El Escorial & Basilica of the Valley 5-Hour Guided Tour
- Duration: 5 hours
Sitting high atop a hill overlooking the Tagus River, it’s easy to see why Toledo is a popular day trip destination from Madrid. With the entire city being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s an abundance of history and culture to dive into. View masterworks by hometown artist El Greco in the eponymous museum, take in the imposing Puerta de Bisagra, and admire the postcard-worthy vistas from the Alcázar. Don’t forget to spend some time in the sprawling cathedral with its sparkling golden altar.
Toledo is located just 72 kilometers (44 miles) southwest of Madrid. Thanks to high-speed trains, the trip by rail only takes half an hour. Driving, it clocks in at just under an hour.
Once upon a time, a trip to Aranjuez was a privilege reserved solely for the nobility. Today, this royal retreat is an outing fit for a king. The city is best known for the opulent Royal Palace of Aranjuez and its spectacular gardens, a residence of the crown for hundreds of years. Other top attractions in the city include one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, the stunning Church of San Antonio and the Casa del Labrador.
Only 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Madrid, it’s easy to reach Aranjuez. Whether you travel by rail or by road, the journey should take just under an hour.
Segovia’s dramatic beauty and rich history make it an unforgettable escape from the bustle of the capital. The city dates all the way back to pre-Roman times, and you can see evidence of this history at the iconic Aqueduct of Segovia. Travelers shouldn’t miss out on the breathtaking views from the commanding Alcåzar of Segovia or the towering Segovia Cathedral.
At just under 100 kilometers (62 miles) away, the trip from Madrid to Segovia usually takes a bit over an hour by car. By bus, the travel time can be up to two hours, but by high-speed train, you can arrive in just 30 minutes.
A day trip to Salamanca is an excellent way to get out and explore one of Spain’s oldest university cities. Founded in 1218, the University of Salamanca still attracts minds from all over the world to study, and often simply just to visit. Beyond schooling, Salamanca offers plenty to see and do. Visit the grand facades of Plaza Mayor, admire the domed New Cathedral of Salamanca, or get out and experience the flavor of Salamanca on a food tour.
Traveling the 220 kilometers (136 miles) from Madrid to Salamanca by car should take just over two hours. By train or bus, it can range from around 90 minutes to two and a half hours.
Home to one of Spain’s most well-known monuments, a day in San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a fantastic way to explore this historic town. Once home to the monarchs of Spain, the Monastery of El Escorial is without a doubt the town’s biggest draw. This royal site attracts over 500,000 visitors every year, and still contains the tombs of kings past. Aside from the monastery, other popular nearby points of interest include the Casita del Infante, Casita del Principe, and the controversial Valley of the Fallen monument.
It takes just around an hour to travel the 62.5 kilometers (39 miles) from Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, whether by bus, car, or train.
The country’s wonderful high-speed rail system makes train travel your best option more often than not. With highly efficient and affordable trains, you can often reach your destination in half the time it takes by road.
Madrid and all of Spain have an extensive network of both public and private bus companies, some offering transportation directly to certain popular attractions. Buses are often the least expensive option for transport, though they tend to take longer than the train or private vehicle. Additionally, many tour companies offer many great guided tours by bus, some with pickup directly from your hotel.
If you prefer to be in control of your own transportation, taking a car is always a good option. A car allows you to travel to more rural locations around Madrid that aren’t served by public transportation.
Guided tours are always a convenient choice. Many tour companies will pick you up from your hotel, so you don’t waste any precious time searching for some designated meeting place. With so much to see around Madrid, a tour will often provide you will special experiences and convenient access to many top attractions.
What to pack depends greatly on the season, your method of travel, and several other factors. Some guided tours will be able to provide you with everything you need, including food and transportation. The weather near Madrid can be extreme, so warm clothes in winter are recommended.
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great tour, David was very knowledgeable and helpful, the waitress (didn't catch her name) could work a little on her attitude, but in general a good experience, was a little rushed but the itinerary was extensive and you can't always plan for people being late, perfect if you want to take a quick look to the important places and have an idea of the history, in case you want to dig deeper in other time, would recommend!
Hello: this was a great tour and well worth it as many people told me it’s too complicated to do it yourself. So I was very happy with everything. Except as I was walking to find a seat on the bus, the driver started to move, and I fell quite hard on the floor. I don’t why he didn’t wait until I was safely in my seat. I didn’t say anything yet I felt bruising around my ribs after a few hours and for days after.
Totally worth the value. Ivan was very knowledgable and friendly, and spoke english and spanish very well. The tour was planned out very well and gave us a lot of information and enough time on our own to explore different shops and cafes and other sights that we wanted to see. Would recommend to anyone for a great day trip.
The tour is perfect! The bus is comfortable, the tour guide speaks several languages and her English was perfect. The lunch was fabulous and super yummy. The amount of time given to tour each town was just right and we were able to fit some tourist shopping in too.
Excelente Guia con la mejor actitud y muy buen conocimiento con datos interesantes y curiosos, el transporte fue adecuado y el tiempo perfecto para recorrer las dos locaciones.