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Here´s our fun 7-day Madrid Road Trip Itinerary, packed with cool places surrounding the Spanish capital. It was one of our first road trips with the kids across Spain and I am really happy how it´s turned out: we managed to see and do so much!

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Exploring Madrid & Its Surrounding

Madrid is always a good idea

Despite being an obvious choice, Madrid is still one of my favorite places in Spain.

In my article Madrid or Barcelona, I have already explained that my love for the Spanish capital is enhanced by the fact that one can easily visit a vast number of iconic national landmarks within 1-2 hours from Madrid.

Since our family has already visited Madrid on numerous occasions, this time we thought of planning a new road trip around Madrid to explore more of the region and its neighboring Spanish provinces.

If it´s your first time in the Spanish capital – head to my posts Weekend in Madrid and One Day in Madrid (both can be easily combined with this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary).

madrid road trip with kids
Madrid Road Trip Itinerary – Views in the village of Maderuelo

About this itinerary

This Madrid Road Trip Itinerary is quite fast-paced: we were on the road with a toddler and a baby. So, I was not counting on long museum tours but was rather seeking to get a general impression of the landscapes surrounding Madrid ( and to see anything peculiar beyond the big city life).

Therefore, I have organized this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary to see a bit of everything: from popular Madrid day trips to the secret Spanish villages.

How to personalize this itinerary

Most of the cities that I do mention on this 7-day Road Trip Itinerary can be easy Madrid day trips and deserve a full day, so you can always adjust this route depending on your travel tastes and preferences to spend more time at each destination.

Note, that while this 7-day Madrid Road Trip Itinerary includes places located close to the Spanish capital, some of them technically belong to the neighboring provinces. For me, this is a huge plus: this way one can actually get a glimpse of what the whole of Central Spain looks like (without a need to drive too far away from Madrid).

When to do this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary

We were following this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary at the end of June/beginning of July, which can´t be considered the best season for Central Spain.

It was quite hot throughout the day, but we really did not have a choice (since I wanted to visit the Lavender fields of Brihuega in blossom taking place during the first weeks of July). Next time, I´d probably plan another Madrid Road Trip Itinerary around late spring/early autumn.

Driving in Spain

Driving in Spain for the first time? – You might find handy this Driving in Spain Guide, with Expert Videos, 360 Driving Tours and an On-The-Go PDF.

Our fun 7-day Madrid Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Alcala de Henares – Molina De Aragon – Castle of Zafra

Alcala de Henares

The first stop of our Madrid Road Trip Itinerary was the small town of Alcala de Henares, located only 35 min away from the Spanish capital of Madrid.

Alcala de Henares is known as a birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), the author of the worldwide-famous novel Don Quixote and one of the most famous Spaniards in history.

In this small town, you´ll find the house-museum of the famous writer. The entrance to Cervantes Birthplace Museum is free. Inside you´ll find the first editions of the book nestled between the traditional Spanish interiors of the XVIth century.

You can easily spend the whole day at Alcala de Henares if you want to see all of the local landmarks (download this free official Alcala city guide). We have only enjoyed a quick city walk for coffee and visited the Cervantes Birthplace Museum.

If you plan to follow this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary around December, you can also make a stop at Torrejon de Ardoz Christmas Park nearby.

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Alcala de Henares – a birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes

Molina de Aragon

After exploring Alcala de Henares, we headed to our accomodation in Molina de Aragon (you can check the current hotel offer in the area on the map below).

Molina de Aragon is a small town known for its XIIth century hilltop castle and part of El Camino del Cid (a famous literary route across Medieval Spain: you can learn more about it via the official website and my list of Spain documentaries).

After being reconquered back from the Arabs, the castle of Molina de Aragon belonged to several Spanish noble families. Later on, in the XIXth century, it served as a military base.

The small town of Molina de Aragon is quite charming, so we mostly enjoyed walking around with the baby strollers. Beyond the castle, you can make a stop at the local museum Museo de Molina, and the bridge Puente Romanico.

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The castle of Molina de Aragon
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Crossing cute bridges with a baby stroller, one of our essentials on the road with kids
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Puente Romanico in Molina de Aragon

Castle of Zafra

An additional stop for this day was the Castle of Zafra, located only 30 min away from Molina de Aragon.

This place is not a must-stop, but it is definitely one of the most peculiar Game of Thrones filming locations in Spain ( “The Tower of Joy” in the 6th season). While you can not get inside the Caste of Zafra, the place & landscape look so unique.

