The town of Navalcarnero, just over 30 kilometers from Madrid, is a delightful and popular afternoon excursion from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. With over 500 years of history under its belt, Navalcarnero maintains the look and feel of a traditional town. Between a well-kept historic quarter, delicious country fare, a keen eye for esthetics, beautiful landscapes of olive groves and vineyards and a handful of interesting attractions worth a visit, you're bound to be drawn into the small-town charm.
Navalcarnero was founded in 1499 by the city of Segovia, who maintained jurisdiction over the town for over 125 years. It saw its share of turbulance over the years and the town became known for its ability to rise from the ashes again and again. Constantly growing and increasingly self-sufficient, Navalcarnero bought its independence in 1627 and became an official town. Its importance rose in 1649 when King Felipe IV celebrated his marriage with his niece-turned-wife Mariana de Austria. He was so smitten with the small town and its people that he bestowed upon it a new title: Villa Real de Navalcarnero (Royal Town of Navalcarnero).
The heart and soul of Navalcarnero is the porticoed Plaza de Segovia, named after the city that played such a large role in the town's history. The plaza was built betwen 1579 and 1617 at the convergence point of the town's principal streets. Over timeHistoric buildings with colorful façades, small columned arcades and wrought-iron balconies provide a picturesque plaza, and its uneven layout only adds to its charming personality.
Another must-see in Navalcarnero is the splendid Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, located on the small but pretty Plaza de Veracruz. Construction on this historic church began in the early 16th century, though it serves as a microcosm of Spain's most impressive architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and the Islamic-inspired Mudéjar.
With numerous vineyards throughout the surrounding area, Navalcarnero is also known for its wines, particularly those of the rosé variety. While in town you can even pay a visit to the Wine Museum for an in-depth look at the wine process. It's housed in a pretty building that was used in the 19th century as a wine cellar; the wine cellar, a series of vaults, walls and brickwork archways, was excavated by hand over 300 years ago and is certainly an intriguing sight.