This blog post was originally posted on August 21, 2013, and was updated on December 18, 2017.
Madrid is filled with some of Europe’s best museums, restaurants, shops and parks, but sometimes it’s nice to escape the city and see what other adventures Spain has to offer.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you plan the perfect day trip from Madrid. From charming plazas to grand castles, it’s easy to get away for a day or two and experience an entirely new side of central Spain. Get ready for beautiful views of the Spanish countryside, gorgeous architecture, dizzying history lessons and of course, plenty of delicious food. Here are five delicious day trips from Madrid that will give you a welcome respite from the city.
What to eat: Marzipan
Toledo is the place to go for an amazing culture-filled day trip. Only an hour away by car or bus and 30 minutes by train, this former capital city is utterly enchanting. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986, it has played a crucial role in Spain’s history and is home to some of the country’s most beautiful monuments.
Wander around the winding streets and take a gander at artisan sword craftsmanship. Visit the famous 15th-century Gothic cathedral and climb up towards the ancient Alcázar to take in the stunning panoramic views. After a day of sightseeing, be sure to try Toledo’s famous marzipan, a delicious sugar and almond sweet. Although highly debated, many consider Toledo to be the birthplace of marzipan. It is believed to have been created during the time of Moorish rule. No matter where it was created, this sweet treat makes Toledo one of the most delicious day trips from Madrid.
What to eat: Suckling pig and ponche segoviano
It only takes an hour to get to Segovia and yet it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid. Segovia is famous for its incredibly preserved Roman aqueduct, an impressive cathedral and a magical castle. But it’s one of our favorite day trips from Madrid for another reason—the famous roasted suckling pig, one of the best things to eat in Segovia.
Cochinillo asado is the main attraction here. The meat is so tender that the waiter cuts it with a plate right at your table. Wash it down with a glass of Rioja wine, or perhaps a Bierzo from the region. To top off your lunch, stroll along the cobblestone streets to find the typical dessert from Segovia, ponche segoviano. A sweet finish to the perfect day!
What to eat: Anise and pastries
Chinchón is a magical place and is one of the most delicious day trips from Madrid. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you roam around this little town. The city attracts visitors for its unique oval-shaped plaza mayor and the well preserved 18th-century buildings that surround it. Life moves slowly in Chinchón and it is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of the famed anise liquor on a sunny terrace. Anise is available in sweet and dry varieties and pairs well with any of the local pastries from the many bakeries that are scattered throughout the center.
4. Alcalá de Henares
What to eat: Tapas
Alcalá de Henares is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why. Known as the birthplace of legendary Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, the city is full of history at every turn. Walk along the charming streets and then visit Cervantes’ house as well as the main plaza which hosts many events throughout the year such as a medieval festival every October. But beyond the monuments and history, Alcalá de Henares is also home to something truly amazing – free tapas! Order a drink in this city and you’ll receive your choice of small plates. Given that most drinks are between €1.50 and €3.00, it makes for one of the most budget-friendly and delicious day trips from Madrid.
What to eat: Strawberries and asparagus
Aranjuez is just 45 minutes away on the commuter train and it is the ideal day trip to take with very little or no planning. Just hop on the train from Atocha and go enjoy this enchanting town that is home to the royal family’s former summer palace. In addition to touring the beautiful palace, the over 150 acres of gardens are ideal for relaxing afternoon strolls. Throughout the summer and fall, take the Strawberry Train to Aranjuez. This restored wooden train lets you experience what train travel was like in the 19th century while sampling one of Aranjuez’ most famous delicacies–strawberries! No worries if you can’t board this classic locomotive, you can find asparagus and strawberry creations on any menu del día in town.
No matter which of these delicious day trips from Madrid you choose, we are sure you’ll be happy with your choice. Madrid and its surroundings are some of the most beautiful and delicious places in Europe, making it easy to return again and again!
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Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.