CHINCHÓN, 45km southeast of Madrid, is an enchanting little place, with a fifteenth-century castle and a picture-postcard Plaza Mayor, encircled by whitewashed buildings festooned with wooden balconies. Providing the backdrop to the Plaza Mayor is the Neo classical Iglesia de la Asunción which houses Goya’s depiction of the Assumption. The town is best-known for being the home of anís – a mainstay of breakfast drinkers across Spain. Your best bet for a sample of the spirit is one of the local bars or the Alcoholera de Chinchón, a shop on the Plaza Mayor. The Museo Etnológico (Tues–Fri 11am–2pm & 4–8pm, Sat & Sun 11am–3pm & 4–8pm; free; museolaposada.es), at c/Morata 5, off the Plaza Mayor; has some of the traditional anís-making machines on display.
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If you’re visiting over Easter, you’ll be treated to the townsfolk’s own enactment of the Passion of Christ, though be aware that the small town becomes packed with visitors at this time. Every year in mid-April, the town holds the Fiesta del Anís y del Vino, an orgy of anís- and wine-tasting. An older annual tradition takes place on July 25, when the feast of St James (Santiago in Spanish) is celebrated with a bullfight in the Plaza Mayor, with further corridas in the August fiestas (usually Aug 13–18).