The largest city in Spain as well as the capital, is Madrid. This cultural and historical city boasts many beautiful sites, and people from around the world flock here every year to soak up as much as they can.
While there are tons of amazing sites in Madrid, don't be so quick to flee to the next city. While you're here, chill and relax for while. There is plenty to see just outside the city too. Here is a list of Madrid’s best day trips.
Toledo is the former capital of Spain and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to stop at the three focal religious sites: Christianity at its Cathedral, the Jewish Sinagoga del Tránsito and the Islamic Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz.
There is also a 15th century cathedral where the paintings of Titian, Goya, Raphael, and El Greco can all be found. This medieval city has a few more charming characteristics that you can find out about with only a 30 minute train ride from Madrid.
Another medieval city sits just an hour and half outside of Madrid. The city of Avila, sometimes referred to as the City of Stones and Saints, boasts some of the most Gothic and Romanesque churches and other similarly designed buildings in the entire county. While here, the obvious thing to do is to see the cathedral and castles. Some must-see's are Saint Thomas and Saint Vincent. The city is also snugged near a stunning wall from the Romanic period.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is this 16th century monastery which happen to be the largest in Spain. It was built by King Phillip II and contains living quarter, a library, bronze statues, and a collection of Titan, Tintoretto and El Greco's painting amongst other prized items. Only 45 km outside of Madrid makes this an easy stop.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Segovia is only a mere 2 hour train ride outside of Madrid. A familiar Roman masterpiece known as Segovia's Alcazar awaits here. It was the castle that inspired Walt Disney's castle and the wedding location of King Phillip the II. This castle is now a museum, and is still stunning and rich in history and culture.
A fusion of cultures, this is the greeting area of what makes Spain so diverse. Under an hour away from Madrid, this spot is home to some spectacular Picasso masterpieces at the Picasso Museum, as well as unique Moorish walls not commonly seen.
Just a quick train out of Madrid and you will find yourself at the Royal Residence. The Royal family has there most famous palace here, the Palacio Real de Aranjuez. While here, you can stroll through the residence as well as other royal Spanish buildings, attractive gardens, and even a bullfighting museum. To cool down, just take yourself to the local waterpark.
Only about an hour out of Madrid are the precariously placed casas, or houses. These houses, casa colgadas, are all oddly and scarily perched on hills and edges. These steep cliff climbing houses are famous in the area are are certainly worth a look at. There is a contemporary arts museum, the Mangana Towers, and Cathedral in the area as well.
Just on the outskirts of the city is El Pardo. This spot is home to a few royal residences such as Casita del Príncipe and the Quinta del Duque del Arco. The most popular building in the area is the Palacio Real del Pardo. There is also a sculpture of Jesus at a 17th century convent named Convento de los Padres Capuchinos.
Manzanares El Real
Under an hour out of Madrid is the Manzanares El Real. Here are where two striking castles lay, the most popular one being Castillo de Mendoza. There are other buildings and churches of interest along with some amazing hiking trails. In the winter months, get ready for snow sports.
This is a quick ride just to the outskirts of Madrid. Chinchon holds the Palza Mayor which means 'main square.' This is the spot where the October bullfighting festival takes place. There is a Chinchon Festival held in March called The Chinchón Festival de Anis y Vino, and it's a great spot to find some cheaper grub compared to the prices of Madrid.
A bit longer away from Madrid that the rest on this list is Consuegra. This two hour trip is certainly worth the time and effort though. When visiting Consuegra you can see the Castle of Consuegra which is being restored and was built by an Emperor. There is a renaissance Town Hall called Plaza de España and mostly famously, the windmills. The windmills have been famous since the 16th century and they are a beautiful site. Used to grind grain these windmills are no longer being used today but are a nice place to visit.