December 9 2021

Colmenar de Oreja: the wine village (not to be missed)

If you are a lover of wine and art, Colmenar de Oreja is going to be your favourite town in the Madrid Region from now on. In itself, its Plaza Mayor and the Ulpiano Checa Museum make the trip worthwhile, but to complete it… nothing better than a good wine to accompany its rich gastronomy.

Colmenar de Oreja is located in the southeast of the Community of Madrid, just 40 kilometres from the capital.

Colmenar de Oreja, along with five other charming tourist towns, forms part of the Villas de Madrid programme. Discover them and enjoy the promotions and discounts offered by the different restaurants, accommodation and shops, among others. What are you waiting for to visit them all?

We recommend that you visit the Tourist Office before you start your visit, in order to receive information and a map. In addition, the Tourist Office also organises guided tours which you can book in advance through their website.

The Ulpiano Checa Museum, located in the former Casa de los Siete Patios, contains the most extensive collection of the Madrid painter’s work. It is the best collection dedicated to a single artist and a reference point for exhibition spaces in the region. The museum houses a large number of oil paintings, watercolours, engravings and illustrated books, as well as some reference works and a wide variety of documentation on the figure of the painter. Don’t miss it.

The history of Colmenar is linked to the nearby castle of Oreja, a pre-Roman fortress whose remains are located a few kilometres from the town, in the province of Toledo. The fortress became important under the name of Aureliae, and probably owes its name to the Roman consul Aurelius.

Several villages sprang up around the castle, including Apis Aureliae, in reference to the beehives, which later became Colmenar de Oreja (from Aureliae). The castle, for its part, is located in a strategic enclave for controlling the Tagus River, which is why it passed from Arab to Christian hands several times, until it was conquered by Alfonso VII in 1139.

Shortly afterwards, the whole area, grouped into the Encomienda de Oreja, came under the jurisdiction of the Order of Santiago. In 1440 it acquired the status of town, and the itinerant court of the Castilian kings passed through it. In the 16th century it came under the control of the Duke of Maqueda, which marked the beginning of the town’s period of dominion, marked by urban and commercial progress.

The stone for the Royal Palaces of Madrid and Aranjuez, the Royal Theatre and fountains such as those of Cibeles and Neptuno, among others, came directly from its quarries.

Colmenar de Oreja also has nine wineries with designation of origin, four of which form part of the Wine Route organised by the Community of Madrid. Some have centuries-old underground caves and the traditional earthenware jars made in this town. Its history is linked to the cultivation of vineyards, wineries and the production of whites, rosés, reds and sparkling wines.

Finally, don’t leave Colmenar without eating and enjoying its gastronomic specialities, as timeless as its monuments.

After a morning in the Middle Ages, stroll along the Calle Mayor and in the shade of the arcades: it’s time to eat and enjoy Colmenar’s specialities, as timeless as its monuments.

Enjoy the patatas chulas (potatoes confit in olive oil and seasoned with garlic, parsley and a little vinegar) and the pozas (a kind of sandwich made with bread in which the crumb is replaced by a mince of onion, tomato and pickled vegetables). You can also try the pisto vaquero (made with the prestigious vegetables from the market garden) or the desarreglo (veal stewed with white wine, garlic and tomato), which along with the cabrito asado, is a staple on the menus of many local restaurants.