San Lorenzo de El Escorial
For a day trip fit for royalty, head 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Madrid to the mountains and visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed monastery, El Escorial. Built in the 16th century by King Philip II, the towering complex boasts a basilica, convent, school, library and royal residence. Put aside some time to explore the town itself, where you’ll find charming squares, relaxing cafés and wine bars. Get there by bus from Moncloa station, which takes around 50 minutes, or take the Madrid commuter train from Atocha, which takes just over an hour.