I had made a half-hearted attempt to do this walk before, but today I made it all the way to the top.
Pico de Abantos – at 1753 meters it’s not the highest peak in Madrid, but it’s a great walk.
La senda GR-10 (as I mentioned in another article), crosses Spain and Portugal, going across the mountains of Madrid along the way.
Starting in El Escorial, you basically just have to find the little reservoir just north of town. Go up Carretera de la Presa, and from there, find the red and white flags on the rocks and trees. Follow them for a few hours.
It’s not exactly easy. I mean, easy would be staying home. But it’s totally worth it.
At the top you can see a spectacular view of Monasterio de El Escorial, and if you follow the path a bit further there’s a rocky outcropping where you can see Valle de Los Caídos also.
The typical markings of any of the Gran Recorrido routes in Europe. For more information about the GR-10, check out the external links on the Wikipedia article.
Here are a few more photos…
I learned a new (Spanish) word today: cervunal, which apparently refers to those big muddy meadows that you sometimes find in high mountain areas. There’s one close to the top here, with a fountain. Nothing like water straight from the spring!
As usual, get a map, take water, and know what you’re getting into before you do these things. If you’re looking for further mountain adventures, check out Cercedilla, La Pedriza (el Yelmo) and Miraflores de la Sierra, among other places.
P.S. If you want to get up close and personal with Valle de los Caídos, I guess you can take a bus from El Escorial. Not that I really recommend it. It’s kind of creepy. Franco’s big fascist monument to himself. Ugh. Anyway, in 2019 they moved Franco to another cemetery, in El Pardo. But as far as I know you can still visit the basilica up there, with the big cross. Check the website of “Patrimonio Nacional” for more info.
P.P.S. Okay, I learned two Spanish words today. The other is muérdago, which is holly. You know, the Christmasy plant with the red berries. Kind of an ugly name, in my opinion. Holly is nicer.
P.P.P.S. CORRECTION–as gracious reader Fernando has pointed out in the comments, holly is actually acebo. And muérdago is mistletoe. If you do a google image search for muérdago (or mistletoe) you’ll find a lot of pictures of holly, because apparently a lot of people can’t keep them straight. It’s not just me. Mistletoe has white berries, holly has red ones. Now we know. Thanks Fernando!