Aranjuez is one of the most beautiful cities in central Spain. This city is often called the capital of spring. This location was chosen by the kings in the sixteenth century as their home for entertainment and relaxation. There is a specific microclimate here due to the fact that 3 rivers converge here: Tagus, Jarama and Henares. The Royal Palace of Aranjuez, along with its gardens and the city centre, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as Aranjuez Cultural Landscape in 2001.The Aranjuez plain has been inhabited since ancient times. The history of this royal estate dates back to the time of the Reconquista, when the great masters of the Order of Santiago had their palace here. We owe the appearance of the town today to King Philip II.
Philip II decided to implement the project of his father, Charles I, to make Aranjuez a wonderful city with Italian styling. The king was a great lover of gardens. This is undeniably evident in the current appearance of the city. From the 18th century on, the Bourbon kings continued to work on a residence. Philip V arranged new gardens, and Ferdinand VI arranged more tree-lined streets. One of the jewels of this city and the source of its fame is the Royal Palace. There are many Baroque works in the interior of the palace. The royal residence in Aranjuez is not only a palace, but in particular the gardens that surround the palace, such as the aforementioned island garden or the King’s Garden. It is worth seeing, above all, the Jardin del Príncipe. The park is decorated with fountains, sculptures and flower beds. It is in French and Gothic style and there is a large forest here.
It has an area of 150 ha. Another Parterre Garden is in the English style.
Currently, the Palace houses a historical museum – Museo de la Vida en Palacio. The Aranjuez Gardens were the inspiration for the creation in 1939 of the musical piece Concierto de Aranjuez, created by Joaquin Rodrigo – one of the most outstanding Spanish composers of the 20th century. It also has one of the oldest bullrings in the world. It was opened in 1797 and had a capacity of 9,000 spectators.
In Aranjuez there is a balance between nature and humans. It is also famous for growing strawberries and asparagus. The typical dessert in this location is strawberries with whipped cream. In spring and summer, a historic train known as the “strawberry train” runs from Madrid to Aranjuez. This is another tourist attraction of this wonderful town.
Casa Jose – family gem
We had the opportunity to visit this wonderful place with a guide during our stay in Madrid during The Best Chef Awards 2022. It was the evening before Area Talks lectures. The idyllic atmosphere of the place allowed both the organizers of the commotion and the speakers to rest. The weather in Aranjuez is very different from that in the capital. We were able to take a break from the heat that continued in Madrid despite the approaching autumn. After a short walking tour, we went for a wonderful dinner at Casa Jose. This is a family-run restaurant, with its heavy emphasis on produce from the vegetable gardens around Aranjuez. The beginnings of the restaurant date back to 1958. The food and wine were magical and conversations could go on until dawn, but we had to go back to start Area Talks refreshed. Thank you Aranjuez! Thank you Casa Jose! You are amazing and for sure we will come back!