Tune in to to the animated chit-chat of day-tripping Madrillenos for an hour or so while you ride the local C8 train from Achota or Chamartin stations to the idyllic Sierra region of Cercedilla, an ideal spot for a couple of hours walk away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Madrid.
You can either walk the 3km from the station to Desehenas, where the trails start or take a bus (every 75 mins or so). I'd recommend the bus as it's an uphill walk along a pretty unattractive main road and you'll want to save your legs for the climb ahead.
There's an excellent information centre where you can get a map that shows you the three or four trails you can follow, depending on how far you want to walk and what kind of challenge you're up for. You don't really need the map because these are some of the best marked routes you'll find in Europe. So long as you can see 30 yards ahead of you all you have to do is follow the circles painted on the trees and you won't go wrong.
These routes take you through some of Spain's most spectacular views of the snow brushed mountains, along shady forest paths that open up on splendid views down the valleys below. Breathtaking in every sense.
A sky resort mainly, but there are some mountains you can climb and other trails you can follow.
A local told us you can follow a trail from Puerto de Navacerrada back down to the town of Cercedilla which takes about three hours.
Absoutely amazing views on top of the mountains of Madrid and Castilla y Leon. Makes for an amazing day out.
Take the train from Nuevos Ministerios, Atocha or Charmartin to Cercedilla where you change to take the train up the hill to Puerto de Navacerrada. Takes about two hours in total from Charmartin.
From there, follow other hikers up the hill and the various trail signs.
We spent a day birdwatching within an hour of Madrid with Santiago Villa. It is amazing what can be seen in the area and we were delighted to see magnificent views of Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture and Eagle Owl amongst the 50+ birds we saw in the day. Santiago is a great guide and a very congenial companion. A great day.
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