Cercedilla is a mountain village in the Sierra de Guadarrama, 56 km from Madrid. Its history and geographical location have made its development in all areas possible. In the heart of the National Park of the Sierra de Guadarrama, its almost 40 square km are the habitat of a wide variety of animal and plant species.
Although until the 16th century there was no direct reference to Cercedilla, the remains of its road that crosses the Fuenfría Pass reveal the Roman origin of the town. This road was used by numerous royal courts that over the centuries stopped in Cercedilla to rest. It was precisely a king, Fernando III, who included Cercedilla within the Real de Manzanares and the town began to gain fame. Over the centuries this fame has grown and made the town increase in size and diversity, making it today one of the most visited of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Visiting Cercedilla means delving deep into history, from its Roman roads and bridges, continuing with its Romanesque church, to the railway station from the beginning of the 20th century, until modern times to examples such as its restored and convenient cultural centres.
Roman road and bridges
The Roman road is located in the northernmost part of the La Fuenfría Valley, in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. Although the new road, M-966 was built on top of it, about 2.25 km of stretches of the original one are still visible. In the Fuenfría Valley, you can admire three of the four existing roman bridges: Puente de la Venta, Puente del Descalzo, and Puente de En medio. The bridge of the Mill or Reajo is in the vicinity of the train station.
Luis Rosales Cultural Center
C / Arroyo, 3.
The construction was built where the old municipal slaughterhouse used to be in 1920. The Cultural Centre was inaugurated on the 28th of July, 1998. It was named after the poet Luis Rosales, as he spent the last years of his life in Cercedilla. That is why in the building you can visit a permanent exhibition displaying different personal objects of the poet. Additionally, throughout the year, different concerts and exhibitions take place.
Joaquín Soroya Center
Carrera del Señor, s / n.
This old building is an example of the mountain architecture that practically disappeared. The Segovian sgraffito of its facade, a disused technique, stands out. The centre has been recently restored and, nowadays it accommodates the Music School and the Youth Information Centre.
Santa María Country Chapel
Camino de Santa María, s / n.
Built in the 17th century, it got expanded and restored in 1955. It has certain importance within the Cercedilla municipality because the pilgrimage on the 8th of September marking the festival in honour of the Nativity of Our Lady ends here.
Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church
Travesía del Carmen s / n.
Stone church, with a single nave and gabled roof. It has a simple construction style with a small outstanding bell tower.
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves Parish
Navacerrada Mountain Pass
It is built with masonry walls and ashlars and is located in the Navacerrada Mountain Pass. Its 16th-century rectangular tower stands out. Inside a granite baptismal font decorated with plant motifs and another one with holy water, both from the 16th century, are noteworthy.
C / Emilio Serrano, s / n.
It was built at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, by the Compañía de Ferrocarriles del Norte, as a communication hub between Madrid and Segovia. It is a representative building of the civil constructions of the time. It was opened in 1923, together with the section Cercedilla – Navacerrada Pass.
The railway tracks are used for the so-called “Train of the Nature” which goes from Cercedilla to Cotos Mountain Pass and is a tourist attraction intended to awaken the interest and respect for the natural resources of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
The Geologists´ Fountain
Ctra. N-601, Km. 58
It is located in the joint lands of Navacerrada and Cercedilla, at kilometre 58 of the road that goes to the Navacerrada Mountain Pass. The fountain was designed by Joaquín Delgado Úbeda and unveiled on the 12th of June, 1932. It is made of granite and was named after the first geologists who studied the Sierra de Guadarrama, as a tribute to them. It is highly recommended to stop and contemplate the fountain and the extraordinary scenery around it.
Power Station (Fabrica de la Luz)
Ctra. De las Dehesas, s / n.
The old hydroelectric power plant that for over 50 years supplied electricity to the streets and houses of Cercedilla is located on the road to the Dehesas.
A jewel of industrial heritage, it preserves its original structure and machinery; as a peculiarity, all its electromagnetic equipment is locally made.
This plant started to operate in 1925 and was a municipal initiative to produce energy locally and counteract the energy supplier´s increase of tariffs. The power station has been transformed into a hydropower visitor centre offering learning material, interactive displays and miniatures. During the tour, the visitor learns about the history of the plant, how and why it was built, and about the water circuit: the channelling and storage of water, how the circuit works and what is its structure.
For visits, book in advance by calling 91 852 37 18 or by writing to oficinadeturismo@cercedilla.
