Cercedilla, Spain – Perched high atop the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, this small town is made for a hiking day trip. While Madrid has plenty of parks and walking trails, one of it’s many benefits is that you are never too far away from real, untamed nature – complete with breathtaking mountain ranges, serenity, and the sweet piny smell of clean, tree-filled air.
Last weekend a friend and I had had enough. Enough of the pounding headaches and aching body that seem to routinely accompany Sunday morning. Enough of the not-so-healthy bar food and tapas (hearty portions of paella, fried croquetas and calamares) which we consistently call dinner. Yes enough was enough. I mean, it’s almost beach season after all.
A few minutes of online planning was all we needed to plan out a day trip to Cercedilla – the perfect starting point to escape Madrid and hike up to the ski town of Navacerrada. This hike is mostly uphill, rustic, and scenic. It will take between 3-4 hours and you’ll definitely break out a bit of sweat, but that’s what you wanted right? At the beginning of the trailheads you can pick a specific trail, but we picked the Camino Schmid (marked by yellow) and this seemed to be a very popular selection.
If the hike from Cercedilla up to Navacerrada sounds fun but a bit, well, exhausting, you can always opt to take the Renfe train straight to Puerto de Navacerrada – the finishing point or starting point in this case of the Camino Schmid – and hike down to Cercedilla. You’ll enjoy the same scenic sights and smells, just at a bit faster clip (and with the help of momentum).
How to Get There:
The trip to Cercedilla takes about 1 hour and can be done by bus or Renfe train (both cost 5 euros if you carry the zone A metro card). For the bus, take the number 684 from the Principe Pio Metro station. The Renfe train can be booked online or at the Chamartin metro station. Just remember with the bus you’re guaranteed a seat, on the train you may be left standing.