Exploring the Sierra Mountains of Madrid

The Sierra de Madrid  offers a number of nice hiking trails, charming little towns, prime picnic spots, skiing in the winter or lake swimming in the summer. Below are some some of the most popular destinations.

Cercedilla
About an hour from Madrid, this mountainous town is an incredible place for hiking and adventure activities like paintball, horse riding, and paragliding. In the summer, there’s also an amazing natural swimming pool. The pool is man-made and filled with natural running water from the mountain’s streams and rivers. cercedilla

If you would like to go to Cercedilla but the idea of hiking scares you, there’s a train that travels around the Guadarrama mountains. The train is called “Tren de la naturaleza” and runs every Thursday and Friday from the beginning of July to the end of September.  

From the Cercedilla train station you have to walk about two kilometers (30 minutes) to the visitors office, where they have maps and descriptions of all trails. There are about 10 different trails to choose from, ranging from 2.5 kilometers (1 hour) to 14.3 kilometers (5 hours one way).

HOW TO ARRIVE
Cercanias: Line C8
Depart from: Atocha, Chamartín, or Nuevos Ministerios 
Duration: approx. 1 hourCheck schedules here.
Price: 4€ (round trip approx. 8€).

By bus: # 684
Depart from: Moncloa
Duration: approx. 1 hour 10  min. Check schedules here.
Price: 5,10€ (round trip 10,20€)

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park 
The National Park extends over the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, whose highest peak is the Peñalara summit (8.200 ft). Other great landscapes include the Puerto de Navafría and La Morcuera and Siete Picos mountain ranges.parque_nacional.jpg

The Sierra is a haven for walkers, hikers and climbers, with numerous marked routes of varying difficulty. In winter, when there is enough snow, skiing is possible at the resorts of CotosNavacerrada and Valdesquí, with one day passes costing between 30-40 euros. During summer many of the small villages in the mountains fill up with madrileños seeking to escape the intense heat in the city.

HOW TO ARRIVE
By Cercanias: You must follow the instructions above for “how to arrive” to Cercedilla. In Cercedilla you transfer to Line C9. Then, you can either get off at Puerta de Navacerrada or Cotos depending on your destination and plans. Price will be about 5.60 one way. To check schedules click here.

By Bus: 691
Depart from: Moncloa
Duration: approx. 1 hour 30  min. Check schedules here.
Price: will depend on destination

El Escorial 
El Escorial is famous for its beautiful Monasterio which was built between 1563 and 1El_escorial_blick_von_oben.jpg584. It is a designated World Heritage site. You should go inside the monastery, even though the entrance fee costs €10. Once you have visited the monument, it’s absolutely necessary to take a walk around the charming little town. Here you should sit on a terraza and enjoy the pure air of Madrid’s mountains..

HOW TO ARRIVE
Cercanias: Line C3
Depart from: Atocha, Sol, Nuevos Ministeros, Chamartín
Duration:  approx. 1 hour. For the schedule click here .
Price: 5,40€ (round trip 10,80€).

By Bus: Line 661 or 664
Depart from: Moncloa, take bus line 661
Schedule: Bus line 661  (every 10-15 min) Bus line 664  (every 10-15 min)
Duration: approx. 1 hour
Price: 4,20€ (round trip 8,40€). Buy tickets on the bus.

RESOURCES:

http://viajes.elmundo.es/2014/06/12/espana/1402566979.html

http://www.sierranorte.com/reportajes/

http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?cid=1152517027958&pagename=PortalJoven/Page/JUVE_portadillaUnaColumna

http://www.cercedilla.net/htm/rutas.htm

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