As a semi-introverted nature junkie, a few weeks of busy city life requires a weekend nature getaway. The closest and easiest option out of Madrid were the Guadarrama Mountains, outside of a small town called Cercedilla. Simply catch the Cercanias train (included in the monthly transportation card) from the Atocha Renfe metro station, and you’re there! A side note, however, the trains only come every hour and leave on the dot. So, if you happen to miss the train by 1 minute… not saying we did, but we totally did.
Cercedilla is the last stop on the route and you will reach a quaint station. We weren’t really sure where the nature office was, but luckily, we stumbled upon some nice people who knew what they were doing. The office with the route maps is about a 2 km (uphill) walk from the station.
Right next to the bathrooms by the office was this map. We decided on the “Calle Alta” red route and ended up crossing into the yellow somewhere. This whole excursion is basically going to be an experience.
And the first of the “experiences” was this… I’ve done quite a bit of hiking in my days, and my footwear of choice were always socks and Chacos. I’ve never really hiked much in the winter but I assumed it would be close to the weather in Madrid.
And no snow.
But I found out the hard way.
The snow was about 8 inches deep in some parts but it was alright because my feet went numb and I couldn’t feel it anyways. On the bright side, the snow made the entire hike a winter wonderland.
There were a few streams where we had to maneuver our way through, which made it all the more fun. We were officially mountain women.
Beautiful vistas with beautiful friends.
We planned on having a nice summit picnic, but our plans were suddenly changed due to the surprise discovery of the snow. But no worries, we just continued hiking and ate fruit and whole baguettes, like real mountain women.
Although the yellow route was circular, we turned back about 2 hours before the sunset. We hiked up the mountain for about 3 hours and it’s wise to plan about half the time to hike back down. We arrived to the station in time for the 5:30 PM departure back to Atocha. It timed up perfectly with the sunset and was a much needed hour of rest. Overall, I highly recommend Cercedilla if you like views, nature, and solitude. It was even manageable for a couple of foreign student novices with practically no gear. I will definitely be back!
Some more pictures: