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Iberia : Spain : Aranjuez
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[[File:Aranjuez PalacioReal cadena.jpg|thumb| Aranjuez Rotal Palace]]
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[[File:Aranjuez PalacioReal cadena.jpg|thumb| Aranjuez Rotal Palace one of the [[:commons:Aranjuez]] gallery of images]]
'''Aranjuez''' is an [http://www.aranjuez.com/| historic municipality] ([http://www.aranjuez.ws/| population ~47,000]) at the confluence of the Tajo and Jarama rivers. It is about 50 km south of [[Madrid]] in [[Spain]].
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'''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Aranjuez]''' is an [http://www.aranjuez.com/| historic municipality] ([http://www.aranjuez.ws |population ~47,000]) at the confluence of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Tagus | Tajo] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Jarama | Jarama] rivers. It is about 50 km south of [[Madrid]] in [[Spain]] and difficult for Anglophones to pronounce: '''''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Help:IPA for Spanish|aɾaŋˈxweθ]''''' sounds something like a''''''ran'with'''''!.
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==Understand==
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Nestling in the wide, flat-bottomed valley at the confluence of the Tagus (locally Tajo) and Jarama rivers, in an exquisite natural setting, the town of Aranjuez, has been declared  a UNESCO Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site since 2001.  
  
==Geting there ==
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The Royal Estate and Villa was once the exclusive springtime residence of royalty and its 700 families of servants. In 1747 the town started to become the modern thriving city of today, but retaining the outstanding cultural and sporting opportunities for residents and visitors in an environment of great natural interest once reserved to courtiers and their king. 
===By Air===
+
 
The main passenger terminal is Madrid–Barajas Airport, to the west of the capital city, which links via a toll-road to the thee concentric peripheral routes M-50 (outer) M-40 and M-30 (inner) autovías. There are also direct rail and metro services from Terminal 4.
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All so called 'ribereños' still strive to serve  everyone as delightfully as they once served the nobility, and especially those who seek know the history, architecture, and the culture that created its  incomparably sublime buildings, gardens, and landscapes -  Aranjuez offers  food for thought combined with serenity, comfort and fine cuisine.
===By Road===
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 +
==Get in==
 +
===By plane===
 +
The main passenger terminal is [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Madrid–Barajas Airport]], to the west of the capital city, which links via a toll-road to the thee concentric peripheral routes M-50 (outer) M-40 and M-30 (inner) autovías. There are also direct rail and metro services from Terminal 4.
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===By train===
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In summer, RENFE occasionally run the [[:W|Strawberry train] - ''la tren de la fresa'' is a steam-train tourist service from Madrid
 +
 
 +
Madrid region [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Cercanias] '''C-3''' service trains link Arunjuez directly to [[Madrid]] The ride takes roughly 45 min to 55 min from Atocha, Sol or Chamartin.
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 +
From [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Atocha] RENFE  high-speed trains connect directly to the airport and to most Iberian cities. For [[Paris]] change from  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ AVE]] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ TGV]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ at at [[Barcelona]]
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===By car===
 
Use either M-50, M-40, or M-30 peripheral major roads around Madrid which connect to A-4 (Autovia Sur/direction Cordoba) use exit at Km 37 (under arched footbridge) to M-305 ( regular road direction Aranjuez - take care of tight bend left and 2 lanes converging).
 
Use either M-50, M-40, or M-30 peripheral major roads around Madrid which connect to A-4 (Autovia Sur/direction Cordoba) use exit at Km 37 (under arched footbridge) to M-305 ( regular road direction Aranjuez - take care of tight bend left and 2 lanes converging).
  
 
This leads via La Montaña district and automotive sales zone (3Km north of city) and then directly to the royal palace (recommended: use free surface car-park on left immediately after road-width restriction or continue into monumental zone then turn right under arch by church to  paid underground parking in Calle Valeras).  
 
This leads via La Montaña district and automotive sales zone (3Km north of city) and then directly to the royal palace (recommended: use free surface car-park on left immediately after road-width restriction or continue into monumental zone then turn right under arch by church to  paid underground parking in Calle Valeras).  
  
For the south (industrial area) of town continue on A4 to next exit (or use toll road R-4).  
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For the south (industrial area) of town continue on A4 to next exit (or use toll road R-4).
 +
==Get around==
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===Walk===
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[[File:Aranjuez casco.jpg|thumb|left|Aranjuez center - Orientation sketch - not to scale]]
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Aranjuez is fairly flat and accessible with many fine gardens and parks as well as those of the royal palace complex. For a swift introduction, there is the tourist ''chiquitren'' or wagon-train  which optionally offers a combined ticket which includes some museum entry and riverboat services. This leaves daily, all year round, from behind the Royal Palace, through the town and around the Jardin del Principe royal gardens, and includes a recorded commentary in Spanish and English. The Jardin de la Isla is a more formal garden with some notable fountains joining the palace.
 +
* '''Amble''' around the town as well as the royal sites - the town is compact and level - ideal for walking - but, this being an historic town with lots of interesting architecture, wheelchair users may need help entering some business premises, but  assistance is usually readily available on request.
 +
* '''Tourist Walks''' the tourist office offers several routes which pass by numbered information boards erected by the municipality near places of interest
  
===By train===
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===Cycle===
In summer, RENFE occasionally run the [[:W|Strawberry train] - ''la tren de la fresa'' is a steam-train tourist service from Madrid
+
Aranjuez municipality has a free cycle hire service called [[http://www.aranbike.es/ Aranbike]], but there is an initial registration fee, and the process is a very clumpy operation and all in Spanish - but don't dispair1  '''''Scroll down their  web-page several meters''''' you can [http://www.aranbike.es/images/stories/aranbike/Alta_en_el_Servicio_de_Prestamo_de_Bicicletas_y_Autoliquidacion.pdf download the PDF application form], which is four (yes! Four!) almost identical sheets - so a photocopier might be helpful. These are adult size machines, and persons under 14 years of age need a parent or guardian as guarantor. You will need a valid passport and bank-card (''targeta de credito/debito'')
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[[http://www.aranbike.es/images/stories/aranbike/PlanoCarrilesAranjuez.pdf Download the official cycle route-map] -- There lockable park stations around town and in some hotels.
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To the north, beyond the ''rotunda Roseñol'' cobbled roundabout (near the riverside tourist resturant '''el Rana Verde'') are the royal vegetable gardens (now farmland). These are served by protected  royal rides (now restricted to pedestrian and bicycle us). As well as being level, they boast elegant, tree-lined, shade and shingle surfaces. Radiating like a clock from the Doce Calles (12 ways) roundabout/kiosk-bar, some border the river, whilst others lead to a new- park - the steep slope known as ''talud sur de la Montaña'' which has an ancient water-wheel and path-extensions all bicycle or wheelchair accessible and suitable for the fitter users.
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===Chiquitren and Boat Trip===
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The [http://arantour.com/images/rocketlauncher/frontpage/roksprocket-features/img2.jpg tourist road-train] Operates all year round from about 10am. with commentaries in Spanish and English but its wagons are open and unheated
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===Shop===
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This is a small town which supports independent traders rather than multiple-stores so some unusual http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/s. There is one major hypermarket (Le Clerc in paseo Delete) and several smaller food outlets including Eroski, Mercadona, Más and two Lidle stores, For best value and freshest local produce, try the central covered market. English is widely understood
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===Drive===
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'''Parking for visitors to the tourist office''' is a short walk from (free - open) surface car park at entry to town near Hotel Mercedes, or underground (guarded, cooler but paid - c. 1€ per hour) in Calle Valera - Exit Mariblanca cobbled street to right under arch, and turn left after Hotel Principe de Paz (opposite palace).
  
Madrid region [[:W:Cercanias]] '''C-3''' service trains link Arunjuez directly to [[Madrid]] The ride takes roughly 45 min to 55 min from Atocha, Sol or Chamartin.  
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'''Parking in Aranjuez town centre''' streets is difficult and needs a paid ticket during business hours - but only if the spaces are marked with a blue line.<br>
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Double parking is common (especially for newspapers and cigarettes) but illegal. The central streets are very narrow and require drivers to be patient - best avoided - most hotels have reserved spaces.
  
From [[µadrid]] Atocha train station RENFE  high-speed trains connect directly to the airport and to most Iberian cities. For [[Paris]] change from  AVE to TGV at at Barcelona
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==See==
== See ==
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===Royal Site===
*'''Royal Palace of Aranjuez''' dates from the 18th century. Some of the famous rooms are  
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''[[:commons:Aranjuez|Click here to see the Wikimedia commons a gallery of images]]''
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*'''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Royal Palace of Aranjuez]''' dates from the 18th century. Some of the famous rooms are  
 
** The Porcelain Study,  
 
** The Porcelain Study,  
 
** Throne Room.  
 
** Throne Room.  
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Within Aranjuez, there are many sculptures and architectural gems - because the town was created by royalty and only royal servants were permitted, the vernacular buildings tend to be of one design in the tightly packed centre, interspersed with noble palaces and grand military installations along the boulevards. Worth visiting are the newly restored railway station and Carlos III theatre, the Queen's stable, now adapted as the municipal cultural centre, the central Abastos market and  (ruined) Carlos municipal (plague) hospital. Saturdays there is a substantial open air market for food and clothing in Calle Valeras, which faces the Royal Palace.
 
Within Aranjuez, there are many sculptures and architectural gems - because the town was created by royalty and only royal servants were permitted, the vernacular buildings tend to be of one design in the tightly packed centre, interspersed with noble palaces and grand military installations along the boulevards. Worth visiting are the newly restored railway station and Carlos III theatre, the Queen's stable, now adapted as the municipal cultural centre, the central Abastos market and  (ruined) Carlos municipal (plague) hospital. Saturdays there is a substantial open air market for food and clothing in Calle Valeras, which faces the Royal Palace.
 
* ''Mariblanca'' - a large sandy square properly called ''Plaza San Antonio'' afte the Royal chapel at the end.
 
* ''Mariblanca'' - a large sandy square properly called ''Plaza San Antonio'' afte the Royal chapel at the end.
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===Old Town===
 
* ''Plaza de la Constitución''
 
* ''Plaza de la Constitución''
**Town hall (''casa de los empleados'')
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** [[:commons:File:Aranjuez_Ayuntamiento2.jpg|Town hall]] (''casa de los empleados'')
** Central covered market ''Abastos''
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** [[:commons:File:Aranjuez Mercado Abastos.jpg|Central covered market]] ''Abastos''
* Bull Ring The first ''Plaza de Toros'' built in Spain, contains small museum
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* [[:commons:File:Aranjuez PlazaToros3.jpg|Bull Ring]] The first ''Plaza de Toros'' built in Spain, contains small museum
 
* Palacios  Principe de La Paz -the rogue royal favourite who provoked the mutiny of Aranjuez for consorting with Napoleon -  near the palace (now a 4* hotel) and also in Calle Principe - now Colegeo de la Sacrada Familia - in front of which  the mutiny is re-enacted)
 
