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Best day trip(s) from Madrid?

I will be in Madrid for the first time in April. I'll be in the city for five nights and want to take one or two day trips to one of the following places via train. Which do you recommend? I can't decide!
1. Toledo
2. Segovia
3. Avila
4. San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Other suggestions? I'm interested in history and scenery.

Posted by
1178 posts

Toledo will be the first choice. 1/2 hour away via the AVE train from Atocha station Leave frequently during the day. Go early, stay late. Better yet, stay over night for a completely different city than the day city.

Segovia is second...the roman aqueduct, best preserved in the world, but better yet is the Alcazar st the other end of town. Bus trip there.

Avila has the best preserved city wall in Europe. Home of St. Teresa, also nice. Take the train from Charmartin to it, or on to Salamanca which has more to offer.

El Escorial. Take the train from Charmartin or a bus. Think the train leaves you a greater distance from El Escorial. Have not seen it, but very much filled with history and worth the visit.

Get the Moon Guide To Spain for good information on these and others.

Posted by
807 posts

Toledo and Segovia are top priorities like others said. they both deserve overnight however. avila and el Escorial are perfect day trips, no regret without overnight.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks, everyone, for your responses. This is great information. I appreciate it and can't wait to see Spain!

Posted by
513 posts

I think you have the order correct: Toledo, Segovia, Avila, then El Escorial. All are easy train or bus trips out of central Madrid - under two hours each way. Interestingly enough, I recently learned that Valencia also falls in that category, if you travel by high speed train. Enjoy!