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10 Days In & Around Madrid

We will be spending nearly a month in Spain visiting various friends in multiple locations. In the middle of the trip we have 10 days to organize in/around Madrid on our own. Our wish list for this portion of the trip includes Toledo, Segovia & Avila. We have never been to those cities, but have previously enjoyed Madrid in 2013.

I would love any advice you have on this rough draft of an itinerary. The only things that are not flexible are departing Seville on day 1 and departing Madrid on day 10.

(In a nutshell, 3 nights in each: Toledo, Segovia, & Madrid)

Day 1: Depart Seville to Toledo, via Madrid

Day 4: Toledo to Segovia (via Madrid)

Day 5: Segovia(with day trip to Avila & el escorial?)

Day 6: Segovia

Day 7: Arrive in Madrid

Day 10: Depart Madrid

Would Avila be better as an overnight or day trip? Any suggestions on the order of locations, length of stay in each and transportation? Are the transfers I mentioned in Madrid logical? Although we prefer public transportation, we are not opposed to renting a car to get off the beaten path. Thanks for any advice you might have!

Posted by
1994 posts

I suggest doing at least an overnight in Avila. I spent three nights there and found it to be an absolutely beautiful town. I wouldn't hesitate to go back for a few more days on a future trip.

El Escorial was an easy day trip from Madrid, about an hour by train as I recall. I think it would be about twice that time to do it by train as a day trip from Segovia.

Finally, I think the idea of giving yourself a few nights in Toledo is great – I spent a week there and would've been happy to stay longer.

Posted by
7124 posts

Three nights in each is a great approach.

Another idea might be to overnight in Avila, and do El Escorial as a day out from Madrid.
Toledo (2nts) >> Avila (1nt) >> Segovia (2nts) >> Madrid (4nts)

Posted by
167 posts

Thank you both! I'm glad to hear three nights in any of those destinations would not be an overkill. I will probably skip
El Escorial on this trip and spend more time in Avila.

Posted by
4520 posts

I'll add a slightly different opinion just to confound you ;-)

I do think 3 nights is overkill for Segovia. Very nice town but once you've seen the Cathedral and Aqueduct, there isn't much more to see or do. The Alcazar is ok but mostly a late 19th century reconstruction and nothing compared to more authentic Moorish architecture you will see in Andalucía and Toledo. Worth a stop but not an extra day.

El Escorial is worth the visit if you like palaces, castles and art. It's actually better to take the bus from Madrid as it arrives just a few blocks from the palace. The train station is more remote. It's an easy daytrip that you can decide on the fly if you have time and desire or not. With time for lunch you can spend about 6 hours total.

With the extra time in Toledo, be sure to get a museum pass and see the smaller sites. There are two excellent former Jewish synagogues that are built in the Mudajar style. And a former mosque that has elements of Roman, Visigoth and Reconquista Catholic history and architecture in it. The former mosque is my favorite site in Toledo.