* Palacios  Principe de La Paz -the rogue royal favourite who provoked the mutiny of Aranjuez for consorting with Napoleon -  near the palace (now a 4* hotel) and also in Calle Principe - now Colegeo de la Sacrada Familia - in front of which  the mutiny is re-enacted)
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===Nearby===
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* '''Heurtas y Jardines''' Shady tree-lined walks in what used to be the kitchen gardens and orchards
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* '''[[:Commons: Aranjuez#Parque_Talud_Sur_de_La_Monta.C3.B1a|Parque Talud Sur]]''' A newly constructed park on the south slope od La Montaña district, near Doce Calles
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* '''[[:commons: Aranjuez#Parque_del_Pozo_de_las_Nieves / Park_of_the_Well_of_Snow| Parque Pozo de las Nieves, Aranjuez]]''' The Snow Well Park
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== Do ==
 
== Do ==
===Walk===
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* Feria de Aranjuez  festival about first week of September includes
Aranjuez has many fine gardens and parks as well as those of the royal palace complex. For a swift introduction, there is the tourist ''chiquitren'' or wagon-train which optionally offers a combined ticket which includes some museum entry and riverboat services. This leaves daily, all year round, from behind the Royal Palace, through the town and around the Jardin del Principe royal gardens, and includes a recorded commentary in Spanish and English. The Jardin de la Isla is a more formal garden with some notable fountains joining the palace.
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**a fun-fair (car park, M-305) ,
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**sports events (Delete stadium),
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**food and drink stalls (Mariblanca),
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**a concert at the Royal Palace,
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**a traditional or  ''Sacrificio Goyesque'' (in the Plaza de Toros),
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** a dramatic street re-enactment of  the attack and burning of Godoy's House, (now  ''Sacrada Familia'' school in Avenida Principe) with fireworks and costumes  inspired by Goya paintings.
 +
** A fun raft-race organized by the ''pirates of the Tajo''
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 +
The actual  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Mutiny of Aranjuez|Motin de Aranjuez]] was in March, 1808 because Godoy was believed to have colluded with Napoleon to invade Spain on the pretext of attacking Portugal. Subsequently the French forced both the Spanish '''King Carlos IV''' and his son to abdicate in favour of Napoleon's brother, Joseph, ('''José I'''). The Spanish, aided by British forces under Wellington ejected José and reinstalled the king's son as '''Ferdinand VII''', the last regular royal occupant at Aranjuez who ruled until his death in 1833.
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=== Long Hikes===
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'''IMPORTANT: ''' ''Be sure always to '''tell someone''' (such as your hotel receptionist or host) what you are planning, and throughout the summer use Factor 50 sun block on exposed flesh, and be sure to take (even on short outings)
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* a LARGE bottle of '''water''',  
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* a Sombrero or '''sun-hat''' (with a brim all around)
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*a (fully chargeed, with credit) '''telephone''':
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**the medical emergency number is '''061'''.
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**Other emergencies 112, and
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** police national=091 /  municipal=092'''''
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Level walks
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* '''Doce Calles''' Take the Madrid road (M-305) northwards. There are twelve shady paths radiating from s a new roundabout with ''El Kiosco'' bar/restaurant. Take either ''Calle Sin Salida'' or ''Calle la Montaña'' - there is a new park constructed on the south bank ''Talud Sur La Montaña'' (actually not a mountain, but a plateau).
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** To the left leads to a restored water-wheel and Hospital Tajo.  
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** To the right, the level route  leads to ''El cortijo de San Isidro'' palace (with adjacent cafe-bar),  
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** To the right, uphill  leads to a residential district of houses and apartment blocks, where, in calle Avila there a great view over the town and the colleges of the Guardia Civil (The Spanish armed police training center). There you will also find a local bar ''El Cazuela de Chiquitin'' which is cheap good country cooking and  worth a visit, if only for the ''tapas''!
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* '''Ruta del Sol''' The other side of the M305 is also an flat, agricultural area, where there are paths leading to a disused hippodrome, the rivers Tajo (Tagus) and Jarama. There are bridges to cross the railway line
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*'''Los Coroneles''' (on Google maps:Glorieta Cultural) is the middle of five level paths radiating westward from the palace (Plaza Eliptica) ehich lead to a festival ground near the railway station. Here you will find sone ruined barracks (''Antigua Cuarteles'') a few isolated housed near the river and some industrial buildings relating to the disused rail-freight yard. The weir of the River Tajo, which facilitates irrigation, is near the ''Palacio Real''.
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* '''Vía Pecuria''' a drovers path is marked and leads north of La Montaña through olive groves and glorious countryside to Madrid - but there is not much shade - the entire route is about 80Km (50 miles). Start from Aranjuez center and take either the M305 Madrid (as for  Doce Calles) or the M305a, along Jardines del Principe (Avenida de la Reina) over the bridge by the golf course towards....
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** Cortijo de Aranjuez
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** Castillo de Oreja,
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** Titulcia, Vía Pecuaria de los Puentes,
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** Ciempozuelos,
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** San Martín de la Vega,
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** Perales del Rio,
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** Getafe Metro Station (Alonso de Mendoza)
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===Cycle===
 
To the north, beyond the ''rotunda Roseñol'' cobbled roundabout (near the riverside tourist resturant '''el Rana Verde'') are the royal vegetable gardens (now farmland). These are served by protected  royal rides (now restricted to pedestrian and bicycle us). As well as being level, they boast elegant, tree-lined, shade and shingle surfaces. Radiating like a clock from the Doce Calles (12 ways) roundabout/kiosk-bar, some border the river, whilst others lead to a new- park - the steep slope known as ''talud sur de la Montaña''  which has an ancient water-wheel and path-extensions all bicycle or wheelchair accessible and suitable for the fitter users.
 
