Photo: Plaza de Cervantes (Alcalá de Henares) by Wikimedia
Another monumental landmark is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, located in Sierra de Guadarrama, just 50 kilometres from Madrid. The impressive monastery is one of the oldest gems in the country as declared a World Heritage Site. The Príncipe and del Infante houses are also worth a visit.
A real treasure is the mid-sixteenth century town of Aranjuez in the south of Madrid. Located in a fertile land on the edge of Jarama and Tajo rivers, it is known as World Heritage Cultural Landscape. A visit to the Palace is complemented by a walk through the stunning gardens.
Chinchón, famous for its beautiful plaza, anise and garlic, offers superb cuisine and is very close to Madrid. Plaza Mayor, at the centre of Chinchón, is one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, full of restaurants under porches and balconies.
Another very special village, with a rural charm and history, is Patones. Aside from its museum, you have the unique opportunity to go hiking in El Barranco or El Atazar.
In Sierra de Guadarrama, less than 90 kilometres from Madrid, there is a beautiful village of Rascafría. The highlight of its spectacular nature is the Paular Monastery, which was founded in 1390 and is surrounded by streams and mountains.
Less than 60 kilometres is Navacerrada. This is the main ski resort in Madrid. In addition to skiing, it offers delicious cuisine. In San Agustin de los Reyes, 38 kilometres away, you can visit San Agustín Church, which was built in the 16th century. Another nearby resort is Buitrago, a walled city that was taken over by the Muslims during the Roman times. It has stunning views over the Lozoya valley. Finally, Montejo de la Sierra, a quiet and charming resort offers us the possibility of exploring Hayedo de Montejo.