Chinchón, Spain: A Day Trip from Madrid

Chinchon view
A view of beautiful Chinchón from above.

When you move to Madrid, you soon learn that there are certain day trips that everyone raves about. The small town of Chinchón is one of them. A quick google search results in information about its famous central plaza, an autumn garlic festival and spring anisette liquor festival. Thinking (as usual) about photo opportunities and food, I was sold! So, finally, after putting it off for over a year, while visiting other favorites like Alcalá de Henares and Aranjuez, we were ready for a visit.

Madrid to Chinchón by Bus

It’s quite easy to get to Chinchón from Madrid by bus— but you do need to read the schedule and arrive in plenty of time. We left our house five minutes later than planned and ended up missing the bus, having to wait an hour for the next one. Needless to say, it was an unnecessary complication to the trip!

But if you aren’t time challenged like Ale and I, getting to Chinchón from Madrid is easy and inexpensive. Buses leave every day of the week every half hour or hour (they run less frequently on weekends) from a bus stop that is a short walk away from the Conde de Casal metro stop. See the schedule here. The bus ride takes about 45 minutes and drops you off right in the center of town, a short walk from the famous main plaza (the Plaza Mayor).

Chinchon plaza mayor
Chinchón’s famous Plaza Mayor.

Where to Eat in Chinchón

Chinchón is full of tempting and beautiful restaurants in its main plaza, but we wanted to be sure we didn’t fall victim to overpriced, boring food, as is often the case in any city center. Using my expert skills combing through Tripadvisor and blog posts I stumbled upon what I was sure was a gem– La Recua del Pelicano. It didn’t disappoint, see pictures of our fantastic meal in the next section.

Recua del pelicano exterior chinchon
A simple exterior hides a fantastic restaurant in Chinchón.

La Recua del Pelicano

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What to Eat (and Drink) in Chinchón

Chinchón is known for very traditional food, but at La Recua del Pelicano they put a nice twist on the classics. Here is what we enjoyed:

Olives
The best olives we’ve had at a restaurant since leaving Andalusia!
duck empanadas
Empanadas stuffed with duck confit and dried fruit and nuts.
anchovy salad
Local tomatoes, salt cured anchovies, vinegar cured anchovies, and hard boiled egg. Stunning!
Beef cheek
Beef cheek with tarragon mashed potato and jus.
Ravioli
Oxtail and mushroom “ravioli” with a Payoyo cheese sauce.
Chocolate cake
Homemade chocolate cake.
Lemon merengue
Homemade lemon meringue pie.

Additionally, Chinchón is synonymous with Anís, an anisette flavored liquor that is also known simply as Chinchón in Spanish, a tribute to this small town that has produced it for centuries. At any time of day, you are likely to see people sitting in the Plaza Mayor and enjoying a small glass of anís— either the sweet, less alcoholic version or the dry and potent one.

Coffee and anís
Coffee and anís, the perfect combination.

Like most small towns, Chinchón also has its share of artisanal sweets. Our favorites were the homemade donuts filled with truffle cream and fresh whipped cream. We bought them at a lovely bakery at the corner of the Plaza Mayor.

Sweet shop
Chinchón’s most famous pastry shop.
donuts
Homemade cream filled donuts.

What to Do in Chinchón (Besides Eat and Drink!)

Chinchón is much more than wonderful food, sweets and liquor (although who really needs more?). Its gorgeous Plaza Mayor, which despite being called the “Main Square” is actually round, is quite a beautiful sight with its lovely green and white facades and small balconies. The narrow streets leading off the plaza are equally charming and, if you pay atttention, you’ll see that each home has a different saint medallion on the front door.

Chinchon
Old town Chinchón.
chinchon street
The old peaceful streets of Chinchón.
saint medallions
A saint medallion adorns every door.
Plaza mayor chinchon
Entering the Plaza Mayor.
Chinchon plaza mayor
Chinchón’s impressive Plaza Mayor.

You absolutely must walk from the Plaza Mayor up to the old clock tower. It’s only a short climb, but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the small town.

