The Castillo (tel. 91-853-00-08) stands beside the Santillana reservoir, its high turrets reflecting in the clear, still waters. Built in 1475 by the powerful Mendoza family, it was eventually converted into a palace. The original Mudéjar and Gothic walls remain, and the tastefully renovated interior hosts a library, observatory, exhibition room (named after the Marqués de Santillana), and tapestry-lined vestibule. From here climb to the parapets with their octagonal keep and trio of cylindrical towers, and enjoy the superb mountain and reservoir views. It's open Tuesday to Sunday June to September 10am to 1:15pm and 4 to 7:15pm, October to May 10am to 5:15pm. Admission is 2€. Concessionary charges 1€.
The Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Nieves also dates from the 15th century and has a fine renaissance portal. It's home to a permanent colony of storks, who have made nests on its roof.
The tiny Museo Etnológico y Arqueológico is dedicated to ethnology and archaeology, with background prehistoric information on the surrounding area. It is within the Casa de Cultura, Calle de la Cañada 26 (tel. 91-853-03-40; free admission; daily 5-9pm).
As spectacular a natural phenomenon as you'll find in the entire province, the surrealistically shaped granite formations of La Pedriz rise 2k m (1 1/4 miles) north of the town, just off the road to Real de Cerceda. The surrounding paths and gullies of the Cuenca Alta de Manzanares national park are best avoided on weekends, especially in summer, when they tend to get packed with picnickers and hikers. Don't miss the marvelous views from the mirador at the Quebrantaherraduras Pass.
Near the entrance to the park, 3km (1 3/4 miles) above the town on Carretera de la Pedriza, you can visit the Centro de Interpretación (tel. 91-853-99-78). This information center provides interesting facts on La Pedriza (such as geography, history, legends, and so on) and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Short audiovisual shows about the park are given at 10 and 11:30am, and 1, 1:30, and 4:45pm. Admission is free.
The tiny 16th-century hermitage Ermita de la Peña Sacra, set high up in the national park's wild Peña Sacra (Holy Peak) area, also enjoys spectacular vistas. To get to it, follow Avenida de Pedriza up from the town. Unfortunately, the interior is now closed to the public (due to vandalism). You can, however, see the interior shrine through the window and take photographs of the simple but charming exterior. From its high vantage point, the Ermita enjoys spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.