Olives from Campo Real: Olive trees and architectural gems

Aromatic plants and olive groves form the setting for the monumental treasures scattered throughout the Alcarria in Madrid.

The Madrilenian town of Campo Real is the starting point for a trip through lands of olive groves and aromatic plants in the Alcarria of Madrid. It is a journey through a colourful, rural world filled with architectural gems.

Iglesia parroquial de Campo Real, que fue castillo

The hundred year old olive trees line both sides of the road which takes you to this town, the M-209. Before stopping at the municipal car park at the town's entrance, the view you are presented with gives you an idea of what makes Campo Real the place it is.The towers of the parish church rise up above, up steps that are lost behind red rooftops.At their base, the branches of olive trees and bushes sway on trunks that are twinned together.

Traditional streets

Fachada del palacio de Goyeneche, en Nuevo Baztán

After leaving your car and starting to walk, your attention is drawn to Calle Vilches. The small, whitewashed houses contrast with those which have been recently built.At the end of the morning, when some tourists are buying local products, the air is filled with the intense aroma of olives.

This aroma is accompanied by the light acidity of other local products: cheese and oil. Along this traditional street you find a number of large metal doors which are open, inviting the public to come in and buy.For thousands of years, from the time the town was under Islamic control, it was known as Campo.Philip II gave it the name and title 'Villa' and the last name 'Real'.

Campo Real and the Templars

Olivo de Campo Real cargado de frutos

Carrying on along Calle Vilches, signs lead you to the church which rises up above. On one side is the Museo de Alfarería, or pottery museum, which can be visited by advanced booking. When you arrive at the highest point of the town, the panoramic view which extends before you makes the trip worthwhile: the white stone of the portico appears, surrounded by rosemary and the bushes display their flowers; there are also pine trees, olive trees and holm oaks. 

The church was originally a castle and belonged to the Order of the Templars. In the 14th century it was consecrated as a place of worship and today is a Provincial Historical and Artistic Monument.Looking at it from the outside you can immediately see the two eras of its construction. What remains of the church is the semicircular arch formed by the cross vaults.

The late Gothic style is still preserved and the are also some architectural features from the Renaissance period.Inside scars of the Spanish Civil War still remain. It was during this period that the altarpieces and sculptures disappeared.

Coming down the main stone steps you come to the Plaza Mayor, the central hub of the town.Next to the square is the chapel of Santo Cristo de la Peña (18th century), a real oasis of silence in the midst of the hustle and bustle which sometimes dominates the street.Inside you find a single nave and a slightly elliptical dome. 
Two other chapels are to be found just outside the town.

At the town's entrance you are greeted by the chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (16th century), with a single nave and a vaulted dome on scallops, curvilinear triangles that form the ring of the dome.Also on the outskirts of the town is the chapel of La Virgen de las Angustias (16th century), with a single, rectangular nave.

A wealth of architecture in Loeches

It is time to leave Campo Real and carry on towards Loeches along the M-220 and then the M-219, with brightly coloured cereal fields on either side.The chequered pattern of dense reds and yellowish greens found in some of the farms is very striking.

The moment you arrive in Loeches you are greeted by the towers of its two monasteries and the parish church.You have to stop where the monasteries face each other. The Monasterio de las Dominicas Recoletas is striking for its Baroque-style stone shapes. Here the Count-Duke of Olivares is buried along with a number of members of the Alba family. Opposite it is the Convento de las Carmelitas (17th century), known as the small monastery. 

Its church is Baroque in style. Wandering along the streets which take you down through the town you come to the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. A Renaissance style church, it was built during the second half of the 16th century.

Nuevo Baztán was ahead of its time

Heading east along the M-300 and then the M-225 you come to the town of Torres de la Alameda, where the Plateresque church of the Asunción (16th century) is well worth a stop, and Valverde de Alcalá, a town which is attractive for its tranquillity. From here, travelling along the M-204, you come to the rather interesting Madrilenian town of Nuevo Baztán, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. It was built under the auspices of Juan de Goyeneche (1656-1735), an economist, industrialist, writer and entrepreneur.

The innovative design of this Madrilenian town, based on simple grids, was the work of the architect José de Churriguera following the industrial vanguard models being used in France at that time.The palace of Juan de Goyeneche and the Baroque church are the highlights of this singular urban complex in the Madrid region.


Aceitunas de Campo Real

Designation of Quality. (D.C.)

Around Campo Real, to the south east of Madrid, olive trees have been growing since time immemorial, along with the aromatic plants with which their fruits are seasoned.
The olives are of the manzanilla variety and what makes them different and unique is their seasoning.
The olives are harvested in October, by hand so as not to damage them, and are stored in large tanks where they are conserved in water and salt.
The olives are cured in the Campo Real style and are seasoned with thyme, fennel, oregano and garlic which give them their unique flavour.

Spanish Nutrition Foundation

Olives have a medium energy content. Their main macronutrient is lipids, with a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to prevent cardiovascular diseases.They are also a good source of fibre and vitamin E.


What you should know...


The gastronomy reflects the culture of the place and the region's traditional dishes are a true reflection of the customs of Campo Real. These include game dishes such as beans with partridge and others which stem from taurine art, such as bull's tail.The roast lamb is also worth trying.


The gastronomic products are the best purchase you can make in Campo Real. Olives and olive oil, sheep cheese and bread are some of the options available in the town.The pottery which is still sculpted by local potters is also a pleasant surprise.


Spring and autumn are the best times to make the journey, when the colours in the fields are most intense: yellows, greens, reds, etc. Any time is a good time to try the olives although the season starts in autumn.


In Loeches, the weekend closest to 26 April sees the celebration of the Golden Age festival. The festival recreates the visit made by Philip V to the Count-Duke of Olivares, buried in the Convento de las Dominicas. The festival of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers, is celebrated in Campo Real on 15 May with a large agricultural fair.


In Nuevo Baztán next to the palace of Juan de Goyeneche is the Ethnological Museum. Here you will discover how the city came into being and what it meant in its day, as a model of innovative town planning, for industrial development and the manufacturing of hats, drapery, glass, paper, army supply products, etc.


The Parque Regional del Sureste, in Madrid. Situated next to Rivas- Vaciamadrid, where the rivers Jarama and Manzanares converge, it is a place of intense contrasts where you will find limestone cliffs, lakes, green spaces and steppe-like land, full of life.A different natural landscape located just a few kilometres from the capital.

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