Come to Zarzalejo this summer, you will get to know a municipality that will surprise you with its history, its heritage, its natural spaces, or its well-known "machotas". Famous for its granite quarries, and for its proximity to monarch playgrounds, located in a unique enclave in the Sierra Oeste of Madrid, where the views are the protagonists. Don't miss it!
Unique landscapes from strategic enclaves, hundred-year-old trees, meadows, lagoons, vestiges of the Roman era, quarries, a variety of options to make the landscape to this municipality worthwhile and will be a unique experience.
We begin the route in the Roman Road, solid construction that lasts until our days, as one of the attractions that we can cross. Its large stone slabs that, according to history, joined Segovia with Titulcia, in the so-called Via Antenina, identify it.
We continue walking until we find the washing places, pipes and fountains, which are some of the most important legacies that we can discover in our route. A special mention is the one known as "linar", due to the proximity of the linen plantations in the area.
For lovers of hiking, we recommend a walk on the slopes of the known "machotas", formed as mountainous elevations of granite morphology, some of them very popular, as the so-called Fraile. We will be at an altitude of almost 1400 metres, surrounded by landscapes of trees of incalculable botanical value, with chestnut and oak groves, among which stand out two examples of centenary chestnut trees catalogued by the Region of Madrid. In the high part of the slopes we can find junipers and brooms. The landscaping value that we contemplate is magnificent; we recommend you to make a stop on the journey to enjoy it.
At the foot of "las machotas", we will find the lagoons of "el Castrejón", space protected by the law of wetlands of the Region of Madrid, of great landscape and natural value. Its waters are an island of tranquillity, a point of refreshment and habitual rest of herds and livestock that, through the Cañada Real leonesa, crossed the area.
To protect the perimeter of the nearby Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the King Felipe II built a 55-kilometer wall known as "la Cerca", declared a Site of Cultural Interest, which can be seen from Machota Alta. The material used is the granite extracted from the area.
The "quarries" have had a great importance in the history and development of Zarzalejo, as an example to indicate that the raw material of the Monastery of San Lorenzo, came from them. It is common to find these rocks throughout the region, but it is in the municipality of the locality where it is the largest exploitation.
For lovers of the natural environment, of course we recommend visiting the "Dehesa de Navalquejigo", with abundant and valuable flora, plant formations where you can appreciate the transition from holm oak to pasture, for livestock use. Birds of prey and small mammals can be spotted.
Nothing better to finish our tour than to take two postcards that will remain in our memory of this excursion, the first one from the "Mirador del Guijo", in the street of the same name, inside the locality, built with the granite of the zone, we will find a crane that was used to load the stone in the trains that took it to the destination zones of the innumerable constructions that were carried out with the material extracted from this zone. The landscape and the panoramic view is unbeatable. Finally, we recommend the "Mirador Nuevo", also of granite construction, located on the M-533, with its fountain and benches, and connected on foot with the "Mirador del Guijo". From here, the view of the mountains is magnificent, with "Las Machotas" of protagonists, the crops, the lagoons and in the background the villages of the south of the region up to Toledo.
More info: Zarzalejo
Image credits: Web ©Comunidad de Madrid