Just 48 minutes from the center of Madrid (less than sixty kilometers), Manzanares El Real is the charming town you were looking for whether: you need to rest a day from the hustle and bustle of the big city, you want to make a weekend getaway or go on vacation close to home. Above all, fans of impressive castles they will not be able to avoid falling in love with the beauty of what is found in this town.
The castle of the Mendoza dates from the fifteenth century and it is not only a vivid portrait of the medieval world and the Renaissance… it is also the best preserved in the Community of Madrid and is fully musealized (in fact, there is an option for a theatrical visit with actors). The truth is that this monument is everything that one expects from a castle. Practically, the only thing missing is a long-haired princess.
Originally, it was a fortress but, over time, it became the residential palace of the Mendoza family. That is why it is full of tapestries and furniture from the 17th century, it is also a good example of Castilian military architecture. It is worth getting lost in large halls, and the church with three naves, although one of its main points of interest is the garden of the senses. And it is not an ordinary park with its medicinal plants, a labyrinth and a palenque.
However, this is not the only jewel of yesteryear that can be enjoyed in Manzanares el Real. You cannot miss the church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, also from the 15th century, and the bridge of the Cañada Real Segoviana. As well as the hermitage of Peña Sacra with its spectacular views of La Pedriza, a mountain that would have magical properties, according to legend.
postcard natural environment
The heritage of this little town is not only cultural and architectural since Manzanares El Real It is located in the Sierra de Guadarrama and it has dream forests for hikers, a reservoir and the aforementioned “La Pedriza”.
Take note of another very interesting detail: this town is passage of two of the great roads to Santiago de Compostela. This fact is not by chance, it is not by chance: on the one hand, it is located in the northern part of the Community of Madrid and, on the other, it was the main town of the dukedom of the Mendoza family. With these characteristics, it was difficult for the Camino de Santiago de Madrid and the Camino Mendocino not to pass through Manzanares El Real.
Finally, if you go to the Santillana reservoir, you will find a perfect place for observation, since it is an Important Area for the Conservation of Birds because it is one of the most important places in terms of migration and nesting of waterfowl.
Photos | @manzanareselrea.org
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