The Ski Museum
Plaza Mayor, 4
In Spain, skiing began right on the slopes adjacent to Cercedilla, around 1903, when a Spaniard, González de Amezúa together with a Norwegian who worked in the wood industry of Madrid, Birgen Lorensen, began what they called at that time to “skate”, down the slopes of the Ventorrillo, using wooded skis.
Since then, Cercedilla has been a reference point for skiing. Ski champions in alpine and Nordic skiing come from Cercedilla: 29 of them at a national level, and 2 Olympic medals winners Paquito Fernández Ochoa, a gold, in Sapporo ’72 and his sister Blanca, a bronze, in Albertville ’92. With a modern layout and the use of audio-visual displays, scenography, objects and ancient documents, the museum invites to a journey through the history of snow sports; the visitor can follow how the skis have evolved, from the first handcrafted wooden ones to the last carving technology model; or see how the first women dressed in wool skirts and scarves skied or even discover how the Alpine Battalion took refuge in the mountains during the Civil War.
Besides, the top floor is entirely about the history of the station of Puerto de Navacerrada in the fifties and the life of Paquito: his descents to Navacerrada Mountain Pass, his training with the national team, the victory in Sapporo and his lifetime dedication to promoting skiing in Spain.
In short, the Ski Museum is a special and unique place to learn about how skiing began, and it has been practised in the Spanish state. It is open to the public on weekends, from 11 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 5 pm. You can find out about the activities of the Museum at 918 523718 or on the webpage www.museodelesqui.com
Contact details for tourist information and the Ski Museum: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone number: 91 852 37 18.
San Sebastián Church
Plaza Mayor, 3.
Parish Church of Cercedilla is consecrated to the dedication of San Sebastián, co-patron of the Villa, together with Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Chrurch. The temple, of late Romanesque origin, is a free-standing building with a Latin cross plan and a single nave. The access to it is through a portico located on the midday facade so that the sequence of the elements that compose the building can be distinguished: the tower, the nave with the portico and the baptismal chapel, and the transept with the sacristy and the chapel of the Christ of Clemency.
Worth mentioning the Churrigueresque altarpiece that decorates the top part of the church. The piece was commissioned in 1612 to the sculptor Juan Ruiz de Castañeda and the painter Francisco Granello. Over the years, the altarpiece has suffered variations and losses likewise the church in its whole; for example, during the Civil War, some of the altarpieces of the temple got destroyed.
Tomillar and Bolus Fountains
Ctra. De Los Molinos s/n and C/de la Fuente s/n
Within its municipal borders, Cercedilla has fountains, the most relevant ones being Bolo and Tomillar. The Bolo Fountain, located on C/de la Fuente, was built in the 19th century. It has two adjoining basins carved in granite, attached to the retaining wall and presided over by a large Herrerian ball that gives the name to the fountain.
Tomillar Fountain consists of a large monolithic basin attached to a wall and flanked by two free-standing granite banks. It gets a weak flow of water that comes out through a modern tap installed on a granite stone tablet that finishes in a semicircle and has the following inscription engraved: “Fuente del Tomillar, 1906. Property of P. Catada”
The cattle crush is located at one of the village entrances and is a proof of the livestock tradition of Cercedilla. It has thick wooden strips and granite pillars. On one of these pillars, there is a small plaque mentioning the Way of St. James (El Camino) from Madrid to Santiago.
It was built in 1945, in the surroundings of La Teja or De Abajo Stream. It was designed as a small rectangular ground plan building, with a three-pitched roof to be used as a public washing place. The gigantic washbasin placed inside and made of a thick masonry wall crowned by large pieces of carved granite was impressive. At the time, it was an important meeting place and continued to be used by the washerwomen even when the houses had running water. Until the end of the 60s laundry remained a traditional trade of the area. The building was renovated in 2005, and it is now used as an exhibition hall and multifunctional centre.
Celebrations and traditions
There are special times of the year to visit Cercedilla. Apart from typical dates such as Christmas, Easter and Carnival to which Cercedilla adds a personal touch, two important ones stand out in its calendar: those of the patron saint festivals. Cercedilla also offers other alternative celebrations, such as the Aurrulaque Festival.
• The San Sebastián Festival. On the 20th of January, the San Sebastián Festival takes place. San Sebastián is the patron saint festival of the town. Numerous activities for children and youth are organised, as well as rural sports demonstrations and popular dances performances. One of its most important acts is the religious procession with the Saint´s representation.
