, and there is even the old Jewish Quarter. It is interesting that the Aqueduct is still used to deliver drinking water after almost 19 centuries. Visit the majestic Alcazar of Segovia, the royal palace on a peninsula between two rivers. What was once residence of the kings of Castile, today is the Museum of Royal School of Artillery. The Segovia Cathedral is the last Gothic cathedral in Spain, known as ‘the Lady of Cathedrals’. If you want to bring a souvenir from your trip to Segovia, the best place for that is Plaza Mayor square where you will find all sorts of typical local craft.
How to get to Segovia:
- By bus: Buses operated by La Sepulvedana drive to Segovia departing every 45 minutes from Plaza Moncloa in Madrid. The price of a single ticket costs 8-9€.
- By train: Get to Segovia by AVE high-speed train from Madrid which takes about half an hour to get there and the price of a single ticket costs around 10€. Trains depart from Chamartin train station.
- By car: Since Segovia is only 65 kilometres from Madrid, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rent a car and explore the area by yourself.
4) Medina del Campo
Medina del Campo is the perfect destination for a day trip and a getaway from big cities. People mostly visit it during the Holy Week because of the antiquity of its processions. Like in Pamplona, there is bull run in Medina del Campo as well – bulls fight on the fields and they run throught the streets of the city to the bull ring. Castle of La Mota is the symbol of the city, built between the 12th and 15 century and it served as a royal dungeon. Today it has a status of a Herigate Site in Spain.
How to get to Medina del Campo:
- By bus: There are three departures from Madrid Estacion Sur station to Medina del Campo and the price of one-way ticket costs around 10€. The journey lasts 2 hours.
- By train: Trains from Madrid to Medina del Campo depart 5 times a day and the price of a single ticket costs 11€
You thought there was only Guadalajara in Mexico? Well, there’s also one in Spain, around 60 kilometres northeast of Madrid. The biggest attractions of this city are the ancient Roman bridge across the Henares river. Visit Palacio del Infantado, a royal palace which used to be a residence of the Duke of Infantado while today serves as a museum and the entrance fee costs 3€.
How to get to Guadalajara:
- By bus: There are 4 departures from Madrid to Guadalajara and the price of a single ticket costst 5€. The journey takes approximately 50-60 minutes.
- By train: Trains from Madrid to Guadalajara are direct and it takes around 30 minutes to get there. The price of the ticket ranges from 5€ to 17.50€.