After a slow start to the year getting sick with yet another cold (my third!), and trying to get back into the swing of things after the holidays, I was itching for a day trip. I didn't want to check out the go-to options like Toledo or Segovia, and was looking for somewhere more laid-back and slightly less touristy. I had heard good things about Chinchón, so I called up my friend Ann and we decided to head there one day last month.
Heading towards Plaza Mayor
Chinchón is a small town with a population of about 6,000 people. It's known for producing Anis de Chinchón, an anise-flavored liqeur, which I didn't get to try on this trip. The main attraction is the bullring in Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by various shops, restaurants and market stalls.
Not being quite hungry yet for lunch, we decided to wander through the side streets of Chinchón checking out the scenery and local shops.
Since my friend and I are both wine lovers, it was inevitable that we'd stop to have a "copa de vino." We stumbled upon a cute restaurant with a lovely outdoor terrace and hung out for a bit sampling the local wine.
We had worked up an appetite after exploring the streets of Chinchón, so we made our way back towards Plaza Mayor to choose a restaurant. There are lots of restaurants all around the bullring, and, yes, they are touristy, but its more the atmosphere that you're getting to experience. I scoped out a table on one of the cute green and white balconies around the plaza and we settled on Meson de la Virreina. Its always risky to eat in the touristy parts of any city or town, but we lucked out with our choice and had a delicious meal of fried artichokes with jamón, steak with melted Roquefort (so good!), and, of course, more wine. Afterwards, we enjoyed sitting on the balcony listening to the musicians in the plaza and watching both kids and adults going on donkey rides.
I had heard about a pastry shop in Chinchón that made homemade doughnuts filled with either chocolate or vanilla cream. Since that was the perfect excuse for a post-meal dessert, we grabbed two and ate them in the plaza as the sun went down. They were sweet and sugary and a nice way to top off our yummy lunch.
Before heading back to Madrid, we decided on one last drink at the gorgeous Parador de Chinchón...located in a former Augustinian monastery. Spanish Paradors were started by the government to maintain the upkeep of the buildings and help with economic resources in various regions. They're located all throughout Spain...in castles, monasteries, fortresses, convents and other historical buildings. They tend to be high-end, luxury hotels with excellent service. While we didn't get to spend the night, we did enjoy our gin tonics in the courtyard.
My friend and I had such a great day in Chinchón. The weather was beautiful, there weren't hordes of tourists, and it was manageable enough to wander around in for a few hours and not feel pressured to run around checking sights off of a list. Definitely recommend it as a day trip if you're in the area.
I'm finally getting back to traveling after a bit of a break. Lots of blog posts to come over the next couple of months. First up, I'm heading to Valencia this weekend for Las Fallas...one of my bucket list items before moving to Spain. Then, I'm off to the Catalan countryside outside of Barcelona for a calçot eating experience...another bucket list item I'll be able to check off. I'll start off the month of April with a wine tasting event in the city of Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes. And, then, I'm heading to Galicia in northern Spain as part of a birthday present to myself. I'm probably most excited about this trip because of how beautiful I've been told the area is and the incredible quality of seafood, which I plan to eat a ton of. Stay tuned!
I'm Becki...a part-time traveler and recovering expat back in the U.S. after two amazing years spent living in Spain.