Bars and restaurants on roofs with a view are in fashion in Madrid. And it couldn’t be any other way, as 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, these spots have everything needed for Madrid residents and tourists to enjoy a magnificent evening during the spring or summer.
To get an idea of the wide range of panoramic viewpoints in the capital, the legendary rooftop terrace of the Círculo de Bellas Artes is complemented by the terrace of the Jardines de Sabatini, the view from the Palacio de Cibeles, the popular Gourmet Experience Gran Vía—in El Corte Inglés de Callao—and an endless number of rooftops with views and gastronomic delights found at numerous hotels in central Madrid.
But, although the rooftops in the centre are great, if you are looking for some peace and quiet and want to add an unforgettable snapshot of Madrid to your photo album, we recommend going by car to the suburbs. There you will find various viewpoints, hills and natural spaces where you can take excellent photos of the skyline of Madrid. Driving around the suburbs you will feel as if the Four Towers and other skyscrapers of the metropolis follow you to every corner of the region. And you can also take advantage of the opportunity to visit charming villages, practice sports and enjoy the different landscapes that make up the area surrounding Madrid. Below, we show you five viewpoints of the surroundings that allow you to take fantastic photos of Madrid.
Paracuellos de Jarama is a town located about 25 km (16 miles) northeast of the capital, very close to Barajas Airport. From its lookout point—located in the Picón del Cura—you can take very good pictures of the urban profile of Madrid, especially with the lights and colours of the sunsets. Thanks to its proximity to the airport, this viewpoint is popular with “spotters”, which is what those whose hobby is observation and tracking of airplanes are called.
Departing from the centre of Madrid, it takes about half an hour by car to reach the area and there are several routes to choose from. One way to get there is to take the M-14 to the airport and then the M-111 and M-113 to the viewpoint. Another option is to take the M-45, then the M-50/R-2 and the M-113 until you reach the Paracuellos overlook.
2. Los Angeles Hill
Cerro de Los Angeles is a hill located in the town of Getafe, about 17 km (11 miles) from the centre 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 geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula. From the top of the hill, where the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles and the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are located, you can take pictures of the skyline of Madrid from the south. This location makes it one of the most desired viewpoints, because the skyscrapers around the Paseo de la Castellana appear closer together than they really are.
Driving from the centre of Madrid takes about 20-25 minutes to reach the hill. You can take several routes, but we will show you two of the fastest ones. One passes through the A-4 to exit 13 and continues along 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 then continue on until exit 13. Depending on traffic conditions, both the first and the second options may be the fastest route to get to Los Angeles Hill.
3. 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 Madrid, which borders the Castilian-La Mancha province of Guadalajara. This municipality of just two thousand inhabitants is at an altitude of 900 metres with magnificent views of the capital. You can visit all the different local attractions such as the Ermita de la Virgen de la Soledad, or the bridge over the river Henares. The areas also lets you see the magnificent plains and other formations unique to the area, and from this viewpoint you can take great landscape photos of Madrid.
From the centre of Madrid it takes about 40 minutes to reach this beautiful village. Depending from where you depart it’s suggested to take the route that will allow you to join the A-2 quickest. Once you are on it, you must take exit 38 and continue on the M-226 until you reach Santos de la Humosa.
4. El Pardo
Monte de El Pardo is an area full of nature technically located in the municipality of Madrid. However, El Pardo is not urban like the rest of the capital and therefore feels separate to the city. It’s is a quiet green area contrasting the hustle and bustle of the Madrid metropolis. The Manzanares River, the El Pardo reservoir and the forest made up of holm oaks, pine groves and other species are unique to the park, an area frequented by hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts. If you decide to go for the outdoor activities or simply to walk your dog, we recommend you take a picture of the skyline of the capital from one of the viewpoints in the area.
From the centre of Madrid it takes about a half hour by car to reach El Pardo. To give you a better idea, leaving from Atocha it takes about 25 minutes and the fastest route is on the M-30, take exit 25 and continue on the M-605 until you reach El Pardo. If you leave Nuevos Ministerios you will have several options, but if you go through the tunnel of Sor Ángela de la Cruz and Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria until you reach the M-605 it still takes about 20 minutes to get to El Pardo.
5. Las Canchas, Navacerrada Overlook
Puerto de Navacerrada is the place where the people from Madrid go to enjoy their winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding as well as hiking with snowshoes. As you can imagine the altitude of the area makes for some impressive pictures of the region. The view of the Canchas is a particularly breathtaking spot of Navacerrada and is about 7 km from the village. From here there’s a circular hiking route, which allows you to walk around the area in about 4 hours. This viewpoint is spectacular letting you see the Cuerda de Las Cabrillas, Bola del Mundo and La Maliciosa summits. On clear days you can see the four towers presiding over the skyline of Madrid.
There are several routes to reach Navacerrada from the centre of the capital. All of them take approximately one and a quarter hours to get there, though traffic should be taken into account. You have the choice between the A-1 and M-607 or the A-6 and M-601.