Madrid is a major European tourist attraction. It is a city that has made up our whole trip, but we’ve found the surrounding area to be first of all beautiful and secondly very accessible public transit. These are some of the best day trip options from Madrid to explore.
Valle de los Caidos and El Escorial day trip from Madrid
Valle de los Caidos is a controversial, yet singularly impressive monument and church cut into the heart of a mountain as a memorial to the fallen of the Spanish Civil War. It is generally open every day except Mondays
Just down the road from Valle de los Cidos is San Lorenzo del Escorial. This is a typical Spaniard town of the Sierra de Guadarrama environs and home to one of Spain’s greatest royal palaces: El Escorial. The monument is simply colossal and contains much of the glories and treasures of Spain’s significant history. It is the burial place of royalty too. Pubic transit options from Madrid arrive to this town.
Virtually just under an hour from Madrid one can arrive via car a the most flexible method, train (via Madrid Cercanias line 8 from Atocha or Chamartin), and public bus (#664 or # 661 from Madrid’s Moncloa station.) To go between Valle de Los Caidos and San Lorenzo del Escorial take the bus C660A.
Toledo day trip from Madrid
This is the capital of Spain from more ancient times and it is a true gem to explore. It is a medival city on a hill with silver shops, sword shops, ancient churches, synogogues and monasteries. It feels like a capital city without the crowds and its iconic streets are full of artisanal shops and curious little museums. It is easily reached within an hour from Madrid. Buses run all day until 21:30 from Madrid’s Plaza Eliptica every half hour. One can easily be back in Madrid for dinnertime. There is as well an affordable AVE highspeed train from Atocha station in Madrid which takes only a half hour to get to and from Toledo.
Alcala de Henares day trip from Madrid
This town has a welcoming and intimate feel to it, all the while being very close to Madrid and very important in the history of Spain. It is the country’s classic university town like Oxford is to the UK or Harvard to the USA. It is the birthplace of the writer Miguel Cervantes and as such is a great place to witness good theater, monuments to his characters and of course the squares and shops have a plethora of university style gifts and attractions for students and tourists alike. The University of Alcala is at the heart of the city and the campus grounds are lovely. To arrive One can take a train from Atocha station in Madrid, lines (C1,C2,C7) A bus from Avenida de America lines (223, 227, 229) and even from Madrid Barajas Airport from terminals 1 and 2 Interurbano line 824. At the cost of just a few Euros for any of these it is a great and affordable daytrip to make.