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In the 16th century the royals of Spain liked to take their holidays in Aranjuez, 29 miles (48km) from Madrid. Phillip II developed a small holiday lodge into a magnificent palace, which was given its final majestic appearance by Charles III.

The most striking features of the Palacio Real de Aranjuez (Royal Palace in Aranjuez) are the red and white façade, the Rococo staircase and the Porcelain Room which has walls lined with porcelain.

The gardens are world-famous and include the Museo de Faluas Reales (Museum of the Royal Barges); in which you can see how King Charles IV and King Ferdinand VII of Spain traveled as well as maritime instruments and paintings. The whole complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the nicest ways to reach the palace is on The Strawberry Train. Departing for the first time in 1851, this was only the second railway in Spain. You can ride the restored train, complete with fresh strawberries to eat, from Madrid Railway Museum to Aranjuez on weekends from May to June and September to November.

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