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Madrid Day Trips: Hiking in Manzanares el Real

I love living in a big city. There is always something to do, always somewhere to go, always people to meet and always places to find. You’re never at a loss for weekend plans in a city like Madrid.

The beauty of living in Madrid is that if you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of this lively city, even if just for a day, there are just as many things to do. Here in Madrid we are lucky to be surrounded by easily accessible sites begging to be explored.

A few weekends ago I fled the city center for the Manzanares mountains.

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It’s hard to believe that just 45 minutes outside of Madrid lies mountain goats and river rapids. The long steep hike to Charca Verde was well worth it. We arrived just in time for our afternoon siesta and eagerly rested our heads in the heavy heat of the sun. No city horns, no noisy neighbors. Only the soothing sounds of fresh water relentlessly pushing its way past ridged rocks.

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Go to Manzanares el Real:

Take the 724 bus from Plaza de Castilla (metro lines 1, 9, 10). From Plaza de Castilla it is about a 45-minute ride to Manzanares el Real. Find the time schedules below.

Plaza de Castilla to Manzanares el Real

Manzanares el Real to Plaza de Castilla

** The return schedule reads backwards, so make sure to follow the arrows.

With my monthly Abono a round trip ticket was only around 6.

**Tip: get to the bus a few minutes early, especially on weekends. There are long lines of hikers and even when the bus seats are full, the drivers won’t hesitate to fill the bus’s standing room. Standing for 45 minutes on a hot crowded bus is not fun. (I learned the hard way)

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Once you arrive in Manzanares, there is a sign to direct you to the tourist office. Head there and grab a route map.  The people working the tourist office are friendly, helpful and even speak a little English.

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Across the street from the bus stop there is a grocery store where you can grab food or snacks for a picnic. We bought some sandwich stuff- pesto, turkey, cheese, baguettes, some chips, and several bottles of water. There are also public bathrooms in the grocery store. It’s a good idea to use them before heading out for the day, as there aren’t many others available.

Further down the street is a fairly large bazaar (chino store) where you can pretty much find anything you may need or may have forgotten. When I had a mini freak-out because I forgot my camera memory card at home, I picked one up at the bazaar for 6,50.

About a 15-20 minute walk down Calle Pedriza will bring you to the parking lot where the hiking routes begin. Follow the other hikers through the parking lot to the paths on the far side.

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We hiked along the river Río Manzanares to Charca Verde.

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We had a picnic in a grassy area along the river, but there are also several small rustic restaurants along the different paths where you can stop to have a quick bite.

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Post-picnic, we continued to Charca Verde.

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After a long day we took the 7:25 (19:25) bus home. This bus stop is across the street, from the arrival stop to the left of the grocery store.

If you have time before you go, check out the quaint little town of Manzanares before or after heading to the mountains.

Happy Hiking 🙂

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