Category Archives: Outside Madrid

Chinchon: An Under-an-hour Travel Getaway from Madrid

imageThe town of Chinchon, Community of Madrid, as viewed from the clock tower

Time and again, I try to be far from the hustle and bustle of Madrid, and all the stress and craziness that go with this big city. And enjoy a breather of sorts, even if only for a day.

This makes living in Madrid an advantage because of the nearby towns I can run to in a heartbeat whenever I have the urge to get away from it all. Just waiting for everyone to explore are the beautiful towns of Toledo, Segovia, and San Lorenzo de El Escorial — amazing World heritage sites as declared by UNESCO.

Of course, small pueblos also abound. These are lesser-known towns within the periphery of Madrid. Found under the radar, you’d be surprised that they are just as enthralling, and boast too of fascinating tourist sites.

One is Chinchon, Spain, a member of the Community of Madrid,  and a place that I’ve always wanted to visit ever since I learned it’s a mere 45 kilometers away from the capital. The town is known for its strong religious traditions, particularly the commemoration of Christian holidays thru passion plays, processions, and even concerts. What piqued my interest is its square, which doubles as a bullring, and so you know bullfighting is alive in this part of Spain. I looked forward to seeing the castle ruins and the clock tower as well.

Raring to explore the town, I decided that it’s time to hit the road and go on a solo trip as a way of celebrating my birthday.

And so, I was off to Chinchon.

The early morning of last Tuesday, I rode Metro Linea 6 at Nuevos Ministerio, and got off at Conde de Casal. Then, I proceeded to Avenida de Mediterraneo where buses 337 wait. Within an hour, I reached my destination. The trip didn’t tire a bit.  Instead I stayed invigorated, excited on what I was about to discover.

I found myself in the middle of the pueblo, which is noticeably tiny, quiet and rustic, like you’re in the countryside. I headed to the square and found the much-fussed-about pasteleria located on one of its corners. I must have a taste of its famous sweet, rounded pastry, which is described online as a soft bread that’s pretty much like a doughnut sans the filling. I bought two, gobbled one after the other, finishing both within minutes. Saccharine pastry balls, they were delicious indeed, just like what they say!

As I ate, my gaze wandered around, and saw a group of tourists roaming the Plaza Mayor. The square itself got my attention because of its appearance, being “dressed up” as a bullring. I wondered if this is a permanent thing or it just looked that way because of a forthcoming bullfight event.

Next, I ventured outside the square. First stop is the clock tower, which could be reached by walking up a steep road of a few hundred meters. The tower is on an elevated land high enough to afford anyone a magnificent view of the town below, including the faraway castle ruins.

Like other Spanish towns, the streets are narrow and winding. They are hardly level, but run uphill and down instead. Still, I have to say that strolling around this town, from one site to another, was fun and relaxing.

One thing you’ll love about Chinchon is that most sites of interest, with the exception of the Old Castle, are near one another and not spread out. I had an easy time hopping from one place to the next.

I almost skipped the tourism office deeming I didn’t need an area map; but I did go anyway, because I wanted to ask if walking to the castle is doable. The people at the info counter assured me I’d reach the site within 10 minutes. They even gave instructions on which streets to take in order to get there the fastest. Some enthusiastic Chinchonites, indeed.

My final word about the town? Make it your next day trip destination. Tiny and unhurried it may be, but it packs in places of great allure. The town folks are friendly and helpful, especially those manning the square’s pastelerias, the alimentacion, and the tourism office.

Here are some of the Chinchon, Madrid attractions that you mustn’t miss.

The Counts’ Castle

imageSpread in a land found on the highest point of the town is the Counts’ Castle, or Castillo de los Condes. Also called the Chinchon’s Castle, it was the residence of the royals at the time when Cabreja was allowed to own a land in the area. Now in ruins, it is still under the ownership of the counts.

The Clock Tower

imageTorre del Reloj in Spanish, it was the only structure left standing and unscathed after the 15th-century Our Lady of Grace Church was destroyed during the War of Independence (Guerra de la Independencia).

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

imageIglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Asunsion, with its bright-hued and solemn facade, is a sight to behold as you walk up the steep, winding calle known as Las Columnas de Los Franceses. Inside is the Blessed Virgin painting by Goya, Spain’s illustrious painter who lived in the town for some time. Nearby is the Clock Tower.

Hermitage of San Roque

imageThe Ermita de San Roque is dedicated to the town patron, the feast of which is on the 16th of August. You will encounter this monastery upon entering the square thru Calle de los Huertos.

Teatro Lope de Vega

imageTeatro Lope de Vega now stands on the land where Palace of the Counts once stood. De Vega was a great Spanish artist, writer, and Chinchon admirer.

More Beautiful Chinchon Scenes

imageTourists inspect the display window of an artisan shop as they go about the town square

imageThis wooden gate is one of the five entrances that open to the Plaza Mayor

imageBright-red wooden fence encircles the middle of the town square

imageThe Casa Ayuntamiento or the town hall building

imagePart of the pillared walkways that surround the Plaza Mayor-bull ring

imageBreathtaling view of Chinchon from the area of the Old CastleDelicious pastries in Chinchon are aplenty such as pelotas de frailePelotas de Fraile are sweet, soft balls of bread resembling a doughnut, but with no filling inside

imageTeta de Novicia, a local, sweet delicacy, is so-called because of its bosom shape

image Anis liquor and garlic are two of Chinchon’s prized products

ajos, chinchon, madrid, spainAjos de Chinchon hang on the wall of a lottery shop. Touching it is supposed to bring bettors good luck. And so, I did after I bought a ticket

How to reach the castle

The Castillo de los Condes, lying on a low hill next to the town, appears distant and unreachable when viewed from the Clock Tower, but it’s actually an easy walk from the Plaza Mayor. This 16th-century Renaissance castle still stands mightily. It’s a pity, however, that some portions had already crumbled.

