Turismo Madrid

 

Rutas Patrimonio de la Humanidad en la Comunidad de Madrid

Ruta 2 > Itinerario 8

Essential Royal Site of Aranjuez Itinerary

9,7 KM

This is an 8-hour route to discover the most important elements of the Royal Site of Aranjuez, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Framed in two important periods of history, the Renaissance, represented by the orchards, groves and the Island Garden as a compendium of all gardening trends at that time; and the Enlightenment, with the urbanization of the town following the baroque traces, with rectangular blocks, avenues in perspective that end in monumental squares and gardens of French influence. The focal point of the complex is the Royal Palace, seasonal residence of the Hispanic monarchy from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

The tour begins at the Aranjuez railroad station, which can be easily reached from Madrid using the frequent Cercanías commuter train service or the Strawberry tourist train. For those who prefer to go by car, it is only necessary to take the  highway A-4 up to the exit 37. Once in Aranjuez, there are several regulated parking options available.

Ruta Paso a Paso

Aranjuez railroad station

The tour begins at the Aranjuez railroad station, which can be easily reached from Madrid using the frequent Cercanías commuter train service or the Strawberry tourist train. For those who prefer to go by car, it is only necessary to take the  highway A-4 up to the exit 37. Once in Aranjuez, there are several regulated parking options available.

The Aranjuez railroad station is part of a railway complex built in the 19th century and which gave rise to the second oldest railway line in service in Spain, inaugurated in 1851. The current building, which was managed by the MZA company, was built in neo-Mudejar style in 1924.

Cercanías commuter train schedules

Strawberry tourist train

 

1. Royal Palace Parade

Created by Charles III in 1771, coinciding with the expansion of the palace into two wings attached to the main facade. The perimeter of the space is completed with ten stone benches whose backs are topped with baskets of flowers and pine cones.

 

2. Royal Palace

Philip II, making his own an old project of his father, Emperor Charles, ordered in 1561 the replacement of the old master residence of Aranjuez by a new building that is the antecedent of the current Royal Palace. It began with the chapel, the work of Juan Bautista de Toledo, completed by Juan de Herrera. The works of the Palace were abandoned until 1715, under the reign of Felipe V, when the construction of the new Royal Palace of Aranjuez began. After the destruction of the building by fire, King Ferdinand VI commissioned its reconstruction to Santiago Bonavia, who restored the facade and introduced some significant changes that shape its current appearance.

More information

 

3. King's Garden

It was conceived by Juan Bautista de Toledo, in the time of Philip II, as a private garden open to the palace building, enclosed on its east and south sides by high walls. It is carried out by Juan de Herrera from 1577. Philip IV, in 1622, gave the garden a representational character, incorporating a collection of statues and bas-reliefs. In 1733, Leandro Bachelieu demolished the wall that separated it from the neighboring Parterre garden, losing the character of an intimate space.

 

4. Queen's Garden

It was built at the end of the 19th century, with a similar arrangement of square boxwood hedges as the King's, completed with a sculptural stone fountain in its center.

 

5. Island Garden

The Island Garden is a green space originated in the sixteenth century, Italian-Flemish Renaissance style. It has numerous monumental fountains and sculptural groups.

Access to the Island Garden, the Prince's Garden and the Parterre Garden is free at the following times:

January 1st - February 28th, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. March 1st - March 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. March 16th - last weekend of March, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of March - June 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. June 16th - August 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. August 16th - September 30th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. October 1st - last weekend of October, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of October - December 31st, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 

6. Cascada de las Castañuelas (Castanets Waterfall)

It has a semicircular floor plan and a successively stepped profile with a rough texture. It was built in the estuary by Santiago Bonavía, in 1750, according to the project of Pedro Caro Idrogo.

 

7. Neptune's Fountain

It is adorned by a bronze sculptural group representing Ceres, Cybele, Juno and Neptune. It was commissioned by Velázquez to Alessandro Algardi. It arrived in Aranjuez in 1661, coming from the old Alcazar of Madrid.

