I must confess one thing: although Madrid is a lovely city, even the most genuine ‘Madrileño’ needs a respite from the urban grind. If you spend some days in the capital and you want a break from the hustle and bustle of Madrid, you’re in luck. The Sierra de Guadarrama is a popular weekend leisure destination for the people of Madrid both in summer and winter.
Madrid is flanked by mountain ranges, all of which offer city dwellers a wide range of activities during the year: from skiing in winter and savoring the fresh mountain air in autumn, to walking by a nature route in spring, or to escaping the heat wave of the city swimming in the rivers or in the natural mountain pools in summer.
Well, maybe when you are planning your skiing winter holiday, you don’t think of Madrid as your first destination. But keep in mind the city surroundings because there are interesting activities for snow lovers.
Families in Madrid more typically spend the day at Puerto de Navacerrada, where they can glide through the snow, build a snowman and rent snowboard equipment or sledges to play on gentle slopes. Ski season usually begins during the first weekend of December, coinciding with the bank Holidays in Spain (6th and 8th of December). However, I recommend you to check out the snow forecast and if the ski slopes are opened.
Forfait prices vary whether it is a labour day (27 euros) or holidays (32 euros). There are also half-day passes for those who do not arrive in time to enjoy a full day. If you would rather rent a sledge, the price is 6 euros for the whole day.
Navacerrada opens at nine and closes at five o’clock. If you go by car, I suggest you to wake up early, as much to maximize the daylight hours as to prevent traffic jams (in the high season, during the weekend and Christmas, it could be monumental). Finding parking is not easy. They do offer some free street parking, but at 9:30 – 10:00 is completely overstuffed. Be careful because parking illegally carries a 200€ fine! I speak from experience…
From Moncloa Bus station (Metro Line 3, 6) you can take bus 691 which goes to Puerto de Navacerrada. Take heed because another buses stop at Navacerrada Town!! There is also another option: the train. You should take line C6 from Nuevos Ministerios to Cercedilla (around 50 min), and later take the Nature Train: a wonderful train by the mountain with marvelous views. Just get off in Puerto de Navacerrada Station and you will be in the snow!! You can also continue until Cotos, where there is another ski resort: Valdesquí.
What to do later?
Probably, after a snow day you will be hungry. Despite you could have lunch in the Cafeteria at Puerto de Navacerrada, it would be a good idea to visit Navacerrada, a small town with a charming city center and a mountain village feel. There are some restaurants with an economic Daily Menu but you can also eat typical Castilian food as cordero or cochinillo.