Navacerrada is 52 km from Madrid and covers an area of 322 km. The town is located in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, and much of the municipal area is surrounded by some of the highest and most symbolic mountains of the Iberian Central System. Because of its location, Navacerrada has a mountainous climate, and this is one of the things that make the town attractive.
Navacerrada arose in a gap between mountains where cattle ranchers from Segovia settled, at the end of the Reconquest. It belonged to El Real de Manzanares from the 13th century until 1635, when it was accorded the title of “Villazgo”. At that time, it was a mere pass that soon stopped being used. On the contrary, nowadays this pass is one of the most used passes for skiing and is one of the main town assets in terms of tourist attractions.
Heritage lovers should visit Navacerrada. The layout of the town – with many of its streets cobbled and its buildings integrated into the surroundings – and the samples of religious and civil architecture present make every corner of Navacerrada worth enjoying.
San Antonio Country Chapel
The chapel is located in the Dehesa de la Golondrina and was erected to commemorate San Antonio de Padua. The building is made of stone, has a porch with lintel and its exterior has been renovated. The chapel is where the pilgrimage ends on the 13th of June, when Navacerrada residents honour the Italian saint.
Angels´ Square (Plaza de los Ángeles)
Plaza de los Ángeles is one of the landmarks of Navacerrada. The Town Hall and the Los Ángeles Fountain are located here. The fountain, made of stone, has four square basins that surround a vertical stone body from which water flows through four pipes ornated with angelic motifs. This upright body is crowned with a lamp with several arms that brings to mind palatial-style adornments.
La Natividad de Nuestra Señora Church
Plaza de la Iglesia, s/n.
This church was built in ashlar masonry stone in the sixteenth century, and part of it was restored in the 18th and 20th centuries. During the last renovation, the interior was modified by adding a chapel and the sacristy. The church, erected on a hill, is of a sole nave with flat chancel and has a tower of three bodies separated by imposts. The tower is crowned with a bell tower with semi-circular arches. The semi-circular voussoired door is located on the south side. An atrium with columns was added outside. Inside the nave covered with a baroque vault stand out: the main chapel, the wooden choir placed on granite columns and the baptistery with a 16th-century granite font.
In Navacerrada, water springs up everywhere; numerous springs of freshwaters emerge from the melting of the snow of the mountain peaks. In this town, there is a culture of water, and the proof of it is that over twelve stone fountains, some of them several centuries old, can be found by walking around the town. Highlights include the La Canaleja Fountain (Plaza de la Canaleja, s / n), San Antonio (Encinilla Street, s / n) and Los Ángeles (Plaza de los Ángeles, s / n).
Festivals and traditions
Navacerrada has two main celebrations of great tradition and popularity among the locals: San Antonio de Padua – on the 13th of June – and Nuestra Señora de la Natividad – on the 8th of September. A large number of events and shows are organised, and they attract thousands of tourists who want to enjoy apart from the festivals, everything else Navacerrada has to offer.
- San Antonio de Padua Festival: The 13th of June is the crucial day of this festival that remembers San Antonio de Padua, patron saint of Navacerrada. The procession honouring the Italian saint, heads to the San Antonio Country Chapel, in the Dehesa de la Golondrina after having for breakfast anise-flavoured doughnuts. Log trimming competitions, games, horse-taming contests are organised, and tasty potatoes with ribs and lemonade are savoured.
- Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Festival: On the 8th of September Navacerrada commemorates Nuestra Señora de la Natividad, but on the previous and subsequent days more celebrations take place, in what represents the patron saint’s day: Children’s Day, Women’s Day, Elder’s and Men’s Day are celebrated, so the whole population is represented. These days are full of events, notably the running of the bulls, the bullfights, the sports competitions, the musical performances, the parades and the religious services. Social harmony between neighbours and visitors also stands out.
Thanks to its location, right in the Sierra de Guadarrama and surrounded by mountains, Navacerrada benefits of peculiar natural characteristics and great landscape value. Water is also very present. Oaks, wild pines, undergrowth of rockroses, French lavender and blackberry are among the plant species that abound in the municipality; on the riverbanks, there are black poplars, ash trees and poplars. The wildlife does not miss the opportunity to inhabit the natural areas mentioned above. Mammals (wild boars, foxes, roe deer, squirrels, rabbits), birds (such as greenfinches, blacksmiths, partridges, owls, raptors, ducks, herons) and amphibians, reptiles (such as the mountain lizard), and insects all share the Navacerrada ecosystem. In the municipality, lodging, as well as a great variety of hiking trails, are available for visitors.
La Barranca Recreation Area
Located in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, this recreation area offers drinking water facilities, benches and tables, litter bins and parking space. It is located near the pine forest of La Barranca, which gives the name of the area. Apart from pines, in this area rockroses, weaver’s brooms, birds, reptiles and some deer can be seen. Given its location, the place is ideal for being in contact with nature and playing outdoor sports.
Dehesa de la Golondrina
This pasture is located at the edge of the M-601 road, in the Sierra de Guadarrama. It is crossed by paths that lead to five water springs, to San Antonio Chapel and its viewpoint.
Navacerrada Reservoir in the Sierra de Guadarrama started to operate in 1969 and covers an area of 93 hectares. It can store up to 11 cubic hectometres of water which is collected from the Samburiel River and the Navalmedio Reservoir – via a bypass. The dam of this reservoir is 47 meters high.
San Antonio Country Chapel Viewpoint
As the name implies, this viewpoint is located near San Antonio Chapel and offers excellent views of the western area of the Sierra de Guadarrama: the hills of Navacerrada and Collado Mediano, La Maliciosa, the Sierra de los Porrones , La Pedriza. To access the viewpoint, follow the signs to the chapel, located at kilometre 11 of the M-601 road. It is highly recommended to bring binoculars and a map to see the details of the landscape.
The viewpoint of the dam of the Navacerrada Reservoir
From this viewpoint, located on the dam of the Navacerrada Reservoir, in the Sierra de Guadarrama, the outline of the mountains that surround the municipal area, as well as species of the aquatic fauna can be admired. Bring binoculars and a map to enjoy the scenery and observe its details. The viewpoint can be reached by the M-601 road coming from Navacerrada, by the M-861 road coming from Becerril de la Sierra and also from the crossroads of the Roblelpoyo Pass.