Even though the road towards it was unpaved, I still enjoyed this XIIth century castle built upon a rock in the middle of nowhere.

Zafra Castle Spain
The Zafra Castle belongs on the list of dreamy Spanish castles

Day 2: Medinacelli – Siguenza – Brihuega

Medinacelli

The village of Medinacelli is conveniently set on the road from Madrid to Barcelona and is mostly known for its Roman Arch, considered one of the most unique landmarks of the Soria region.

Medinacelli´s Arch is considered the only triple Roman arch still standing in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. It is around 13 m long, 2 wide, and 8 m tall. Also, this ancient city gateway has a stunning hilltop location to capture the best panoramic views of the region. History geeks and the fans of the Roman Ruins in Spain should definitely not miss Medinacelli.

On the go, you can visit one of the local bars to try the most famous local dish of the Soria region – torreznos (crunchy bacon snacks made of pork belly).

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Medinacelli´s Arch – the only triple Roman arch still standing in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula
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Torreznos – a must-try for the fans of traditional Spanish food
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The views from the village of Medinacelli
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Cute streets of Medinacelli

Brihuega

Brihuega is home to the most well-known lavender fields in Spain. At the beginning of July, this village turns into one of the most popular Madrid getaways to enjoy flower fields in Spain.

Located in the region of Guadalajara, Brihuega is only a 1h-long drive from Madrid. Also, the local Lavender Festival takes place every 12/13 of July, but unfortunately, it did not overlap with our road trip around Madrid.

Nevertheless, we still got a chance to see the fields. The best time for pictures is early in the morning ( around 8 a.m.) or right before sunset. However, we got to Brihuega at noon because of our jam-packed schedule for this Madrid Road Trip Itinerary.

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Lavender fields in Brihuega, Spain
Lavender fields in spain
Always a joy to explore flower fields in Spain

Siguenza

After the magical lavender fields of Brihuega, we headed to Siguenza, one of the lesser-known small towns in Spain. Besides visiting the local cathedral, we spent a few hours exploring the old town of Siguenza before heading to our flat.

Also, Siguenza it is a great place to buy traditional wineskin – one of the top handmade souvenirs from Spain.

Exploring Siguenza
family holidays near madrid siguenza
The streets of Siguenza

Day 3: Maderuelo – Pedraza – Segovia

Maderulo

On the 3rd day of our Madrid Road Trip Itinerary, I planned to visit Maderulo, one of the secret Spanish villages. I initially picked it for my Undiscovered Spain blog series because it looked like such a curious off-the-beaten-path place to explore.

However, if you haven´t seen much in Spain yet, I suggest you visit Buitrago de Lozoya instead.

Maderuelo was settled by the Christians in the Xth century and was often attacked by the Arabs (since it was one of the bordering regions between the two cultures of the Iberian Peninsula). Therefore people were afraid to settle down in Maderuelo. However, during the Spanish Reconquista of the XI century, Maderuelo proudly formed the front line of the Spanish defense forces. The huge stone cross at the entrance speaks for itself…

This village looks like it has been stuck in time and remained untouched ever since the Medieval times.

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Maderulo – one of the secret Spanish villages
Maderuelo spanish lesser-known villages
Maderulo is full of symbols of the Spanish Inquisition: this pillar totally looks like a witch-burning spot (I could not find any information confirming it though)

Pedraza

Our next stop for the day was the charming village of Pedraza.

This place is already well-established on the tourist track and often appears on the lists of top Spanish medieval villages. I was mostly excited to check out the local castle, which I previously saw in numerous Spain coffee table books.

Check out the opening hours before visiting the castle (it is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). But even if you won’t get inside, the cute village of Pedraza is still worth making a stop for lunch and strolling down its Medieval streets.

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The castle of Pedraza
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The streets of Pedraza
The main entrance to the castle of Pedraza
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The streets of Pedraza

Segovia

In the afternoon, after touring the villages of the region, we arrived in Segovia, one of the most iconic towns of spain. We had a nice walk across the city with kids to marvel at the famous Roman Aqueduct – one of the top Spanish landmarks, known for its mysterious legend.

We also had quite an abundant dinner at the restaurant Meson de Candido. Segovia is known for the best cochinillo in Spain (e.g. roasted pig) – so it was a must-try. We picked the restaurant randomly, but if it is your first time in the city, head to one of the top-rated places to make the most of your foodie experience – Restaurante Jose Maria, El Sitio, or El Bernardino.

