aranjuez, spain

*I'm still playing catch up with different things we did and places we went in the fall.  No fun posting pictures of yourself in a tank top and shorts when you're drinking tea under a blanket...so I'm trying to make quick work of everything that happened when we didn't have WiFi, but not bypass it completely.  So, without further ado...

Aranjuez is a town just 42km (26 miles) south of Madrid that is well-known because of the royal palace located there, and also because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I'd heard good things about Aranjuez (which I mistakenly assumed was a little bitty town, but actually has almost 60,000 people living in it!), but also knew that part of why people like it is because of its gardens, so I was waiting to visit in the early fall or late spring.  Late September seemed like a good time for that, so we took a Cercanías train from the center of Madrid and about 45 minutes later, we were there.  We had to walk 15-20 minutes from the station to the palace and gardens, but the walk is tree-lined and pretty.  

We opted not to tour the palace this go around as we were a bit tight for money in September, but seeing how the trip to Aranjuez is so easy, I hope that one day we'll make it back for a tour.  The gardens are cool and a really enjoyable place for a picnic, which is just what we did.  We had much of them to ourselves as we wandered around down different pathways, discovering different fountains and statues as we went.  

After we finished up at the palace and gardens, we walked around the town for a little while, and it was very calm and low-key as well.  Seems like a nice place for a relaxed lunch if you decide not to bring one with you.  

Although I haven't toured the palace yet, I wouldn't rank Aranjuez in my top three or maybe even five day trips from Madrid.  However, if you live in Madrid and are looking for a break from the city, and something different from Retiro (because to be honest, the gardens of Aranjuez aren't all that different from Retiro), I think Aranjuez would make an easy and relaxing day trip or even a half-day trip.