Madrid is a city with plenty to offer, but it also has some unique and special cities worth taking a day to visit. Most of these cities are only a short bus or train ride away from the city, and will provide a complementary change of scenery during your time in Madrid, and also some added history!
Step into a medieval fairytale when you visit Toledo. A place with countless museums, cathedrals, and monuments to enjoy, the cobblestone streets, and hilly landscape is one of a kind.
A good way to start the day in Toledo is at Alcázar, the highest point of the city with the castle, and taking the hop-on-hop-off bus to your must-see spots. Be sure to also check out the cloisters and carved ceilings at The Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes and the Puerta de Bisagra, the most important Gate of Toledo during centuries that certainly makes a big impression when entering the old part of the city. You definitely won’t be bored here, and many visitors have deemed it their favorite part of their trip to Spain.
PRO TIP: A great place for lunch or dinner in Toledo is Taberna El Botero. Located in the old town right next to Toledo Cathedral, this restaurant is a fantastic example of creative Spanish cuisine and tapas with a modern twist– not to mention their great cocktails ?
Known for its Roman Ruins and Suckling Pig (cochinillo), Segovia is an easy day trip to see some fantastic historical monuments. The top things to see there are the Alczázar Castle, the Segovia Cathedral, and the Roman Aqueduct.
These three main attractions are each a couple thousand years old, and can take up an entire day, so make sure you pace yourself as you explore and learn about these Renaissance-inspired buildings.
If you are still in town at lunch time, don’t miss the opportunity to try eating the Suckling Pig at Meson de Candido and, if you are lucky, watch owner Candido carve them himself with the edge of a plate.
Another great dish to share as a starter is their fantastic giant broad beans from “La Granja de San Ildefonso” (Judiones de La Granja). In the summer, you can even eat at Candido’s outdoor terrace while enjoying a fabulous view of the Segovia Aqueduct located right next to it.
PRO TIP: Go on a Thursday to enjoy the local markets with fresh produce and souvenirs!
Ávila is a medieval city known for its religious history, bordered by an almost two-mile wall. As part of the UNESCO-listed wall, there are 2,500 turrets, almost 100 watchtowers, and eight gates, showing what it looked like to truly protect your people from outside attacks.
Inside the city, there are plenty of churches, palaces, and cathedrals to explore. You can also check out the Convento de Santa Teresa, where the Catholic Saint Teresa was born and lived.
The best part of seeing these cities, is that they are all a convenient trip just out of Madrid. You can take reliable (and affordable) public transportation out of the city to these medieval landscapes in about 45 to 90 minutes, and make it back to the hotel after a full day of exploring!