No one is allowed inside — it is said that nothing is found in the interior. Empty and forsaken, still, I couldn’t help but admire the impressive facade and the mighty bridge of this otherwise haunting fortress.

From the square, you walk thru the length of Calle del Convento starting at the Plaza del Convento, until you turn right to Calle del Castillo. Walk time: Around 10 to 15 minutes

How I traveled to Chinchon, Madrid:

image

I recommend traveling to (and from) Chinchon by bus because it is convenient and easy on the pocket as well.

1. Take the Metro Linea 6 and get off at Conde de Casal Station.

2. From the station, proceed to Ave de Mediterraneo, where found are parked green buses en route to various locations.

3. Look for the La Veloz-owned buses, and take number 337 — it will bring you to the town in less than an hour.

A bus is scheduled to go to the town every 30 minutes to an hour (during weekends) with trips starting at 7am. Tickets sell at 4.20 euros.

Map

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 one jewel of a Spanish pueblo, being the site of a spectacular royal palace. Still, many would consider it to be 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 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 must 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, 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:

Ten Nearby Madrid Towns that are Bona Fide Day Trip Destinations

alcazar segoviaSo charming is Madrid, Spain that first-timers are likely tempted to stay within its confines and just revel in its beauty. True enough, every barrio of the city is unique and fascinating that you can’t help but hop from one place to another, walk thru paseos, loiter around the plazas and calles, and soak up on what it can offer. Trust me, I did all this a countless number of times — and every time, it’s just insane fun.

Be amazed by everything within the city proper

Everywhere in Madrid are breathtaking sites and attractions — world-class museums like Prado and Reina Sofia, among many others; towering basilicas and cathedrals such as San Gines and Almudena; and gargantuan parks and gardens like Retiro and Sabatini, respectively.

And I must say the city is a gastronomic paradise as well. Restaurants and cafes of different shapes, sizes, and culinary delights are scattered all over; there’s Museo del Jamon, Bar Santurce, Botin, Cafe Melo’s Bar, to name a few of my favorites. I swear there must be a food joint that offers sumptuous Spanish comida in every street corner.

Madrid is where you blend easily with the crowd at evening street parties and gatherings — commonplace events happening everywhere in the city, every day of the week. The city is where you can witness and experience solemn processions that venerate the Lady and various saints; and participate, to your heart’s delight, in thunderous festivals held all throughout the year.

Exciting nearby Madrid towns, nonetheless

Still, did you know there’s so much to see and discover on the outskirts of the city? Not a few towns are situated very near the capital, and needless to say, all are a must-visit as they boast of tons of attractions as well.

I had traveled, wandered, and explored quite a number of these pueblos. Referred to as day trip destinations, they are so near that you can visit, experience and relish these places, and be back in the city — all within the day.

Here are my top 10 beautiful and exciting towns near Madrid:

1. Avila

Bright yellow walls of AvilaOne of Spain’s major Castilian pueblos, Avila is famous for its perfectly preserved Murallas or Town Walls. The haunting Catedral de Avila is touted as one of the first Gothic churches built in the country. And if you happen to be in town, be sure to have a taste of its popular yema, a special, sweet delicacy, apart from its other traditional pastries.

How far from Madrid: 2 Hours
Recommended Mode of Travel: Autobus – Avanza Bus (at Estacion Sur)
Cost of Fare: More or less 14 euros (lda y vuelta)

2. Alcala de Henares

imageThe town is known for being the birthplace of famous Spanish Writer, Miguel de Cervantes. In front of his home are the bronze figures of Don Quixote and Sancho Pancho, the main characters of the Cervantes’ novel, the Don Quixote de la Mancha. The prestigious Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso or the University of Alcala is the reason this pueblo within the Community of Madrid is called the University Town.

Number of hours from Madrid: 50 minutes
Best Travel Option: Cercanias trains. Get your ride at Nuevos Ministerios, or other select Metro stations such as Chamartin and Atocha.

3. Colmenar Viejo

imageSome might find Colmejar Viejo to be a bit of a sleep town, but it is definitely one of the Madrid towns that are easiest to go to — Colmenar is just some 30 kilometers from the city of Madrid. A major attraction is the tiny, historic hermitage calle the Ermita de Santa Ana,  and the Basílica dela Asuncion de Nuestra Senora.

Distance from Madrid: 37 kms. (less than an hour)
Best Travel Option: Autobus 721 at Plaza Castilla
Cost of Fare: 7.20 euros round trip

4. Manzanares el Real

Manzanares el Real Castle is also called Castillo de los MendozaA town made famous by its two castles, the New Castle of Manzanares and the Castillo Viejo. The former is also a fortress and said to be the most preserved castle within the Communidad de Madrid. If you love to hike, the nearby Pedriza Mountain can be reached by walking in just under an hour. Continue further up the hill beside the mount and you will encounter the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Peña Sacra.

How far from Madrid: 50 kms. (less than an hour)
Enjoy going there via: Autobus 724 at Plaza Castilla
Cost of Fare: 8.40 euros Ida y Vuelta

5. Town of Chinchon

imageSome 40 minutes or so away from Madrid is the quaint and tranquil pueblo of Chinchon. Its plaza mayor is a bit peculiar because it is shaped like a bullring. The fact is that the square is used actively for the sport; because of this, Chinchon is recognized as one of Spain’s bullfight towns. Must-eat are Teta de Novicia and Pelotas de Fraile, delightful, traditional breads sold in pastelerias within the town’s plaza mayor.