===Chiquitren and Boat Trip===
 
Operates all year round from about 10am. with commentaries in Spanish and English but is open and unheated
 
===Shop===
 
This is a small town which supports independent traders rather than multiple-stores so some unusual finds. There is one major hypermarket (Le Clerc in paseo Delete) and several smaller food outlets including Eroski, Mercadona, Más and two Lidle stores, For best value and freshest local produce, try the central covered market. English is widely understood
 
 
===Gamble===
 
===Gamble===
 
There are two casinos -  
 
There are two casinos -  
* The Casino central near Calle Infantas - in Call Capitan (Angosto Gomez Castillon - but ther is only one capitain in town!)
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* The Casino central near Calle Infantas - in Calle Capitan (Angosto Gomez Castillon - but there is really only one capitain street in this town town!) email: casinodearanjuez@hotmail.com  Telephone 918 921 444
* Gran Casino A vast complex in La Montaña (m-305 3Km north of palace)
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* [http://www.grancasinoaranjuez.es/ Gran Casino] A vast complex in La Montaña (m-305 3Km north of palace)
 
===Sport===
 
===Sport===
* Golf Aranjuez a 9-hole municipal facility
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* [http://www.clubdegolfaranjuez.es/ Golf Aranjuez] a 9-hole municipal facility
* La Montaña an 18-hole commercial venture
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* [http://www.1golf.eu/en/club/golf-jardin-de-aranjuez/ La Montaña an 18-hole golf] is a commercial venture
* Canoeing at Escuela de Pirigismo (opposite palace)
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* '''[http://www.piraguismoaranjuez.com/| Canoeing]''' at Escuela de Pirigismo (opposite palace)
 
As well as golf and canoeing mentioned, most common sports facilities are available at low cost municipal installations, and there are various adventure activities such as outdoor ''airsoft'' or paint-ball on the so-called "Hamburger hill" adventure park (south of Aranjuez) and ''parapente'' or paragliding on La Montaña (behind schools on Avenida de la Paz de Hiroshima).
 
As well as golf and canoeing mentioned, most common sports facilities are available at low cost municipal installations, and there are various adventure activities such as outdoor ''airsoft'' or paint-ball on the so-called "Hamburger hill" adventure park (south of Aranjuez) and ''parapente'' or paragliding on La Montaña (behind schools on Avenida de la Paz de Hiroshima).
 
===Get Married!===
 
===Get Married!===
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* La Finca de Montaña
 
* La Finca de Montaña
 
* Hotel Barcelo
 
* Hotel Barcelo
 
 
Any of the several professional photographic shops in the town can suggest some great/elegant/natural  backgrounds for those 'forever fotos'
 
Any of the several professional photographic shops in the town can suggest some great/elegant/natural  backgrounds for those 'forever fotos'
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===Buy a home!===
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Yes! Really it is possible - the ''building bubble'' burst, and this town is bursting with four-bedroom houses - detached, terraced or semi-detached chalets and apartments from 1 - 3 bedrooms, all soundly built to EC standards but which became toxic assets, now to be sold by Spain's ''bad-bank'' - ''Sociedad de Gestión de Activos Procedentes de la Reestructuración Bancaria (or 'Sareb')''.
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Although good concrete frame construction buildings, the finish is often poor, so the original asking price (c. 400,000) is usually about half the current list price, but what the market will currently bear is half that - In 2012 a chalet was offered at 167,000€, and similar homes can be rented for about 500€ because private owners are getting desperate. Aranjuez is pleasant, safe and child-friendly sort of place in which to live. The weather is sub-tropical (rarely freezes, can be 40ºC in high summer).  Magical Madrid, Spain's capital city, is 1-hour commuting distance, and the monthly train ticket is around 90 Euros.
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== Eat ==
 
== Eat ==
The strawberries of Aranjuez are famous throughout Spain. There are some excellent restaurants serving the local speciality, artichokes.
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The strawberries of Aranjuez are famous throughout Spain. There are some excellent restaurants serving local speciality foods, notably small artichokes which can be eaten whole and asparagus, which may be mature, white and thick (''blanco'' or young thin green ''brotes / trigots''.
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In the noble tradition, seafood and shellfish are available all year round and
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In winter, a rich stew dish, known as ''Cocido completo'' is common. The liquid is served as a soup and the strained vegetables and meat (pork sausage, pigs ear) is served as the main course.
 
===Cheap===
 
===Cheap===
 
A daily ''Menú'' is provided at most bars and restaurants at around 10 - 20 euros weekdays and slightly more at weekends, but you may have to ask for it - since ''La Carta'' is more expensive. The menu is generally very good value for money, and includes a drink (table wine or soft ''refresco'') and either coffee or desert (rarely both).  
 
A daily ''Menú'' is provided at most bars and restaurants at around 10 - 20 euros weekdays and slightly more at weekends, but you may have to ask for it - since ''La Carta'' is more expensive. The menu is generally very good value for money, and includes a drink (table wine or soft ''refresco'') and either coffee or desert (rarely both).  
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In Aranjuez - with alcohol - it is common to be offered a free bar snack or ''tapas'' - typically a saucer of olives, a small slice of ''tortilla'' or ''croquettes'' - sometimes shellfish (''Mariscos'') -the selection is usually displayed in a glass cabinet on the bar and chosen by the waiter unless you indicate a preference.  
 
