Charming towns less than an hour’s drive from Madrid and Barcelona

Charming towns less than an hour’s drive from Madrid and Barcelona

Goodbye to the plane hours and the stress of the airports, welcome to the calm vacations that catch us close to home. Sometimes, we tend to think that “the further away it is, the more impressive the place will be”, and not at all. Near Madrid and Barcelona we find true paradises that can be accessed in less than an hour by car.

The proximity converts these places of our geography into ideal destinations for a weekend getaway, to spend a different Saturday or to improvise an unexpected plan (It can be a good gift to celebrate a special day with family, friends or partner). In addition, these towns are beautiful, offer a variety of restaurants and allow us to disconnect without having to organize the departure well in advance.


Cervera de Buitrago

This town, known as “The fishing village of Madrid” is located about 58 minutes by car from the center of the capital. It is a small town with a nautical area, since a majestic reservoir is the protagonist of its views.

Cervera de Buitrago

Beyond the lake, we can discover traditional houses, the ‘Museum of the Senses’ and, the ‘Church of Santa María de los Remedios’. The ‘El Lago Restaurant Bar’, the ‘Social Bar’ or the ‘Mikar Bar’ complete the gastronomic offer.

Cerverahouse - one night for two

Cerverahouse – one night for two


A little over 100 km from Madrid is Rascafría, a place with numerous trails and routes for lovers of long walks. In this town we find many points of interest: such as the ‘Parish Church of San Andrés Apóstol’, ‘La Casona’, the ‘Serrerías Belgas’, the ‘Old Casa de Postas’, the ‘Puente de la Reina’ Molinos de Bartolo, Briescas y del Cubo’ and the ‘Old Los Batanes Paper Mill’.


The variety of restaurants is wide, but on the tourism website they stand out the ‘Restaurant Caldea’, the ‘Restaurant La Abuela’ and the ‘Restaurant La Fanega de Roque’.

Hotel Rural El Valle - one night for two people

Hotel Rural El Valle – one night for two people

Manzanares El Real

If there are any fans of impressive castles in this room, surely they can’t help but fall in love with the beauty of Manzanares El Real. This town, to which we can arrive in 48 minutes from Madridis a true beauty.

The castle of Manzanares el Real is everything we imagined in our childhood (only the long-haired princess is missing, go). A vivid portrait of the medieval world and the Renaissance. It is the best preserved in the Community of Madrid and is fully musealized.

Manzanares El Real

Manzanares el Real also has forests for hikers, a reservoir and a mountain that legend says is magical, ‘La Pedriza’. Take note of another detail: this town is passage of two of the great roads to Santiago de Compostela. “On the one hand, it is located in the northern part of the Community of Madrid (Camino de Santiago) and, on the other, it was the main town of the Mendoza family’s dukedom,” we read on the town’s tourism website.

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La Pedriza accommodation - one room for two adults

La Pedriza accommodation – one room for two adults

The most charming towns in each province of Spain, according to travellers, for rural getaways



Visiting Peratallada is something like moving to a fairy tale. The villa is 130 km from Barcelona (Okay, we cheated, it’s an hour and a half from the city, but it’s worth it). The town -declared a historical-artistic and cultural asset of national interest (BCIN)- has an incomparable historical wealth. What’s more, This corner is known for its important craft and gastronomic offer.


Peratallada retains its old feudal aspect, with narrow and winding streets, with numerous inlets and outlets. It is great to spend a day, since it is small. The ‘Bar del Poble’, ‘Cala Nena’, ‘Can Bonay’ or ‘Can Nau’ are recommended restaurants.

Hostal Blau - one night for two adults

Hostal Blau – one night for two adults


Sitges is the perfect midpoint between the beauty of a fishing village and the dynamism of a big city. The town, located about 40 km from the Catalan capital, has great fame thanks (among others) to the ‘Sitges Film Festival’, the ‘Jazz Antic Sitges Festival’ or the striking celebration of LGTBIQ+ Pride Day.

Beyond these events, the town boasts beautiful beaches, narrow dream streets, white houses near the sea, the ‘Parish of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla’, the ‘Palau Maricel’ and an imposing castle. To fill your stomach, you can go to the ‘Restaurant Gastrobar Morelia Sitges’, the ‘Bar Num3ric’ or the ‘Casa Tecla – Gastrobar’.

Hotel Port Sitges - one night for two adults

Hotel Port Sitges – one night for two adults


Finally, we travel to Cardona, where the largest medieval fortification in Catalonia stands out, the Castle of Cardona. This monument has elements typical of Romanesque and Gothic. Likewise, today it houses a parador, so it can be a great bet to sleep in a castle for the first time.


Among the most outstanding restaurants, we stay with ‘4 Cantons’, ‘La Volta del Rector’ and ‘Les Monges’which are recommended on the Cardona tourism website.

Parador de Cardona - one night for two adults

Parador de Cardona – one night for two adults

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Photographs | Cardonaturisme, visitperatallada,,,