The highlight of the town of Aranjuez and no doubt the motivation behind the majority of visits is the Royal Palace, a sprawling complex of ornate hallways, ballrooms, and absolutely stunning gardens. It was built by King Phillip II in the 17th century. You can get there easily on Cercanias (line C-3) from the Atocha, Sol, and Nuevos Ministerios stations in downtown Madrid. If you're going to visit on the weekend or a holiday, I'd recommend getting there bright and early as the access is somewhat slow and the lines can get lengthy quite fast.
The best parts of the interior are due to renovations by Queen Isabel II. My favorite parts were the Arabian Study, a truly overwhelming smoking room that's reminiscent of the most ornate parts of the Alhambra, but while the latter's ornate cupolas are only relics of what they once were, the Arabian Study is a technicolor psychedelic room which invites you to spend an hour contemplating the details (and that's taking into account that it's only large enough to fit 5-10 people. The other highlight was the Porcelain Study, a room whose walls are covered in porcelain vines and oriental motifs typical of Spanish Rococo design. These two rooms alone make the trip worth it, but the various antechambers, dancing rooms, chapels, and throne rooms are also wonderful in their own right.
The palace is equally famous for its gardens. The Garden of the King (Jardin del Rey), Jardin de la Isla, and Jardin del Parterre are right behind the palace on the banks of the Tajo river and are free to visit. The entry ticket is 9 euros, plus an additional 4 euros for audio guides and 6 euros for a guided tour. The guided tour lets you visit 4 or 5 additional rooms which are not included in the general tour as well as allows entry to the Casa del Labrador in the Jardin del Principe.
Aranjuez is a municipality of the Community of Madrid. It was declared a Royal Site in 1560 by Philip II, and a town in 1859. It's crossed by the Tagus and Jarama Rivers, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. It's worth it to visit this town. It has a royal palace that houses an interesting museum, and the grounds are very extensive and beautifully maintained. The area's restaurants are strong and tasty, and there are great hotels to stay in.
The grounds of this beautiful palace from Madrid pleasantly surprised me, because they combine the Spanish and Italian taste when organizing green spaces, while at the same time leaving those same spaces up to fate. I wish complete with pictures of the inside corner of the palace, but unfortunate or fortunately it is not allowed.
The Prince's Garden (Jardín del Prícipe, in Spanish) is perhaps the most famous of the many opulent gardens in the Royal town of Aranjuez, Spain. It was built in 1804 as a sort of natural playground for the Royals, and is especially known for being the departing point for the Royal family's absolutely ostentatious boats. The place has tons of history and detail, but honestly, I didn't pay attention to it nor will I re-tell it. What I will say, though, is that it's a really, really magical place.
You enter via a series of large gates located along Calle de la Reina and there are large, tree-lined avenues, shady pathways, hidden fountains, ponds, pavilions, and museums, all lined by the lazy Tagus (Tajo) River and its delightfully white swans. The best plan is to take a bag full of water and snacks, some good walking shoes, and a camera and just explore the 150-acre plot. My suggestion is that whenever you come across a small, mysterious path, take it! As you meander, you'll come across magical ponds like the Estanque de los Chinescos, shady groves full of wildflowers, little huts, and other things that'll make you feel like some character in a fairy-tale.
In the end, it's just a park, but it's an especially magical one and one that should be toward the top of your list when you visit Aranjuez.
The Estanque de los Chinescos is an oriental-style pond located in the Jardin del Principe in Aranjuez, Spain. It has a tranquil, duck-filled pond with a colorful Turkish-style kiosk and a truly picturesque Greek-style gazebo surrounded by marble Ionic columns. As others have mentioned, the best part of the Jardin del Principe is just to aimlessly wander (it's huge, so bring water and well-rested legs) and stumble upon the pavilions, ponds, groves, and fountains scattered around the massive park.
Of all the whimsical little corners of the park, the Estanque de los Chinescos was definitely my favorite. It was like walking out of the woods and into a real-life fairy-tale. It's also probably the most photogenic piece of the entire park. If you're traveling with your significant other, it's the type of place that'll make you instinctively grasp each other's hands. 100% recommended.
La Casa del Labrador is a country house close to the Tagus river, which was used by the court of Charles IV and later, during his spring visits to Aranjuez. Although its structure is rather poor, its decor is luxurious. It was built between 1791 and 1803. Inside, there are silks, tapestries, paintings, frescoes, marble and carpet, as well as a games room, a chapel, dance halls and cabinets.
In the Casino de Aranjuez luxury permeates, it's incredible!. There is an impressive foyer, big contemporary décor. There is the counter where they have to credit you and pay a fee of € 3. Once inside, there are many rooms: the main room is for gambling, where you can find roulette tables, poker, black jack ... And attached to it the slot machines, and a private lounge. There are 2 restaurants, the fine dining and buffet, and a pub and a cafe where they also have something to snack on. Weekends there are shows. The bathrooms are incredible. A big room full of mirrors with gold and black marble panels! I stayed at the Barcelo, which is next door, and I gave away an invitation to enter, though, to play anything because the stakes were very expensive . It is worth visiting if only to turn around and take something because it's worth seeing. You can not take pictures ... It is located at the entrance of Aranjuez, Pau area in the Mount next to Barcelo. Of course there is free parking, with valet service, but put a bus service to and from the center of Madrid.
We did not find only fountains and lush forests in these beautiful gardens which are next to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. One of the buildings that draws more attention is this giant cage that is located very close to the Source of the Child of the Thorn. What a bad memory I have, I was there not too long ago and I still do not remember if there were birds inside the same ... I will need to go back to check.
The Niño de la Espina sculpture was brought back by Velazquez from his second trip to Italy, and was a present from the Pope to the King. This is a recurring theme in Italian art and we can see many "espinarios" in Italian villas and palaces. In Aranjuez, the Child of the Thorn is located between four columns with Corinthian capitals that support the four sculptures.
They come from the stream, the brooke pools, wetlands of the Ontígola Sea to decorate the gardens of Aranjuez. I mean, the simple presence of water dammed in Ontígola reserves, becomes the main protagonist of the gardens, with its whirring when falling, giving special attention to every drop in its free fall from the top of the fountain. It knows that without it, without water, the gardens of Aranjuez would not be the same. "Let's go to Palace", says a drop to another before being absorbed into their destination. "Well, well," replied the other a little goofy. "Let's see if I see princes and princesses." Tourists await for them, people who come from Madrid to breathe some fresh air and to bury the rush from the day, young lovers who find shinanigans at every turn, children scamper from source to source and birds that perch fearlessly some statue. Gout goofy creates its own water game, as a skilled juggler, in the main avenue. For there Bacchus, Diana, Neptune, the child of the spine ... All welcome tourists from their stony silence, on a sunny day like today, those drops are elegantly falling while any random camera is taking pictures with its flash on.
It's too bad that this photo, which I sent to a contest, doesn't capture the whole architectural surrounding the fountain of the Mariblanca, because it's spectacular. It's essential to visit in the fall because there's a mixture of colours that make it unique - the golds and yellows of the lime tree leaves, the green bananas, the white stone and the red bricks - give this place an unbeatable atmosphere. I hope that, like me, you love it.
The Fountain of Ceres is a 19th century fountain-sculpture of the Roman goddess of agriculture and it's perhaps the most beautiful part of the Eden-like Jardín del Parterre just behind the Royal Palace in Aranjuez, Spain.
What's most delightful about this fountain is the contrast between the exquisitely blue sky and water and the intensely purple flowers and green grass. The fountain is also as such that it sprays plumes of mist into the air, making for a remarkable refreshing spot on a hot day in Spain's central plateau. Access to the gardens and its fountains is free and entrance is located just beyond the ticket booth to the Royal Palace.
The Barge Museum displays boats used by the royal family during recreational rides and performances on the Tagus River when they took spring visits to Aranjuez. It's near the pier. There are also gigs, gear, navigation tools, cage, toys related to navigation, portraits and prints on display there. You can visit the museum on your own or with a guide.
A contruction from the late XIX century, made thanks to Enrique Sanchez Sedeño by a municipal initiative. It is one of the first examples of Iron Architecture in Spain, so prevalent in Europe at the time. It combines brick and white stone from Colmenar, traditional architectural elements in Aranjuez, being the iron a novelty. Its area is 3,000 m2 with four buildings surrounding a quadrangular covered courtyard. The last restoration was carried out in the late eighties of the last century. This gave back the essences that made it unique to the building by restoring their original uses and multiplying its usable area.
Possessing a broad architectural heritage, most things to do in Aranjuez are associated with palaces, gardens, churches, and squares. The town sits south of Madrid and is not far from Toledo. The first of many places to visit in Aranjuez is the Royal Palace, which is one of the most famous palaces of Spain and is surrounded by a series of perfectly manicured gardens called the 'Little Versailles'.
Other things to see in Aranjuez include the Casa del Labrador, a famous palace. The Church of San Antonio, located in the Plaza de la Mariblanca, is another one of the attractions in Aranjuez and has a beautiful facade. As far as museums are concerned, the Faluas Reales is one of the best Aranjuez attractions and a spectacular collection of boats that the kings of Spain used to navigate.
Another one of the best Aranjuez activities is enjoying the gastronomy, and there are plenty of restaurants for all tastes located in the city. For nature lovers, more stuff to do in Arnjuez includes paddling canoes along the Tagus River or hiking across the countryside.
If you're still wondering what to do in Aranjuez, search Minube to learn more about this heritage community that leaves an impression on each of its visitors!