News by Marta Scandella
Here are a number of places located near capital and in the Community of Madrid which are well worth a visit
Toledo, World Heritage city, is one of the oldest towns in Europe and is known as the “City of the Three Cultures”. In the center of the old city, there are buildings which are reminders of many historical periods: Moorish, Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque.
Buildings which are not to be missed include the church of Santo Tomé, in which El Greco’s masterpiece, "El Entierro del Señor de Orgaz”, is displayed; the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, the Cathedral of Toledo, the famous Alcázar and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz should also be on your list of visits.
We recommend that you try some of the typical dishes of Toledo cuisine, such as the roast lamb. You can reach Toledo by train (from Atocha Station, trains run approximately every 30 minutes), or by bus (from the Interchange Station at Plaza Eliptica, also every half hour, approximately). There are also many excursions and guided tours from Madrid.
This city, where the Royal Family used to spend the spring, is just 48 km. from the capital.
King Felipe II ordered the Royal Palace of Aranjuez to be built in 1561; it was rebuilt on several occasions as a result of fires between 1660 and 1715, when Felipe V finished the reconstruction of the palace as we know it today. The gardens around the palace with their broad avenues deserve a visit and there you will find a museum with a collection of riverboats used by the different monarchs.
The old town, declared part of the Spanish National Heritage, was designed by Giancomo Bonavia and is notable for its baroque urbanism: it was conceived to be a noble city, having great houses with courtyards, domes, mansions, convents, balconies, plazas and spacious streets…
You can reach Aranjuez on public transport by coach (from the South Bus Station on Menendez Alvaro) or by train (local trains from Atocha Station). You could also try the historical “Strawberry Train”, which covers the line between Madrid to Aranjuez and recreates the first railway line to operate in the Madrid Community
El Escorial is located in the Sierra Guardarrma and apart from being an attractive town, it is best known for its monastery. A World Heritage building, the Monastery was also built by Felipe II to commemorate the Battle of San Quentin, and at the same time, to be used as the royal pantheon for the Spanish Crown. For many years it was the largest building in Europe; we strongly recommend you to visit the interior and to see the Museo de Pinturas, the Pantheon of Kings and the imposing Patio de Reyes.
You can reach El Escorial by train (local line C8A, approximately every hour from Charmartin Station) or by bus (lines 661 or 664 from the Moncloa Interchange).
Real Sitio de San Ildefonso (La Granja)
La Granja de San Ildefonso is a town in the province of Segovia, which was built by Felipe V and is famous for its palace. During the reigns which followed that of Felipe V, La Granja Palace continued to grow in importance; apart from its use as the royal summer residence, it was also used for receptions or as the palace where important treaties were signed. Its rooms are filled with art treasures, among which the tapestries and the chandeliers of the Royal Glass Factory stand out. The gardens are also worthy of a visit; entrance is free, except when the spectacular fountains are switched on.
Buses for Segovia leave Madrid approximately every half hour from the Moncloa Interchange (Avanza Bus Company). Buses arrive in Segovia (after a 75 minute journey) at the local bus station (located on Ezequiel Gonzalez St.) and from there you can take another bus to La Granja (Linecar Company). These buses leave every 45 minutes.
You can also reach La Granja by train by taking a local train to Segovia and from Segovia the bus mentioned above to La Granja.