3 Quick Jaunts from Madrid

Spain Madrid beautiful street in Europe

A dynamic city with a rich history and a vibrant arts and culture scene, Madrid is Spain’s most popular destination. But if you want to experience the city like a true Madrileño, you’ll want to explore the spectacular mountain towns, well-preserved walled cities and charming villages that offer a delightful dose of the Great Outdoors.

Here’s where to go for some off-the-beaten-path exploration during your next trip to Madrid.


Very cute little town in Spain

With its breathtaking gardens and stunning Royal Palace, Aranjuez is a quick 45-minute drive from the city center or accessible through public transport. The Royal Palace opens early and it’s worth getting an early start to enjoy all there is to see. A walk through the gardens is a must. The Palace has been an official residence of the royal family since the 16th century, and it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 for the ways its natural and historical elements work together.

Aranjuez is famous for strawberries and asparagus. Visit La Huerta de Aranjuez to sample some of the freshest local harvest. Pick up some fresh baked goods at Tahona San Jose to round out a perfect nosh for the afternoon. A meal at Casa José is a chic way to taste the range of the region’s meats and vegetables in a refined environment.

Buitrago del Lozoya

Travel photo of a lovely street near Madrid, Spain

Nestled along the Lozoya River and surrounded by picturesque hills, this pretty town, which is just a 45-min car drive from Madrid, offers a range of outdoor activities. Start with a leisurely stroll along the well-preserved Moorish town walls for sweeping views of the town and idyllic countryside. Make a visit to Buitrago del Lozoya’s Town Hall and you’ll discover the Picasso Museum-Eugenio Arias Collection, with its unique collection of works by the master. Then savour drinks at the medieval plaza while gazing at the 15th-century Buitrago del Lozoya Castle or enjoy a meal at one of the town’s traditional restaurants, such as Asador Las Murallas, where you can savor homemade, local favorites.

Alternatively, set out on the Gariñas route, a four-kilometre path that runs along the river towards the Puentes Viejas reservoir and through the Gariñas forest. For stunning views over the valley, head up to the Cinco Villas Hill on the six-kilometre Cerro de Cinco Villas (Five Villas Hill) route.

For water-based fun, spend the afternoon at the Riosequillo Reservoir, situated just two kilometres from the town. Cool off in one of the biggest pools in the region of Madrid, or join Nortesport for an afternoon of windsurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking.

San Lorenzo del Escorial

Nestled in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, San Lorenzo del Escorial, which is just over 50 kilometres northwest of Madrid and easily accessible with public transport, serves as a perennial favourite destination for Madrileños who are looking for a dose of mountain air.

The highlight is the Monastery and Royal Residence of San Lorenzo del Escorial. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, the Monastery boasts 15 cloisters and 16 courtyards, and is also home to royal tombs, a palace and more. After exploring the buildings, be sure to visit the gardens, where you’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time.

Finish your jaunt with a meal at the family-run La Rueda restarante, with its haute cuisine, unique flavors and warm service.

Madrid is a haven for outdoor adventurers seeking unique experiences in the Great Outdoors. Who knows what you will uncover and discover on your next trip to Madrid.

This article was sponsored by Madrid Turismo by IFEMA MADRID
Discover Madrid’s must-see activities and find out what events are taking place during your stay. From shopping and nightlife to art and culture, and food and drink to parks and gardens, learn more about things to do and plan your perfect trip to Madrid at onlyinmadrid.com.