The mountains of Valsaín, hidden in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, are a fantastic place to enjoy the purest nature. They have been protected since long before the creation of nature reserves. In addition, it is a historical place where the kings of past centuries enjoyed their leisure time, their royal activities and the same walks that can be walked today.
The history goes back in time, since the Middle Ages these mountains have been attractive. It has also been a source of conflict over the exploitation of their lands. Henry III and Henry IV of Castile reserved the right to hunt there, and Charles V and Philip II followed suit. In general, the entire municipality to which the mountains belong, the Royal Site of San Ildefonso, has been home to kings, as its name indicates.
Regarding these mountains, it is curious to say that it can be considered the first protected natural area in the history of Spain, at least known. At a time when no ecological awareness had been implemented, in 1541, hunting, fishing and the cutting of holly, oak and trees were prohibited.
Although today it belongs to the National Parks Autonomous Organization, it once belonged to royalty. In 1761, Charles III bought the mountains from the City and Land of Segovia, thus becoming part of the Crown’s patrimony. This royal character can be perceived in one of its most visited corners: the King’s Chair. It is a stone carved by order of Francisco de Asís de Borbón, husband of Isabel II. From its position, still today, a magnificent panoramic view of the Royal Site and the surrounding nature can be seen.
The mountains of Valsaín are located in the National Park of the Sierra de Guadarrama. They occupy an area of 10,672 hectares, achieving a good balance between sustainability, conservation of the area and the use of its natural resources. The vegetation is of an great variety: from pine to oak, passing through holm oaks, yews, holly trees or poplars. It is also a good area to find the desired chanterelles that inhabit the pine forests of Segovia.
These mountains have two marked areas: Monte Pinar, the largest, and Monte Matas. They were declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, are included in the Natura Network of protected areas in Europe and also have the concession of Special Protection Area for Birds. It has as many titles as a monarch, and no wonder. The mountains of Valsaín are pure nature.
So in them you can discover enclaves as fantastic as the so-called Boca del Asno. This recreational area is located next to the Eresma River, which also crosses the city of Segovia itself. It is worth knowing each of the hiking trails that circulate around it, with the spectacular and clear sound of the river flow almost present in every step. Your lungs will be filled with pure, fresh air, the kind of air that can only be breathed in the pine forests.
In addition to the Boca del Asno and the Silla del Rey, in the mountains of Valsaín there are such curious places as the Monk’s cave. Full of legends related to its origin, ranging from Templar to mythology related to nature, this place and the route to it also offers spectacular views of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Also the Cerro del Puerco, a bunker dating from the Civil War, is worth a visit, as well as the ruins of the palace of Valsaín, which give the visitor the feeling of stepping on a place with a lot of history.
In general, any hiking route is a good choice. From the one that leads to the spectacular Chorranca waterfall to the one that leads to the Chorro Grande waterfall. They are all worthwhile.
Because of its proximity and its value, you should not leave the area without visiting the Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, known as La Granja. The history of this municipality is completely linked to the royal palace that occupies it, with its impressive building and its no less impressive gardens. This complex has been compared on numerous occasions to Versailles. It is also a good opportunity to visit the royal palace of Riofrío, surrounded by more than 600 hectares of forest of great biodiversity.
On the other hand, the city of Segovia is just a stone’s throw away from this nature. A weekend touring its historic center, discovering its Alcazar, the Lady of the Cathedrals or admiring the aqueduct, which has been standing for 2000 years. The perfect complement to this walk through the royal mountains.
The mountains of Valsaín, in Segovia, are a perfect getaway to discover in a weekend, which will be one composed of walks in a pure nature that has been taken care of for a long time. In addition to the many specific landmarks that can be visited, some historical and others purely touristic, these mountains are the ideal place to simply let yourself go. Few things feel better than wandering aimlessly, enjoying yourself and nothing else.