Guadarrama: trekking

What?
Trekking
When?
Autumn, Spring, Yearround, Summer
Who?
Groups
Where?
Guadarrama
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Average daily distance:         3-20km

Average Ascent/Descent:     300 – 1500 m

Group size:                            5 – 12 persons

Language:           Spanish, English, Dutch

Price:                    From 710 €


DESCRIPTION
A walking holiday in the National Park of the Sierra de Guadarrama is an outstanding opportunity to discover virtually unknown mountain areas in the centre of Spain, only 40 km north of the capital Madrid. The Guadarrama mountain range (Sistema Central) covers a large area with impressive peaks of almost 2500m. The valleys and slopes are covered with oak forests and pine trees,a perfect combination of Mediterranean and high mountain vegetation with an extreme rich flora and fauna. It is therefore not surprising that, after a lot of negotiations, this area was declared a National Park in June 2013.

La Pedriza, one of the largest granite areas of Europe, has been recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere reserve due to its great geological and ecological value. It is in fact a huge geologic labyrinth, where years of erosion by water and wind have created miraculous rock sculptures.  Here, the griffon vultures and other raptors, such as the golden eagle, have made the rocks their habitat. With a large dose of patience, you can also admire the endemic Spanish imperial eagle. With the successful introduction of the Spanish mountain goats in the late 90s and the consequently expected return of the Spanish wolf, as a regulator of this goat population, the area will become more and more attractive, as also other wildlife, flora and fauna return. After decennia of environmental indifference, an improved and efficient environmental policy, with renewed interest in the local flora and fauna (Ocellatedlizards and midwife toads), is now beginning to pay off.


PROGRAM

DAY 1: ARRIVAL AND VISIT CITY OF MADRID

Arrival at the airport of Madrid and transfer to the centre by public transport. Walking in Madrid, visits to la Plaza Mayor, Plaza España, the Royal palace and streets full of typical Spanish tabernas and shops in the “Habsburger district”. Evening supper in a Spanish restaurant in the capital.

Accommodation: Hostal Santa Isabel, Madrid

DAY 2: MUSEA MADRID AND TRANSFER TO MANZANARES

Breakfast in one of the many bars in Madrid. Walking tour in the districts La Latina and Lavapiés, with a visit to the well-known flea market El Rastro. A museum visit is also included to one of the two most famous museums of Madrid, the El Prado or the Reina Sofia. El Prado has the greatest collection of the most important painters from the XVIth till the XIXth century, among them Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Hieronimus Bosch, Goya, Tiziano, too many to mention. If you prefer modern art, the Reina Sofia museum is a must. These museums are nearby. You have the freedom to take lunch where you wish at your own cost. At the end of the day, we will be picked up by a minibus that will transfer us to  Manzanares el Real, a village in the mountains.

Accommodation: El Mirador de la Maliciosa hotel, Manzanares el Real

DAY 3: GRANITE LABYRINT OF LA PEDRIZA

A circular walking tour to the greatest granite rock of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, “El Yelmo” (the helmet), the most important peak of La Pedriza includes a beautiful view of the artificial lake and the iconic towers of the Spanish capital on the horizon.  During our walk we can admire the mountain goats and high up in the sky the griffon vultures will accompany us. We return in the shadow of the pine trees along paths winding between the rocks.

Length: 17 km, climb/descent: 750m, duration: 6 hrs.

Accommodation: El Mirador de la Maliciosa hotel, Manzanares el Real

DAY 4: SUMMIT OF BOLA DEL MUNDO

A walking trip upstream along the river Manzanares, via the Garganta de la Camorza, where water has created natural swimming pools in the granite rocks, allows us to enjoy the most fantastic rock sculptures and water falls. We will climb via beautiful valleys to La Bola del Mundo, above the tree line.  From here we will have a splendid view over the highest peak of the Sierra, Cumbre de Peñalara (2428m) and towards the Castilian highlands with Segovia at distance. Thereafter we descend to the mountain pass and ski station El Puerto de Navacerrada.

Length: 16km, climb: 1350m, descent: 350m, duration: 7 hrs.

Accommodation: Hotel Pasadoiro, Puerto de Navacerrada

DAY 5. DRAGON MOUNTAINS AND FORESTS OF VALSAÍN

This walking tour is along the impressive Sierra de Dragón, mountain of the dragon, so called due to its shape with the Siete Picos (Seven peaks). If the weather is fine, we’ll walk along the Seven peaks, where piled gneissic rocks form intriguing figures. When it is clear, the view is splendid, with the Sierra de Gredos to the West and the vast pine forests of Valsaín covering the northern slopes of the mountain. After the pass of Fuenfría, we’ll enter the forest and walk down along the mountain river Eresma, via the old kings pathway of Valsaín. In this little logging village, surrounding the remnants of the old summer palace of Filips II, we will stay for the night in a simple hostel with a shared dormitory.

Length: 20km, climb: 300m, descent: 1000m, duration: 6.5 hrs.

Accommodation: Alberge AREVA, Valsaín

DAY 6: PEÑALARA MASSIVE AND LOZOYA VALLEY 

Today we will cross one of the highest passes of the Sierra de Guadarrama, just along the highest mountain of the massive, the Peñalara (2442 m), it is a long, steep climbing road, first through dense pine forests, but finally on the plateau, full of broom and gorse.  The wind can be strong up here. We follow the ridge for a while and descend eventually to Rascafría, which is situated in the valley of Lozoya, the valley slopes are covered by oak forests and pine trees. The timber industry has flourished here for a long time and was initiated by Belgian travellers, both in Valsaín, the forest area at the side of Segovia, and in Rascafría. Inscriptions at the entrance can still be found, Pinares de el Paular Sociedad Anónima Belga, founded by a group of Belgians who travelled in Spain in 1840.

Length: 21km, climb: 1050m, descent: 1030m, duration: 7 hrs.

Accommodation: Hotel Posada El Campanario, Rascafria

DAY 7: WATERFALLS OF PURGATORIO

We will walk together along rivers and oak forests to enjoy the green valley of Rascafría.  We ascend a little towards the waterfall of El Purgatorio, and offer the opportunity to visit the monastery El Paular, a Benedictine abbey, early in the evening. Then we will be well looked after by the Italian cook in the cosy family restaurant of the El Posada El Campanario hotel.

Length: 17km, climb/descent: 300m, duration: 5 hrs.

Accommodation: Hotel Posada El Campanario, Rascafria

DAG 8: BACK HOME

Return to the airport in Madrid with the minibus and flight back home.


WHAT´S INCLUDED?

• Guide EspírituNATURE (UIMLA), English speaking

• English speaking city guide in Madrid

• Entrance to museum El Prado

• All transfers during program

• Full room and board expect lunch day 2

• Walking map of the Sierra de Guadarrama

• Accident insurance

WHAT´S NOT INCLUDED?

• Personal costs

• Flight or other transport to and from Madrid


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