Over twenty cities in Spain in 2 months…. These summer months about Spain, continues with the city of Aranjuez.
Aranjuez is another city that is very close to Madrid. I highly recommend taking the Strawberry Train and visiting Aranjuez for the day. (See below for travel info and useful links).
The main attraction in Aranjuez is the Royal Palace (Palacio Real). This 18th century palace is truly a grand structure with arcades, elegant towers, and of course expansive gardens – the Prince’s Gardens (Jardin del Principe). The palace gardens could take a whole day to walk through. There are fountains, long promenades, rose gardens, gazebos, statues, and elegant marble benches.
The town itself is charming and includes a large square surrounded by brick arcades – these make up the majority of my photographs of Aranjuez as the light creates dramatic shadows. You can see these photographs of Aranjuez on my store site.
During a day trip, one must of course stop for lunch and in Aranjuez you arrive by the Strawberry Train to a city that is known for growing strawberries and another Spanish delicacy, white asparagus! So you are guaranteed a scrumptious meal upon visiting Aranjuez.
** Eating in Spain, plus important tips for vegetarians
– Spanish Cultural tidbit – White asparagus is served cold with mayonnaise – yum!
Also in case you are vegetarian, as am I, if you order a salad it will automatically come with a large mound of tuna right in the middle of your gorgeous greens and vine ripe tomatoes. Now if you are a vegetarian that eats seafood, no problem; but if you don’t eat seafood then you have to explicitly ask for a salad without tuna – “ensalada sin atun.” You will get a funny look of utter disbelief but if you smile nicely and kind of shrug in an apologetic way you might be lucky and get what you ask for. Vegetarian food is still a novelty in Spain (and more on that later on this month).
Aranjuez is worth the day trip. The summer months can be rather hot but the arcades provide shade. For any architecture lover it is worth a visit! And in case you like geese (I’m a big fan) – there is a pond of shallow water right inside the palace at the beginning of the gardens where you will find a gaggle of geese standing in the water and all facing one direction. At least that is what I found at that pond and it makes a rather humorous viewing. You can see the photograph on the store site – click here for photo of geese on The Monica Store.
Fun Facts about Aranjuez:
1 – The Aranjuez cultural landscape is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
2 – Aranjuez became the residence of the kings of Spain in the late 19th century, a residence they used for the spring season.
3 – Only relatives of the king were allowed to live in Aranjuez until 1808.
Information – how to get to Aranjuez:
1 – You can take the regular Cercanias train from the Atocha railway station in Madrid.
2 – You can also take a bus from the South Bus Station in Madrid.
3 – Or you can take the Strawberry Train (Tren de la Fresa), which I recommend! This is an old style railway service that runs Saturdays and Sunday from the 28th of April to July 1st, and from the 15th of September to October 14th.
For more travel info and specifics click here.