Wandering around Madrid our first night, I couldn’t help but love the city instantly. Every few feet I had to stop to take more photos of the winding streets and wrought iron balconies that are strewn throughout the town.
Travel day: Royal Palace of Madrid and Cathedral de Sta Maria la Real de la Almudena
After checking into our Airbnb the first night, we decided to go to the Royal Palace of Madrid. The palace was absolutely stunning, with massive intricate ceiling paintings and huge chandeliers in every room.
After visiting the museum, we still had some energy and decided to explore the church across the street from the Palace. When we visited the catacombs of the church, they had one of the church’s choirs practicing their hymns for that evening’s service, giving the basement an eerie atmosphere.
Day 1: Prado Museum, Retiro Park (Palacio del Cibeles), Tyssen Bornemisza Museum
The next morning, we went to the Prado Museum first thing in the morning when it opened. Even at 8am, a line of people was already snaked around the building when we arrived. The morning was cool and the line moved quickly though, so we didn’t mind much…we even got a little selfie in before entering the museum!
After hours upon hours of wandering through the numerous rooms and gazing at thousands of paintings, we decided to visit Retiro Park and Palacio del Cibeles to break up our museum day. The park itself was nothing special to be honest, but the Palacio de Cibeles and surrounding area was beautiful as well as the gardens leading into the park.
Next we went to the Tyssen Bornemisza Museum for a few hours. Personally, I enjoyed this smaller museum better than the Prado because it had a mix of both classical and modern pieces.
Day 2: Toledo Day Trip
The next day we took a day trip from Madrid to Toledo…oh my word was it gorgeous! The town is filled with narrow cobblestone streets, views of the luscious green valley below, and some of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. Even walking up to the town from the bus stop was breath catching!
After hiking through the gates and up the hill to the center of town, we stopped at the Alcazar of Toledo which is now a war history and artillery museum. Hubby was over the moon looking at old guns and swords for hours. The view of the city from the rooftop was beautiful too!
After the museum, we visited Toledo Cathedral. Walking up to the church, I had no idea what to expect. From the outside it looked like any normal cathedral you would find in most towns across Europe. But when we stepped inside, every space in the cathedral was decorated lavishly with intricate sculptures, large golden shrines, and stain glass windows. It was unlike any other church I’ve been to…pictures don’t even do it justice.
Once we had spent a good hour at the Toledo Cathedral, we visited Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, which is a small but beautiful Jewish synagogue on the outskirts of Toledo.
Next we visited Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes which has the most beautiful fairytale like courtyards I have ever seen. (Can’t you see Princess Aurora walking through these hallways?)
The last church we visited, Calle Cristo de la Luz, was a small one room building that was built in 999 and was originally a Muslim mosque. While not as impressive inside as the other churches we had seen that day, the small mosque turned church is impressive due to the fact it is in almost the same condition today as it was when it was built over a thousand years ago.
Overall, Toledo was one of our favorite places we visit in Spain not only due to the beautiful old architecture the city has to offer, but the beautiful landscapes that surrounded this city on the hill in every which way you look.
Day 3: Segovia Day Trip
On our third day in Madrid, we took a day trip to Segovia. After a forty minute train ride and a fifteen minute bus ride to the center of town, we were dropped off in front of the large Roman aqueduct that towers over the town square.
On our way through town, I couldn’t help but stop and take pictures of all the cute alley ways and fountains we came across.
While we were in town, we also stopped by the town’s cathedral which was beautiful but much like many of the other cathedrals we had come across in Spain.
Afterwards, on our way to the Alcazar (castle), we wandered through the Jewish quarter which had narrow winding cobblestone roads and charming little buildings and shops.
When we got to the castle, I almost squealed with excitement…I was standing in front of a REAL LIFE DISNEY CASTLE! Well, one that inspired Walt Disney when he was designing Cinderella’s castle at least. I never wanted to leave!
While we were only in Madrid a short amount of time, it was the perfect few days both in the city and in the surrounding towns we visited. Though we could have spent a few more days exploring Madrid, the visits to both Segovia and Toledo made our trip to Madrid even more memorable.