Madrid Region

Madrid Region two different worlds


Madrid Region…Madrid is the capital of Spain but at the same time is an autonomous
region home to cities, towns and landscapes of great interest.  As it is
often true the lure of the city of Madrid many a time obscures the charm of
its other places, so why not try something different?  Let’s forget the
big city for a moment and let’s take a circular trip around the capital.

To the north of the city we find what los Madrileños (people who
live in Madrid) call la Sierra aMiraflores-de-la-Sierra range of mountains that separate
Madrid from Castilla and León an excellent place to ski and hike among
the pine forests.   This area has several villages with lots of charm
where it is easy to find good bars and restaurants to quench one’s
thirst and fill one’s stomach after a hearty hike in the woods. 
Miraflores de la Sierra is an excellent choice as it is a good starting
point to climb the ports of Canencia or La Marcuera.  The port of
Canencia houses excellent specimens of yew some of them over 500 years
old as well as birch woods.  In addition, through these two ports we
find access to the valley of Lozoya a place of great beauty. 
In the heart of the mountains is Rascafría where the Monasterio del
Paular is definitely worth visiting as well as the town of Buitrago with
its well preserved Arab wall.

As if following the hands of a clock on our circular route around Madrid
region we continue
our journey heading east to Torrelaguna to take a stroll through the old
town, if it happens to be chow time there is no better place to enjoy a
succulent roasted goat than at Antigua Casa de Papatan in calle
Malacuera 2 y 4.  Continuing east we reach Alcalá de Henares birthplace
of Miguel de Cervantes and home to one of the most important
universities in Spain.   Places to visit are The Colegio Mayor San
Idelfonso, the Archibishop’s palace and the convent of Las Bernardas. 
Alcalá has a wonderful parador as well as one of the oldest
theaters in Spain.  Make sure to stop at the Hostería del Estudiante for
some savory migas.


A littler further south and slightly east is Chinchón which has one of
the most beautiful town squares in Spain.  It is a must to take a
stroll through its streets and have a snack in its gorgeous plaza. 
On the balconies overlooking the plaza one can find some great
restaurants to eat at and at the same time enjoy a stunning view.

We head south to Aranjuez on the banks of the river Tajo and home to one
of the palaces belonging to the Royal Family, the palace and its gardens
are magnificent.  Aranjuez is also the capital of an agricultural region
famous for its strawberries and asparagus. This region distributes a
variety of excellent vegetables from its produce farms which can be
tasted in many of the best restaurants the likes of Casa José in Calle
Abastos 32.

From Aranjuez we move westward towards Navalcarnero and its charming
plaza which has been very well preserved.  The town has an abundance of
caves where wine used to be stored and now have been transformed into
restaurants.  Like Chinchón the town also has a number of restaurants in
the balconies overlooking the plaza so there are plenty of choices here
for good food up above or down below.

From Navalcareno heading north and somewhat west we come to El Escorial,
where Felipe II commissioned a spectacular monastery symbolizing the
zenith of the power of Spain in Europe and the world.  El Escorial,
located on the skirts of la Sierra, has been for years a
vacation refuge for many Madrileños looking to escape the
scorching summer heat of Madrid.  Classic hotels and summer residences
give El Escorial a very special flavor and it does not hurt that it has a
very prestigious restaurant, El Charolés, where experts claim they serve
the best cocido Madrileño.


From El Escorial we complete our circular route around the capital,
heading through Cercedilla y Navacerrada, two popular towns of la Sierra
de Madrid to our starting point, Miraflores.

Next time you
come to our country make sure to explore not just the capital but the
Madrid Region you will be in for a definite treat!


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