MADRID, SPAIN. Peñalara is a famous mountain situated just outside Madrid that offers great scenery and beautiful nature. The place is situated two and a half hours from the center of Madrid and it offers a great opportunity to take short or long hikes.
Before going to Peñalara, you should make sure that you take a coat or at least a scarf with you, minimum of two sandwiches, something sweet and a big bottle of water. You need to bring a coat or scarf with you so that it keeps you from both getting cold and sunburnt. You might ask, “How is it possible to get both in one place?” Well, the mountain is a place where due to its high altitude, it can get quite cold, but at the same time the breeze carries the sunlight which is the easiest and fastest way for you to get burnt. Despite these precautions, Peñalara is a place where one’s eyes and heart are filled with amazement.
The easiest way to get to Peñalara is by catching the metro to the Moncloa station and then taking bus number 691, which departs every 30 minutes starting at 9 a.m. The price of a one-way ticket is 5.10€, so you will roughly need 12€ for the whole journey. Add 12 more if you wish to join a tour on a weekend with Hiking Madrid. Make sure to get off at the last stop, which is called Peñalara, and you can start your journey from there. There is a restaurant for some refreshments at the beginning and the end of the trail.
Once the hike starts, the path is quite smooth; however, it gets a bit rough due to the sharply changing altitude later on. I would recommend following the trail to the Laguna de los Pájaros, as I don’t only believe that this is the most beautiful part of the mountain but that it also offers great scenery, places to stop and take a rest while admiring the view and places to challenge your hiking abilities. The hike features lots of water, with several little ponds and streams dotted along the way. There are outstanding views across the Cuerda Larga and up to the rocky peak itself. As you climb the mountain and follow the path, the air becomes cleaner and lighter, and it is really good for everyone but especially for people with health problems, as mountain air always helps lungs function better. When you reach your destination — Laguna de los Pajaros — I recommend taking a break and snapping some pictures. The view from there is amazing, and it’s one that should not be missed! On the one side, you can see rocky mountains remains of snow on some of them. On the other side, you can see beautiful lakes, small waterfalls and ponds. Once you are there, you won’t be able to get enough of it! It is almost like a fairytale!
The route of the hike is one that almost everybody should be able to do. It is 10 kilometers long with about 400 meters of elevation change. It will take around four to five hours to walk (less if you are a fast walker, of course). So what are you waiting for?! Put on your backpack and give it a go!