How far from the capital: 45 kms. (55 minutes)
Recommended travel option: Veloz Autobus 337 at Avenida de Mediterraneo
Fare Cost: 4.20 euros one way

6. Segovia

The Roman Acqueduct at Segovia, SpainIf only for its historic Romano Acueducto and breathtaking Alcazar or fortress, I’d take the bus or train trip to Segovia in a heartbeat. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of seeing these wondrous Segovian landmarks. The aqueduct, for one, is the main symbol of the town. Did you know that this ancient structure still works, and is capable of transporting water throughout the city? The Alcazar, on the other hand, is compared to the castle of Disney — both are charming and enthralling. The whole town itself enjoys the fine distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By the way, don’t leave without having a taste of its savory and mouth-watering delicacy – the Cuchinillo or suckling pig.

Recommended mode of travel: RENFE train (Chamartin)
Time of travel by train: Less than 30 minutes

7. San Lorenzo El Escorial

imageI recommend this place if you are looking for a fine and quiet respite, away from the noise, and the hustle and bustle of Madrid. Be sure to check out the interior of the fabled Monastery, which once served as a royal palace of the King. Visitors will be mesmerized by the grandeur of its library, while the mighty courtyard of the Old Testament kings is something to marvel at. You must also see the Pantheon, where the remains of many royalties are kept.

How far from Madrid: 45 kilometers
Best Travel Option: Catch the autobus 661 at Moncloa, if you want to go the Galapagar route. Take 664 if you want to pass by the Valley of the Fallen gates.
Fare Price: 4.20 euros one way

8. Toledo

imageOne of the most visited towns within the Community of Madrid is Toledo,  not only because it is very near Madrid, but also because it is filled with many spectacular attractions. The alcazar is its most recognizable landmark, a magnificent site lying in the town’s highest peak. You can enjoy the best view of the edifice from the historic Tagus River. Other interesting sites to see in Toledo are the Museo de Separdi, the Toledo Cathedral, the Ancient Walls and Towers, and the Transito Synagogue.

Distance between Madrid and Toledo: 45 minutes
Recommended Bus: ALSA autobus, at Plaza Eliptica.
Price of autobus ticket: 5.39 euros single trip; 9.70 euros for ida y vuelta tickets.

9. Aranjuez

image Aranjuez is bestowed the title, Spain’s Royal Town, and rightly so. The stately Palacio Real sprawls right in its midst in all its pomp and grandness. The palace, the beauty of which rivals Madrid’s own Palacio Real, is accentuated by gardens of manicured hedges and multi-hued flowers dedicated to both the King and Queen. It is surrounded by gushing waterways — natural and man-made. The Iglesia de San Antonio, the town’s Royal Church, sits in one part of the plaza of the same name, and is considered as one of the Aranjuez’ major attractions.

How to go: Via 423 autobus at Estacion Sur bus station, Mendez Alvaro.
Fare cost: 4.20 euros, one way

10. Cuenca

imageAnother town in the Castille La Mancha region is Cuenca, which is a little over two hours away from Madrid, making it as one of the farthest nearby towns. Still, you’d realize the rather long trip is well-compensated after seeing the breathtaking Casas Colgadas, or Hanging Houses. Another must-see is the mesmerizing Cuenca Cathedral, looming on one end of the Plaza Mayor, opposite the arch gates.

Hours from the capital: 2 hours
Best travel option: Via autobus Avanza, at Estacion Sur
Price of bus fare: 25 euros for round-trip tickets

Park Güell Barcelona — Antoni Gaudi’s Jewel

imageFrom the terrace of the park, you are afforded a breathtaking view of Barcelona, the ocean, and its port

Who visits Barcelona and doesn’t see Park Güell? I am guilty of this, having been to this Catalan city twice, and in both times, was only able to see the surroundings of the park because I failed to secure an entrance ticket.

Lady luck is definitely on my side, however, as just last month, I was able to travel again to Barcelona.

And this time, I opted for RENFE, which meant I reached Barcelona in no time at all. Indeed, it was a fast travel for me. While before, it took me some 7 to 8 hours to reach the city by car from Madrid, I was there via train within 3 hours.

By 8 am, I was up and about, ready to head to the park. It was a weekend, so I presumed Guell would have more visitors. In a hurried pace, panting and all, I climbed up the Montanya from the Metro Lesseps to arrive at the entrance gates at around 9AM. There was hardly any visitor at the entrance booth, and so we easily got our tickets and rushed to enter Guell.

imagePerhaps one of the most popular parks in Barcelona, if not the most popular, Güell is found within another natural park, sitting on top of the Carmel Hill. For me, it is more like a huge, attractive garden where one can roam around to his heart’s desire. What makes it unique from the other Spanish park is that it is filled with spectacular works of art by Antoni Gaudi, Spain´s premier artist. Needless to say, Guell is a true testament of Gaudi’s artistic genius.

Original plan for Park Güell

Eusebi, aware of the brilliance of Gaudi, commissioned him to head the park’s construction that started in the early 20th century. They planned it as a residence park for at least 50 families. When the plan fizzled, Gaudi continued his work on the park, utilizing and playing with numerous colors and designs that are found everywhere within Guell.

My impression of the park? When in Barcelona, Park Guell is one place you mustn’t miss to see. In fact, as soon as the group entered and started to gaze around, every spot, and every nook and corner of Guell is breaktaking. All of us are one in saying that the park is one that will never fail to astound.

What to see inside Park Guell

2017_111118_1653_474Marvel at these structures along the hill of the park — rough, arcaded walkways tourists can leisurely promenade through as they wander and examine the park.

2017_111111_0939_015There is beautiful, randomly pieced tilework in the park, full of life and color, on the creatures living there and on the grand sinuous benches surrounded a large open square

2017_111523_3831_818The best entrance to access to the park was the one situated in Carrer d’Olot, in front of the beautiful stairway where the lizard can be found, and the Hypostyle Room.

