Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mini breaks close to Madrid 1

There's lots of possibilities around Madrid for those who fancy escaping the city (and pollution) for a weekend or a couple of days. Here are 2 of my favourites...

Manzanares el Real

The town contains the fakest looking real castle I've ever seen but the Natural Park of La Piedriza has some fab trails for hiking as long as you don't lose your way on the trail as night falls (like we did). 

Accommodation - We stayed in a guesthouse that seemed a bit more like a boarding house as most other guests were long term residents. Good sized rooms but it was a bit of a walk from the centre. (Warning - Don't electrocute yourself and cut of power in entire building, like I did)

Getting there - Bus from Madrid. To get to the Park from Manzanares, there's a local bus service running from town (make sure you don't miss the return bus or you'll face a daunting walk back to town - like we did)

Fake castle

The never ending trail (study map carefully prior to beginning hike - lesson learned)

Pretty views


Aranjuez's cultural landscape (whatever that means) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (though to be fair, Spain has loads of World Heritage Sites so it's one of the many) They also have a train which serves Strawberries and Cream which I am very interested in getting to know, though sadly it only runs in summer so I didn't get to experience it during my visit.

Accommodation - We stayed in a bungalow in Camping International Aranjuez which was reasonably priced and cosy. Imagine it's packed in summer but in October it was quiet aside from Dutch and French retirees in their mobile homes. (Though once Monday came around we realised were the only ones under the age of 60 there aside from the receptionists...) 

Getting there - Train from Madrid followed by a taxi to the Camping (it's located approx 20 minutes from centre of town and 30 from train station)

Facilities in camping

Hallowe'en in our bungalow :)