• The Arrulaque Festival takes place at the end of July. This festival is designed to encourage people to get to know the surroundings and enjoy the countless marvels of the Sierra del Guadarrama. Therefore, tours along paths that end in a beautiful place, the Navarrulaque meadow are organised. Once arrived, a manifesto is read, and the cultural act ends with traditional music and dances. Along the paths, certain places in the memory of celebrities have been created.
• The Nativity of Our Lady Festival: It takes place for five days at the beginning of September, and it is a patron saint festival of the town. The events begin with the traditional announcement, followed by a pilgrimage to the Santa María Country Chapel, dances and music, exhibition of regional outfits and other recreational activities for all ages.
Man has made it possible to appreciate the beauty of the scenery of Cercedilla even more. For this reason, around the Fuenfría Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra de Guadarrama, numerous viewpoints are scattered. Man has also made the nature of Cercedilla something for him to enjoy, so he uses its mountains for skiing and its lands for natural leisure parks.
Las Berceas Recreation Park
Dehesas de Cercedilla. Fuenfría Valley
Set in the heart of the National Park of the Sierra de Guadarrama, in a pinewood crossed by rivers and streams, the Park has swimming pools, toilets, changing rooms, a first aid kit, a restaurant, a bar, a rest area, a playground and eco hiking trails.
Las Dehesas Recreation Area
It is located in the vicinity of Cercedilla; drinking water facilities, tables, a kiosk, litter bins, toilets and parking space are available. This recreation area is set up perfectly, allowing you to enjoy the nature of the Sierra de Guadarrama not only by observing it but also by practising sports and outdoor activities, including water sports. Pines and bushes are among the plant species that stand out. Squirrels, birds, amphibians, reptiles and deer are part of the fauna of the area.
Fuenfría Valley is an environmental area of great importance on the Madrid side of the Sierra de Guadarrama. From an administrative point of view, it belongs to the municipal area of Cercedilla, and its boundaries are the Minguete Hill (2,023 m of altitude) and the western end of the Siete Picos (2,138 m).
These mountains are precisely what make Cercedilla so picturesque, especially in winter. Regarding its geology, the Fuenfría Valley is formed of rocks of granite and gneiss; in terms of minerals, you can find quartz, feldspar and ferromagnesian. Its vegetation is characterised mainly by the presence of the pine forest. Finally, in terms of fauna, it has plenty of roe deer, wild boars, badgers and foxes.
Fuenfría Valley Visitor Centre
Ctra. De las Dehesas, km 2
Magnificent pine forests surround the Centre. It is located in a unique place of the Sierra de Guadarrama, in the Fuenfría Valley. In this great natural environment, there is a wide network of paths so the visitors can enjoy the scenery and the much-appreciated corners of this area. In the Centre, there are a vending machine, a customer service desk, an exhibition hall, a library and a lecture hall. The permanent exhibition contains a series of interpretive display panels and a video material about the Fuenfría Valley. Throughout the year there are also several temporary exhibitions. In the surrounding outdoor area, there is a car park, a rock garden and a plot on which plants indigenous to the valley are reproduced.
This public viewpoint has a car park, a fountain and an information board identifying the most significant landmarks of the landscape: pastures, Navacerrada hills, Siete Picos, etc. It is advisable to bring binoculars not to miss any details of this part of the Sierra de Guadarrama. The viewpoint was named after the nickname given to an older woman who lived in an old hut that belonged to road workers. The viewpoint is now where the hut used to be, between the highway of Guadarrama and Navacerrada, where it goes through the Dehesa de la Golondrina, in the area of the meadows called Cercas Lenguas.
The viewpoint of Vicente Aleixandre and Luis Rosales is one of those outlooks built in the memory of famous people who had a relationship with Cercedilla. It was built in a place which is crossed by the path that is used during the Aurrulaque march, in the middle of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. The “Aurrulaque” march started in 1984 and is dedicated to the cultural figures of the Sierra de Guadarrama such as Vicente Aleixandre, Luis Rosales and Camilo José Cela.
It is one of the landmarks of the Madrid region, especially known for its road connections, nature and tourism. The pass connects Madrid with Castilla y León. In terms of nature, it has valuable animal and plant species, for example, forests of wild pine, small mammals and birds. In terms of tourism, it is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing (It has a ski station). All in the very heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
It is located within the joint area of Cercedilla and Navacerrada, covering an area of maximum seven hectares in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama. The dam has a capacity of 0.7 cubic hectometres, it started to operate in 1969, and its water comes from the Navalmedio River. It has a height of 41 m.