For all of you that aren’t from Madrid and it’s your luck to spend summer here, you probably ask yourself the same question: how do madrileños deal with this heat? The temperatures easily reach 35ºC, most of all during the period of the Canícula between 15th of July and the 15th of August. With this heat the only thing you want to do is stay at home, laying on the couch or in the office with the air conditioner on high until 21¨00h.
However, for those of us who were born here and live in Madrid, we have our little tricks. One of them is escaping to the mountains of Madrid in the north where you will find the pools of Cercedilla. It’s a tiny last standing refuge where the sun and the heat did not win the battle and where the temperatures are usually 5ºC and 7ºC less than average, and where you can be a real person again. Now you know why there are no Madrileños in Madrid during the end of summer.
The pools are part of the Las Berceas Park in las Deshesas de Cercedila, a privileged space situated in the mountains and shaded by trees where you can get refreshed in the waters that stem from that very mountain. By car it takes 50 minutes to arrive from madrid. It opens at 10:00 and in order to find a parking space, we recommend that you arrive before 11:00, especially on the weekends. In total there are 6 parking lots, from A to F, and they fill up fast. The F is the closest to the pools. Keep in mind that a part from the pools, people also hike in the mountains. If you don’t own a car. chill, you can arrive using public transport in Cercanías from Atocha (C8B) or by bus (From Moncloa route 684). Though it’ll take a bit longer by train and bus, the views are worth it. How to arrive- Spanish
The price to enter is 5,50€ during the weekday 6,50€ on the weekends and holidays. For groups of 10 people or more, the price drops down to 49,50€ and get lower for every additional group of ten. Price List.
The complex has 2 pools and a large capacity, so it’s rare that you won’t get in. Around the pools, there is a large area of grass where you can leave your towel. There are tons of pine trees too, so it’s very easy to find shade. But if you want a bit of sun, don’t worry, you can find that too. The later you arrive, the harder it will be to find a good spot. We like to set up towards the bottom end of the pool because there´s a nice amount of shade, and it’s away from a lot of the people, so it’s calm.
Whether in the sun or the shade, remember to use sun cream, even though the temperature is better than in Madrid city, the sun shines regardless and in less than an hour, you’ll be walking around like a crab for a few days if you’re not careful.
Once you’re all set up, it’s time to swim. The water truly is cold, be warned, that’s why you shouldn’t wait to dive in. Take a shower first to start to get used to the change in temperature and jump in. In a little while, the feeling of freezing disappears… or maybe not, depends on your cold tolerance. Either way, when you see the water flowing down from the mountains, you’ll forget about everything else. Relax…
About the facilities, there are bathrooms for men and women. There’s usually toilet paper and they are relatively clean. There are also separate dressing rooms if you want to change there, even though we usually just go in our swimsuits, and if the weather is good, you¡ll dry quickly. Eating there isn’t permitted, but you will probably see people doing it. For eating, you have two options: there’s a bar where they sell food, sandwiches above all, even though our suggestion is that you bring your own food in a cooler and eat in the picnic area. It’s an area with tables and it’s really nice. We were 5 people and we made a pasta salad, and bought jamón, bread for sandwiches, beer, water and empanadas from the market before leaving Madrid. For less than 5€ per person, we ate like kings. If you choose that option, get there before 13:45h in order to get a space, especially in the shade. Take some bags for your rubbish, we’ve got to take care of nature.
A Tip: The tables can be moved around, so if you find an empty one but it’s in the sun, move it to the shade. We’re talking about a few meters here, don’t take it to the pool area.
After lunch, the best thing to play a few hands of cards. If you don’t have any, buy some, but if you can’t we’ll let you get away with poker. If you prefer to rest a bit, there’s nothing better than an authentic nap under the shade of a big tree. When you wake up, you’ll be like new. If you go where we suggested, you’ll have peace and tranquility, and less people and families around you. If it’s crowded, you can always venture further out to take a nap.
On the way back, if you’re in a car, try not to leave at the last minute, at 20:00h when they close, because you ay get stuck in traffic. Before 19:30 is better. And for those who went in public transport, we suggest you check the train and bus schedules to be certain of what time the stations close.
However you get home, it’s certain that as soon as you arrive you’ll collapse on the couch. Guaranteed!