In Aranjuez - with alcohol - it is common to be offered a free bar snack or ''tapas'' - typically a saucer of olives, a small slice of ''tortilla'' or ''croquettes'' - sometimes shellfish (''Mariscos'') -the selection is usually displayed in a glass cabinet on the bar and chosen by the waiter unless you indicate a preference.  
 
===Wine===
 
===Wine===
Madrid is a denominated wine production are and some establishments offer local red and white table wines. High quality red wines are generally from Rioja or Ribera Duero region, and white from either Reuda or Rias Baxas - all of those regions are in northern Spain.
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Madrid is a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Vinos de Madrid| denominated wine production area] and some establishments offer local red and white table wines. High quality red wines are generally from Rioja or Ribera Duero region, and white from either Reuda or Rias Baxas - all of those regions are in northern Spain.
 
===Beer===
 
===Beer===
 
The main supplier is Mahou of Madrid (part of the national Mahou San Miguel group). They provide a wide range of larger type beer, often served in a deep-frozen glass (''copa'') or half-litre ''Jarra''. Other national and imported beers and ales tend to be more expensive, but price varies according to the locale.
 
The main supplier is Mahou of Madrid (part of the national Mahou San Miguel group). They provide a wide range of larger type beer, often served in a deep-frozen glass (''copa'') or half-litre ''Jarra''. Other national and imported beers and ales tend to be more expensive, but price varies according to the locale.
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===special needs, school parties, sports & educational vacations ===
 
===special needs, school parties, sports & educational vacations ===
* '''Camping, Caravanning, [http://www.piraguismoaranjuez.com/| Canoeing]''': use  the [http://www.campingaranjuez.com/| International camping site, Aranjuez] off M-305 (overnight stays in car-parks and public spaces is not permitted)
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* '''Camping, Caravanning, and canoeing''' - use  the International camping site (see link below) , Aranjuez off M-305 (overnight stays in car-parks and public spaces is not permitted)
 
* '''[http://www.grancasinoaranjuez.es/| Casino]''':  use Hotel Barcelo  
 
* '''[http://www.grancasinoaranjuez.es/| Casino]''':  use Hotel Barcelo  
* '''[http://www.madridgolf.co.uk/madrid-golf-course-aranjuez.htm/| 18- hole Golf]'''': [http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels/en_GB/hotels/Spain/Madrid/hotel-barcelo-aranjuez/general-description.aspx?ext=US_SEM_MSN_H237| 4-star Hotel Barcelo] La Montana (just off M=305)
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* '''[http://www.madridgolf.co.uk/madrid-golf-course-aranjuez.htm| 18- hole Golf]'''': use Hotel Barcelo La Montana (just off M=305 - link below)
 
===Hotels===  
 
===Hotels===  
====4-Star====
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==== Luxury====
* Barcelo - see above)
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* '''[http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels/en_GB/hotels/Spain/Madrid/hotel-barcelo-aranjuez/general-description.aspx?ext=US_SEM_MSN_H237  Hotel Barcelo]''' - Plaza UNESCO La Montaña (see above)
*'''NH Principe de la Paz''', C/ San Antonio, 22, +34 91.8099222 [http://www.nh-hotels.com/nh/en/hotels/spain/aranjuez/nh-principe-de-la-paz.html?action=search]. This hotel, which is situated in the old part of the town centre facing the south side of the Royal Palace, occupies an emblematic building dating from the 18th and 19th Century destined to be the residential palace of King Carlos IV's favourite, Sir Manuel Godoy.
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*'''[http://www.nh-hotels.com/nh/en/hotels/spain/aranjuez/nh-principe-de-la-paz.html?action=search NH Principe de la Paz]''', Calle San Antonio, Nr. 22, +34 91.8099222 . This hotel, which is situated in the old part of the town centre facing the south side of the Royal Palace, occupies an emblematic building dating from the 18th and 19th Century formerly destined to be the residential palace of King Carlos IV's favourite, Sir Manuel Godoy.
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==== Family ====
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* [http://www.hoteljardindearanjuez.com/ Hotel Jardin de Aranjuez] Avenida Principe, Nr 26
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* [http://www.elcocheron1919.com/en_UK/inicio Hotel  El Cocheron 1919]  Calle Montesinos, Nr 22,
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* [http://www.hoteldonafrancisca.com/ Hotel  Doña Francisca]    Calle Capitán Angosto Gómez Castrillon, 147,
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* [http://www.hotelmercedes.org/ Hotel Mercedes]  Carretera 305 Madrid, 15 (park immediately at entry - walk to to town)
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* [http://www.egidohoteles.com/ Hotel  Egido Don Manuel]  Avenida  Principe, Nr. 71,
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==== Basic ====
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* [http://hostalrealaranjuez.com/ Hostal Real] Avenida Infantas Nr 6
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* [http://www.hostal-rte-santamarta.com/ Hostal Santa Marta] Aranjuez Avenida Infantas Nr 19
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* [http://www.hostalcastillaaranjuez.com/ Hostal Castilla]Calle San Antonio Nr 76
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* [http://www.campingaranjuez.com/| The International Camping site] (turn right off Madrid road (M-305) from town centre, about 1Km has bungalows, caravans and tents for short holiday lets - there is a shop and resturant on-site
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==Contact==
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'''[http://www.aranjuez.es Aranjues Municipal Tourist Information Office]''' have very pleasant staff who speak English, and, as well as orientation, guide books and events calenders,  will also help visitors to the office by telephoning - especially to smaller local establishments whose staff may have difficulty speaking English
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The office is alongside the huge  Mariblanca sandy square, in Casa de las Infantas to the left of  San Antonio church. and open daily, all year round from about 10 am Telephone Spain  (+34) 918 910 427 Fax.: (+34) 918 914 197 Email: infoturismo@aranjuez.es
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Revision as of 07:12, 29 January 2013

Aranjuez Rotal Palace one of the commons:Aranjuez gallery of images

Aranjuez is an historic municipality (|population ~47,000) at the confluence of the Tagus | Tajo and Jarama | Jarama rivers. It is about 50 km south of Madrid in Spain and difficult for Anglophones to pronounce: Help:IPA for Spanish|aɾaŋˈxweθ sounds something like a'ran'with!.

