Earth : Europe : Iberia : Spain : Aranjuez
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.
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).
In summer, RENFE occasionally run the [[W|Strawberry train] - la tren de la fresa is a steam-train tourist service from Madrid
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.
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.
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
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
There are two casinos -
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).
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:
Any of the several professional photographic shops in the town can suggest some great/elegant/natural backgrounds for those 'forever fotos'
There are some excellent restaurants for all budgets (main meal from about 10€ - 100€ per person) serving local speciality foods, notably
In the noble tradition, seafood and shellfish are widely available all year round, often mixed with other dishes
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Most bars have a very wide and international selection of distilled drinks, and the waiters (camereros) enjoy producing fancy cocktails and amusing tapas.
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).
Aranjuez caters for almost every type of visitor and most budgets from backpacker to buisness traveller:
special needs, school parties, sports & educational vacations