Before school started, I wanted to try to squeeze in at least another day trip, so I booked an inexpensive bus tour with a local travel company to Aranjuez and Chinchón.
Aranjuez is the site of the Royal Palace where the Royal Family used to live during the spring. It was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site because of the unique design of the town, with wide paved streets and specific geometrically-aligned landscapes. The village is much newer, but the main attraction of the town is definitely the Palace and its surrounding lush gardens.
There are actually multiple gardens comprising the Royal Gardens, with the King’s Garden and Queen’s Garden located directly by the Palace. Farther across town are the Prince’s Gardens, though we didn’t visit those on our tour. The Gardens include trees, bushes and a plethora of fountains, each with their own exquisite marble statues and individual symbolism. A recurring theme throughout the fountain sculptures is Greco-Roman mythology and reinforcement of the importance of the monarchy.
After lunch, we headed to Chinchón, a city fairly close by. The city is most famous for their Plaza Mayor, which holds a bullfighting ring from the fifteenth century, complete with green boxes for viewing. The ring was featured in the movie “Around the World in 80 Days,” so it may look pretty familiar! There is also a very tall clock tower and a few other cool medieval buildings are hidden around the town. We took a cute little train ride that showed us all the major sights but saved our legs the steep uphill climb in some places! The view from the top of the mountain was definitely worth it!