Planning Your Time
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Planning Your Time
Madrid is an excellent hub for venturing farther into Spain, but with so many choices, we've divided them into must-see stand-alone destinations, and those that are worthy stops if you're traveling on to other parts of the country. Some are day trips; others are best as an overnight.
Must-see, short-trip destinations from Madrid are Toledo, Segovia (with Sepúlveda), and Salamanca. Salamanca should be an overnight, because it's farther, and it also has fun nightlife.
Otherwise, if you're traveling to other areas in Spain, we suggest the following stopover destinations:
If you're on your way to Salamanca (by car), stop in Ávila (trains and buses go direct to Salamanca without stopping).
If you're on your way to Santander or Bilbao, stop in Burgos.
If you're on your way to Asturias stop in León.
If you're on your way to Lugo and A Coruña, in Galicia, stop in Villafranca del Bierzo or Astorga.
If you're on your way to Zaragoza or Barcelona (by car; the AVE doesn't stop here) visit Siguenza.
If you're on your way to Cordoba or Granada, stop in Almagro.
If you're on your way to Valencia, detour to Cuenca (and Alarcón); the new high-speed AVE to Valencia will go through Cuenca.
Extremadura is a neglected destination, even for Spanish tourists, but it's a beautiful part of the country, with fascinating cities like Cáceres (a World Heritage site) and Trujillo. You can get a lightning impression of Extremadura in a day's drive from Madrid. It's about 2½ hours from Madrid to Jerte; from there, you can take the A66 south to Cáceres , then head east to Trujillo on the N521. Split your time evenly between Cáceres and Trujillo. If you have more time, spend a day exploring the Roman monuments in Mérida, and visit the Parque Natural de Monfragüe, near Plasencia. If you can, visit the Monasterio de Yuste, where Spain's founding emperor Carlos V died in 1558.
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