It was not my first time visiting Segovia, so my only plan was to visit Alcazar de Segovia, one of the top fairytale places in Spain. Nevertheless, one can easily spend the whole weekend exploring the city’s landmarks. So, depending on your plans, you might want to live one full day (or even two) for Segovia.

If my kids were older (age 7+), I would have also have booked a Hot Air Balloon Flight in Segovia.

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Exploring Segovia with a baby carrier, one of our essentials on the road with kids
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Alcazar de Segovia, one of the top fairytale places in Spain
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Inside the Alcazar de Segovia

Best Segovia Tours

A guided tour is a great way to make the most of your day in Segovia:

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The famous Roman Aqueduct of Segovia

Day 4: Segovia – Avila

On the 4th day, first thing in the morning, we headed to Alcazar de Segovia for a tour. I feel like even the kids have enjoyed the interiors. Afterwards, we hit the road again to reach another iconic small town in Spain – Avila.

Avila

Before exploring the medieval walls of Avila, we made a stop at Cuatro Postes lookout for the views.

Avila is a charming small town surrounded by some of the most unique medieval walls in Europe, one of Spain’s top UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While many castles and medieval villages of Spain are surrounded by walls, most of them honestly pale in comparison with those of Avila. Built at the end of the 11th century, Avila´s walls were aimed to defend the local population against the Moorish threat.

It´s unbelievable how these giant walls still surround the small town of Avila after all these years.

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Avila – a must-stop on any Madrid Road Trip Itinerary
avila walls Spanish landmarks
Cuatro Postes Lookout – the best views of Avila

Best Avila Tours

A great way to explore Avila without missing a thing is to book a guide tour:

Day 5: Talavera de La Reina – Toledo

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Talavera de La Reina – a great place to visit for the fans of the Spanish Ceramics

Talavera de La Reina is a must-stop for the fans of Spanish Ceramic. Do not miss Museo Ceramico Ruiz de LunaBasilica del Prado, Bridges of the Alameda, Prado Gardens, the Ethnographic Museum, and local ceramic shops (see the full list here).

Also, on the official tourist website of Talavera de la Reina, you can enjoy 360-degree murals online.

If you are not obsessed with the vibrant Spanish tiles, I suggest you’d rather spend more time in Segovia, Avila, or Toledo, instead of visiting Talavera de La Reina. But ever since my trip to Manises, I will never miss any colorful Mediterranean tiles across the Iberian Peninsula. So, I was looking forward to making a stop in Talavera de La Reina (even though it meant having less time for Toledo and Avila)

After exploring Talavera de La Reina, we headed to Toledo – another one one of my all-time favorites in Spain.

Day 6: Toledo

Toledo really needs no introduction.

The city is known for its unmatched historical past, multicultural influences, and dazzling architecture. Not to mention that Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain and the stunning Museo del Greco is a must-stop for all art lovers around the world.

While being a UNESCO World Heritage site, Toledo used to be a Spanish capital till 1561 and is often described as “the city of 3 cultures”, where Islamic, Christian, and Hebrew inhabitants lived side by side for centuries.

This was already my 4th time in Toledo, but I was bewitched all over again, as it happened during my first visit. My only regret was that we had no time to visit the nearest Puy du Fou Park (but it´s already in the plans for 2024).

Toledo Cathedral at night
Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain

Best Toledo Tours

Check out these tours to make the most of your time in Toledo:

Need a longer Madrid Road Trip Itinerary?

Toledo is a great starting point for exploring the top gems of the Castile-La Mancha region and starting the Don Quixote Road Trip.

Day 7 Aranjuez – Madrid

On the way back from Toledo to Madrid, you can visit Aranjuez, one of the top Royal Sites connected to the Crown of Spain. Back in 2001, this Spanish landmark was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Cultural Landscapes. 

It was built back in the XVth century, during the reign of the Catholic Kings. Nevertheless, many other Spanish monarchs tried to reform it ever since. The biggest splendor of Aranjuez is connected to the Spanish kings Carlos III and Carlos IV. Back then it was a trendy vacation spot for the royalty and court.

It is a shame that I can not show you more of Aranjuez, since all of the Royal landmarks in Spain do not allow photos inside.

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The Palace of Aranjuez

Still need more ideas? – Check out my Madrid to Valencia Road Trip and 10-days Pyrenees Itinerary from Madrid.

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For more Spain travel tips and itineraries check my Pinterest boards Best of Spain and Spain Travel Collection.

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