Contents

Understand

Nestling in the wide, flat-bottomed valley at the confluence of the Tagus (locally Tajo) and Jarama rivers, in an exquisite natural setting, the town of Aranjuez, has been declared a UNESCO Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site since 2001.

The Royal Estate and Villa was once the exclusive springtime residence of royalty and its 700 families of servants. In 1747 the town started to become the modern thriving city of today, but retaining the outstanding cultural and sporting opportunities for residents and visitors in an environment of great natural interest once reserved to courtiers and their king.

All so called 'ribereños' still strive to serve everyone as delightfully as they once served the nobility, and especially those who seek know the history, architecture, and the culture that created its incomparably sublime buildings, gardens, and landscapes - Aranjuez offers food for thought combined with serenity, comfort and fine cuisine.

Get in

By plane

The main passenger terminal is Madrid–Barajas Airport], to the west of the capital city, which links via a toll-road to the thee concentric peripheral routes M-50 (outer) M-40 and M-30 (inner) autovías. There are also direct rail and metro services from Terminal 4.

By train

In summer, RENFE occasionally run the [[W|Strawberry train] - la tren de la fresa is a steam-train tourist service from Madrid

Madrid region Cercanias C-3 service trains link Arunjuez directly to Madrid The ride takes roughly 45 min to 55 min from Atocha, Sol or Chamartin.

From Atocha RENFE high-speed trains connect directly to the airport and to most Iberian cities. For Paris change from AVE] to TGVhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ at at Barcelona

By car

Use either M-50, M-40, or M-30 peripheral major roads around Madrid which connect to A-4 (Autovia Sur/direction Cordoba) use exit at Km 37 (under arched footbridge) to M-305 ( regular road direction Aranjuez - take care of tight bend left and 2 lanes converging).

This leads via La Montaña district and automotive sales zone (3Km north of city) and then directly to the royal palace (recommended: use free surface car-park on left immediately after road-width restriction or continue into monumental zone then turn right under arch by church to paid underground parking in Calle Valeras).

For the south (industrial area) of town continue on A4 to next exit (or use toll road R-4).

Get around

Walk

Aranjuez center - Orientation sketch - not to scale

Aranjuez is fairly flat and accessible with many fine gardens and parks as well as those of the royal palace complex. For a swift introduction, there is the tourist chiquitren or wagon-train which optionally offers a combined ticket which includes some museum entry and riverboat services. This leaves daily, all year round, from behind the Royal Palace, through the town and around the Jardin del Principe royal gardens, and includes a recorded commentary in Spanish and English. The Jardin de la Isla is a more formal garden with some notable fountains joining the palace.

  • Amble around the town as well as the royal sites - the town is compact and level - ideal for walking - but, this being an historic town with lots of interesting architecture, wheelchair users may need help entering some business premises, but assistance is usually readily available on request.
  • Tourist Walks the tourist office offers several routes which pass by numbered information boards erected by the municipality near places of interest

Cycle

Aranjuez municipality has a free cycle hire service called [Aranbike], but there is an initial registration fee, and the process is a very clumpy operation and all in Spanish - but don't dispair1 Scroll down their web-page several meters you can download the PDF application form, which is four (yes! Four!) almost identical sheets - so a photocopier might be helpful. These are adult size machines, and persons under 14 years of age need a parent or guardian as guarantor. You will need a valid passport and bank-card (targeta de credito/debito)

[Download the official cycle route-map -- There lockable park stations around town and in some hotels.

To the north, beyond the rotunda Roseñol cobbled roundabout (near the riverside tourist resturant 'el Rana Verde) are the royal vegetable gardens (now farmland). These are served by protected royal rides (now restricted to pedestrian and bicycle us). As well as being level, they boast elegant, tree-lined, shade and shingle surfaces. Radiating like a clock from the Doce Calles (12 ways) roundabout/kiosk-bar, some border the river, whilst others lead to a new- park - the steep slope known as talud sur de la Montaña which has an ancient water-wheel and path-extensions all bicycle or wheelchair accessible and suitable for the fitter users.

Chiquitren and Boat Trip

The tourist road-train Operates all year round from about 10am. with commentaries in Spanish and English but its wagons are open and unheated

Shop

This is a small town which supports independent traders rather than multiple-stores so some unusual http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/s. There is one major hypermarket (Le Clerc in paseo Delete) and several smaller food outlets including Eroski, Mercadona, Más and two Lidle stores, For best value and freshest local produce, try the central covered market. English is widely understood

Drive

Parking for visitors to the tourist office is a short walk from (free - open) surface car park at entry to town near Hotel Mercedes, or underground (guarded, cooler but paid - c. 1€ per hour) in Calle Valera - Exit Mariblanca cobbled street to right under arch, and turn left after Hotel Principe de Paz (opposite palace).

Parking in Aranjuez town centre streets is difficult and needs a paid ticket during business hours - but only if the spaces are marked with a blue line.
Double parking is common (especially for newspapers and cigarettes) but illegal. The central streets are very narrow and require drivers to be patient - best avoided - most hotels have reserved spaces.

