Check out our roundup of our favorite weekend winter getaways near Madrid, and start planning your mini-vacation!
Winter in Madrid (okay, winter anywhere) can be a little monotonous at times. We like to mix things up by getting out of the city on the weekend, even if it’s just for one day! Weekend winter getaways near Madrid are excellent opportunities to explore other parts of Spain while pushing the reset button.
If you’ve visited and loved Toledo and Segovia, you’re not going to want to miss Cuenca! Located in the community of Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca was once home to a Muslim fortress called Kunka. Throughout history, inhabitants have prized the area for its strategic location. Today, it is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid in winter. We recommend visiting Cuenca to see the amazing Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses), which were built into the rock above the Huecar River gorge in the 15th century. The best place to see them is from the bridge of San Pablo, which is just beautiful when it is covered in snow!
How to get to Cuenca: From Madrid’s Atocha station, you can take the high-speed AVE train. The journey takes just 50 minutes. Once you reach the train station in Cuenca, you’ll need to take either a taxi or bus to the city center.
La Sierra de Guadarrama
As much as we love the buzz of the city, sometimes we just want to escape into nature. For our fellow nature lovers, you can breathe in the fresh mountain air while taking in the gorgeous scenery of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Situated between Segovia and Ávila, the mountain range stretches from southwest to northeast. Its highest peak is Peñalara (2,428 meters high), which you can visit in Peñalara National Park. Due to its proximity to Madrid, the mountain range is popular among tourists, particularly winter sports enthusiasts. Work off your churros con chocolate with an afternoon of skiing or snowshoeing!
How to get to La Sierra de Guadarrama: If utilizing public transportation, the journey involves two Cercanías trains (Madrid’s commuter trains). First, take the train from Madrid’s Chamartin station to Cercedilla. The ride takes one hour and 20 minutes. From Cercedilla, take the train to Cotos, where one of Peñalara National Park’s three offices is located. The ride takes 40 minutes.
If you’re on a tight schedule and have just one night for your weekend winter getaway near Madrid, we suggest a quick trip to Salamanca! Found in the community of Castilla y León and home to one of the most important universities in Spain, Salamanca is the ideal size for wandering. As you leisurely stroll the city streets, take in the incredible sandstone-colored architecture. One site you won’t want to miss is Plaza Mayor all lit up at night. It’s magical! Additionally, we recommend visiting the cathedral and Casa de las Conchas (Shell House).
How to get to Salamanca: You can reach Salamanca from Madrid by both bus and train. Both journeys take about two and a half hours and cost roughly the same (approximately €20 each way). Buses depart from Madrid’s Estación Sur station while trains depart from Madrid’s Chamartín station.
Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Valencia is well known for its sun and surf, but we don’t want you to make the mistake of thinking summer is the only season to visit this gorgeous coastal city. While Valencia’s main draw is its stunning beaches, it is also home to a variety of other attractions, which is why it’s one of our favorite weekend winter getaways near Madrid.
Art lovers should visit the Museum of Fine Arts, and fish fanatics should check out L’Oceanogràfic, which happens to be the largest aquarium in Europe! If you’re not sure how to begin your Valencian adventure, we recommend visiting the city’s cathedral and climbing the 207 steps to the top of the Micalet Tower. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can sit down to a lunch of the famous paella.
How to get to Valencia: From Madrid’s Atocha station, you can take the high-speed AVE train. The journey takes one hour and 35 minutes. For a more budget-friendly option, you can take the bus from Madrid’s Estación Sur. The journey takes four hours.
We don’t think our weekend winter getaways near Madrid guide would be complete without highlighting one of our favorite southern cities: Seville! Unquestionably Andalucia’s top destination, Seville has something to offer every traveler. With top-notch tourist facilities, a calendar full of festivals and thriving nightlife, it’s no wonder Seville is so popular! You won’t want to miss Seville’s famous Gothic cathedral. The cathedral’s magnificent bell tower, La Giralda, is the symbol of Seville. Oh, and did we mention the average temperature in January is 11°C (52°F)?
If you’re planning a visit to Seville this winter, we invite you to join us on one of our food tours! It will be our pleasure to help you make the most of your winter weekend getaway. Don’t just learn about Seville: taste it!
How to get to Seville: Buses run regularly from Madrid to Seville, and although cheap, the journey can take up to six hours. If you elect for the high-speed AVE train option, the journey takes just under three hours from Madrid’s Atocha station.
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Alex’s first taste of Spain was Basque Country, and it was love at first sip…of txakoli! Too obsessed with tapas to even consider returning to the States, Alex moved to Madrid and continued exploring Spain. Read more about her travels and expat adventures on her blog: Backpacking Brunette.