Sierra de Guadarrama Attractions
Mendoza CastleThe Sierra de Guadarrama forms part of a 100km (60mi) long mountain massif separating Old Castile from New Castile. At Peñalara it reaches a height of 2,430m (7,970ft) and at Cabezas de Hierro 2,383m (7,818ft). The Sierra de Guadarrama is a popular weekend leisure destination for the people of Madrid both in summer and winter.
Colmenar Viejo, Spain
Leaving Madrid on the N I road to the north the visitor should turn left on the C 607 shortly after Fuencarral (9km/5mi) and this road will lead to Colmenar Viejo (885m/2,904ft), from where the white Colmenar stone was hewn which was used to build the Palacio Real in Madrid. Although not of great interest apart from this, the village does possess in the 15th/16th C. Church of La Asunción a notable Plateresque high altar dating from 1579. The sculptures are by Francisco Giralte and the "Annunciation" by Sánchez Coello (1574).
Every year Colmenar Viejo holds a bullfighting festival featuring young bulls.
Manzanares el Real - Mendoza Castle
Continuing along the C 607 from Colmenar Viejo, at the little town of Cerceda a minor road leads off right to Manzanares el Real (908m/2,979ft). In the wide valley of the Manzanares, which has been dammed here, producing the Embalse de Santillana reservoir, the magnificent Mendoza Castle occupies a dominating position. Built in the 15th C. in the Gothic-Mudéjar style, it was faithfully restored at the end of the 1970s. To view the castle it is necessary to join a conducted tour.
Miraflores de la Sierra, Spain
From Manzanares el Real a minor road follows the shores of the Embalse de Santillana and then goes on through Soto el Real to Miraflores de la Sierra (1,150m/3,773ft). With its tiny old town center nestling at the southern foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama it is a popular place with the inhabitants of Madrid in summer.
Monasterio El Paular
Crossing the Puerto de la Morcuera (1,796m/5,892ft) and following the beautiful valley of the Río Lozoya, the visitor will come to the Monasterio El Paular (1,153m/3,783ft; 2km/1mi west of Rascafría). It was founded in 1390 as a Carthusian monastery but is today occupied by Benedictine monks. The monastery was designed by the Moor Abd ar-Rahman from Segovia, while Juan Guas was responsible for its completion. The buildings around the cloister have been partly converted into a hotel. In the church, which was rebuilt in the Baroque style following the earthquake of 1755, the visitor can see the magnificently furnished Capilla del Tabernáculo of 1724 and a fine Dutch marble high-altar dating from the 15th century.
Sierra de Guadarrama to Madrid Driving Tour
This journey from Sierra de Guadarrama to Madrid is via Rascafría, along the Río Lozoya through the picturesque villages of Ateruelo, Alameda and Pinilla to Lozoya. Here the visitor will join the C 604 to Lozoyuela, and from there can take the N I back to Madrid (another 68km/42mi).
Puerto de Navacerrada, Spain
At the Monasterio El Paular it is possible to take the spectacular C 604 up to the Puerto de Navacerrada (1,860m/6,102ft), from where there is a marvelous view of the mountains. At the top of the pass there is a ski-station with a lift. The N 601 leads down into the pretty village of Navacerrada and from there it is possible to continue on the C 600 to Guadarrama, from where one can make a detour to El Escorial.