See

Royal Site

Click here to see the Wikimedia commons a gallery of images

  • Royal Palace of Aranjuez dates from the 18th century. Some of the famous rooms are
    • The Porcelain Study,
    • Throne Room.
    • Jardin de la Isla attached formal gardens.
    • Plaza Eliptica oval grassed park, with three radiating walkways with shady trees leading towards the festival ground near the railway station -
    • One of the exterior facades of the Palace: [1], the Gardens surrounding the Palace [2]
    • Chiquitren - tourist road-train which visits:
  • Jardin de la Isla - formal gardens ajoining the palace
  • Jardin del Principe - an extensive riverside park with many features, including
    • Botanical Gardens
    • Chinese Garden
    • Real Casa del Labrador
    • Museo de Falúas Reales - Royal Barge Collection

Within Aranjuez, there are many sculptures and architectural gems - because the town was created by royalty and only royal servants were permitted, the vernacular buildings tend to be of one design in the tightly packed centre, interspersed with noble palaces and grand military installations along the boulevards. Worth visiting are the newly restored railway station and Carlos III theatre, the Queen's stable, now adapted as the municipal cultural centre, the central Abastos market and (ruined) Carlos municipal (plague) hospital. Saturdays there is a substantial open air market for food and clothing in Calle Valeras, which faces the Royal Palace.

  • Mariblanca - a large sandy square properly called Plaza San Antonio afte the Royal chapel at the end.

Old Town

  • Plaza de la Constitución
  • Bull Ring The first Plaza de Toros built in Spain, contains small museum
  • Palacios Principe de La Paz -the rogue royal favourite who provoked the mutiny of Aranjuez for consorting with Napoleon - near the palace (now a 4* hotel) and also in Calle Principe - now Colegeo de la Sacrada Familia - in front of which the mutiny is re-enacted)

Nearby

Do

  • Feria de Aranjuez festival about first week of September includes
    • a fun-fair (car park, M-305) ,
    • sports events (Delete stadium),
    • food and drink stalls (Mariblanca),
    • a concert at the Royal Palace,
    • a traditional or Sacrificio Goyesque (in the Plaza de Toros),
    • a dramatic street re-enactment of the attack and burning of Godoy's House, (now Sacrada Familia school in Avenida Principe) with fireworks and costumes inspired by Goya paintings.
    • A fun raft-race organized by the pirates of the Tajo

The actual Mutiny of Aranjuez|Motin de Aranjuez] was in March, 1808 because Godoy was believed to have colluded with Napoleon to invade Spain on the pretext of attacking Portugal. Subsequently the French forced both the Spanish King Carlos IV and his son to abdicate in favour of Napoleon's brother, Joseph, (José I). The Spanish, aided by British forces under Wellington ejected José and reinstalled the king's son as Ferdinand VII, the last regular royal occupant at Aranjuez who ruled until his death in 1833.

Long Hikes

IMPORTANT: Be sure always to tell someone (such as your hotel receptionist or host) what you are planning, and throughout the summer use Factor 50 sun block on exposed flesh, and be sure to take (even on short outings)

  • a LARGE bottle of water,
  • a Sombrero or sun-hat (with a brim all around)
  • a (fully chargeed, with credit) telephone:
    • the medical emergency number is 061.
    • Other emergencies 112, and
    • police national=091 / municipal=092

Level walks

  • Doce Calles Take the Madrid road (M-305) northwards. There are twelve shady paths radiating from s a new roundabout with El Kiosco bar/restaurant. Take either Calle Sin Salida or Calle la Montaña - there is a new park constructed on the south bank Talud Sur La Montaña (actually not a mountain, but a plateau).
    • To the left leads to a restored water-wheel and Hospital Tajo.
    • To the right, the level route leads to El cortijo de San Isidro palace (with adjacent cafe-bar),
    • To the right, uphill leads to a residential district of houses and apartment blocks, where, in calle Avila there a great view over the town and the colleges of the Guardia Civil (The Spanish armed police training center). There you will also find a local bar El Cazuela de Chiquitin which is cheap good country cooking and worth a visit, if only for the tapas!
  • Ruta del Sol The other side of the M305 is also an flat, agricultural area, where there are paths leading to a disused hippodrome, the rivers Tajo (Tagus) and Jarama. There are bridges to cross the railway line
  • Los Coroneles (on Google maps:Glorieta Cultural) is the middle of five level paths radiating westward from the palace (Plaza Eliptica) ehich lead to a festival ground near the railway station. Here you will find sone ruined barracks (Antigua Cuarteles) a few isolated housed near the river and some industrial buildings relating to the disused rail-freight yard. The weir of the River Tajo, which facilitates irrigation, is near the Palacio Real.
  • Vía Pecuria a drovers path is marked and leads north of La Montaña through olive groves and glorious countryside to Madrid - but there is not much shade - the entire route is about 80Km (50 miles). Start from Aranjuez center and take either the M305 Madrid (as for Doce Calles) or the M305a, along Jardines del Principe (Avenida de la Reina) over the bridge by the golf course towards....
    • Cortijo de Aranjuez
    • Castillo de Oreja,
    • Titulcia, Vía Pecuaria de los Puentes,
    • Ciempozuelos,
    • San Martín de la Vega,
    • Perales del Rio,
    • Getafe Metro Station (Alonso de Mendoza)


Gamble

There are two casinos -

  • The Casino central near Calle Infantas - in Calle Capitan (Angosto Gomez Castillon - but there is really only one capitain street in this town town!) email: casinodearanjuez@hotmail.com Telephone 918 921 444
  • Gran Casino A vast complex in La Montaña (m-305 3Km north of palace)

Sport

As well as golf and canoeing mentioned, most common sports facilities are available at low cost municipal installations, and there are various adventure activities such as outdoor airsoft or paint-ball on the so-called "Hamburger hill" adventure park (south of Aranjuez) and parapente or paragliding on La Montaña (behind schools on Avenida de la Paz de Hiroshima).

