Madrid, Country Walks: Madrid’s countryside is amazing – mountains, valleys, lowlands, forests and plains. There are lots of great hikes, many within an hour of the city by public transportation. Most country walks offered on regular schedule are 9 – 14 kilometers (about 5-9 miles), a half-day at a moderate to brisk pace. Some country walks are linear, some are circular. Most country walks have pretty good footing and don’t have a lot of hills.
TOP TEN COUNTRY WALKS
El Pardo – Madrid: Technically this is a country-city walk, from El Pardo back to Madrid, partly through live oak forests and partly along the young Manzanares river. A great way to sort out your geography for that side of Madrid, and a true flexi-walk where you can pick your distance, hopping on a bus back to the city at several places or walking all the way to Moncloa through the Complutense university. Linear walk.
Escorial for Walkers – 1: Above the town, forests, plains, and good distance views of the famous Monastery. Walk goes through several nice picnic areas that you will want to remember for future visits. Medium big hill at the start of walk. Monastery visit not included, but you could stay on after the walk for a late lunch and a cultural visit. Circular walk.
Escorial for Walkers – 2: Below the town, forests, pastures, pretty lanes between stone drywalls and good distance views of the famous Monastery. Skirts Las Machotas mountains, and is a little longer than the walk above town. Medium hill at the start of walk. Monastery visit not included, but you could stay on after the walk for a late lunch and a cultural visit. Circular walk.
La Granja: Pretty walk on south side of La Granja, partly through oak and pine forests, partly along a babbling stream on a fishing path created for Carlos III. Palace and glass factory visits not included but you could stay on for lunch (the big white beans are famous!) or for a cultural visit. Circular walk.
Tajuña Rail Trail – 1: Flatlands walk along an old railway track, now a rail-trail. Paved surface, great for wet weather, inexperienced walkers or kids. Landscape of vineyards and olive trees, especially pretty in the fall and in May when the wildflowers are out. Linear walk.
Tajuña Rail Trail – 2: This part of the old railway track has a medium-big hill. Paved surface, great for wet weather, inexperienced walkers or kids. Landscape of vineyards and olive trees, especially pretty in the fall and in early spring when the almond trees are flowering. Linear walk with an option of returning by subway, last station on the commuter line.
Navacerrada – Cercedilla: Mostly downhill and mostly shady, this walk is great year-round. Pretty views and a mini-adventure when trail fords a stream. Linear walk.
Cercedilla valley: Completely different from previous walk, this is in the classic part of the Cercedilla valley, tying together several different marked trails to get a good overview of this walkers’ paradise. Circular walk.
Miraflores – Soto: Oak and pine forests, tumbled boulders in a classic pasture, amazing views of the back of La Pedriza: this walk has it all. Goes by a pretty picnic area, near a spot for swimming in the river and ends with options for a tapas lunch. Linear walk.
La Pedriza: Madrid’s Biosphere Reserve has places for lying in the river, for technical rock climbing and for hikes easy to challenging. Our hike is medium: hill up and down, some walking across rocks, but the spectacular views will make it all seem easy. Circular walk.
OTHER COUNTRY WALKS: Once we get to know each other on the trails we can talk about other kinds of hikes….