I love living in a big city. One of my joys in life this year has been wandering through the narrow streets of Madrid and stumbling upon a million beautiful cafes, restaurants, and shops. I love the energy of people all around, and obviously channeling my (not so) inner girly girl.
But sometimes you just really need to escape the city, breathe some fresh air, and experience a different way of life in Spain.
I had been looking up places to hike near Madrid for a while. I finally decided that I really wanted to check out the hiking near a town called Manzanares el Real, just 45 minutes north by bus from Madrid. After researching the area a little bit more, I figured out that a local hiking group, Hiking Madrid, was headed out to the area as a group to hike the following weekend. I gathered a group of friends and signed us up.
I'm soooo glad that I did. It could not have been a more perfect day in the mountains.
We started in the small town Manzanares el Real, which has a medieval castle in it! We saw it when we were driving up to the town. We thought that we might have enough energy at the end of the day to go check out the castle before heading back into town. Yeah... we were wrong about that. ;)
The area we hiked in is called La Pedriza which is a part of the Guadarrama mountain range. The Manzanares river runs through much of La Pedriza's area. The river is absolutely gorgeous with crystal clear water.
There were tons of huge boulders and rocky cliffs throughout the hike. There were also tons of wildflowers and greeen trees, thanks to the rainy spring we had in Madrid.
The group of girls I went with - three TEFL friends, one friend from home, and one new friend!
Can I just wake up to this view every single day for the rest of my life please? PS. I chopped off a bunch of hair about two weeks ago. Surprise!
If you ever get tired during the hike in La Pedriza - do not fear. There are little cafes and restaurants scattered throughout in the middle of nowhere. Cerveza anyone?
Look at that water. I can't wait to go back on a hot day and cool off in the river.
After following the river for a while, our hiking guide started to take us up, up, up the mountain. It was so peaceful in the middle of all of the trees. This is where the hike started to get difficult. I was huffing and puffing (since I haven't seen the inside of a gym since December... oops.)
The pain was all worth it in the end. Look at that VIEW.
We weren't even all the way up yet.
View from our lunch spot, and the highest elevation we hit (about 820 feet). So beautiful.
On the way back down we saw a huge mountain goat and a herd of cows. I was a little concerned for my life walking through the cows. Thankfully they were just happily munching on grass in peace.
Cannot get enough of this river.
The hike ended up being 10K, or 6.21 miles, round trip. I was bone tired by the end of it, but it was certainly worth it! It was so nice to get out of the city for a bit.
I will definitely do another hike with Hiking Madrid!
If you'd like to go on your own, take bus number 724 from Plaza de Castilla to Manzanares el Real. Get off on the stop after the castle. It is a beautiful town to wander around. It took us about 35 minutes to walk to the river from the main square. The bus costs 8.40 euros round trip if you don't have an abono or have a Zone A I believe. My ticket only cost 4 euros round trip because I have a B3 abono.