While Madrid has a plethora of sights to keep you busy, if you're wanting to escape the city for a day, check out these nearby cities, just a train ride away.
Valencia is 1 hour 40 min from Madrid, and prices for a one way train ticket start at €16.
The seaside town of Valencia is perfect for a city escape. Visit Las Arenas beach, located only 2km from the city centre, and sip a cocktail at many of the beachside bars. Also try a paella dish in Valencia - it is the traditional home of paella and you'll be able to find the most authentic tastes here.
The high-speed train takes 50 minutes from Madrid’s Atocha station.
This fortress town has one of the most amazing neighbourhoods - the Hanging Houses perch on the side of the deep gorges of the Júcar and Huécar rivers. Cuenca also has a multicultural assortment of religious architecture, notably El Castillo (an Arab fortress) and the Cuenca Cathedral.
The direct train to Toledo takes around 30 min, with the first train leaving Madrid at 06:50.
A historic city which sits above the Tagus River, Toledo was the previous capital of Spain before Madrid, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Head to Mirador del Valle for this view back over the city and be sure to visit the Mercado de San Agustín gourmet food market where a variety of vendors sell a range of local produce.
Ávila is around 1 hour 30 min from Madrid by train.
Another easy day trip from Madrid is the small city of Ávila, known to have more Gothic and Romanesque churches per capita than anywhere else in Spain. The city is home to charming small towns and the well preserved city wall that dates back to the 11th century. Climb some of the towers and walk along the wall for scenic views of the town, or wander through the cobblestone streets to feel like you've stepped back in time.
4 hours by from Madrid with the first train leaving at 7.30am
While Mercia is a little further from Madrid, if you don't mind a few hours on the train each way Mercia is a beautiful place to visit for a day or two. The town is filled with peaceful gardens and impressive architecture, with the ornate Plaza Cardenal Belluga cathedral as the city’s showpiece.