If you want to stretch your legs and see Madrid’s more natural side, you don’t even have to leave the city to do it. Madrid’s large Casa de Campo park on the western edge of the city provides acres upon acres of woods and trails. While attractions like the zoo, amusement park and boating lake are contained within the park, there is plenty of natural space to lose yourself in. While hiking through the Casa de Campo parkland, it feels like you’re in a quiet mountain range miles away from civilization, but in fact the Metro is never that far away.
Thirty-five miles from the city of Madrid you will find the town of Cercedilla. It is located in the Guadarrama mountain range and known as a starting point for many different hiking routes, some of which trace parts of the old Roman road. (Here is a trail map.) The hikes vary in difficulty and duration, but are well marked and maintained. You can also walk on part of the Madrid leg of the Camino de Santiago (the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain) if you want to. Cercedilla is easily accessible by train from Atocha station in Madrid, as trains leave approximately every hour. The journey lasts one and a half hours and costs less than five euros each way.