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The ancient San Jerónimo College is found within the setting of the charismatic history of Alcalá de Henares. Its proximity to monumental treasures such as the San Ildefonso Chapel, the Archbishop's Palace and the baroque convent of Las Bernadas, can be extended to include the Spanish capital. Madrid is just 26 km away along the E-90, towards nearby Guadalajara and Zaragoza.

Location

COMMUNITY OF MADRID

The Autonomous Community of Madrid is bordered by the regions of Castilla y Leon to the north and west and Castilla La Mancha to the east and south and is home to the capital of Spain, Madrid. In addition to Madrid the area includes the cities of Chinchon, Alcala de Henares, Aranjuez and the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Madrid and is region lie in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula 646 metres above sea level, making the city the second highest capital in Europe. Its central location and high elevation means that Madrid and its surroundings enjoy seasonal weather with chilly winters and dry (and very hot) summers.

When visiting Madrid you will see a wonderful variety in architectural styles, a blend of modern design contrasting with the streets steeped in history that house the cultural and artistic heritage of the nation’s capital. The city’s historic centre, with its plethora of monuments, fountains, historic buildings and statues, not to mention the famous 17th century Plaza Mayor with its array of cafes, restaurants and bars.

Alcala de Henares is a town to the north east of Madrid renowned as the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. Alcala de Henares is one of Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage Cities largely due to its famous connections as well as the number of churches, convents and historic university buildings which all serve as a reminder of what life may have looked like in the ‘Golden Age’ (between 1680 – 1680). There is a lovely Parador in the town which occupies the former St Thomas convent close to a bustling square.

As one approaches Chinchón, 45km to the south east of Madrid, you cannot fail to spot the cluster of historic houses on the hill top marking your entrance to the historic town. The town’s medieval Plaza Mayor with its wooden balconies takes pride of place in a town full of churches, mansions, ancestral homes complete with coats of arms and the remains of a 15th century castle. One of Chinchón’s most famous exports is its aniseed liqueur, simply known as Anís or Chinchón, no visit to the town is complete without tasting this local speciality.

To the south of Madrid, one will come across the town of Aranjuez, a historical and royal site and home to the summer palace to the Spanish Royals. The Royal Palace sits on the banks of the Tagus River and boasts magnificent gardens of a mixture of styles taking inspiration from English rose gardens to Versailles-like preened patios which are very popular with locals in summer months. The area’s fertile plains are perfect for agriculture and Aranjuez famous product include artichokes, asparagus and strawberries, the area is also famous for its long hunting tradition and pheasant, partridge and quail are frequently eaten in the area.

Being the capital of Spain, in Madrid you will find no end of traditional Spanish cuisine from all corners of the country. Tapas are popular in the city offering a light and sociable way to dine with friends and family after work and you can enjoy a tapas tour through historic Madrid, taking in typical dishes made with fish, seafood, vegetables and pork. One of the city’s most unique contributions to Spanish gastronomy is the calamari sandwich, made from calamari a la romana (fried and battered) in a baguette with mayonnaise or a condiment of your choosing, and there is a heavy concentration of the calamari sandwich bars around the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Fusion food has been a trend in Madrid and its surroundings over the past decade with many haute-cuisine restaurants offering menus that combine traditional eastern flavourings (usually Japanese) with Spanish and western dishes. Over the past few years Madrid has seen a growth in the number of Michelin-starred restaurants around the city offering wonderfully innovative menus, but you will also find your fair share of delicious cheaper options following the typical Spanish approach of simple, fresh and flavoursome dishes.