The pine forests of the Sierra de Guadarrama offer a wonderful escape from the bustle of Madrid, which is just a short drive away - in fact the Sierra de Guadarrama are the mountains you can see from Madrid. In winter it becomes a snowy playground, but in the warmer months this is a spectacular spot for almost any sport you can imagine. The best places to stay in the Sierra de Guadarrama tend to be the properties which take most advantage of the rugged mountain views.
The Sierra de Guadarrama crosses the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. Around the bases of the mountains the ground has already arched to about a 1,000metres above sea level, but numerous peaks soar a further 1,000metres on that, and the highest, Peñalara, is 2,428metres.
As well as being a playground for outdoor adventurers, the Sierra de Guadarrama is home to a large range of wildlife. There's wild boar, several different kinds of deer, badgers, weasels, foxes, the European Wild Cat, the Spanish Ibex and some impressive birds to watch - try to spot the Spanish Imperial Eagle and the Eurasian Black Vulture for starters.
The Sierra de Guadarrama also hides many notable man made monuments, including General Franco's final resting place, the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos - the 'Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen', a huge monument also containing the remains of another 40,000 soldiers; the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, which has some incredible artworks; the Castle of Manzanares and the Baroque treasure, Palacio Real de la Granja de San Ildefonso, one of the summer residences of the Spanish Royal Family.
If this region sounds appealing maybe start by exploring the Peñalara Natural Park and visiting La Pedriza, which has some most spectacular and unusual mountain formations. But this is also a wonderful place to just stroll.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in the Sierra de Guadarrama for you? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in the Sierra de Guadarrama, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Madrid, Sierra de Guadarrama
A charming restored farmhouse in the heart of the mountain range. Spacious rooms are elegant with rustic wooden beams, embroidery and large bathrooms. Excellent regional Spanish cuisine and tapas. Stunning terrace views. A great choice for an active holiday in the Sierra.