Since living in Madrid (click here to see why we moved here from Gran Canaria) we have taken several day trips. This is one of the reasons why we love living in the Peninsula, the fact that we can just get in the car and drive almost anywhere (in Europe).
These are my top 5 places to visit near Madrid, places you can easily visit in a day.
Here are my top 5 places to visit near Madrid
Toledo is located in central Spain and is the capital of the province of Toledo in the region of Castilla La Mancha. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage.
It´s also known as the “Imperial City” for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews reflected in its history. It was also the capital from 542 to 725 of the ancient Visigothic kingdom, which followed the fall of the Roman Empire, and the location of historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. Toledo has a long history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city.
Things to see in Toledo
- Azotea de Carlos – you should definitely visit Azotea de Carlos situated on the rooftop of the Hotel Carlos V in Plaza Horno de la Magdalena. The views from up there are STUNNING which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a gin and tonic while watching the sun set over this beautiful city.
- The train station
- The Historic Centre
- Arabic Archway in the Zocodover Square (photo above)
- The Roman Bridge – the Puente de Alcántara is a Roman arch bridge spanning the Tagus River. The word Alcántara comes from Arabic and means “bridge”.
- Santo Tomé Church – Iglesia de Santo Tomé (Spanish) or Santo Tomás Apóstol is located in the historic centre and founded after the reconquest of this city by King Alfonso VI of León. Next to the church you will find the patisserie of Santo Tomé where since 1856 they have been making their products in an artisanal way, without adding anything that distorts the special flavor of marzipan. You can read more about it in my blog post here.
2. SAN ILDEFONSO
The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso), known as La Granja was built in the early 18th century in the small town of San Ildefonso, located in the hills near Segovia. It´s 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Madrid and lies within the Province of Segovia in central Spain.
It became the summer residence of the Kings of Spain from the 1720´s during the reign of Philip V. The palace is in a restrained Baroque style, surrounded by extensive gardens in the formal Jardin à la française style with sculptural fountains. It is now open to the public as a museum.
Things to see in San Ildefonso
- Jardines de la Granja de San Ildefonso
- Palacio Real (The Royal Palace – photo above)
- Fuente de Los Baños de Diana
- Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja
Brihuega is famous for its lavender fields and lavender festival that happens in July of each year. It was the first time we ever visited lavender fields and must say it was an experience we won’t forget. Afterwards we visited the town centre of Brihuega and was pleasantly surprised at how charming it turned out to be with most of the homes being decorated for the festival in different shades of purple. One of my favorite memories of the day was the delicious lavender pound cake + lavender lemonade we had La Celestina Café Boutique, the cutest sidewalk café based opposite the San Felipe church.
A more detailed post of Brihuega and surrounding areas will follow on the blog soon.
Aranjuez is the capital of the Las Vegas district in the southern part of the Community of Madrid, Spain 42 kilometres (26 miles) south of Madrid and 44 kilometres (27 miles) from Toledo. Aranjuez has been one of the Royal Estates of the Crown of Spain since the times of Philip II in 1560. Until 1752, only the royalty and nobility were allowed to dwell in the town.
Things to see in Aranjuez
- The Royal Palace (Palacio Real)
- The Palace Gardens
- Jardín del Príncipe (the Prince´s gardens)
- The river Tagus (Tajo in Spanish) – take a tour on the tourist boat.
- The Railway Station
- Plaza de Toros
Chinchón is 50 km southeast of Madrid in the autonomous Community of Madrid. The photo above was taken in the Plaza Mayor which is roughly circular and surrounded by 15th-17th century galleried houses and cafés. At one of these cafés we sampled delicious Patatas Bravas and swallowed it down with ice cold lemon beer.. just what we needed to cool us down in the Madrid Summer´s heat. A full detailed post on Chinchón will follow soon.
Things to see in Chinchón
- Plaza Mayor (the main square)
- Iglesia (church) de nuestra Señora de la Asunción
- Torre del Reloj (clock tower)
- Castillo (castle) de los Condes
- Castillo (castle) de Casasola
- San Agustin convent
ps. After writing this post I remembered that I wrote a post about San Lorenzo de El Escorial where you can visit the amazingly beautiful Royal Monastery and thought it would be a good idea to add it here at the end. This place is definitely worth a visit and also has some great tapas restaurants that have incredible views over the monastery. Go to my Instagram feed for more information on this, you´ll be able to find it under the highlight section named Foodspots.
Thanks for reading! Most of the outfits in these photos have been linked up here should you want to check them out for yourself.
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” Gustave Flaubert