Clock Tower Chinchon
Chinchón’s clock tower.
Chinchon
Chinchón’s Plaza Mayor from above.
Chinchon
Chinchón through the trees.

Throughout Chinchón you’ll find small shops selling handicrafts and local garlic and anise, be sure to take something home!

chinchon shops
Chinchón traditional shops.
Beautiful Chinchon
A gorgeous detail in Chinchón.
Garlic chinchon
Garlic from Chinchón is prized throughout Spain.
chinchon artisans
An artisan shop in the center of Chinchón.

I loved Chinchón and will definitely be back again for its festivals and to eat and drink my way through another carefree Saturday. If you are looking for a day trip from Madrid that is a little more low key than Toledo or Segovía, going to Chinchón is a great idea.

Have you ever been to Chinchón? What did you think?

Comments

  1. That’s a wonderful review of Chinchón. We like this town very much. The next time we will visit the pelican restaurant 😉
    One tiny thing, the medallions on the doors are not of a saint, is Jesus Christ 😉
    ¡Gracias por compartir!

    1. Looking to get bus tickets on Saturday the 26th of March. I cannot find a fee. Can anyone give me an idea?

  2. I just went to Chinchon this Sunday, and it was really beautiful. The only bad thing was that it rained, but I am definitely looking forward to going back and trying out your suggestions!

    1. Boring? Not so sure what you were looking for when visiting Chinchon.

      Chinchon is very bucolic town, where to enjoy food, some beautiful hotels as well as interesting walks full of charm.

      There are periods where cultural events such as bullfighting can be found and the mayor square will be full of activity. One of the hotels offers spa services ( i never visit it) and you can do some horse riding too. I would recommend sunsets at it castle.

      I guess you can get borde in Chinchon but I do not think that would happent if you come just for a day or two. Madrid it is a much recomended place to be if night life is what you were looking for.

      best B

  3. Just when i thought i’ve possibly covered most day trips from Madrid, i stumble upon your blog. How delightful to know that Chinchon is no near, yet offers much. Thanks for the tips. I’m headed there!

  4. This post is PERFECT. You even provided the link for the bus times. thank you! Me and some girlfriends are going tomorrow for a half day trip and can’t wait to eat at the pelican restaurant 🙂

  5. I lived in Chinch’on for about 2 years about 2006/7 when I was building a factory for St Gobain / BPB in St Martin del la Vega. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have lived in with beautiful atmosphere, friendly people, wonderful restaurants, and places to live. There was several events during the year including Easter an Annual Bullfight and street parties. The location about 40km from Madrid is excellent for day trips visiting the magnificent mountains & lakes to the East.

  6. Last year (2016) My wife and I went to Chinchon for the first time. My son lives there with his spanish girlfriend who of course is from Chinchon. We met her parents and greatparents. Very nice people. It is a very beautiful village with it’s own spanish characteristics. It’s very quiet. The people make you very welcome . The food is excellent and what about the wine. It was a remarkable experience not easy to forget. This year we hope to visit this beautiful village again.

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  8. Hi Lauren,
    I just found your blog and want to thank you for the tips! I’m traveling to Salamanca for a conference next month and will be doing some traveling afterward. I was between staying two nights in Chinchón or Aranjuez as a home base for day trips to Consuegra and Belmonte Castle but after reading your blog I decided on Chinchón…Aranjuez sounds like a lot less relaxing and it will probably be around 95 degrees when we’re there.
    Also loved the info you posted about Madrid with kids…found it very encouraging as I have two kids ages 5 and 3. As a high school Spanish teacher, I’d love to take my kids to Spain one day in the (near) future and found your website encouraging! Thanks for sharing! I’m also originally from Western Mass (Chicopee) and a UMass grad..wondering if you studied hospitality there? Will definitely be reading more from your blog! Thanks again,
    Meghan from Massachusetts

    1. Hi Meghan, thanks for reading and small world! I did study hospitality at Umass 🙂 I hope you enjoy the trip (Chinchon will also be hot, but is definitely sleepy and relaxing too). Have a great time!

  9. You mustn’t neglect taking a few litres of Chinchón’s olive oil on the bus back to Madrid with you. It is some of the best to be found in Spain!

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