Puerto de Navacerrada, Madrid, SpainCategory: Madrid
If you plan to visit Madrid, Spain in the approaching year, one of the places you should really consider visiting is Puerto de Navacerrada, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast and enjoy activities such as skiing, cycling and/or hiking. Although officially a village in the county of Cuenca del Guadarrama, which is part of the municipality of Cercedilla, a province of Madrid, Puerto de Navacerrada is primarily considered by locals as a ski resort and mountain pass. With its mountain location, the village has an altitude of 1859 meters (6,100 feet) above sea level, and its average terrain has a slope of 21 percent, making it not only the nearest ski village to the Spanish capital, but also one of the most popular.
Puerto de Navacerrada: Overview
Puerto de Navacerrada, a town with roughly 113 permanent residents (many more temporary residents during the ski season), serves as a type of dividing line between the province of Madrid to the south and the province of Segovia to the north. It is actually located nearer to the south, in the municipality of Cercedilla, than it is to the northern municipality of La Granja de San Ildefonso, located in the province of Segovia. It is the highest of all the mountain passes in the Sierra de Guadarrama range and one of the highest (and busiest) in Spain. In addition to its fabulous ski resort, Puerto de Navacerrada also boasts a number of picturesque hiking trails for summer fun, as well as several hotels, apartments, lodges, restaurants and a ski school.
The project to establish a port in this region was commenced in 1778 by the royal architect Juan de Villanueva. It was concluded and opened to traffic some 10 years later, under the reign of Carlos IV. To cross the pass during that time people were required to pay a toll, and although it was open to the general public, the most likely travelers through the area during early years were kings and ministers who used to travel to Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia, making stops at the Fonda Real. The original name for the Puerto de Navacerrada was Puerto de Manzanares, named for the Rio Manzanares (Manzanares River) that runs through Madrid.
The Ski Resort
When the local Madrilenians think about the Puerto de Navacerrada, most of them think of skiing, as the ski resort located there is one of the most well-liked in all of Spain. It is located on the border of the Madrid and Segovia provinces and its tracks run through the forested area of the valleys of Valsain and Navalmedio. The resort, which features two distinct areas, offers plenty of wintertime fun for everybody, despite your level of expertise. The first of these areas is for beginners, with simple and climatologically protected tracks. These snow-packed runs, which include a child’s slope designed for sledding, are located on the west side of the mountain. The second area of the resort aims to challenge even the most advanced skiers and snowboarders. It is located on the east side of the mountain, in an area covered with crawling scrubs like broom and juniper, and is characterized by its black and red tracks. The ski lifts are open daily during the winter, but they also operate on weekends during the other months of the year, serving mostly tourists who wish to visit the top of the mountain.
Finding your way to Puerto de Navacerrada is simple, and chances are you will have a lot of company from the local Madrilenians looking to hit the slopes. The C-9 line of the Cercanias, a commuter railway that serves Madrid and its surrounding area, will take you directly to the town, where you can find overnight lodging and plenty of outdoor fun.