Ironically, one of the joys of living in Madrid is how easy and cheap it can be to leave for a few days! With plenty of national holidays and great transport options to the rest of Europe and beyond, the eager traveler is hardly left wanting.

This can, however, leave us with choice paralysis. When there’s so much to choose from, where do you go? If you’re new in the city there are a few places that are an absolute must for the wandering madrilenean…

1. Lisbon

Sitting on the western fringe of Europe, it’s easier to visit Portugal from Spain than anywhere else in the world. And it’s an opportunity you definitely should not miss. While Portugal has many wonderful places, the capital is arguably the crown jewel, famous for its yellow trams, squares around every corner, and the unmissable pasteis de nata. We recommend taking the time to visit Sintra, less than an hour away by train with views which rival a Disney movie.

How To Get There: Frequent flights from Barajas Airport, or for the budget conscious there are night buses by ALSA running from various transport hubs.

lisbon river panoramic

2. Salamanca

Maybe you’ve only just arrived in Spain and aren’t ready to jet off just yet. Or maybe you just want to stay a little closer to home. Salamanca is perfect for a short, relaxing break where you can enjoy strolling down long winding streets. As the old town an UNESCO World Heritage destination, you won’t be short on things to look at.

How To Get There: Renfe trains go to Salamanca from Madrid Chamartín regularly, taking between 1.5 and 3 hours, and can cost as little as €30.

Salamanca Cathedral

3. Athens

Heading further out takes you to the Greek capital. The homeland of democracy, and the current home of amazing food, unique sightseeing opportunities, and some of the friendliest people in Europe. In Athens, it’s easy to embrace the slow life strolling along the streets of the old neighborhoods, wandering around archaeological sites, and sitting down to a very cheap and hearty meal with the Acropolis on the horizon.

How to get there: Flights from Barajas airport with Iberia or Aegean can be as cheap as €40 each way if you catch them at the right time.

Athens cityscape

4. Marrakech

At the right time of day, on the right spot of the southern Spanish coastline, you can see Africa on the horizon. It seems crazy to be so close and not take advantage of going! Morocco is an increasingly popular place for Digital Nomad retreats, honeymoons, backpackers alike. It’s not difficult to see why.

Marrakech is one of our must-go destinations for Madrileñans because it’s so fascinating to see the origins of the Arabic influence in Spanish culture. If you’ve been to any of the Moroccan bars in Barrio de Las Letras, Marrakech will almost feel like home.

How to get there: Flights from Barajas take between 2 and 4 hours depending on the airline and can cost anything from €60 to €200. Be sure to catch a good deal!

Marrackech street

5. Berlin

A very popular holiday destination for Spanish natives, Germany has so much to offer it’s difficult to choose the best place to go. But if you’re visiting for the first time, you can’t go wrong with the capital. Famous for street art, street markets, and well…the streets! While Berlin is also known for being one of the places to party in Europe, you can’t go wrong with a nice quiet hotel room and a bike tour.

How to get there: You can get a very cheap bus…if you’re willing to sit on it for 30 hours! The best way is to fly from Barajas. The 6-hour journey will be much more comfortable.

Brandenburg Gate

This could never be a definitive list of all the great breaks, that needs a whole book! Our community are very well travelled and would be more than happy to give you advice on the best destinations…maybe you’ll even find a travel buddy.