10 unusual places in the surroundings of Madrid

10 unusual places in the surroundings of Madrid

We all know that Madrid is a noisy and cheerful city, where the life is bustling. It is certainly not boring! Shopping in the stores of the best world brands, dinner in several tapas-bars in one night and endless attractions… However, not everyone likes hectic lifestyle. Those who want to rest from the city fuss and look at Spain with different eyes, must order an excursion in the surroundings of Madrid. We offer you the list of places worth visiting.

  1. Toledo.

Toledo is an ancient capital of Spain. Located only 80 km from Madrid, Toledo has totally different atmosphere. While Madrid is considered more modern, Toledo is famous for its medieval atmosphere and historical architecture, preserved to this days. The main attractions of Toledo include old cathedrals, synagogues and mosques, mainly the famous Cathedral of Toledo. As Toledo was inhabited by Moors, Visigoths and Romans, city’s architecture combines the impact of many cultures, making Toledo even more interesting.

  1. Segovia.

Segovia is one of the oldest city in Castilla. The location of city is remarkable, as Segovia is situated on the rocky plateau at the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers. The main attraction of Segovia is Alcazar Castle that became the prototype for Wall Disney’s Cinderella castle. As in the XX century Alcazar became the museum, is can be visited by everybody. We will also visit the Cathedral and Roman Acqueduct. As well as Toledo, Segovia is included in UNESCO World Heritage list.

  1. Escorial.

The famous monastery and castle Escorial was built as a tribute to the victory of Spanish troops over the French. At different times, Escorial served as a convent, summer royal residence, etc., while Escorial is a museum, where you can admire the works of famous Spanish and Italian painters, such as El Greco, Velazquez, Titian and Tintoretto. The palace interior includes many galleries, chapels and courtyard (so-called “patio”), towers and ladders. The castle is surrounded by the beautiful gardens with the monument to the owner of Escorial– King Philip II.

  1. Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen).

The memorial complex called “Valle de los Caidos” is located at foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains not far from Escorial. It was built in1940 on the order of the dictator Francisco Franco to honor the victims of Civil War. The height of huge monument in the shape of cross is 150 m, and the tourists can reach the foot of the mountains by a cableway.

  1. Aranjuez.

The royal palace Aranjuez, built in the XVII century, is located at the confluence of two rivers – Taco and Jarama. In its time, Aranjuez was a summer residence of the Spanish kings. The most interesting rooms in the palace are Chinese, Porcelain and Mirror Halls. In Aranjuez you can also visit the exhibition, devoted to the life of the royal family in the palace. When you’re outside the palace, pay attention to the beautiful gardens around the palace.

  1. Alcala de Henares.

The ancient city Alcala de Henares, located near Madrid, is also famous for its rich cultural and architectural heritage. Most buildings and streets of this city preserve a medieval atmosphere. Alcala de Henares is a birthplace of the famous author of “Don Quijote”- Miguel de Cervantes. One of the central streets of the city is named after him – Plaza de Cervantes (Cervantes Square). One of the famous city’s attractions is the archbishop’s palace (“palacio arzobispal”), where Christopher Columbus met King Ferdinand, which defined the future of his expedition. We should also note that the oldest university of Spain is located in Alcala de Henares. The foreign students come there to study Spanish language and culture.

  1. Chinchon.

Chinchon is a small city less than one hour’s drive from Madrid. However, considering its population (about 5000 people), it is more like a village. Chinchon is famous for its cultural and gastronomic traditions. One of the most famous holidays are Anis and Wine festival, where you can try the local drinks (aniseed liquor) and dishes (cocido, baked lamb, etc.) and Garlic festival.

  1. Puerto de Navaserrada.

Spain attracts tourists not only in the hot season, but also in winter, as here you can spend a good time on a ski trip. Puerto de Navaserrada is located not far from Madrid, in the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains. The famous ski center has different types of routes for all levels (4 green, 2 blue, 9 red and 1 black– from the smallest to the greatest complexity). The length of the longest route called “La Mancha” is 1250 m. In the resort territory you can find everything necessary for a good rest– parkings, restaurants and hotels.

  1. Buitrago del Lozoya.

The ancient city Buitrago del Lozoya is situated not far from Madrid, on coast of the river Lozoya. The main difference of this city is that the castle walls surrounding it were built by Moors in the XI century. From their height you can enjoy the view of the river Lozoya, Buitrago castle and the Gothic Cathedral of the XIV century called “Santa Maria del Castillo”. The ancient castle “Castillo Buitrago del Lozoya” is interesting as it combines the architecture of Moors, Gothic and Renaissance. By visiting it, you can learn about the culture and architecture of the XV century. The fans of modernity should visit Picasso Museum, whose collection belonged to Picasso’s best friend and personal hairdresser –Eugenio Arias.

  1. Castillo de Manzanares el Real.

Castillo de Manzanares el Real is located 50 km from Madrid on the river Manzanares. The castle has a very unusual history– the King Juan I de Castilla presented it to his subject Pedro González de Mendoza for his long and loyal service. Battlements, forbidding towers and lancet holes make the architecture of Manzanares el Real quite austere, but at the same time magnificent. The military theme prevails in the interior of the castle: entering the castle, you will get directly to the Weapon Court, and it the central hall of the castle you can see a huge collection of knight armor. The walls of Manzanares el Real are decorated with the beautiful medieval tapestries that make a grim military atmosphere of the castle a bit brighter.

Now you know that Spain can offer you much more than just a fuss of noisy Madrid. By ordering an excursion to the surroundings of Madrid, you will learn more about the history of Spain and visit the main attractions of this country.