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The 13 Best Hikes in Madrid

23 January, 2022by Bounce

As the capital of Spain, Madrid is the most populous city in the country. However, if you head out to the hiking trails in the mountains, you may not see another soul for miles. Navacerrada on the southern flank of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains takes you to the stunning Barranca Valley, which boasts some of Madrid's best views of the highest mountains.

There are thousands of hiking trails in Madrid. Discover some of the city's hidden gems on a hiking route in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains or enjoy a beautiful route through the Fageda d'en Jordà beech forest that grows on top of an old lava flow from the Santa Margarida volcano.

Rock climbers, as well as hikers, enjoy the La Pedriza Trail at the southern edge of the Sierra de Guadarrama. This is where you can find the famous La Pedriza geological wonder of 32 square miles of natural rock formations. Whether you want to climb or just take it all in, this is a walk that is worth it.

Just outside of downtown Madrid, you can find rugged mountains, thick forests, and gentle mountain streams. Walk through the Spanish capital to feel closer to the surrounding landscape with amazing scenery. Whether you traverse a mountain or stroll through the city, a hike in Madrid will do you good. Whichever trails you decide to follow, you cannot bring your suitcases. Find luggage storage in Madrid to leave them for safekeeping while you enjoy the view.

Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Madrid

The Camino de los Campamentos Trail

One of the easiest hikes in Madrid only takes about two hours at just under six miles. Located in the town of Cercedilla, the hike can easily be reached by public transport.

There are clear markers along the nicely maintained trails so you cannot get lost. This is a nice walk to enjoy during the warmer months where you can see streams, forests, and horses along the way.

The Madrid de los Austrias City Walk

This 1.4-mile easy loop trail is a popular one and is good for hikers of all skill levels. The Madrid de los Austrias is a nice adventure in the oldest part of town around Plaza Mayor and along the busy streets of tapas bars and cultural gems.

Your adventure also takes you to the oldest restaurant in the world, Restaurante Botin, which has been in business since 1725. You will also visit the Almudena Cathedral, San Miguel Market, and learn about Medieval Times.

Casa de Campo Trail

In Madrid's largest park, Casa de Campo, you can take a walk on the beach along the lake. This historic path dates back hundreds of years and is named after Queen Maria Theresa.

This route leads all around the lake as well as into the surrounding area of the Arroyo de Meaques. You will find a lot of biking and hiking along this gravel road, especially during the summer months.

Abantos from El Escorial and Mirador de la Naranjera

Mount Abantos is 5,500+ feet tall and is the main attraction and the most important mountain in the historic city of El Escorial in Madrid. Grab some food and enjoy a picnic at the La Narangera shelter with wonderful views of the western end of the mountains.

The seven-mile hike is of medium difficulty and typically takes about three hours depending on your fitness level. Bring all the essentials on this nice vigorous hike.

Mirador de las Canchas Trail

Taking a trek is a wonderful free activity, especially when the reward is exceptional scenery! Hiking the looping 6.5-mile Mirador de las Canchas Trail, also in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range has a high difficulty rating, but awards you with stunning views when you reach the Mirador de las Canchas peaks.

This expansive route in Madrid offers some of the best mountain views in Spain with sights like the peaks of Cuerda de las Cabrillas, Bola del Mundo, and La Maliciosa. You can get to this path on public transport.

Hayedo de Montejo

If you want to get up close and personal with nature, check out Hayedo de Montejo, also known as Sierra del Rincón, located in the hills of Ribón. It is a UNESCO National World Heritage Site with over 800 species of plants and almost 200 species of animals.

In the ancient forest, the 65-foot beech trees are more than 500 years old and you will see a variety of wildlife including wild boars, roe deer, and herons. There are many trails to enjoy throughout the park from short and easy to extremely difficult.

Circular Route to La Cabrera to the Pico de la Miel

One of the most difficult trails in Madrid, the 6.6-mile La Cabrera to Pico de la Miel boasts a plethora of options for hiking as well as rock climbing. Located near La Cabera, you will see a variety of special features including fields full of wildflowers and spectacular views of the city.

The north side enjoys many peaks as the route takes you through some of the more rugged landscapes where you will likely see at least one or two climbers on the rocks above you. Actually, you can join them if you are an experienced climber.

