08 Dec Hidden Gems: Day Trip Treasures
More Day Trip Treasures Near Madrid
Guadalajara is probably not on your list of places to visit in Spain, and neither are you likely to find it in your average travel guide. But this charming town has more to offer than meets the eye.
When you start researching the small city before your trip, you might realize you recognize it from somewhere. Why? Maybe because it was featured on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones! The Castle of Zafra was used during the filming of season 6. It is a 12th Century castle that is used as the Tower of Joy in the show- where young Ned Stark fights to save his sister.
The city is accessible from Madrid by train (Renfe) or bus (ALSA), and if you head straight to the Oficina de Turismo, you can pay only 5€ for guided visit and a Guadalajara Card. This is an amazing deal because for the day of your visit only, the G Card provides you with more than 50 discounts on local businesses in addition to access to several historical monuments and establishments, including the stunning Cripta de San Francisco. If possible, it is highly recommended you take a tour with Antonio Muñoz Gonzalo, a pleasant and extremely knowledgeable guide based in Madrid who offers his services in four different languages (and countries!). The tour of Guadalajara may last up to two hours, depending on the size of the group and other factors, but it is well worth your time. Not only will you get some good walking in, you will also visit beautiful medieval churches and palaces while learning about the history of Guadalajara. To contact Antonio directly, you may reach him by phone at 91-539-33-47 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the tour, take a nice stroll through the town and you’ll find the streets are bustling with activity. There are plenty of lovely cafés, pastelerías, and plazas to enjoy a relaxed summer evening. Visit the Ayuntamiento de Guadajalara website for a downloadable tourist map of the city and other information: www.guadalajara.es.
If you are feeling a little adventurous or are in the mood for a little green- There are two beautiful parks, Parque Natural del Alto Tajo and Parque de la Concordia. Parque de la Concordia is in the center of the historic part of the city, and features a charming little gazebo. Parque Natural del Alto Tajo is better suited for those looking for a more outdoor experience. The park is a great place to relax and enjoy nature with places to picnic, explore the river and see a waterfall.
Aranjuez is definitely listed in your travel books, on the other hand, but aside from its well-known palace and gardens, have you also read about the Casa del Labrador? Tucked away in the greenery of the royal gardens, this house was built by Carlos IV in the 18th Century over a period of 13 years. For only 5€ you can take a wonderful guided tour of its various rooms embellished with enormous glass chandeliers, silk tapestries, ornate furniture, marble sculptures, elaborate paintings, and more. It is an absolute feast for the eyes. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited, but don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity when in Aranjuez!
- Link to the palace hours and ticket prices here: Aranjuez
- Winter: October -March: 10:00 -18:00
- Summer: April-September: 10:00- 20:00
- Closed on Mondays
- Prices= 4 euros with international students card or 9 euros for regular admission
Contributed by: Alissa Gamberg // Updated March 21, 2017 by: Anna Whetzle