Located about 40 minutes south of Madrid, Aranjuez is a great day trip for visitors who want to get away from the city. It is easily reached by car via the A-4 highway, or by train or bus from central Madrid.
The main site of interest is the Royal Palace, which was commissioned by Philip II in the mid-18th C. The main palace building is impressive and is entered through a cobblestone courtyard. Set in one of the gardens is the Casa del Labrador, which was built in 1803 and was modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. There are a number of gardens surrounding the palace, including the impressive Jardín del Principe (the Prince’s Garden) and the Jardín de la Isla (the Garden of the Island). For more information on the Royal Palace in Aranjuez, click here.
Locals flock to Aranjuez from May to July to enjoy the delicious locally grown strawberries that are served with fresh whipped cream (fresas con nata). A fun way to make the trip from Madrid is to take the Tren de la Fresa (Strawberry Train), which was built in 1851 and was the country’s second train line. The one hour ride is a unique experience, as passengers ride in beautifully restored trains from the early 1900s that are attended by staff who are dressed in period costumes. The train leaves from the Museo del Ferrocarril (Railroad Museum) in Madrid on Saturdays and Sundays in May, June, September and October. For more information on the Strawberry Train, click here.
Photo credit: Patrimonio Nacional
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