These two destinations can be visited on a single day trip from Madrid.
You could begin at San Lorenzo de El Escorial and its famous Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which has been called the 'eighth wonder of the world'.
It was the political hub of the Spanish empire, and as well as the monastery, includes royal tombs, palaces, a library, an art gallery, and a museum of architecture… What more could you want?
San Lorenzo de El Escorial is just over 50 kilometres from Madrid, less than an hour’s drive.
We suggest you go on to visit Ávila (less than 60 kilometres from San Lorenzo de El Escorial). The most famous feature of this World Heritage City is undoubtedly the medieval wall: with a perimeter of over two kilometres and 87 towers, it is the best-preserved city walls in the world. You will also like the Cathedral and the World Heritage churches outside the walled enclosures.
Ávila is an important place for Catholics: it was the birthplace of St Teresa, a major figure in 16th-century religious literature and mysticism. She is even represented in its culinary traditions, with the city’s best-known sweet, 'yemas de Santa Teresa'.
Ávila is just over 100 kilometres from Madrid and can be reached by car in about an hour and a half.