Rio Manzanares en la Pedriza

Manzanares el Real, a 45 minutes drive away from Madrid, is famed for being the gateway into La Pedriza and for its perfectly-preserved medieval castle. We recommend the plan that we followed this weekend – it consists of walking around La Pedriza before visiting the Castle of Manzanares el Real.

Morning: La Pedriza and the Manzanares river

La Pedriza es un precioso entorno que pertenece al Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama, por lo que os pedimos que lo conservéis, ¡no dejéis basura!

La Pedriza, part of the Sierra de Guadarrama national park, is a gorgeous place, and in order to keep is this way, please don’t drop litter!

Enter from the car park on calle del Tranco (see map below). From there, follow the route marked PR (with white and yellow lines) and the one marked GR (red and white lines). Basically, go parallel to the river, so you can’t get lost and it’s very widely used – but you can get a map from the tourist office if you want. Although we didn’t do this because of the lack of time, from there you can continue walking to Charca Verde (the Green Pool). The whole walk is lovely, full of little pools and waterfalls. The charming features have been sculpted by the flow of the river over the granite, a hard and impermeable rock.

It’s common to go the Charca Verde in summer for a swim, but my personal preferred bathing spot is futher along at las Presillas. It’s better controlled, with amenities and people who take care of cleaning it (and less dirty people who sully it, by the way)
The rest of the year it’s a perfect spot to go with children or the less adventurous types, because there’s barely any physically difficulty involved. As well as that, it’s a wonderful spot for photographers.

After the short walk (one hour round trip) we went back to the town, had a bite to eat in the main square and made our way to the castle.

Una de las muchísimas pozas del río Manzanares.

One of the many pools in the Manzanares river.

Saltos de agua por todo el camino.

Small waterfalls everywhere.

Paisaje granitico de la Pedriza. Al fondo se ve Cuerda Larga, con muy pona nieve para ser Enero.

Granite Landscape of La Pedriza. In the background we see Cuerda Larga.

Montañeros, corredores, domingueros, fotógrafos, niños... todos estamos enamorados de nuestra Sierra.

Mountaineers, runners, photographers, kids… Everybody loves Pedriza.

Afternoon: Castle of los Mendoza

Building of this castle was started in 1475, at the end of the Middle Ages, by the First Duke of the Infantado and was completed during the Renaissance period. One of the architects was Juan Gas, who also made the Palace of the Infantado in Guadalajara and did work on the cathedrals in Ávila and Segovia as well as the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo, which would later be the mausoleum of the Catholic Monarchs.

It’s hard to believe that this castle has been so well preserved – this is due to a couple of restoration projects in the twentieth century.

Today, it remains the property of the Duke of the Infantado, but is looked after by the Community of Madrid. These days, some of the exhibition rooms can be visited, there’s a recreation of a medieval castle, a display of 17th century Flemish tapestries. Other rooms are used for conferences, courses, meetings, a library etc. Oh, and you can go on a theatrical tour too.

Entrada al castillo, primero se cruzan las murallas, con adarve y almenas, después se accede a la torre del homenaje.

Entrance to the castle, you have to cross first the walls and then the tower keep.

Galería cubierta del arquitecto Juan Guas. Es visitable y tiene unas magníficas vistas.

Upper gallery with amazing views of the town and the lake.

Patio del Castillo de los Mendoza. Está en la Torre del Homenaje y por él se accede a exposiciones temporales y permanentes.

Patio of the castle in the tower keep. It has the access to the temporary exhibits and the permanent collection.

Santillana lake from the Manzanares el Real Castle

Castillo de Manzanares el Real por la Noche

Night illumination, the garden closes late.

Map and useful information for visiting Manzanares el Real

Categories: Hiking & Nature

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