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1 to 1 1/2 day long trips from Madrid and back-recommendations

Thinking way ahead here.....for a trip in May 2020. Wife and myself on this trip. Never been to Spain before. Wife speaks acceptable spanish though. Going on the RS Barcelona-Madrid 8 day city tour. Actually starting in Paris. Taking the train to Lyon and Carcassonne to Barcelona. The tour ends Sunday morning in Madrid. We don't have to leave for London until Tuesday. Not making connections or anything in London, just meeting relatives so pretty flexible there. Will likely fly back from Madrid on Easyjet, but could fly from anywhere so long as we can get to London!... We won't have a car. Probably use the train (unless there's a good reason to rent a car).

So assuming we leave Madrid Sunday morning......any recommendations for a quick 1-2 city trip that we can add on at the end. The tour includes Toledo, so we can skip that one. Will probably be somewhat churched/art museumed out by the end of the tour, so not really looking for more of that. We enjoy just walking around (city or rural), seeing the local sights, eating and drinking the local food, just generally relaxing. It will also be our 40th anniversary that week so wouldn't mind doing something special! :-)

Any thoughts you have, previous experiences, and/or places not worth traveling to see? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

thanks

Mike

Posted by
5201 posts

I would still fly out of Madrid.

For a nice relaxing finish to the tour, I would head to Segovia. Short train ride, you could spend Monday night still in Segovia if you have a later flight. Segovia has a nice array of unique dishes and restaurants, nice older town with an Aqueduct and a Castle, plenty of relaxing scenic walks.

Posted by
499 posts

Which airport in London do you need to use or will any of them work?

Posted by
13 posts

I'd prefer Luton or Stansted. Heathrow as a last resort. Gatwick is too far. Relatives live about an hour north of London so LTN or STN would be great. Easyjet and Ryanair fly to both of them. Familiar with those airlines and am OK with flying them.

Posted by
4662 posts

I agree about Segovia, you could do a day trip there or an overnight. The cathedral is good, so is the alcazar at the far end of the town, but the "wow" experience for me was the aqueduct. It's a pretty city with nice walks and plenty of places to eat and drink. I think there's rail service to Madrid.

A more ambitious goal might be Cordoba, a couple of hours by train from Madrid, worth at least two nights. You might be churched out, but the Mezquita is unique. The Jewish quarter is right beside it, and the river is also very nice. Nearby is a neighborhood filled with patios open for visiting, should be beautiful in May. You'll get a taste of Andalucia and the Moorish influence in Spain that you wouldn't get in Barcelona or Madrid. But you'll probably want to return to Madrid for your flight to London. There's good bus service between Atocha Station and the airport.

Posted by
3752 posts

I agree with Dick. Cordoba would be a great location, and the Patio Festival is in May. Here’s more details:

https://www.turismodecordoba.org/-en-1-1

The festivals in Spain are a lot of fun - definitely recommend trying to be in a town if there’s one while you’re there.

Posted by
3862 posts

I agree that Segovia is an amazing day trip, or even an overnight. Also agree that Cordoba is quite special, but if you go, please spend at least a night and preferably two or three. There is a lot to see in Cordoba. The patios are exquisite and The Mezquita is unlike anything I've seen. It is a church, of course, but I'd never be too "churched out" to visit the Mezquita (and I will admit to skipping the cathedral in Segovia because I was "churched out")

Posted by
499 posts

Either of the two places would work. Both are about 2 hours by train from the main train station. I would plan on flying out of Madrid since there are direct flights on RyanAir to STN and many airline to LHR. Sounds like a fun trip.

Posted by
18746 posts

ALVIA and AVANT trains from Madrid-Chamartin Station make the run to Segovia in 27 minutes.

Posted by
13 posts

Looks like we would be there during the time of the Fair of Cordoba. That sounds like it could be fun. We could get on a train from Madrid Sunday morning, and leave Cordoba Tuesday. Looks like we could get flights to the UK from either Madrid, Seville or Malaga. Price and timing seem similar. Madrid is farther away. Any advantage/disadvantage of flying out of Seville or Malaga?

Posted by
18746 posts

I haven't been to either of those airports, but I believe there are more flights from Malaga, and fares currently look lower from Malaga. On the other hand, there's more-frequent train service to Seville. On the third hand, there's a train station at the Malaga airport. It's served only by local trains (Cercanias), so a transfer would be required, but it appears that those trains are frequent. It's Line C1.

Posted by
411 posts

I have flown on Ryanair from Sevilla to London Stansted. No problems, just be aware they are a budget airline and follow their guidelines. Price is reasonable even if you have to pay to check a bag. Sevilla airport is small. I used to live in the UK and flew on Ryanair multiple times. I just flew with them in September from Poland to Sicily with no issues. Sevilla would also be a great two day destination. Either Córdoba or Sevilla will give you a taste of Andalucía.

Should you decide to opt for Segovia and then fly out of Madrid, I have a suggestion to add. Not far from Segovia is the Royal Site of La Granja de San Ildefonso. It is a beautiful royal palace with lovely gardens and grounds. Reachable by bus from Segovia.

I have been trying to think of some other options that are not traditional destinations, that would be great for walking around and exploring and just enjoying the place. Trujillo is a wonderful small medieval town not too far from Madrid in Extremadura. It is filled with narrow alleyways, a castle, and a central plaza that is almost haunting at night. I think you would have to travel there by bus as it is not on the train route. It is like stepping back in time to Middle Ages. I very much enjoyed it. Also in Extremadura, but accessible by train, is beautiful Cáceres with its gorgeous Old Historical Center. From either of these two destinations you would need to return to Madrid to fly on to London.

Posted by
3752 posts

We stayed a night in Malaga; it was our original ending city for our Spain trip but the flight was changed to Madrid. If you leave them there, the center of the city is a great spot for your last evening.

I would be frustrated to only be able to spend one night in Sevilla.