 

8. Bacchus Fountain

Located in a hexagonal square with stone benches, in the center of which is a circular basin of jasper holding the god Bacchus, crowned with bunches of grapes and sitting on a barrel, while raising a glass of wine. The figure, the work of Jonghellinck, was a gift to Philip III by the Grand Duke of Florence.

 

9. Diana's Fountain

Image in white marble on an irregular base of limestone masonry. It was moved from its original location in the Prince's Garden.

 

10. Stoves

The two brick platforms belong to the old stoves of the 19th century, used as greenhouses for the cultivation and protection of decorative plants.

 

11. Venus' Fountain

It was sent from Florence by García de Toledo. It is situated in the center of an octagonal square where the figure of Venus in bronze is located.

 

12. Spinario Fountain

It was built by will of King Philip III. It has a pedestal in the center on which rests a child taking out a thorn off his left foot and four columns with harpies that throw the water to the interior of the source.

 

13. Apollo's Fountain

Neapolitan work of Michelangelo Naccherino, early seventeenth century, with octagonal vase of Carrara marble decorated with medallions and animal heads. It occupies a circular space delimited by canapés, designed by Sabatini, in limestone of Colmenar.

 

14. Hercules and the Hydra Fountain

Neapolitan work of Michelangelo Naccherino, early seventeenth century, with octagonal vase of Carrara marble decorated with medallions and animal heads. It occupies a circular space delimited by canapés, designed by Sabatini, in limestone of Colmenar.

 

15. Apothecary Fountain

It rises on a plinth and a base of black jasper, which contains the sculpture of Hercules slaying the Hydra on a pedestal. It was built by the will of King Philip IV and is the work of José de Villarreal and Bartolomé Zumbigo.

 

16. Big Dam

It was built to allow the navigability of the Tagus River, to filter the entrance of water to the estuary and to form a waterfall that would allow the installation of mills. The dam divided the course of the river towards a channel destined to the operation of some mills already existing in the 14th century. The estuary separates the inner part of a meander of the river and turns it into an island.

 

17. Parterre Garden

Located next to the eastern façade of the Royal Palace, the Parterre garden owes its origin to the commission of Philip V to Esteban Marchand, according to the project of 1728, which was continued by Leandro Bachelieu in 1733. The plantings are due to the gardener Esteban Boutelou, being completed in 1736 by the architect Filippo Juvara, along with the ponds by Joachim Dumandré. In 1751 the parapet with balustrade bordering the river was replaced, the work of Santiago Bonavía. Charles III, in addition to making variations in the plantings, ordered the creation of the estuary, designed by the architect Jaime Marquet and completed in 1763.

Access to the Island Garden, the Prince's Garden and the Parterre Garden is free at the following times:

January 1st - February 28th, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. March 1st - March 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. March 16th - last weekend of March, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of March - June 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. June 16th - August 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. August 16th - September 30th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. October 1st - last weekend of October, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of October - December 31st, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 

18. Ceres' Fountain

It is a central basin of low glass and trefoil mixtilinear plant, accompanied by four vases of Carrara marble. It houses a sculpture of the goddess Ceres, brought in the 19th century from the Prince's Garden, accompanied at the ends by two large baskets with flowers, made of lead, which support a trio of angels of limestone masonry.

 

19. Hercules and Antaeus Fountain

The Parterre Garden completes its original eighteenth-century design with a large circular pond, arranged in the axis of the garden next to the exterior access. It was modified in 1827 by Isidro González Velázquez, incorporating the sculpture of Hercules and Antaeus, made by Juan Adán, initially designed for the Prince's Garden. It sits on a column raised on a square ark with cushioned semicircular arches, with angels and dragons, raised on a base of irregular stone pieces, and accompanied by a symbolic pair of columns dedicated to Avila and Calpe, arranged on its north and south sides on irregular rock.

