After seven years of living in Madrid, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that Chinchón might be my very favorite day trip (despite the awkward memories). All the others — Toledo, Segovia, Ávila — they’re lovely, but they lack a certain intimacy, perhaps because of their larger size or maybe due to all the tourists. But Chinchón, it’s got chispa, a spark.
You see, it feels like a legitimate pueblo, the oval-shaped, sand-covered plaza home to bull fights and donkey rides. It’s got a castle (though in ruins and not open to the public) and a cute little tangle of hilly streets.
And this amazing thing happens during the winter on cloudless days: when the sun shines down, it hits the plaza’s eastern-facing terrazas just so, such that the pavement below the tables warms up. Suddenly, despite Madrid’s frigid temperatures, you feel as though you’ve been dropped right into the middle of spring.
Nico approves of it too. Already a social butterfly, he toddles around, making friends with locals, which includes both people and donkeys.
Local products? Chinchón’s got it covered. The village is noted for its fragrant specialties including garlic and anís, an anise-flavored liqueur.
Adorable right? Served with a glass of red wine or a cold beer (or even some anís, I suppose), and a spread of tapas, Chinchón is, in my book, the perfect pueblo. It doesn’t have the flash of Segovia’s Alcázar or the jumble of tiny twisting streets found in Toledo, but it is the kind of place you’ll want to go back to again and again.