Easy Hikes in Madrid

Whether you are new to hiking or if you just want a nice meandering walk without too much of a challenge, there are plenty of easy hiking trails in Spain, with many of them right in Madrid. From the small town of West La Cabrera to Navacerrada, there are dozens to explore.

Seven Peaks or Siete Picos

Beginners can take a nice and easy adventure on this 6.2-mile hike on the Seven Peaks, or Siete Picos. With a low difficulty, this route is one of the most relaxed walks in Madrid with an estimated time of 3.5 hours.

Start at the Navacerrada El Telégrafo ski station and head up the ridge for a spectacular hike with a stellar view of Madrid. Don't miss Perdiguera Peak with its lush Scots pine forest in this route through the Siete Picos.

Schmidt Trail

Meander along the Schmidt Trail, a non-circular route named after the Austrian Eduard Schmidt who discovered it in 1926. You can see the Barefood Bridge, Windy Hill, and the Trail of the Alevines as well as waterfalls in nature.

This easy trail takes you along the Camino Schmidt between the town of Navacerrada and the Fuenfria Valley. Enjoy a peaceful walk under the pine forests in the Valsain Valley at the base of the Siete Picos.

Intermediate Hikes in Madrid

For these hiking paths, you will need to be in good health and have good hiking boots and other equipment as well as tools for walking in the snow. Be sure to bring your backpack with all the important gear including a first aid kit, extra water and food, and a compass. Afterward, treat yourself to an amazing Madrid brunch.

La Pedriza Labyrinth

The 7.5-mile intermediate La Pedriza Labyrinth starts in Manzanares El Real near the Manzanares River basin. The rugged rock formations and stunning waterfalls make this one of the best hiking trails in Madrid.

Do not miss the gorgeous Lozoya Valley, El Yelmo, and Castillo de los Mendoza, which is a stone castle built in the 1400s. As part of the Unesco Biosphere Reserve, you can get there by public transport from Plaza de Castilla.

Peñalara Circular Hike

At Peñalara Natural Park, in the Sierra de Guadarrama, the 8.7-mile Peñalara circular route is an intermediate-level trail that takes you to Madrid's highest summit, almost 8,000 miles above sea level and the most picturesque peaks in Spain.

This rocky hike takes about four hours as you climb the 7,966-foot Penalara Peak. But the hike is worth it as it offers panoramic views of glacial lakes and deep valleys formed by millions of years of glacier activity. Be sure to pack some warm clothes.

Difficult Hikes in Madrid

Cuerda Larga

Another place for climbers, the 9.6-mile Cuerda Larga is a difficult route in the Sierra de Guadarrama between Puerto de la Morcuera and Puerto de Navacerrada. The views from atop the granite boulders are stunning.

From there you can see unique views of La Pirizaria, Pealara Valley, Lozoyan Vallay, and the Sierra Guadalajara Valley. During the spring and summer it can get very hot so why not try some winter snowshoeing? This is a great trail to try it on.

Monasterio de El Paular Loop from Camino de Batanes

If you want to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Spain, this 12.4-mile difficult hike is worth the energy. The Monasterio de El Paular Loop is one of those hikes for those with some expertise and a high level of fitness because of the difficulty.

Begin at the mountain town of Rascafria at the base of the Sierra de Guadarrama where you will find the Monastery of Santa Maria de El Paular, also known as El Purgatorio. Meander along the Aguilon River between the rocky and rugged sections.

Choose Your Hiking Trails in Madrid

Hiking in Madrid ranges from an easy hike of a few hundred feet to a difficult and lengthy trip that can take you over 50 miles with a journey time of less than an hour to several days. Many of the hikes are in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range in Sierra de Guadarrama Park. Download a map to your phone or pick up one of the many offline maps you can get on one of the Madrid hiking websites.

These hikes include a variety of features from walks on the beach to hiking up a mountain full of waterfalls. Spain is a gorgeous country and the capital city of Madrid is packed with paths to explore and enjoy. Some of the more difficult hikes are the ones that enjoy a landscape with a sight you cannot forget. However, if you are not an experienced hiker, taking that chance is not a good idea. After all, you can see some pretty spectacular landscape on the easy hikes as well.

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