2017_111111_0930_727Its roof forms a vast terrace with a view of the city. It’s surrounded by an undulating continuous bench, the back of which forms a balustrade, its entire surface encrusted with ceramic shards of all colours, some randomly arranged, some in patterns.

imageThe beautiful edifice, another great masterpiece of Guadi, is the Hypostyle Room, where found are around 86 Doric designed columns serving as support to the roof.
image

How to reach the park

By Car–

From La Rambla, it is more or less half an hour drive from Placa de Catalunya. Go past the Tivoli Theatre by turning right, and continue to ride straight ahead until you reach the Tetuan Plaza. From here, you will have to turn left and then go straight until you pass through the Travessera de Gracia. A couple of meters more and you’ll find yourself within the vicinity of Park Güell.

By Metro–

Take Linea 3. Here you get off at Vallarca, and walk some 15 minutes, including the use of the Baixada de la Glòria escalators, until you reach the Avinguda del Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya. Walk further up to the end portion of  Carrer d’Ot, where located is one of the entrances to the park.

You may get also off at the Lesseps station (also on Line 3), then head to the Sant Josep de la Muntanya passage by foot, which is also equipped with escalators.

Admission Ticket Prices

image

General price: 7 euros

Kids 6 years old and below: Free

Kids 7 to 12 years old: 4.90 euros

Adults 65 years and over, persons with disability: 4.90 euros (subsidized ticket price)

 

Trivia about the park:

2017_111111_0956_6691. Inside the park are two houses, one of which served as the residence of Gaudi himself. This is what was created out of the original plan of building some 60 residences inside the park — but apparently, only a few were interested.

2. Park Guell was declared by UNESCO as one of the important World Heritage Sites in 1984.

3. Paying for the entrance fee, you simply gain access to 5 percent of the park and its most important portion — the terrace. All the rest, the 95 percent of the park, is free to see.

Sa Caleta beach — Ibiza’s Es Bol Nou

imageOne doesn’t fly to Ibiza and not experience its beaches. I, for one, am from faraway Madrid, and made sure I’d be able to visit one — Sa Caleta Beach.

Earlier, I was told this was one of the lesser known beaches of Ibiza, but I had to admit my disbelief when I arrived there.  Needless to say, Caleta is one of the most awesome sights I have ever seen.

The beach is nothing sprawling, but instead stretches only so far. Its smallness makes it easy for a few number of tall reddish and rustic cliffs to enclose it. Parts of the shore are dotted with dark-colored rock formations that further enhance the beauty  of the surroundings. Sa Caleta is obviously frequented, but this spectacular natural wonder seems hardly untouched.

The waters are bluish, and upon close checking, you would discover that they are crystal clear. From afar, the sea is serene, almost still, except for the repititous action of the water racing to the seashore as small, gentle waves.

We decided to see the place at 1PM, thinking that it was an early time. However, upon arriving at the site,  the beach is already filled with swimmers and sunbathers enjoying the day’s excellent weather condition.

Sa Caleta, I learned, is one of the handout beaches of many locals and tourists — they consider the beach as a favorite among all beaches in Ibiza simply because of its amazing natural setting.

How to get to Sa Caleta beach

From Madrid: Flight is more or less an hour. I rode the Iberia, which cost me 150 euros.

From the Town or Ibiza Airport: Car ride to the beach is some 15 to 20 minutes traveling the San Jose road towards Cala Jondal.

Autobus: Ride Bus number 26, which takes the Ibiza/San Jose/Cala Vadella route. You alight at Sa Caleta stop; the beach is 10 minutes away

Bit of trivia: Did you know that the Sa Caleta is the site where the Phoenicians first settled in Ibiza, during 654 BC. Because of this, it was included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1999.

imageThink twice about going to the beach late during weekends as it fills up early with local swimmers and beach lovers. The beach is the perfect place to lazily lull around, read a book or sunbath.

imageRock formations line up this part of the beach. I wish Madrid also has a beach as beautiful as this to speak of. Ibiza boasts of the most breathtaking beaches — it is a must that you see as many as possible.

imageThis reddish brown rock wall serves as a protection of the beach against strong winds. Such formation greatly adds to the already picture perfect setting, making Sa Caleta one of the standout beaches for locals and tourists alike.

imageDon’t be surprised if you would encounter habitues lying down or promenading by the shore without anything on. Apart from the cool waters, golden to white sands, blue and almost clear skies, nudists are also what you can expect at Sa Caleta

imageThe beach has shallow waters, hence, making it ideal for a number of water activities and safe for kids to swim in

imageRestaurant La Sacade is the popular beachfront restaurant with a terrace that affords the diners with an excellent view of the beach and Mediterranean Sea

imageI sat on this very table and took advantage of the best view of the beach.  The restaurant is open to serve beach goers all year round

Map

See Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Fly from Madrid in less than 3 Hours)

2017_100518_5831_954Spain is sunny almost all year around. You can bask in the sun in Madrid, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, or just about everywhere. Needless to say, you will never run out of days when you can revel and enjoy the amazingly warm Spanish climate. Still, if you want to go to where people say is the best place to head to during summer, pack your bag and  take the next flight to Tenerife. The largest of the Canary Islands, and the most populous one, it is one of Spain’s most important tourist destinations.

Let’s focus on Sta Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s port city, where you are like being transported to a tropical paradise, which is an amazing fact as the place is warmly nestled within the European continent.

And a tourist paradise indeed it is, as travelers go there to maximize their free time by relaxing, roaming around, dining, and enjoying the amazingly fine weather. Suffice it to say that if you are on a vacation and have chosen Tenerife for your destination, you will experience the best summer holiday ever.

