Although I love living in the heart of a city like Madrid, sometimes it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of life for a while and explore the outskirts instead. Here’s a post about all of the day trip adventures I took this semester – each time equipped with good company and a selfie stick (of course). Read away!
Stupidly, I believed that Segovia was the place where Anne Hathaway becomes a princess in Disney’s ‘Princess Diaries’ and, for this reason, I was absolutely desperate to visit. Turns out that the blonde highlights I’ve had put in my hair are affecting my brain cells because someone had to point out that Segovia and Genovia were two completely different locations – the latter being an imaginary place all together. And so, I picked my broken dreams up from the floor and jumped on the train anyway… new places are always worth exploring, even if they aren’t exactly what you’d hoped them to be!
Everything was made just a teensy bit better when I found out we were visiting a UNESCO world heritage site. Segovia is a beautiful, ancient town filled to the brim with history and stories. We made sure to tick off all of the ‘must-see’ sights including the Aqueduct, Cathedral and the Alcazar before doing what we do best – getting lost in the back streets.
We visited Segovia when the weather was still pretty cold, grey and rainy so we found ourselves spending more time inside cafés sipping on hot drinks than we probably would have if we’d visited in summer. That said, one of my most favourite past times is finding somewhere that sells delicious food, chatting with friends and watching raindrops fall on the windows, so I was certainly very content.
Seeing as the Segovia adventure was a success, Georgia and Floss invited me to join them on another trip – this time to Toledo, Spain’s former capital city. The weather was improving, the sun was peeking out of the clouds and we were all a lot more settled into the Spanish way of life. Perhaps these reasons explain why our day spent in Toledo was one of the best!
Once again, a UNESCO world heritage site (I can’t decide if everywhere seems to have this title or if I just have an addiction), Toledo is the most gorgeous city situated on a hill and surrounded by some awesome green spaces. I can’t really remember any specific things we did (worst travel blogger ever) – it was more just a day of exploring and spending some time relaxing whenever we found somewhere nice. It’s a great day trip and it’s only 30 minutes from the centre of Madrid – go, go, check it out for yourself!
My darling Mother and Aunt were kind enough to take a week out of their busy schedules and come and visit me in Madrid – yay for family! Unfortunately, I was swept up in the midst of exams but I still found time to plan an adventure that we could all enjoy. I googled some options and couldn’t make my mind up which place would be best but after speaking to our flat’s cleaner, Maria, she enthusiastically recommended Aranjuez and I was sold.
First things first, Aranjuez is THE smallest place ever. I think using the word town may be an over-exaggeration as it felt a lot more like a village. There’s also not a huge amount of things to do there, so it’s best to plan it as a half-day trip rather than a whole-day one – perfect for people, like me, on a tight schedule!
I loved escaping the craziness of Gran Via in exchange for some tranquility. There were beautiful gardens, a grand palace, quaint streets and locals swimming in the river. It was almost too picture-perfect and my family loved it just as much as I did, which was a bonus. We also ate at the best little restaurant just off the main square – a whole 3 courses and a drink for just 10 euros! Despite the scorching heat (you can see the seasons changing over this blog!), we had such a fun day and after months of being away from home it was nice to have such special visitors explore a new place for the first time with me!
This day trip also involves a visitor from home in the shape of my friend Minnie. After our amazing adventure in Cyprus together last year we tried to recreate the memories in Spain. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a water park that competed with our beloved Cypriot hangout spot: Fasouri, but I did manage to find a natural water pool nestled in the mountains on the outskirts of the city.
Cercedilla is the ideal day trip if you want a taste of the countryside but don’t want to spend much money. Madrid can get a little bit claustrophobic during the summer because the heat is unbearable and there’s absolutely no escape. Often, I found myself craving the sea breeze and ocean waves and although it’s not quite the same as heading to the beach, you do get a mountain breeze and some natural spring water at Cercedilla, so I’d say it was a pretty sweet compromise.
If swimming isn’t for you then it’s a great place to top up your tan (or just eat a lot of ice cream…). There’s also a tree top rope climbing course and a ton of zip wires – perfect if you fancy an adventure instead of down-time.
So, are you inspired yet? Don’t visit Madrid without ticking at least one of these awesome places off your list!