Visiting Madrid and got some extra time left? Lucky you. The Spanish capital is an ideal base for a few great day trips. For example, the charming town of Toledo is just a mere seventy kilometers away. And further up north, you have enchanting Segovia. Both are fantastic. With this blog post, I want to give you an impression of these two Madrid day trips, plus how to get there by public transport.
Toledo, the hilly city with charming bridges
Our visit to Toledo started at the escalators. Coming from the bus station Toledo’s historical center is located uphill. To make it easier for visitors, a series of indoor (I should say: in-hill) escalators have been placed. Using these might sound lazy, but on the other hand: if you are just starting your day trip, it is best to hold on to your energy. One of Toledo’s top attractions is the city cathedral (Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo). A huge church and popular tourist sight. A big line of tourists was waiting at the ticket office when we passed the building. For me, the €10 entrance fee was a bit steep, so instead, I admired the exterior.
Toledo’s cathedral square is a busy area. However, the alleys surrounding the cathedral are a different story. Quiet and an almost maze-like experience. I also recommend checking out the Alcazar, near the central tour vendor square Plaza de Zocodover. Toledo’s Alcazar is different from the rest of Spain’s. Less of an old medieval castle and more of a palace. The building also stands at the highest point of the city and offers a beautiful view over the green valley. Toledo offers many of these “miradores” (viewpoints). Just open Google Maps and you will see that almost every corner of the city has a viewpoint.
from bridge to bridge
When in Toledo, make sure not to miss the Puente San Martín, a beauty of a 14th-century bridge. A proper set for a medieval movie, I would say. Next to the bridge, there is a zipline bringing adventurous people from one side to the other. Obviously, it is super cool to fly over the river with the gorgeous bridge on your left. But I am afraid of heights, so it is not for me. Finally, to conclude the Toledo day trip, I recommend taking the Ruta de Don Quijote back. This is a walking path from Puente San Martin to Puente de Alcántara. It offers stunning sights of the river Tagus and the city walls above.
Where to eat & how to get from Madrid to toledo
For lunch, we went to Street & Soul. An excellent place, but unfortunately the food didn’t blow us away. Maybe we just ordered the wrong thing. Other good options are Madre Tierra and Piensa and Mi Taqueria Mexicana. To get to Toledo, we went by bus. The bus company ALSA does the drive every half hour from Madrid Plaza Elíptica (can be reached with metro 6 or 11). A one-way bus ticket to Toledo costs just under €6. You can also take the train to Toledo, but it is more expensive and the Toledo train station is outside the center (25 min walk).
Want to learn more about Toledo? Explore the city with this guided tour and get free access to 7 monuments.
Segovia, the aqueduct city
Like Toledo, Segovia is an old medieval city. The biggest attraction is the Roman aqueduct, built in the year 50 AD. It is still in good condition and almost makes you think that you have suddenly ended up in Italy. Quite an impressive structure, both from the front and from the side. On the left side of the aqueduct (coming from the bus station) the steps lead to an excellent viewpoint.
But Segovia is more than just one aqueduct. I also liked the Plaza Mayor, the central city square. It looked a bit like a mini version of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. The eye-catcher of the square is the Cathedral of Segovia with one of the highest church towers in Spain. Behind the cathedral the city’s old Jewish quarter can be found, a great area to explore while slowly making your way towards the Alcazar de Segovia. The building is truly a fairytale castle, much more beautiful than Toledo’s. It is amazing how this castle suddenly emerges when exiting the city! I have not been inside myself (the entrance ticket is €8), but judging from the photos online it might have been worth it.
How to get from Madrid to Segovia?
I don’t have any restaurant recommendations, because we kept it simple: coffee with churros and a Tinto Verano. I did read good stories though about YUM Veggie Bar & Specialty Coffee. To get to Segovia, I again took the bus from Madrid. It departs from Madrid Moncloa, which can be reached with metro lines 3 and 6. The bus company is Avanza, it runs every half hour and one-way ticket costs €5. There is also a train, but the ticket is more expensive and the train station is quite far outside the center of Segovia (Guiomar station).
Want to explore Segovia with a tour guide? With this tour, you’ll receive a city tour and a return Madrid bus ticket.
Madrid day trips: Toledo or Segovia?
I find it very difficult to choose between these two Madrid day trips because both are great. Toledo is bigger, has many beautiful bridges and lovely winding alleys. Segovia is smaller but has the aqueduct and the stunning Alcazar. If you have time for both Madrid day trips, I would recommend doing that. If not, I would say: look at the photos and see what speaks to you. As I said, both are amazing. I cannot choose.
Interested in visiting both cities on an organized tour? Check out this 1-day Toledo and Segovia guided tour.
So, which city would you visit? What other Madrid day trips would you recommend?
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