What to see in Tenerife

Do you love the port, museums, plazas, boutiques and malls, water sports, and most especially the beach? These are some of the features that you can expect to enjoy when in Sta Cruz de Tenerife. This charming port has so much to offer that you’ll see yourself away from your hotel room all day. Vacation time here means imbibing its unique nature — the beach, the ocean, the volcanoes and mountains, and ancient towns. You will never want to leave this island the minute that you experience it.

The city boasts of an excellent transit system, offering efficient buses available in every nook and cranny of the city. But, there is no doubt that walking around the city is the best way to truly enjoy a taste of the capital. This is true especially if you are pressed for time to see as many tourist spots as possible.

Check out some of what Santa Cruz de Tenerife has to offer.

2017_100518_5843_944Tenerife offers great beaches where you can stay all day long to enjoy the warmth of the island’s summery climate. As soon as winter approaches the country, the city port is sure to start packing with avid beach lovers. Take a long lull at the beach or enjoy some exciting water activities at Tenerife.

2017_100519_5110_086The Plaza de España of Tenerife is one of the must-visit places in the island. Here you can see the Monument of the Fallen, a tower in the shape of a cross. Evidently, it boasts of designs influenced by Fascist architecture

2017_100518_5815_248After visting the Plaza de Españá, you will want to see another square just nearby, the Plaza de la Candelaria, the second most important plaza of the island. Here is where you can find historical sites such as the Casino of Tenerife and the baroque-designed Palace of Carta

received_1495893243811946Experience the beauty of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the island. The serene mountains can be seen from the hotel where we stayed.

Cheapest time to book a flight

When it comes to the weather, there is never really a bad time to fly out and visit Tenerife, as it’s warm all year round. Less visitors are around, hence, you can enjoy a much more serene stay.

As one who maintains a small budget whenever I travel, I make it a point to maximize my savings when buying fare tickets to my chosen destination. In the case of Sta Cruz de Tenerife, travelers who want to avail of lower plane fares must know that the Off season for flights to the islands are March to April, and November.These are the months when plane tickets are cheaper. Flying to Tenerife from Madrid? Flight time is a little under three hours.

Buitrago del Lozoya: Reach this Beautiful Spanish Town in Under Two Hours

2017_092318_0552_939My weekends in Madrid have always been monotonous — and I must say that they have turned doubly so, now that I have taken a new job. In fact, the latter has taken much of my time because workdays almost always include the weekends.  So whenever I am free on a Saturday, I find myself confronted with the dilemma of whether to just use such precious time to rest, or do what I really like, which is to travel outside Madrid.

Traveling outside Madrid meant choosing nearby towns that are preferably 50 kilometers away or even nearer.

This is why I am hesitant in visiting Buitrago del Lozoya, one of the smaller towns within the Community of Madrid, nestled in the Lozoya Valley near the Sierra de Guadarrama — and some 74 kilometers away from the capital.

Such a distance meant more or less 2 hours of travel, causing me to have some second thoughts . But then I realized that my previous trips such as Cuenca and Salamanca were also distant. And I was only too happy to have gone through such travels as these two are veritable goldmines as far as tourist attractions are concerned.

What to see in Buitrago de Lozoya:

2017_092318_0517_604The Arrabal Bridge, or El Fuente Viejo, as it is popularly called, is a strong structure that spans the Lozoya River. It serves as a link between the Andarrio neighborhood and the walled city of Buitrago. From the bridge, you are afforded a beautiful view of the river as well as the walls.
2017_092318_0536_853Fly-fishing days at Buitrago are weekends, like how I observed when I wander by the vicinity of the river last Saturday. I presume the river bank is littered with avid anglers any day of the week
2017_092318_0742_611The Rio Lozoya is the natural geographical feature that gives the town its name. This river almost embraces the town on all parts, which makes it an effective means of defense against enemies.
2017_092318_0454_840Another famous landmark of Buitrago is its Clock Tower, found in one of the walls of the city
2017_092318_0437_527Popular recreational activity in Buitrago is canoeing. with the river turning into a major natural water facility as families troop to the site with their own or rented canoes to enjoy paddling through the waters all day long
2017_092318_0352_901The small town of Buitrago is surrounded by thick, good-conditioned walls built as early as the 11th century. It is said that walls surrounding Spanish towns and cities during the Medieval Ages are commonplace; they are meant to protect  the towns and their people from invaders.
2017_092318_0342_911The crenels on the top edge of the castle walls have seen better days, yet they are obviously an integral part of what once were majestic majestic town walls meant to drive away prospective invaders during the Olden days
2017_092318_0327_958One of the major entrances of the Arab Walls, in front of the Sta Maria Iglesia
2017_092318_0314_199One of the minor gates of the Arab Walls, this one facing the River Lozoya
2017_092318_0305_728Peering through the main entrance to he walled town, you will be greeted by the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo, a church that’s small in size but otherwise impressive in its interior.  Santa Maria Church definitely adds character to the already charming town.

Visitors of the town will also be treated to the works of Spain´s foremost writer as Buitrago maintains a Cervantes Museum, located right in its midst.

