Salamanca, a thriving university city with famous sandstone architecture, lies around 200 kilometres (124 miles) west of Madrid. Train tickets are under €20, and the travel time can be between 1.5 hours and just under three hours, depending on if you take the fast train or the slower train. Look out for the quirky recent additions to the façade of Salamanca’s New Cathedral, including an astronaut and a dragon licking an ice-cream. The city is compact and ideal to wander around. In the evening, have a drink on the beautiful Plaza Mayor and indulge in a bit of people-watching before exploring the city’s tapas bars.