Tag Archives: Palacio Real

Outside Madrid: Royal Town of Aranjuez

Aranzuez isn’t a huge, highly sought-after town, but it’s far from being hidden and obscure. It is actually one jewel of a Spanish pueblo, being the site of a spectacular royal palace. Still, many would consider it as low-key compared to the more popular day trip destinations like Toledo, Segovia, or even the faraway exciting getaways like Santiago de Compostela.

There’s no bit of a doubt, however, that this town 80 kilometers away from Madrid can hold its own, boasting of some of the most alluring sites and attractions.

Aranjuez, Madrid and its Royal Palace

aranjuez palace in plaza de las parejasThis town presents a great appeal to those who are interested in royal history, and this is thru the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, an 18th century palace that once served as the residence of the King of Spain. With the collaboration of distinguished Spanish architects such as  Juan Herrera, Juan Bautista de Toledo, and Francesco Sabatini, the royal edifice was built using a  mix of Renaissance and French style in its design.

It was in 1523 when the palace was officially declared the royal property of the Spanish Monarchy.  Beloved royalties who lived and died there were Elisabeth Fernese, wife of Philip V and Elizabeth of Valois, wife of Philip II.  Likewise, the Palacio Real was the site of the signing of various important treaties.

If you haven’t been to Aranjuez, Spain, it’s high time that you do. The Palacio Real will certainly amaze you. it is easy to find since it is right in the midst, as if to assert its prime importance as the town’s top tourist attraction.

Apart from the palace, other major attractions are its sprawling plazas, the Tagus River, and the Casa del Labrador.

Where to start your Aranjuez tour

imageThe Ayuntamiento Building at Plaza de Constitucion. The statue in front is Alfonso XII

Aranjuez is less than an hour away – whether by bus or by train. It’s one of those charming towns that are near Madrid, and very easy to reach — you’ll be there even before you know it.

You might want to start your tour at the Plaza de la Constitution, where you can see the Ayuntamiento — simple yet stately in its facade. On one side of the square stands a metal board marked on which is a map specifying all the major places of interest to see. Or you can head straight to the tourism office for a tour map plus instructions and advices on how to get around the town.

I spent the whole day exploring Aranjuez, and had a great time discovering all the reasons why the whole town was declared a World Heritage Cultural Landscape by the UNESCO. The Royal Palace was just impressive. You can see the grandness of the structure from the pictures that I took. I can proudly say that my shots of the palace are all postcard-worthy. Equally impressive are the gardens and plazas, the surrounding bodies of waters, and the Casas.

Aranjuez might be small, but it can very well compete with the much larger and more touristy Spanish towns. Needless to say, it must be one the first town-members of the community of Madrid that you must visit. Engaging locals, lots of eager tourists, amazing tourist attractions, what more can you ask for? Add Aranjuez to your must-see town list, do visit and explore it, and I assure you it is all worth your while.

What to see in Aranjuez, Spain

1. Royal Palace of Aranjuez

imagePalacio Real de Aranjuez in Spanish, this UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site was once the King’s official residence. One of the more popular Royal Sites, it now serves as a museum and is open to the public.

2. Iglesia de San Antonio

imageKing Ferdinand VI assigned Spanish architects Gonzalez Velazquez and Santiago Bonavia to build what was intended as a royal church, and one dedicated to San Antonio de Padua – St. Anthony´s Church or Iglesia de San Antonio. This Italian-inspired church from the 1700’s sprawls in one end of the Plaza de San Antonio. Nearby is the Tourism Office.

3. Iglesia de Alpajes

imageThe Alpajes Church, also called the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, is a small church located in the old Alpajes quarter. Eventually, the said quarter was incorporated into the expanded Aranjuez town.

4. Parterre Garden

imageThe beautiful Parterre Garden is the most colorful of all that surround the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, I must say. It must be where beautiful flowers of all types and hues are found. The flowers were in blooming and exploding in all colors that the whole garden was such a fascinating sight. Parterre is in front of the West portion of the Palace.

5. Jardin del Principe

imageLiterally, it means the Prince’s Garden. The Jardin was a pet project of Charles IV which started when he was still the Prince of Asturias. Consisting of 150 hectares of land, it must have been the largest Madrid garden that I’ve seen so far. It took 19 years to build the garden, and was finished in 1908, at the time when Charles finally became king.

6. Casa del Labrador

Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Community of Madrid, SpainOne of the royal family of Spain´s favorite residences in Madrid, the Casa del Labrador is a World Heritage site. Public viewing and visits are allowed although I wasn’t able to because I visited Aranjuez on a Monday, when most of the sites are closed.

7. Jardin de la Isla

imageA beautiful garden found in the northern portion of the palace, the Jardin de la Isla is so-called because it is situated in the middle of bodies of water, by the Tagus River or Rio Tajo, and a man-made river.

8. Cascada de las Castanuelas

imageLocated beside the Jardin de la Isla, the Cascades was built to regulate the course of the Tagus River and to collect water for the gardens.