How to go to Buitrago:

Take the ALSA autobus 191 stationed at Plaza Castilla Station. The buses park and pick up passengers at Darsena 36. Tickets cost 5.10 euros one way. From Madrid, you will have arrived at the town in approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Map:

Sevilla and its Spectacular Plaza de España (and Royal Alcazar Palace and Garden)

2017_090323_0544_262Andalucia is one of the regions in Spain that display significant Moorish influence. It is likewise known for having a beautiful capital, Sevilla. And indeed, the latter is known for its grandiose and immense beauty. Luckily, we had the chance to see Sevilla, even if just to stop by at its two most important landmarks — the Plaza de España and Royal Alcazar. No doubt about it, if you’re flying to this city for a short time or you’re a first timer, it is imperative that you see the world-famous square and alcazar (castle or even military fort) In the case of Seville’s Alcazar, there’s no denying that it is one of the most beautiful in all of Spain, and comparable, if not more breathtaking, than the other famous alcazars of the country, including that of Toledo and Segovia. Despite the ending summer season, the sun decided to be searing, and the heat of the day is almost unbearable. Still, we decided see as much as we can. Time and again, it has been utilized as a location for films and TV series, which is understandable as it is just so beautiful. The first movie to feature it was the Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. The more recent one as a film location was the Attack of the Clones of the Star Wars saga. Some scenes of the 2012 movie, the Dictator, were also shot at the Plaza de España. The building exhibits mixed designs of Mudejar and new Mudejar as well as Art Deco, the result of which is the edifice’s total uniqueness.  It was built by Spanish designer Anabal Gonzales, right at the edge of Maria Luisa Park, and was initially intended to be the location where the exhibits of the country would be held. A bird’s eye view of the complex will reveal the place to be a huge half circle in shape on which the central building runs on the edge and over a river. It is accessible mainly by bridges that are said to be representative of the old Spanish kingdoms.  On the walls of the building are tiled alcoves; they are meant to represent the country’s provinces.

Marvel at the beauty of Plaza de Espana:

2017_090323_0638_255From afar, you may marvel at the magnificence of the main bricked-and-tiled building of the square. It is a premier Spanish attraction, and a must-see site by anyone touring  the country 2017_090323_0620_373Surrounding the Plaza Espana building is a wide canal, which is some 515 meters long.

The bridges

2017_090819_2042_038The bridges are not without important history behind its construction; they represent the four ancient Spanish kingdoms — these are Navarra, Leon, Castile, and Aragon.

Towers

2017_090322_3243_216Two tall towers, the south and the north towers, accentuate both ends by a pillared gallery. In front of these impressive edifice, positioned right in the middle of the promenade, is a large fountain.

Columns

2017_090323_0554_617The long facade of the square has tiled semi arcs supported by white columns, exhibiting styles from the Moorish and the Renaissance period. In front is a wide expanse of promenade where people enjoys a close view of the plaza

Royal Alcazar Palace

Another worth seeing in Seville if only for its heavy Moorish influence is the Alcazar Real Palace, which was the official residence of the Moor rulers during the start of the second half of the twentieth century. The alcazar has become all the more famous because it was used in some scenes in the Game of Thrones. 2017_090322_5633_282The gate to the Real Alcazar de Sevilla. Notice the tile with the depiction of the lion 2017_090322_2700_883The pond in front of the Alcazar lends an air of calm and romanticism to the place 2017_090322_5840_557The exterior of the Alcazar is the garden filled with trees, bushes and flowers. Also enhancing the garden are its pools 2017_090322_5831_309The high ceiling, the gigantic carpets plastered on the walls, and the tiled floors will greet you as you enter the Royal Alcazar.

Movies and TV series where Sevilla has been featured:

Plaza de España can only be described as both spectacular and breathtaking. It is no wonder that the place was the site of some of the major US movies such as Star Wars and The Dictator by Sasha Baron Cohen. Real Alcazar Palace, on the other hand, is where you’ll find some of the important scenes in the latest Game of Thrones season. 2017_090322_3336_729Starwars scene with the Plaza de Espana as backdrop 2017_090322_3319_270In the above photo, you can see walking through the promenade are Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, with the robot R2 D2 behind them. 2017_090322_3310_841Skywalker and Amidala at the Garden of Real Alcazar Palace

Let’s tour Plaza de Espana

Originally, Plaza de España was constructed for use in the 1989 Ibero-American Exhibition or the Expo 29. If you happen to visit Seville, you can still see the many pavilions and kiosks meant for the exhibition, particularly in the area of Parque Maria Luisa. Now, the square is touted as one of the best attractions of the province of Seville, together with its equally impressive cathedral. Tourists will love the means of touring the plaza, and these are carriage ride and boat ride.

Horse-drawn carriage tour

2017_090819_1541_961One of the best ways of seeing the Plaza is via a carriage. It’s spacious enough to accommodate around 4 people, albeit if you are in for a romantic experience, you can ride them with your spouse or partner to tour all around the plaza, and even beyond, to the landmarks and important points of interests of Seville. Hiring the carriage for an hour costs around 36 euros. It has a retractable roof for those who are avoiding the blazing rays of the summer sun.

Boat ride

2017_090819_1553_140Plaza España is surrounded by body of water wherein you can rent and ride a boat. The cost of a rowing boat ride is 5 euros for around 45 minutes. A maximum of 4 people can ride the boat — this is a fun and exciting way of seeing the square. If you want a much faster water ride, you can hire the motor boat, or the Enriqueta — this costs some 9 euros.

How to go:

2017_090819_1952_639The popular and fast way to get to Sevilla from Madrid is by train; travel time is from 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and a half. Go to the Train station in Atocha along Avenida de Barcelona, and you can catch the first ride at 7AM. Departures are every hour, thereafter. The last schedule of train ride to Seville is at 10PM.

Map

Salamanca: Old City of Castille and Leon

2017_071618_2307_593Salamanca. Let’s say it has always been on my mind ever since I learned that it is home to the country’s oldest university. For just like in the case of Alcala de Henares, also known as Spain’s university town, I yearned to check out and learn more about the place.

It was when I finally visited the place a few weeks ago that the town obviously come off as more than just a mecca for the learned, but so much more. Above anything else, it is a wondrous architectural paradise. I was entranced as I go about the town, even if I go to roam around for just a few hours.

