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Madrid makes an ideal base for excursions around central Spain and the scenic smaller towns and villages of Madrid province, a geographical kaleidoscope of plains, valleys, rivers, and mountains that belies the clichéd image of a beleaguered capital surrounded by arid badlands. Most of the day trips detailed in this section range from 30km to just over 90km (20-60 miles) outside the Spanish capital, allowing you to leave in the morning and be back by nightfall.

Public transport, either by train or bus, is particularly good in the region. It's both economical and efficient, usually getting you to your destination within an hour. And for a little extra outlay, the faster rail services to Segovia and Toledo will get you to either of those fascinating cities in half that time!