Seven Madrid beaches to enjoy this summer (yes, they exist)

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Seven Madrid beaches to enjoy this summer (yes, they exist)
Pantano de San Juan is one of the best beaches in Madrid. Photo: Nicolas Vigier / Wikimedia Commons

“Aquí no hay playa” (Here there is no beach) the 80s song by Los Refrescos famously said of Madrid, but in fact this is not entirely true. Madrid may not have a coastline, but it does have several beaches where you can cool down and take a dip.


The Spanish capital region is known for being stifling in the summer, with scorching temperatures and no coastline to escape to for cooling down. But that doesn't mean that there aren't natural beach-like spots to visit, where you can both swim and sunbathe on the sandy or grassy banks. Here's our pick of some of the best. 

El Pantano de San Juan

Easily one of the best and most well-known beaches in Madrid, beloved by families and young people alike - this is El Pantano de San Juan. It’s actually a huge reservoir that lies around 70km from the capital. It may be popular but with 14km of beaches surrounding it, there's usually a chance you'll find a space. 

Its two main recreational areas are Virgen de la Nueva and El Muro. There are specific areas where you can swim and also enjoy motorised water sports, as well as kayaking and sailing. There may not be any waves, but many people even prefer it that way.

Pantano de San Juan is one of the best beaches in Madrid. Photo: Nicolas Vigier / Wikimedia Commons

La Lancha del Yelmo de San Martin de Valdeiglesias

Another beach on a different part of the San Juan Reservoir is La Lancha del Yelmo. The beaches seem even more natural here with lots of rocks to sunbathe on, as well as sandy areas. Look out over verdant forests and mountains as you swim.


Las Presillas de Rascafría

A classic summer day getaway from the Madrid capital, Las Presillas de Rascafría is situated around 80km north of the city. Its clear, clean waters are ideal for swimming, surrounded by mountain views, including that of the Pico de Peñalara. There’s no sand, but a green and grassy beach that is still perfect for sunbathing and drying after your swim. And if you forget your picnic, there’s a small snack bar nearby.

Las Presillas de Rascafría is one of the most popular natural bathing areas in Madrid. Photo: MsLids / WikiCommons

Playa del Alberche

Sitting along the Alberche River, where it meets the Barranco Ravine and the River Perales, Playa de Alberche lies just 55km from the capital. It sits along one of the widest parts of the river and has sandy banks, just like a coastal beach, yet it’s surrounded by forest. There are also services like picnic benches and showers.

Playa de Estremera

Around 80km southeast of the capital, on the border of Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha lies this bathing area along the Tagus River. Because of its location, it’s relatively unknown and doesn’t get too busy. There may not be any sand here, but the wide grassy banks more than make up for it and are ideal for anyone who doesn’t like the feeling of sand stuck to their wet skin. Swimming is allowed and many people also bring their dogs who can bathe too. After your swim, rest in the shade at one of the many picnic tables or visit the small beach bar.

Playa de Estremera lies along the Tagus River. Photo: malubeng / Pixabay
Piscina natural de Riosequillo
The Riosequillo pool is located just outside Buitrago del Lozoya, a historic and picturesque town around 80km north of Madrid city. Spanning a whopping 4,500m2, it's the largest in Spain and attracts many people, particularly in the summer. OK, so it may be a pool treated with chlorine instead of a natural lake, but due to its location, bordering Riosequillo Reservoir, it feels almost as if you're swimming right in it. There are rest areas with grass, a bar-restaurant, and a large pine forest where visitors can make use of the picnic areas and enjoy the natural shade. 


Piscinas Naturales Las Berceas
Located in the town of Cercedilla, 60km northwest of the city, the Piscinas Naturales Las Berceas are similar to Riosequillo, in that they're chlorinated swimming pools, yet feel more like a river. They're situated in the Fuenfría Valley in a vast 30-hectare natural area filled with dense forest-clad hills. There are two huge grassy beaches for relaxing and sunbathing, as well as picnic areas, changing rooms, showers and a bar. It also features a great adventure playground for kids, hidden within the pine forest. 
Visit the Piscinas naturales Las Berceas near Madrid. Photo: Rsolemos / Wikimedia Commons


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