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60km (40 miles) NW of Madrid

A highly atmospheric village of black slate houses, Patones de Arriba (Upper Patones) clings to the rugged slopes of the Sierra Negra in the mountainous northwest corner of Madrid province, enjoying fine views of the Jarama Valley and the distant cliff-top township of Uceda, just inside the Guadalajara border. Its claims to fame are that it once had its own peasant king (who thought himself the equal of Felipe II) and it was one of the few spots unconquered by the French in the Peninsula War. After decades of abandon, it has reemerged in recent years as a favorite getaway for Madrileños, dotted with fine restaurants and tastefully converted houses, and surrounded by off-the-beaten-track walking trails. Its modern counterpart Patones de Abajo (Lower Patones), 2km (1 1/4 miles) below, is in contrast a functional town with a single main street bordered by modern low-level houses.