Seriously, if there were something about the town that fascinated me the most, it was its cathedrals, both old and new. The two stand side by side, both flaunting their unique beauty that somehow complimented each other.  Witnessing the awesome beauty of these two works of art more than compensated my hours long trip.

I traveled 3 hours riding the normal autobus, and some 2 and a half on the express. Frankly, my total number of travel hours exceeded the length of time that I stayed in Salamanca.

But again, I have to say that it’s all worth it. The museums, the churches, the plazas, the restaurants and cafes, the souvenir shops, the monuments — everything that you want to see in a place is all here.

Here are some of the sites and attractions that you can see in Salamanca:

Plaza Mayor de Salamanca

2017_062610_3011_363The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is know to be one of the most beautiful, if not downright the most beautiful of all of Spain. This sprawling spot in the midst of the city is the hot spot of all that involve Salamancan social life. A grand creation of Spanish architect Churriguera, the square is regarded as one that can rival the Plaza Mayor of Madrid, Spain’s premier plaza. On one side of the town square stands the edifice that houses the city hall of Salamanca. In this baroque style building is where the city functions and activities of the municipal government take place.

Porticoed arcade of the square

2017_071623_5001_811The four sides of the square are filled with establishments of all types — restaurants, ice cream kiosks, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, among many others. Salamanca’s plaza  brims with life and vibrancy because of  all forms of human activities happening within– 365 days in a year

Casa de las Conchas

2017_071912_2339_250The House of Shells, built around the 1400s by Rodrigo Maldonado, used to be a palace that served as the residence of Catholic Monarchs. It was so-called because of the numerous shells jotting out of much of the edifice’s facade. It is said, but has yet to be proven, that a gold coin can be retrieved if the shell is removed from the wall.

Viejo Catedral

2017_062615_0200_855The construction of the Old Cathedral of the town, also known as the Cathedral of Santa María, started way back in the 12th century and was finished after more than 200 years. A project of then bishop Jerome de Perigord, it boasts of beautiful mix of Gothic and Romanesque style. Its patron saint is St Mary of the See. It may be small compared to the newer cathedral, but Viejo reeks in rich history.

Nuevo Catedral (the New Cathedral)

2017_062610_1729_358Salamanca boasts of two famous cathedrals, the Old and the New. The Old Cathedral, limited in space in the early 1500’s, and deemed to be unable to serve the burgeoning university town, was supplemented by a new one. The construction was a 200-year affair, with the edifice considered to be one of the last vestige of the Gothic style. The old catedral still stands to this day, although the original plan was to take it down once the Nuevo Catedral is finished.

Palacio de Monterrey

2017_062616_1338_247
The Monterrey Palace was the Plateresque-design edifice by the 3rd Count of Monterrey. Its current owner is the House of Alba, also the owner of the Monterrey country. It has been declared a National Historical Monument in May 1929

Salamanca’s Roman Bridge

2017_071912_2403_622One of the oldest roman bridges of Spain. Its span is ably supported by twenty-six arches, with more than half constructed by the Romans during the 1st century B.C.

Convent of San Sebastian

2017_071618_2032_237The Convent, also called the Church of San Esteban, was built in 1524 and completed in 1610. Like the Monterrey Palace, it also exhibits Plateresque-style, which is heavily evident in its facade. It is also called the Convent of the Dominicans because it is run by the said religious order.

Universidad de Salamanca

2017_062614_5400_919I went to Salamanca just so I can see the world famous University, known to be the oldest educational institution, having been founded in 1208. It also claims the title of the 3rd oldest university in Europe.

Universidad Pontifica de Salamanca

2017_062614_5751_692Another popular university is the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, which is of Catholic leanings. It was founded much later, at around 1940. It also has a campus in Madrid.

How I reached the city

By bus

Your trip to Salamanca starts by taking Line 6 and getting off at Mendez Alvaro. Here you’ll find Estacion Sur, the biggest bus station in Madid. There are 2 to 3 bus companies that offer trips to Salamanca, but I suggest that you take the Autores bus owned by Avanzabus Line. It has been my choice of commuting every time I travel out of town because it’s convenient, affordable, and even has pc tablet that offers movie and audio entertainment.

How much did I pay for the bus fare?

I opted an ida y vuelta ticket, hoping to pay less for the transportation fare. The guy at the ticket counter suggested that I buy an “abierta” return ticket — this required me to get a specific return time to Madrid once I arrive at the bus station at Salamanca. All in all, I just paid around 32 euros for my trip.

Indeed, a single day is good enough time to enjoy a wonderful, breathtaking place like Salamanca. For less than three hours, you will arrive in town before lunch time, go roam around the whole afternoon, have lunch and coffee at the plaza mayor, wander some more, take the bus home and arrive in Madrid late in the evening. Definitely, Salamanca is a perfect addition to your list of easy and enjoyable day trip destinations.

Map

Valladolid: Lenten Town of Spain

2017_051321_5954_018Having learned that we are looking for something new to go to on Good Friday, someone in our group  gushed about the Castile town of Valladolid, assuring us that if only for its processions, the place is a must-see during the Holy Week. Bonus treats are the centuries-old churches and museums kept well-preserved within the city boundaries, as well as the strong Castillian vibe that the place is known for. Quite convinced, we signed into joining a small group that will travel to this town early Friday morning.

During the trip itself, I felt how time  seemed to have passed so slowly despite the fact that the distance between Madrid Valladolid is but all of two and a half hours. Perhaps I got used to the many quick 1-hour-or-so day trip destinations I had before, such as Toledo, Colmenares Viejo, Alcala de Henares and Manzanares el Real.

Did you know that Valladolid is not only famous for its religious processions, museums, and churches, but it is likewise associated with a number of popular historical figures? Popular names who were born or have stayed in Valladolid are Christopher Columbus, the world conqueror; Phillip II and Phillip III, former rulers of Spain; and Miguel Cervantes, the iconic Spanish writer.

