Madrid is already a high capital being second only to Andorra in altitude and higher than any of the Alpine capitals at 667m. So the mountain chain that runs roughly from the west of it NE to finish roughly due N of it provides a very high mountaineer’s and hiker’s playground.
Much of this is defined as the Gredos mountains and the central section – the Guadarrama – is served uniquely by a railway connection directly from Madrid and a rack mountain railway that runs up to the base of the 2000m summits. They are worthy of exploration and because they are a playground for the Madrileños there is plenty of accommodation and well walked routes.
Staying in Cercedilla provides direct access to the rail link from Madrid and the rack railway and allows for good circuits starting and finishing at railway halts as well as walks back to the town itself. The Siete Picos are a rocky arena and not far away – but requiring motor transport is the delightful area of La Pedriza – with rock scenery par excellence and a dizzying array of crags to wind through with the danger of being lost or at least seriously discombobulated!

This Outline Routes from Cercadilla document gives brief outline descriptions of walks rather than detailed descriptions, and this is a gap that we hope to fill in the future once a return trip is organised for the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers.

In addition to this there are more comprehensive route outlines on this similar site – also run by lovers of the Mountains of Spain. Hiking Iberia also has the aim of making walking routes available to enthusiasts throughout the world. See Hiking Iberia’s Central System for more information.