Madrid is ideally located in the center of Spain–that makes it very easy to see the country travel to any region of the Spanish territory, or as Spaniards say, the ‘bull-skin’.
It has several train and bus stations with routes that can take you anywhere on the peninsula. With the Ave train, it is even possible to get to the Valencia coast in 3 and a half hours.
But if you want to travel a little closer, there are 2 Spanish wonders less than an hour away from Madrid where you and your friends can spend an unforgettable day.
Let’s start with the city of Toledo. It’s only 20 minutes away by train—a blessing, because you will want to visit this impressive city several times. One day in Toledo may not be enough!
But let’s plan one perfect day in Toledo, and fill it with ‘the essentials’!
Before making any plans, find out if the museums are open on the days of your trip—they sometimes close on holidays.
The first stop is the main square, called Zocodover (in Arabic, ‘market of the beasts’). It was remodeled under Felipe II, when Toledo was the Spanish capital (before the court moved to Madrid!).
The next stop is the Cathedral, an impressible Gothic-style temple. It’s 120 meters long, 60 meters wide, and boasts 5 naves supported by 88 columns and 72 vaults.
We can continue to the Alcázar of Toledo, a superb building that is worth a visit, not only to visit the library and the Army Museum, but also to enjoy excellent views of the city.
Also note the Church of San Ildefonso and the Mosque built in 999. If you have time, stroll through the streets or sign up for a «freetour» to learn about the legends hidden in every corner of Toledo.
Finally, don’t forget to visit: the Museum of the Councils; the Church of Santo Tomé, to admire the famous painting of El Greco «The Burial of Lord Orgaz»; the Palace of Fuensalida; the Sephardic Museum in the Jewish quarter; the synagogue Santa Maria la Blanca; and of course, the church and monastery of San Juan de los Reyes with its beautiful Gothic cloister.
The second city is Segovia, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain—and also very close to Madrid, just 30 minutes by train.
Both Segovia and Toledo are best seen in multiple visits—but if you’re just coming for the day, let’s highlight the ‘must-see’s so you don’t miss them!
The first marvel you’ll see is the piece of the Roman Aqueduct that crosses the city. It was made of granite stone in the second century A.D., and it is considered one of the main monuments of Spain. Its highest point reaches 28 meters and it is more than 15 kilometers long.
Then we can see the popular Casa de los Picos, a mansion of the fifteenth century adorned on its facade with 617 granite peaks in pyramidal shape. Inside, there is the exhibition hall of the art school of Segovia.
The cathedral is a must-see: it is a Gothic-style 17th century cathedral, known as the Lady of Cathedrals for its elegance and grandeur, and it’s considered one of the most beautiful in Spain. The interior is spectacular, with 157 stained glass windows, a beautiful cloister and a Chapter House that will leave you speechless, among other attractions.
Other places of interest are: the Palace of Cascales, the Plaza Medina del Campo, the Church of San Martin, the Old Jail of Segovia, the Jewish Quarter, the Plaza Mayor of Segovia and the Church of Vera Cruz.
And finally, you can’t leave without visiting the magical Alcazar of Segovia. Declared a World Heritage Site, it is the main monument of the city. Although it is of Roman origin, it has been renovated many times. It is very reminiscent of Disney movies thanks to the reforms of Philip II. It was the residence of kings, including the famous Isabel the Catholic.
Other visits you can not miss
In other articles we will talk about other charming places that you can and should visit if you are going to live in Madrid for a few months, and all of them less than 2 hours away!
To be continued…
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