The gardens of Aranjuez, south of Madrid, Spain

The gardens of Aranjuez, located in the fertile plain of the Tagus in the south of Madrid (within an hour), is a space where nature blends with art; resort of kings and source of inspiration for many artists, there are fountains, sculptures and ancient trees. It was here that walked the monarchy and the Spanish court in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The gardens surround the Royal Palace. The best known are the gardens of the Prince, the island and the Parterre. The master Joaquín Rodrigo was able to interpret this place in his famous Concert of Aranjuez. The Island Garden is considered the most important and characteristic of the time of the House of Austria (sixteenth century) and is surrounded by the waters of the Tagus. There are white marble nymphs which adorn the staircase that provides access to the orchard where Queen Isabella II used to stroll. The trails are drawn in a grid and you can smell the aroma of boxwood while you walk through them. There are also small waterfalls. The garden of Paterre before the palace façade, presents paths bordered by hedges, cut following a geometrical balance (like French gardens of the time). Two large fountains are found there, that of Hercules and that of Ceres and also marble vases with colorful flowers. The garden of the Prince, designed in the English style, has almost 150 hectares. Formerly, these huge spaces were dedicated to hunting parties. We find a wide variety of trees, monuments, ponds and fountains there.

Tips

If you visit the garden between May and October you can enjoy to do it on board of the Train of strawberry; this is an ancient railway.

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Montenegro

Montenegro is a Balkan country in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic sea border of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Its name makes reference to the dark forests that once covered the Dinaric Alps. Although it has a wide outlet to the sea, the country doesn’t have important ports because of a very rugged coastline although its main port is Bar. We found Mount Orjen (1,894m) which is the culmination of coastal limestone chains, Prokletije Mountains (2,534m) and the lowest area is the valley of the Zeta (500m) and there are also some natural cavities. During the last ice age, the most eroded in the Balkan peninsula spaces are in the country. The capital is Podgorica and Niksic and Pljevlja are other important cities. The country was part of several other countries throughout its history and since 2006 Montenegro declared formal independence. Its Adriatic coast stretches over 295 km of which 72 km of beaches and has many old preserved villages.

Tips

Currently Montenegro and its coastal region are considered a major tourist discovery of recent years, cruise lines have included it in their itineraries.
We also find two international airports and a railway network. Regarding the roads, there is still much to do.
If you like museums and art galleries, visit Cetinje and Podgorica.

 

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Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Český Krumlov is a medieval town in South Bohemia. Before World War II it was called Krumau. There we find the castle (From Hrad) which dominates the city; it is connected to the rest of the old town by a sloping street and a bridge. Inside, successive courses take us to a Baroque theater and gardens with a rococo fountain. The city and the castle were founded in the late twelfth century. One of the most important shrines of the city is the Basilica of St Vitus (1309) in Flamboyant Gothic style. You can also discover the Torture Museum in the historic center.

Tips

Do not miss the visit to the Room of Masks inside the castle, it is decorated with paintings in trompe-l’œil style on the theme of the Comedy of Art. Enjoy for a free ride with the audio guide device that show you all the important monuments of the city. If you like museums you can buy Český Krumlov card that will give you entry to 4 major museums with a 50% discount. It is valid for 6 months and can be transferred to another person. If you think staying there at least 3 days, ask the Český Krumlov Card free in your hotel.