 

20. Mariblanca Fountain

The Mariblanca fountain was conceived both as a source of water supply for the population and as an ornamental and spectacle resource. It was designed by Santiago Bonavía in 1750 and sculpted by Giovanni Domenico Olivieri. In 1760 the image of King Ferdinand VII, which crowned it, was replaced by the current image of Hera, also called the Mariblanca, carved in Portuguese marble by the sculptor Juan Manuel Reina.

 

21. House of Trades

A large building with a rectangular floor plan, it is divided into two parts: the House of Trades and the Gentlemen's Quarters. The Casa de Oficios was begun in 1584 by order of King Philip II, under the direction and design of Juan de Herrera. Juan Gómez de Mora continued the work, continuing with the work on the Knights' Quarters in 1613.

 

22. Knights' Quarters

Juan Gómez de Mora began the works in 1613, continuing with the Cuarto de Caballeros. In 1728 the northern corridor was finished and after the fire of the palace in 1748, Santiago Bonavía promoted the works and after his death it was Jaime Marquet who finished off the northwest corner and raising a floor to match the facade of the house of the Infantes in 1773 the courtyards were landscaped and its dependencies housed offices of the Administration of the Royal Heritage, as well as barracks and military pavilions.

 

23. St. Anthony of Padua Church

It was commissioned by Fernando VI to Santiago Bonavía, in 1750, as a chapel and inn. After Bonavía's death, Jaime Marquet introduced changes in 1768. In 1772 Francisco Sabatini made a project to enlarge the chapel in a Latin cross plan that was never executed. In 1808, during the War of Independence, it was used as a bastion for the French troops and its interior was looted. In 1827, at the initiative of Queen Maria Josefa Amalia of Saxony, third wife of Ferdinand VII, the altars were restored.

 

24. House of Infants

It was built in 1769 by order of King Carlos III to house the families and entourage of his sons, the infants Gabriel and Antonio, avoiding the rental of housing. It is the work of Manuel Serrano, with the possible intervention of Juan de Villanueva in 1773.

 

25. Isabel II's Garden

The garden of Isabel II is the work of Narciso Pascual Colomer and was completed in 1843. It is delimited by an enclosure with a continuous bench supported by a wall with pilasters and cast iron railings, whose corners are reinforced with large fleurons. In the center of the traffic circle is the bronze statue of Elizabeth II as a child, the work of Desboeufs, a gift from the French ambassador Juan Luis Brunette to commemorate the alliance between France, England, Portugal and Spain.

 

26. Carlos III's Royal Coliseum

It was built in 1768 as the theater headquarters of the Company of the Royal Sites, with two sections dedicated to French theater and Italian opera until 1777. In 1828 King Ferdinand VI ordered to paint the hall and renew the scenery. It underwent renovations during the 19th century and, most notably, in 1933. In 1987 Patrimonio Nacional ceded the building to the city of Aranjuez and after a thorough renovation it opened its doors in 2014 as Teatro Real Carlos III de Aranjuez.

More information

 

27. Abastos Market

It is the first building of the city built by municipal initiative in 1836. It uses iron, brick and Colmenar stone as construction material. It has been restored for use as a market and gastronomic leisure center.

 

28. King Alfonso XII's Memorial

It is a statue of the monarch in bronze, dated 1887 and made by the sculptor Eugenio Duque, in gratitude of the people of Aranjuez to the visit made by the king to the sick of the cholera epidemic of 1885.

 

29. Town Hall

Former house of employees built in 1792, work of Juan de Villanueva.

 

30. Godoy's Palace

It was built around 1761 as a chaplain's house. It was sold to the Marquis del Llano in 1780, who later sold it in 1792 to Manuel Godoy, minister of Charles IV, building the neoclassical portico at the entrance, according to the design of Juan de Villanueva. It was converted into a hotel at the beginning of the 20th century and into a school for the nuns of the Holy Family in the second half of the 20th century.

