According to Printerhall, 50 km south of Madrid is the city of Aranjuez. (Aranjuez). The main attraction of these places is the palace and park ensemble, which served as the summer residence of the royal family. Now it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The palace and its gardens were built between the 16th and 18th centuries by architects such as Juan Batista de Toledo, Juan de Herrera and Francesco Sabatini. This is the most significant palace and park ensemble during the reign of the Habsburg dynasty. A truly picturesque place was chosen for the royal residence – this is the confluence of the Tahoe and Jarama rivers. Today, inside the Royal Palace there is a unique collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and jewelry that belonged to the royal family. Three roads lead from the palace, along which three extensive gardens are arranged. Numerous fountains and statues are located in the gardens, as well as the Casa del Labrador, which contains a collection of paintings, and the Faluas Museum, which displays the boats on which members of the royal family walked along the Tagus River. From May to September on Saturdays and Sundays from Madrid to Aranjuez tourist “Strawberry train” runs, which will take you here in 1 hour. The train is named Strawberry Train because the area around Aranjuez is famous for its strawberries. The train is a typical late 19th and early 20th century trainset. During the trip, girls in vintage outfits will offer you to taste local strawberries. The small town of Chinchon is located 45 km southeast of Madrid. (Chinchon), whose appearance has hardly changed for several hundred years. It is the very spirit of antiquity and solitude that attracts tourists here. The center of the city is the round Plaza Mayor, bordered by the facades of houses with numerous balconies. Cozy cafes are located on the first floors of the houses. The square is the venue for major celebrations and, of course, bullfighting. In addition, churches and towers from the 18th and 19th centuries are scattered along the narrow streets of Chinchon, and the ruins of the Count’s castle from the 15th century have been preserved on the outskirts of the city. The cafes and restaurants of Chinchon and its surroundings are especially popular, offering a wide variety of Spanish cuisine.
Excursions to the protected mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama are very interesting. (Sierra de Guadarrama), which is part of the Central Cordillera mountain range. The Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range offers tourists unlimited opportunities for hiking and mountaineering. There are two significant conservation areas here: the natural park of Mount Penalara (Penalara) (2428 m, the highest point of the Sierra de Guadarrama) and the Cuenca Alta del Rio Manzanares biosphere reserve; as well as several ski centers: Puerto de Navacerrada (Puerto de Navacerrada), Valdeschi (Valdesqui) and La Pinilla (La Pinilla). These ski centers are within 100 km of Madrid. In addition, some significant cultural and historical sites are located in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
These include the city of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, located 50 km northwest of Madrid, where the Royal Monastery was built in the 16th century under King Philip II, now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the largest monastic complex in Spain (it extends over an area of more than 33 thousand square meters) and one of the most significant monuments of Spain the Renaissance. It was erected in honor of the victory of the Spaniards over the French in the battle of San Quenten, as a reminder of the strength and power of the state, with the participation of architects Juan Batista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera. The monastery complex includes the Royal Palace, consisting of many halls and rooms richly decorated with frescoes and a collection of sculptures, paintings and furniture (among them is the ascetic bedroom of Philip II, where the king died); Basilica with a dome 95 m high; the Pantheons located under its altar (in one there are the tombs of the monarchs from the Habsburg and Bourbon families, in the other – the tombs of their wives and children); 9 towers and more than a dozen courtyards and galleries connecting all the buildings. In addition, tourists can visit the Library, which contains about 40 thousand manuscripts of the 15th-16th centuries, the Museum of Architecture, where documents are exhibited, telling about the history of the construction of the monastery complex, and the Museum of Painting, which presents the works of El Greco, Ribera, Titian, Tintoretto, Velasquez, Bosch and other famous painters. On the outskirts of the city of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, you can see the so-called “Chair of Philip II” (a stone block in the form of an armchair), from where, according to legend, the king watched the construction of the monastery.
13 km north of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos) – a monument carved into one of the rocks of the Sierra de Guadarrama by order of the dictator Francisco Franco in honor of those who died in the Civil War. The monument is a 150-meter stone cross with sculptural compositions, standing on a rock, inside of which there is a church. About 40 thousand soldiers and the dictator Francisco Franco are buried here. There is a monastery in front of the monument, whose monks serve in the rock church. Since 2009, the entrance to the church has been closed due to ongoing restoration work.