MADRID, SPAIN. Have you ever wondered about those snowy advertisements that you see every time you ride the Renfe? They have a snow-filled mountain scene with various winter activities and tell you that you can take the very same train that you are riding to a winter wonderland – ever seen those?

After too many Renfe rides with my curiosity peaked (no pun intended), I decided to see for a day what Navacerrada has to offer and to find out why it might be worth a day out of Madrid. And after just a few hours, it became evident that Navacerrada provides just the right kind of natural break that Madrilenians need.

With just over 5 runs and some other activities, along with various mountain accommodations, Navacerrada is a small day trip that will leave winter-hungry Madrilenians wondering why they had never been there beforehand. If skiing is a must, it is advisable to go on the weekends, as you may run the risk of a limited selection of runs – parts of Navacerrada could be “cerrada.” But, for the beginning skier, Navacerrada is a safe, contained environment where there are always many other novices. Renting is usually not an issue and can be done quickly and for low prices, most even lower at off-peak times.

For those with extensive skiing experience, you may be surprised by the brevity of many of the runs at this locale. The “zona de iniciación,” otherwise known as the “bunny hill,” is always open, but the average advanced skier would take no more than 10 minutes, if that, to ski down the more challenging runs. However, with many other snowshoeing and hiking paths, it shouldn’t be a problem to fulfill your wintry desires in ways other than skiing. Although the Renfe ride is scenic and relatively short, there are some smaller inns, namely El Torreon de Navacerrada, with food that is not necessarily cheap, but well-prepared and filling after a day (or a half-day) in the snow. Other restaurants include Las Postas and Terraza de Jardín Felipe, all within minutes of the skiing area.

Make sure you pack warm gloves and hats - while Navacerrada is no "polar vortex," it is significantly colder than Madrid! | Dani Bennett

Make sure you pack warm gloves and hats – while Navacerrada is no “polar vortex,” it is significantly colder than Madrid! | Dani Bennett

If you are looking for a theme park and a five-star connecting wonderland hotel, Navacerrada will not fulfill your needs, and you may end up “seeing” everything at Navacerrada in an hour. But for those in need of a break from bustling Madrid and want a place where they can rest their eyes with the scenic mountain landscapes (including a picturesque Renfe ride). Again, I emphasize this: you can get there by the commuter rail – you can’t say that about very many other getaways near Madrid.

Puerto de Navacerrada

Tel: 902 88 23 28