Madrid Region

Madrid Region two different worlds

Madrid-Region  

Madrid Region...Madrid is the capital of Spain but at the same time is an autonomous region home to cities, towns and landscapes of great interest.  As it is often true the lure of the city of Madrid many a time obscures the charm of its other places, so why not try something different?  Let’s forget the big city for a moment and let’s take a circular trip around the capital.

To the north of the city we find what los Madrileños (people who live in Madrid) call la Sierra aMiraflores-de-la-Sierra range of mountains that separate Madrid from Castilla and León an excellent place to ski and hike among the pine forests.   This area has several villages with lots of charm where it is easy to find good bars and restaurants to quench one’s thirst and fill one’s stomach after a hearty hike in the woods.  Miraflores de la Sierra is an excellent choice as it is a good starting point to climb the ports of Canencia or La Marcuera.  The port of Canencia houses excellent specimens of yew some of them over 500 years old as well as birch woods.  In addition, through these two ports we find access to the valley of Lozoya a place of great beauty.  In the heart of the mountains is Rascafría where the Monasterio del Paular is definitely worth visiting as well as the town of Buitrago with its well preserved Arab wall.

As if following the hands of a clock on our circular route around Madrid region we continue our journey heading east to Torrelaguna to take a stroll through the old town, if it happens to be chow time there is no better place to enjoy a succulent roasted goat than at Antigua Casa de Papatan in calle Malacuera 2 y 4.  Continuing east we reach Alcalá de Henares birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and home to one of the most important universities in Spain.   Places to visit are The Colegio Mayor San Idelfonso, the Archibishop’s palace and the convent of Las Bernardas.  Alcalá has a wonderful parador as well as one of the oldest theaters in Spain.  Make sure to stop at the Hostería del Estudiante for some savory migas.

View-of-Chinchon

A littler further south and slightly east is Chinchón which has one of the most beautiful town squares in Spain.  It is a must to take a stroll through its streets and have a snack in its gorgeous plaza.  On the balconies overlooking the plaza one can find some great restaurants to eat at and at the same time enjoy a stunning view.

We head south to Aranjuez on the banks of the river Tajo and home to one of the palaces belonging to the Royal Family, the palace and its gardens are magnificent.  Aranjuez is also the capital of an agricultural region famous for its strawberries and asparagus. This region distributes a variety of excellent vegetables from its produce farms which can be tasted in many of the best restaurants the likes of Casa José in Calle Abastos 32.

From Aranjuez we move westward towards Navalcarnero and its charming plaza which has been very well preserved.  The town has an abundance of caves where wine used to be stored and now have been transformed into restaurants.  Like Chinchón the town also has a number of restaurants in the balconies overlooking the plaza so there are plenty of choices here for good food up above or down below.

From Navalcareno heading north and somewhat west we come to El Escorial, where Felipe II commissioned a spectacular monastery symbolizing the zenith of the power of Spain in Europe and the world.  El Escorial, located on the skirts of la Sierra, has been for years a vacation refuge for many Madrileños looking to escape the scorching summer heat of Madrid.  Classic hotels and summer residences give El Escorial a very special flavor and it does not hurt that it has a very prestigious restaurant, El Charolés, where experts claim they serve the best cocido Madrileño.

 

From El Escorial we complete our circular route around the capital, heading through Cercedilla y Navacerrada, two popular towns of la Sierra de Madrid to our starting point, Miraflores.

Next time you come to our country make sure to explore not just the capital but the Madrid Region you will be in for a definite treat!

 

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