First stop: Tordesillas

If you’re bound for Valladolid, it is a must that you stop by the town where the treaty between Spain and Portugal was signed. We only had 30 minutes more to Valladolid when we took a lull at this quiet town, made historic because of the 1494 treaty signed by the two most powerful countries during that time. The treaty divided the New World between the two countries.

It was just frustrating because we stayed in Tordesillas for all of 40 minutes, and not two hours like what was earlier planned. I decided by make the most of our stay there by rushing to the Treaty Houses, and the town’s Plaza Mayor to take some pictures.

Seeing Valladolid

Finally, we reached our destination after 25 or so minutes of travel from Tordesillas. One thing unique about this famous Castile town is the absence of mountains and hills, a topographic feature common in other Spanish towns and cities. It has no mountains to speak of — the only one in all of Spain. Another distinction is that it is completely surrounded by all other provinces belonging to the Castile and Leon community — these are Palencia, Zamora, León, Segovia, Burgos, Salamanca, and Ávila .

Holy Week in Val

Brotherhoods and groups of Catholic leanings are known to hold their own celebration of the Lent, interpreting the passion of the Christ through processions. Streets are filled with observers intent in watching the long procession that tells the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Most of the important processions are during the Easter Week itself.

If you want to experience the best that the town offers, visit it during Easter, since it is the time when religious processions happen, where spectacular and breathtaking religious displays and icons depicting Christ’s suffering and death are paraded. Religious fraternities that consist of members and leaders are garbed in robes of different designs and colors.

They carry beautiful, life-sized statues of Jesus and other religious personalities atop carriages to be witnessed and appreciated by devotees. Processions are usually accompanied by a band that plays somber religious hymns.

Stunning Photos

2017_051322_0449_702Santa Maria de la Antigua Church is a Catholic Church of  combined Roman and Gothic-style architecture, patterned after that of the Burgos Cathedral. In English, it is the Church of St. Mary the Ancient. It is so-called because it was built way back in the 12th century. As early as 1897, it was declared a national monument, a Bien de Interes Cultural.

2017_051322_1050_835The Iglesia Conventual de San Pablo, more popularly known as the  Iglesia San Pablo de Valladolid, is one of the iconic churches of the town and all of the community of Castile and León. It took builders more than 23 years to built, from 1445 to 1468. The church is the place where King Philip II and King Philip IV were baptized. It was said to have been visited by  French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte.

2017_051522_4509_741Plaza Mayor of Valladolid have originated all the way from the Hasburg monarcy, and is recognized as a true Spanish Square. It is also is touted as the very first plaza of Spain. The grounds are vast and wide, intended to be so in order  to hold shows and sports events. This vital spot in the town hosts most of Valladolid’s public events, including the Holy Week’s presentations and processions

2017_051321_4926_531Ayuntamiento de Valladolid is the stately edifice lording over the town’s Plaza Mayor, and serves as the office of the town administration

2017_051522_3132_897Palacio Real de Valladolid is located at Plaza de San Pablo, in front of the Iglesia de San Pablo. It served as the official residence of the Kings in the early part of the 1600’s, the era when the town acted as the seat of the Spanish courts

2017_051522_3122_683Iglesia Penitencial de la Vera Cruz, or the Penitential Church of Santa Vera Cruz in English, is a church located in the middle of the town, right within the  Calle Platerías. The church is associated with the Brotherhood or Fraternity of the Holy Cross Vera, recognized as the the oldest Lenten Brotherhood in the City. It houses one of the most important icons in Spain, the Lignum Crucis

2017_051522_3737_717Mercado del Val strongly reminds me of Mercado de San Miguel mainly because of its glass and iron architecture. Built in the late 19th century, it is found in the Plaza del Val, and a stone’s throw away from the San Benito el Real Church

2017_051322_2305_684 Iglesia del Monasterio de San Benito, or the Saint Benedict church — flaunts old Gothic church architecture. Its site was the former location of the Alcazar Real de Valladolid, an imposing edifice masterfully built with its gate tower-shaped, Rennaissance-inspired facade giving the church a uniquely beautiful appearance

2017_051322_2946_785Processions in Valladolid are often joined in by Spanish ladies of the town wearing mantillas, or traditional shawl or lace worn over their head using a special comb known as peineta.

2017_051323_0552_721After an hour of waiting , the long procession finally started at 8PM, passing through vital streets to end at the Plaza Mayor2017_051323_0801_596Valladolid processions, as in other processions on most Spanish towns, are dominated by men wearing capirote, point cone-shaped hat. These men belong to fraternities or brotherhoods assigned to reenact vital scenes from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ

2017_051322_2653_284Monasterio Real de San Joaquin y Santa Ana is the official monastery of the Congregation of Monasteries of Cistercian nuns of San Bernardo. Its exhibits a neoclassical design created by Francesco Sabatini. Adjacent to the monastery is a museum that displays baroque pieces. The Monasterio Real itself boasts of valuable art pieces such as a number of paintings by Goya,  which incidentally are the only ones by the artist that exists within the Castile Leon community.

How to go:

Via Train: Available is RENFE, Spain’s railway system, which offers AVE high speed train service. The cost of the ticket depends on the schedule and availability of ride, with the price ranging from as low as 12 euros to as high as 30. The town has its own station called the Estacion del Norte, but it is located outside the center of the capital. You will have to walk some 25 minutes to reach the city proper.

Bus: If you want to take the autobus, go to the ALSA station at Estacion Sur. The company offers regular rides throughout the day, with tickets selling from 12 to 15 euros one way. Travel time ranges from 2 and a half hours to 3.

Map: