The first weekend of December in Madrid was a holiday weekend, and with four days off to enjoy and a steady influx of tourists coming to Madrid to tackle their Christmas shopping, my friends and I opted to cross a new city in Spain off of our lists of places to visit. Aranjuez.
Aranjuez is an easy day (or half-day) trip to take from Madrid, as it is located just 45 minutes south by train. To make it even easier, trains leave about every half an hour from Sol or Atocha on the C3 cercanias commuter train, providing frequent departure and return options.
Upon arrival at the train station in Aranjuez, walk out and take a right, and continue down the street until the palace is in sight. The walk takes about 8 minutes.
The palace of Aranjuez is the main focal point of the city center. A small tourist train makes loops around the city, leaving from the palace plaza and costs 5 euro to ride.
The most stunning part of the city was the expanse of gardens and fountains that surrounded the palace. Intricate and interesting designs would be the politically-correct way I would describe some of the statues that adorn the different fountains. It is situated on the Tagus river.
I would love to return to Aranjuez in the late spring time to see the gardens in full bloom and experience their famous strawberries. It was a really pretty and laid back city, a relaxing way to explore a new place and enjoy a day off from work.