Rooftops with viewpoints, terraces, bars and restaurants are all the rage in Madrid. And it could not be otherwise, since they not only offer panoramic views that allow you to take wonderful photos, but also invite you to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city from a different perspective. And, in addition, you can have tapas, dinner, a drink… In short, they have everything you need for locals and tourists to enjoy a great evening during the spring or summer. To get an idea of the wide range of viewpoints in the capital, to the legendary Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes should be added the terrace of the Jardines de Sabatini, the Palacio de Cibeles, the popular Gourmet Experience Gran Vía – in El Corte Inglés de Callao – and a host of rooftops with views and gastronomic proposals in many hotels in the center of Madrid.
Although the rooftops in the city center are great, if you are looking for some tranquility and want to add an unforgettable snapshot of Madrid to your photo album, we recommend getting in the car and heading to the outskirts of the city. There you will find viewpoints, hills and natural spaces where you can take excellent photos of the Madrid skyline. Driving through the outskirts you will feel how the Cuatro Torres and other skyscrapers of the metropolis follow you to any corner of the region. And, in addition, you can take the opportunity to visit charming villages, practice sports and enjoy the different landscapes that make up the Community of Madrid. Here are five viewpoints of Madrid located in the surrounding area that allow you to take fantastic pictures of the city.
Paracuellos de Jarama is a town located about 25 km (16 miles) northeast of the capital, very close to Barajas airport. From its viewpoint, located in the Picón del Cura park, you can take great pictures of the Madrid skyline, especially with the lights and colors of the sunsets. Thanks to its proximity to the airport, this viewpoint is frequented by spotters, which is the name given to those who are fond of observing and recording airplanes.
Leaving from the center of Madrid, it takes about 30 minutes by car to reach the area and there are several routes to choose from. One way to go is to drive along the M-14 to the airport and then the M-111 and M-113 until you reach the viewpoint. Another option is to take the M-45, then the M-50/R-2 and the M-113 until you reach your destination.
Hill of the Angels
The Cerro de Los Angeles (Hill of the Angels) is located in the Madrid town of Getafe, about 17 km (11 miles) from the center of Madrid and about 7 km (4 miles) from the old town of Getafe. It is a well-known place because for a long time it was considered the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula. From the top of the hill, where the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Angels and the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are located, you can take pictures of the skyline of Madrid from the south. This makes it one of the most desired viewpoints, as the skyscrapers that are around the Paseo de la Castellana appear closer together than they really are from this perspective.
Driving from the center of Madrid it takes about 20-25 minutes to get to the hill. You can take several routes, but we are going to show you two of the fastest. One is to take the A-4 until exit 13 and follow the M-406 for a few meters until you reach your destination. Another alternative is to take the A-42, take the M-45, exit onto the A-4 and continue on it until exit 13. Which route is faster depends on traffic conditions.
Los Santos de la Humosa
Los Santos de la Humosa is a small town located in the Campiña del Henares, a region in the east of the Madrid metro area that borders the Castilian-La Mancha province of Guadalajara. This municipality of barely 2,000 inhabitants is 900 meters above sea level and has magnificent views of the capital. Besides being able to visit different local attractions, such as the Ermita de la Virgen de la Soledad or the bridge over the Henares River, and appreciate the plains and other formations of the landscape of the area, from its viewpoint you can take great pictures of Madrid.
From the center of Madrid it takes about 40 minutes to get to this beautiful town. Depending on your starting point, you should take the route that allows you to join the A-2 more quickly. Once you are on it you can drive to exit 38 and continue along the M-226 until you reach Los Santos de la Humosa.
The Monte de El Pardo is a natural space that is technically located in the municipality of Madrid. Due to its characteristics – the neighborhood of El Pardo has no real urban continuity with the rest of the capital and it is as if it were outside the city – it is a quiet green area that counteracts the hustle and bustle of Madrid. The Manzanares River, the reservoir of El Pardo and the forest formed by holm oaks, pine forests and other species are the main natural attractions of the park, a space popular with hikers and mountain biking enthusiasts. If you are going to visit the park for sports or to walk with your pet, we recommend you use the opportunity to take a picture of the skyline of the capital from one of the viewpoints in the area.
Driving from the center of Madrid you can reach the area in about 30 minutes. For example, leaving from Atocha it takes about 25 minutes to get there with the fastest route. Use the M-30, take exit 25 and continue along the M-605 until you reach El Pardo. On the other hand, if you leave Nuevos Ministerios, you will have several options, but if you go through the Sor Ángela de la Cruz tunnel and the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria until you reach the M-605 it will take you about 20 minutes to get there.
VIEWPOINT OF LAS CANCHAS, NAVACERRADA
The Puerto de Navacerrada is the place where people from Madrid traditionally take part in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, or snowshoeing; the altitude also allows you to take stunning pictures of the region. The viewpoint of Las Canchas stands out among the viewpoints of Navacerrada and is located about 7 km (4 miles) from the village, from where there is a circular hiking route that allows you to tour the area in about 4 hours. This viewpoint offers spectacular views and, in addition to being able to observe the peaks of Cuerda de Las Cabrillas, Bola del Mundo and La Maliciosa, on clear days the Cuatro Torres can be seen presiding over the skyline of Madrid.
There are several alternatives to get to Navacerrada from the center of the capital. All routes take about 1 hour and 15 minutes and traffic should be taken into account before choosing the most suitable one, either going along the A-1 and the M-607 or the A-6 and the M-601.
Text by Juan Luis Caefa Maho