Get Married!

Aranjuez is the wedding capital of Spain - maybe because you are royalty for the day! There are several shops selling or hiring wedding dresses, formal wear etc. and several specialist event organizers, including:

  • Gran Casino
  • La Finca de Montaña
  • Hotel Barcelo

Any of the several professional photographic shops in the town can suggest some great/elegant/natural backgrounds for those 'forever fotos'

Buy a home!

Yes! Really it is possible - the building bubble burst, and this town is bursting with four-bedroom houses - detached, terraced or semi-detached chalets and apartments from 1 - 3 bedrooms, all soundly built to EC standards but which became toxic assets, now to be sold by Spain's bad-bank - Sociedad de Gestión de Activos Procedentes de la Reestructuración Bancaria (or 'Sareb').

Although good concrete frame construction buildings, the finish is often poor, so the original asking price (c. 400,000) is usually about half the current list price, but what the market will currently bear is half that - In 2012 a chalet was offered at 167,000€, and similar homes can be rented for about 500€ because private owners are getting desperate. Aranjuez is pleasant, safe and child-friendly sort of place in which to live. The weather is sub-tropical (rarely freezes, can be 40ºC in high summer). Magical Madrid, Spain's capital city, is 1-hour commuting distance, and the monthly train ticket is around 90 Euros.

Eat

The strawberries of Aranjuez are famous throughout Spain. There are some excellent restaurants serving local speciality foods, notably small artichokes which can be eaten whole and asparagus, which may be mature, white and thick (blanco or young thin green brotes / trigots.

In the noble tradition, seafood and shellfish are available all year round and

In winter, a rich stew dish, known as Cocido completo is common. The liquid is served as a soup and the strained vegetables and meat (pork sausage, pigs ear) is served as the main course.

Cheap

A daily Menú is provided at most bars and restaurants at around 10 - 20 euros weekdays and slightly more at weekends, but you may have to ask for it - since La Carta is more expensive. The menu is generally very good value for money, and includes a drink (table wine or soft refresco) and either coffee or desert (rarely both).

Grand

  • Caréme, near Palace
  • Casino La Montaña

Steak

  • Ruta Del Sol, M305
  • Jose Carrillo, Calle Capitan

Drink

Bars in Aranjuez generally offer a wide selection of internationally known refreshments in generous measure and at prices below the European average price.

In Aranjuez - with alcohol - it is common to be offered a free bar snack or tapas - typically a saucer of olives, a small slice of tortilla or croquettes - sometimes shellfish (Mariscos) -the selection is usually displayed in a glass cabinet on the bar and chosen by the waiter unless you indicate a preference.

Wine

Madrid is a Vinos de Madrid| denominated wine production area and some establishments offer local red and white table wines. High quality red wines are generally from Rioja or Ribera Duero region, and white from either Reuda or Rias Baxas - all of those regions are in northern Spain.

Beer

The main supplier is Mahou of Madrid (part of the national Mahou San Miguel group). They provide a wide range of larger type beer, often served in a deep-frozen glass (copa) or half-litre Jarra. Other national and imported beers and ales tend to be more expensive, but price varies according to the locale.

Fortified wine

As well as bottled sherry Jerez many bars in Aranjuez have a barrel or tap (similar to, and alongside the regular beer-tap) - look out for these!

Spirits

Most bars have a very wide and international selection of distilled drinks, and the waiters (camereros) enjoy producing fancy cocktails and amusing tapas.

Soft drinks

Water from the tap (grifo is widely drunk in Spain, particularly by children, and is generally available on request - usually chilled or with ice. Ask for Agua and mineral water is usually served - with ice and lemon. The usual range of American and European sweet drinks (Coca-cola, Fanta etc) are served with lots of ice, and so are usually reasonably priced (often slightly cheaper than in Madrid capital, and much cheaper than in tourist areas).

Sleep

Aranjuez caters for almost every type of visitor and most budgets from backpacker to buisness traveller:

special needs, school parties, sports & educational vacations

  • Camping, Caravanning, and canoeing - use the International camping site (see link below) , Aranjuez off M-305 (overnight stays in car-parks and public spaces is not permitted)
  • Casino: use Hotel Barcelo
  • 18- hole Golf': use Hotel Barcelo La Montana (just off M=305 - link below)

Hotels

Luxury

  • Hotel Barcelo - Plaza UNESCO La Montaña (see above)
  • NH Principe de la Paz, Calle San Antonio, Nr. 22, +34 91.8099222 . This hotel, which is situated in the old part of the town centre facing the south side of the Royal Palace, occupies an emblematic building dating from the 18th and 19th Century formerly destined to be the residential palace of King Carlos IV's favourite, Sir Manuel Godoy.

Family

Basic

Contact

Aranjues Municipal Tourist Information Office have very pleasant staff who speak English, and, as well as orientation, guide books and events calenders, will also help visitors to the office by telephoning - especially to smaller local establishments whose staff may have difficulty speaking English

The office is alongside the huge Mariblanca sandy square, in Casa de las Infantas to the left of San Antonio church. and open daily, all year round from about 10 am Telephone Spain (+34) 918 910 427 Fax.: (+34) 918 914 197 Email: infoturismo@aranjuez.es


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