Cercedilla, Madrid, Spain

Category: Madrid

Are you planning a trip to Madrid, Spain and need some fresh ideas with regard to what do and see while visiting this beautiful city?  One of the best things about vacationing in Madrid is the sheer number of sites and attractions the city has to offer its guests.  From historic museums and monuments, to lush urban parks, to tasty restaurants serving authentic Spanish tapas, the city is literally a vacationer’s paradise offering something for everybody’s tastes.  These sites are very well-documented and typically can be found in most mainstream travel books.  However, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a little more unique and off the beaten path, you should definitely consider a daytrip to one of the many towns and villages that surround the Spanish capital, most of which offer a variety of one-of-a-kind sites and activities not found in the city’s center.  One such locale is Cercedilla, a town of roughly 7,000 people located to the north of Madrid in the breathtaking Sierra de Guadarrama Mountain Range.  To help you become a bit more familiar with this little-known treasure, below we have provided a brief overview of the town, including a description of some of its features and some information on how to get there.

Cercedilla:  An Overview

Cercedilla is a small municipality in the autonomous Community of Madrid, with a total land area of roughly 14 square miles.  Although only about 90 minutes by train from the city, this mountain town bears little resemblance to the bustling metropolis of Madrid.  It’s cool, fragrant air and tree-lined mountain landscapes are a far cry from the noise and pollution of the capital city, making it a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

During the winter time, Cercedilla becomes a snowy playground for tourists and townspeople, and its proximity to some of Spain’s favorite ski resorts makes it a very popular stop for outdoor enthusiasts.  The peak season, however, is the summer, as people flock to Cercedilla to escape the blazing heat of Madrid.  Temperatures in the town generally run about 20 degrees or more cooler than they are in the city, and its miles of wooded trails make it a great place for hiking.

One of the most renowned hiking trails in Cercedilla is the Calzada Romana, or the ancient Roman road, dating back to the year 1 B.C.  The road begins just on the outskirts of town and weaves its way through the Fuenfria Valley all the way to Segovia.  This is a very advanced hike, however, so unless you are prepared to walk for five hours or more you may want to start with one of the smaller hiking trails located throughout the town.

Cercedilla offers many interesting sites to explore, including scores of 19th-century summer cottages and the Iglesia or Church of San Sebastian.  Located in the highest part of Old Cercedilla, this ancient church showcases the architectural styles of many different eras, and according to historians, its oldest elements, including the base of its tower and the baptismal chapel, may date back as early as the twelfth century.  Other noteworthy features of the church include the fence that completely surrounds the grounds, built in 1741, and the main altarpiece, carved in Segovia in 1714 and later gilded in 1725.

Perhaps the most famous person ever to call Cercedilla home was Francisco Fernandez Ochoa (1950-2006), for whom a statue was erected following his death from cancer in 2006.  A member of Spain’s Olympic Ski Team, he was the first (and only) Spaniard ever to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics when he won the slalom event in Japan in 1972.

To get to Cercedilla from Madrid, take the C-8 line (dark green) of the Cercanías, Madrid’s commuter train. Tickets can be purchased at the Atocha Cercanías train station or any of the other Cercanías train stations around Madrid.