There are people who love travelling but don’t really enjoy doing tourism in big cities, instead opting for smaller towns and the countryside. If you’re one of these people and haven’t yet visited Madrid for that reason, here are a few day trips that you will definitely enjoy.
Travellers can be divided in two types: those who enjoy staying in cities and seeing all of its museums, monuments and architecture and those who enjoy nature, the countryside, small towns with plenty of charm. Well, if you’re one of the latter, don’t be put off staying in Madrid because, as you know, Madrid is located right in the centre of Spain, and it’s close to many little towns and places of high historical interest that also embody the true and authentic Spanish culture. Here are some of the places you can visit while you’re staying in Madrid apartments:
30 miles south of Madrid we come across the town of Aranjuez. Here, in the 16th century, King Felipe II of Spain established a royal residency and ordered for a royal palace to be built there to the architects Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan Herrera. This royal palace, the Palacio Real, is today one of Spain’s most important historical landmarks and it’s a National Heritage Site. Visiting the palace and its gardens is a must since you can see how the history of Spain unfolded with the different kings who lived there throughout the centuries.
If history is your thing but you also enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine, you cannot miss out on a trip to Segovia, a town 60 miles north of Madrid. Segovia is famous for its huge Roman aqueduct, right in the town centre, and its impressive castle, the Alcázar, built between the 12th and 16th century which was also a royal residence. But now, the good part. Roast suckling pig, cochinillo, is Segovia’s most famous dish and there’s no better place to eat it at than at Mesón Candido, right underneath the aqueduct. Absolutely delicious!
There is no bigger Spanish literature figure than Miguel de Cervantes, who was from a beautiful medieval little town some 20 miles east of Madrid called Alcalá de Henares, which is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Walk around the streets that Cervantes used to, visit the house where he was born and eat in some of the most delicious tapas restaurants in the area. Because of its Roman origins, here you can find a mixture of history from ancient times until today. Also, don’t miss the Corral de Comedias, one of Spain and Europe’s oldest and most famous open air theatres.
Toledo is also a town you cannot miss out on. 50 miles south of Madrid, the medieval capital of Spain has a mix of Christian, Moor and Jewish influences in its architecture, with beautiful churches, synagogues and mosques. You can also visit the Alcázar, a fortress located on the highest part of the town which is one of Toledo’s main landmarks. You can also visit the house museum of the painter El Greco or buy as a souvenir a traditional knife or blade, since Toledo was traditionally a metal town. Also, don’t miss out on eating in a typical mesón, the food in Toledo is amazing!
All these places are easy and quick to get to by train so visit www.renfe.es for details.
Don’t be put off by the size of the Spanish capital and rent apartments in Madrid. From here, you can enjoy some beautiful day trips out into Spain that will really make your holiday a unique and alternative one.