 

31. Prince's Garden and Prince's Gateway

This is the largest garden in Aranjuez, about 3 km long and 145 hectares in area. It has its origins in the 16th century, with the old orchard of the Guindalera de la Encomienda de Alpajés and the Sotillo de Gonzalo Chacón, whose orchards were designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo. In 1756 they were reformed with the participation of Esteban Boutelou, Ruitgers and Santiago Bonavía. By Royal Order of King Carlos III, in 1772, work began to unify the grounds in the European landscape style, developed by the Prince of Asturias, the future King Carlos IV. The project was completed in 1864, and the garden was enclosed by iron railings in 1900, according to the design of Félix Muñoz. The Prince's gate is the work of Villanueva, built in 1791 in limestone masonry.

Access to the Island Garden, the Prince's Garden and the Parterre Garden is free at the following times:

January 1st - February 28th, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. March 1st - March 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. March 16th - last weekend of March, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of March - June 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. June 16th - August 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. August 16th - September 30th, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. October 1st - last weekend of October, 8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Last weekend of October - December 31st, 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

 

32. Royal Pavilions

Arranged in the shape of a cross, they are presided over by the Royal Pavilion, the work of Santiago Bonavía. They are simple one-story buildings, recently restored, with a square floor plan and a pyramidal roof of slate and zinc.

 

33. Pier

The impulse of the recreational navigation on the river made King Ferdinand VI build a pief next to the Royal pavilions of the current Prince's garden, work of Santiago Bonavía.

 

34. Royal Feluccas Museum

It was built in 1966, in the vicinity of the royal pier. It houses the splendid boats of the Tagus squadron, used by the royalty for their trips and river parties on the Tagus river. On display are the feluccas of Charles IV, the Royal Gondola of Neapolitan origin from the time of Charles II, as well as the nineteenth-century felucca of Isabella II, the Queen Regent Maria Cristina and Alfonso XII, which have undergone careful restoration.

Admission to the museum is included in the ticket to the Aranjuez Royal Palace

 

35. Narcissus' Fountain

Work of Joaquín Dumandré, it has a high circular base supported by four atlantes. It was reformed by González Velázquez in 1827.

 

36. Amorcillos Fountain

It dates from the reign of Carlos IV and is composed of a rockery with tritons and circular glass.

 

37. Apollo's Fountain

It closes the perspective background of the street of Isabel, constituting itself as the most important sculptural group of the garden of the Prince. The sculpture of Apollo was brought from La Granja in 1798, French or Italian work made in the seventeenth century.

 

38. Chinese Pavilion

It has an octagonal floor plan, is made of wood and topped with a dome and lead orb. It is a reconstruction of Isidro González Velázquez of 1828.

 

39. Classic Pavilion

It has a circular floor plan with colonnade of Ionic order, of green and white veined marble, and lead cover, which lost the golden dragon that crowned its cover and the Egyptian sculptures of black marble stolen during the French invasion. It was restored by Isidro González Velázquez.

 

40. The Labrador Royal House

This is one of the outstanding examples of Spanish neoclassical architecture. It was designed by Juan de Villanueva in 1793 and built under his direction and that of his assistant, Antonio López Aguado, in the exterior phase until 1795, continuing with the interior until 1798. Isidro González Velázquez was responsible for its completion during the reign of Charles IV, concluding it in 1803, with the collaboration of the French decorator Jean Démosthéne Dugourc. Its interior shows a notable French influence, where different decorated rooms and the gallery of Statues, designed by Isidro González Velázquez and remodeled and painted by his brother Zacarías in 1806, stand out. Another fundamental piece is its singular main staircase, attributed to Juan de Villanueva. Other outstanding interior spaces are the Main Hall or Ballroom, the Hall of Queen Maria Luisa, the Platinum Cabinet and the Embroidery Room.

Admission to the Labrador Royal House is included in the ticket to the Aranjuez Royal Palace