9. Tagus River

imageRio Tajo in Spanish, it is one of the main  bodies of water that surround the palace. Tagus River is of utmost importance to Aranjuez’ environment as it sustains the lives of a number of animal varieties, especially the waterfowl.

How to get to Aranjuez, Spain:

imageVia Bus: Take the 423 bus, found at Estacion Sur, Madrid’s biggest bus station. The latter can be reached via Metro Madrid Linea 6, at Mendez Alvaro.

Fare is 4.20 euros, and tickets are bought on the bus itself.

Via Train: Cercania train tickets are available at the ticketing counters of Chamartin and Atocha stations. Traveling by train is more or less the same as that with bus travel – around an hour.

For specific journey schedules and ticket prices, please refer to Cercania’s website.

Map of Royal Palace of Aranjuez:

Royal Palace of Madrid – Jewel of Spain

imageSimply put, Spain is one of the best vacation options here in Europe, whether you’re traveling as an individual or flying in with your family or friends. What’s interesting about the country is that impressive attractions are not only found in Madrid, its capital, and other large cities, but also in small towns, barrios, and pueblos. One of the major attractions to see is the Palacio Real Madrid — once the residence of the Familia Real de Espana, and now a sought-after museum and considered by many as the  royal jewel of Spain.

Royal Palace of Madrid

imageIf you’re looking for some royal Spanish history to soak into, a must-see within the vibrant city of Madrid is the Royal Palace. Under the administration of the Ministry of the President’s Patrimonio National, it was once the  residence of the Spanish royal family. These days, however,  it functions as a venue for official ceremonies and  events.

Interesting Facts about Palacio Real de Madrid

imageDid you know that the palace covers a wide area of roughly 135,000 square meters? This easily renders it as one of the largest in Europe. It has about 2,800 lavishly decorated rooms, a good number of which the public has access to for general viewing. Entry of visitors is via the Plaza de la Armeria side of the palace.

imageHere are some other important trivia about the royal edifice:

1. Palaces built by the Moors are scattered all over Spain, including Madrid. In fact, it was an Alcazar or Moorish castle/fortress that once stood in the palace’s current location.

2. After the fortress was destroyed by a fire in the 18th Century, Spain’s ruler then, King Philips V, had reconstruction work done with the new design of the palace patterned loosely after France’s own extravagant palace – the Versailles.

3. It was the  royal residence up to 1931, when the King and his family decided to take residence at the Palacio de la Zarzuela, located in the outskirts of the capital. The the Real Palacio, it is under the administration of Spain’s Patrimonio Nacional.

image4. Reconstruction was started by Italian architect Filippo Juvarra and finished by another architect, Francesco Sabatini. The latter, also from Italy, was likewise the designer of the famous Jardines de Sabatini, the official royal garden.

5. A strong rival to top Spanish museums, on display everywhere the palace are a rich collection of gold and silver items, expensive jewels, luxurious furniture, and a wide array of valuable painting from revered artists like Velazquez, Giordano and Goya.

6. The Royal Palace of Madrid has a coveted location within Madrid, if I must say. It is near charming and quaint plazas, the Plaza del Oriente and Plaza de Isabel II and beautiful and luscious gardens, the Sabatini Gardens and Campo del Moro. It has one of the most spectacular Spanish churches in its front, the Almudena Cathedral, the underground museum Museo de los Canos del Peral that’s situated at Madrid Metro Opera, and a good choice of cafes and restaurantes within the vicinity.

Nearby Madrid Attractions

imageAlmudena Catedral, or Sta Maria la Real de La Almudena, Madrid’s Catholic Cathedral

imagePlaza del oriente, the square fronting the Royal Palace
imageStatue of Philips IV and his horse, located in the midst of Plaza del Oriente
imageTeatro Real Madrid (also known as the Royal Thetre) borders the Plaza del Oriente and fronts the palace

imageJardines de Sabatini, an integral part of the palace, sprawls on its northern portion

imageChalet de la Reina at Campo del Moro, a garden beside the palace and located at Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto

Easily, Madrid is filled with museums, plazas, alcazars, and churches. Not only does this afford vacationers the chance to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation; but the city also allows everyone to have a deeper knowledge of the rich Castilian history and culture. And if indeed, you’re staying in the city even for just a few days, do pass by the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Now touted as one of the city’s major museums, thousands upon thousands of visitors go to the site every year. Needless to say, the Palacio Real Madrid is one of the most precious monuments the city has ever possessed.

Opening Hours:

October to March – 10AM to 6PM
April to September – 10AM to 8PM

Royal Palace Madrid Tickets – Admission Prices and Admission Fees

General Admission: 11 euros

Reduced price of 6 euros: Available to children aged 5 to 16, seniors of EU and Latin American countries aged over 65, students under the age of 25

Free admission: Available to children below five years old, teachers, people with disability, and unemployed persons.

You may also gain free access if you go to the site from Monday to Thursday, starting at 4PM up to 6PM (months of October through March); and the same days, from 6PM to 8PM (from April to September). This is applicable only to EU and Latin American citizens.

How to go:

Direccion: Calle de Bailen, Madrid
Nearest Metro Station: Opera (next nearest is Vodafone Sol)

Mapa: