The best destinations in Madrid for a day trip

When you think of Madrid, images of the hustle and bustle of the capital surely to come to your mind. But do you know this region is an excellent place to organize a one day trip? Some of the most beautiful towns in the Community of Madrid are among the 29 municipalities with less than 10 000 inhabitants. Beyond the must-see cities of Aranjuez, San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Alcalá de Henares, Madrid’s geography is full of small gems worth losing yourself in for a few hours. These are only eight of the most beautiful villages in Madrid to enjoy a nice getaway near the capital.

The most beautiful villages to visit in Madrid



Chinchón. | Shutterstock

44 kilometres from the capital we find this village with a beautiful medieval Plaza Mayor (‘Main Square’) and just over 5000 residents. Its green balconies and irregular shape make this square an ideal place to have a snack after a long walk, as well as enjoy the heart of the town during festivities. You can see different buildings with popular architecture along its streets on your way to the clock tower or the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The Castillo de los Condes is also an essential visit if you are going to spend the day in the town.

Manzanares El Real

Castillo nuevo de los Mendoza.

Castillo nuevo de los Mendoza in Manzanares El Real. | Shutterstock

This corner of the Sierra Norte is one of the most beautiful villages in Madrid for many reasons. The surrounding area is a real treat for nature lovers, who can swim or climb in La Pedriza or plan a hiking route in the largest protected natural area in the community: the Parque Regional de la Cuenca Alta del Manzanares. But if you prefer to immerse yourself in the history of Manzanares El Real, you should not miss the castillo de los Mendoza, the best preserved castle in the region. This 15th century building, home to the Marquis of Santillana, houses the museum of Spanish castles and has a large collection of tapestries, as well as a Renaissance orchard and garden. From the top of the castle you can enjoy beautiful views of the Santillana reservoir and then enter the town’s Plaza Mayor, where we recommend you visit the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves and the Cañada Real bridge.

Buitrago del Lozoya

Buitrago del Lozoya.

Buitrago del Lozoya. | Shutterstock

The wall is one of the first things you see when approaching Buitrago del Lozoya, a town with a long history where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together. This alone is worth a visit to this old town: it is the only wall that has been preserved in its entirety in the Community of Madrid. Once in the village, we advise you to start your visit in the Plaza de la Bellota in order to wander in the medieval streets of Buitrago. There you will discover monuments such as the Alcázar, the Iglesia of Santa María del Castillo or the clock tower. If you feel like it, you can learn about the story behind all the corners of the city on a dramatised tour. And if you are an art lover, you must stop at the Museo Picasso, where more than 60 works by the artist from Málaga, donated by Eugenio Arias, barber and friend of the artist, are on display.

La Hiruela

A mill in La Hiruela.

La Hiruela. | Shutterstock

Barely 50 inhabitants live in this charming town in Madrid. It contains a magnificent biosphere reserve where you can discover hiking routes with magnificent views. Once you have finished, take some time to explore the streets of the medieval town, where the Museo Etnológico and the Baroque Iglesia de San Miguel Arcángel stand out. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful villages in Madrid to escape for a just few hours or a lifetime.



Torrelaguna. | Shutterstock

It is no coincidence that this village of around 4700 inhabitants is a National Historic and Artistic Monument. The Convento de Las Carmelitas de la Caridad, the Palacio Arteaga, the old Hospital de la Santísima Trinidad, the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, the town centre and the remains of its wall… Walking through Torrelaguna is pure history. The star of the ensemble? Undoubtedly, the Iglesia de la Magdalena, a Gothic temple with a Churrigueresque main altarpiece whose works were promoted by Cardinal Cisneros himself.

Nuevo Baztán

Iglesia de San Francisco Javier in Nuevo Baztán.

Iglesia de San Francisco Javier in Nuevo Baztán. | Shutterstock

If there is one thing that distinguishes the small municipality of Nuevo Baztán, it is its unique character. Located 50 kilometres from Madrid, the village was born in the 18th century with a purely industrial purpose. The Navarrese Juan de Goyeneche founded a glass factory at the time, named after its valley of origin, which employed a great number of workers. For this reason, you will find the buildings of the town interesting, inspired by Baroque models different from those of the traditional medieval villages of the region. The palace and the church, based on a design by José de Churriguera, form a special combination that is well worth a visit.

Patones de Arriba

Patones de Arriba.

Patones de Arriba. | Shutterstock

Among cobbled streets and slate houses stands Patones de Arriba, a small yet charming town that even had its own king until the 18th century. Patones is an ideal destination to disconnect for a day to enjoy nature (it is a must to visit the Cueva del Reguerillo) and contemplate the many examples of black town architecture that characterize the small municipality of the Sierra. There is a reason why some consider it one of the most beautiful towns in Madrid and it is obvious.


Lozoya river in Rascafría.

Lozoya river in Rascafría. | Shutterstock

Valle del Lozoya is our last recommendation, the place where Rascafría, one of the most beautiful villages in Madrid, is located. If you visit this municipality you cannot miss the Carthusian Monasterio de Santa María de El Paular, located on the outskirts of this town. You will marvel at its beautiful buildings, such as its neo-Mudejar town hall or the Iglesia de San Andrés Apóstol. This area is perfect for active tourism in the exceptional surroundings of the Parque Natural de Peñalara and the lovely Arboreto Giner de los Ríos.

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