Hayedo de Montejo: Madrid’s Beautiful Beech Forest
By Barbara Franco
The Hayedo de Montejo is an incredible place due to its singularity. It is one of the southernmost beech forests in Europe and dates from the last glacial period.
During that time, the big forests of Spain were formed and they disappeared as soon as the climate changed. Thanks to its unique emplacement, the Hayedo de Montejo managed to survive and nowadays is the only beech forest in the Autonomous Community of Madrid.
For that reason, the visits are restricted – you need a special (and free) pass that can be obtained online three months in advance.
One of the most famous and impressive beech is the one known as “the rock,” which is more than 250 years old. However, you can also find oaks, cherry trees, birch and hollies (female ones produce the fruit) among others.
There are three types of itineraries: a path at the banks of the river Jarama that lasts around 75 minutes and allows to see all the landscapes of the forest; the path on the mountainside and the path of the viewpoint where you get a different perspective and see the forest from the heights.
The best time to visit is during fall, when all the trees have turned red, yellow and brown and the forest becomes a magical place.
To get there you will need to go by car, as it is two hours driving north from Madrid via A-1 until Montejo de la Sierra, the closest village to the forest. I strongly recommend using the GPS navigation system so you don’t get lost–and until you arrive, enjoy the landscape!