When you visit Madrid try to allow enough time to take a full day excursion away from the city. There are some exceptional day trips available which are all within easy reach of the capital. Below we’ve listed a selection of the most popular day trips which you can take as a scheduled excursion in which case you’ll be travelling by luxury, air-conditioned coach. Alternatively, you can opt for a private tour with an English-speaking driver who will collect you at your hotel and transport you to your destination where an official tour guide will show you around the main sights.
Madrid to Toledo Excursion
Distance = 90km
Toledo was the capital of medieval Spain until 1560 where Arabs, Christians and Jews once lived together in relative harmony. On this half or full day trip from Madrid to Toledo you will discover the city’s many beautiful sites including the amazing 13th century Cathedral, the medieval Alcazar, the stunning Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue and the artistic masterpieces of El Greco.
Visit Toledo from Madrid
El Escorial Excursion
Distance = 45km
Dating back to the reign of Felipe II in the 16th century this Royal Palace is one of Spain’s most visited tourist attractions. It is located in the small town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and its ‘Panteón de los Reyes’ serves as a mausoleum for the Spanish monarchy. This half day excursion from Madrid to El Escorial also includes a visit to ‘Valle De Los Caídos’ (Valley of the Fallen) which is a monument to those who died in the Spanish Civil War and the burial place of General Franco. Many Spanish people refuse to visit this controversial site believing that it is more of a glorification of the Franco regime.
Visit El Escorial from Madrid
Avila and Segovia Excursion
Distance = 200km
This coach trip first visits the walled, pilgrimage city of Avila which was the birthplace of Saint Teresa. After seeing the city’s main sights this full day excursion continues on to Segovia where you can enjoy a typical Castilian lunch of roast lamb or roast suckling pig. After lunch you can discover the impressive sites which include a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct and the fairy tale Alcázar which was reputedly the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle.
Visit Segovia from Madrid
Full Day Train Excursion to Seville
In spite of the distance involved it is now an option to take a full day excursion to Seville from Madrid. The luxury, high speed AVE will whisk you off to Andalucia at speeds of upto 360 km/hr. Travelling time from Madrid to Seville is now a mere 2½ hours on this bullet train and if it’s over 5 minutes late leaving or arriving you’ll get your money back. Who said Spain was inefficient? This excursion is very much for people with limited time on their visit to Spain as Seville deserves a lot more of your time. On this trip you will depart from Madrid’s Atocha station at 7.00am. On arrival in Seville your tour guide will meet you and transfer you to the city centre. Here you will enjoy a walking tour of Seville’s main tourist attractions. In the afternoon you will be left free to explore the city and will then return to Madrid by high-speed train in the late afternoon/early evening.
Private Tours from Madrid
Private Madrid tours include the services of both a driver and an official English speaking tour guide. You will be collected at your hotel in Madrid and driven to your destination for a private tour of the most important tourist attractions. A visit to Toledo is the most popular of these private excursions. Your driver will drop you off in the heart of this historical city and your tour guide will then take over. He/She will introduce you to the history and art of Toledo including visits to the Cathedral, the ‘Alcázar de Toledo’ (medieval castle), the Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue and the Church of Santo Tomé where you can see El Greco’s masterpiece, ‘El Entierro del Señor de Orgaz’ (The Burial of the Count of Orgaz). El Escorial, Avila, Segovia and even Salamanca are the other most popular choices.