Summer Plans in Madrid

21 June 2017 0 Comments Category: James Logue, Living in Spain


Summer in Madrid is fast approaching, there are power struggles in the office with pro air-con employees fighting their case with the shivery sort, despite temperatures reaching 40 degrees… and plans to escape the furnace-like capital are well underway.

It’s commonplace for Madrilenians to spend most, if not all, of August by the beach lapping up the sea breeze in exchange for city life and soaring temperatures. So, what happens if you don’t have that luxury? The fact that Madrid is landlocked and a few hours from the beach acts as a deterrent for many travellers, but here are some summer tips to beat the heat:

The Pantano de San Juan (San Juan Reservoir) is known as the beach of Madrid and instead of driving a few hours to Valencia, you could be surrounded by green vegetation and plonked on a 10-km stretch of sand in around one hour. This place is a true gem and perfect for a day out with friends or the kids.

Maybe I’ll regret including the next place in my list, as it has become my go-to in hot weather for some peace and tranquillity… but I guess the more the merrier. In the southeast of the city, in the municipality of Rivas Vaciamadrid, there is a beautiful nature reserve called El Parque Regional del Sureste. Formerly a gravel pit that flooded to create the lake in the middle (La Laguna de Campillo), it stretches over 4 km, so perfect for a bike ride, wee stroll with children, or even bird watching. The last few times I went, there was no one but me in the whole park, at least no one I saw, so head there mid-week for pure relaxation and a lake all to yourself.

Next on the list is a duo of action and relaxation: to the northwest of Madrid, in the Sierra de Guadarrama, there are natural swimming pools surrounded by an impressive backdrop of mountains. The photos online really don’t do this place justice. It’s pretty spectacular and despite crowds of people (normally on the weekends), surprisingly peaceful. Perhaps a full day poolside is too tedious for you (I know I tend to get bored), so if you want to break it up with an activity, really close by in the same area there is an outdoor adventure park called Aventura Amazonia. It’s a tree top course with zip lines and loads of rope challenges. Think Tarzan and Jane or Indiana Jones, but having more fun, and more safety guaranteed.

So, when someone comes to visit you in Madrid and complains about the capital’s lack of beach, maybe you can take them on a tour of some of the beautiful spots I’ve shared. Failing that, pack your towel, swimming gear and a tortilla sarnie, and hit one of the city’s municipal pools.


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