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We do have beaches! The 'beaches' of Madrid

If there is anything that's missing in Madrid, it has to be its lack of beaches. There is even a famous song about this. But while it is true that the capital is away from the sea, it does have a few designated areas within vicinity for swimming in rivers and lakes. With its natural landscape environment, there is no reason to envy the beaches.

Less than 70 kilometres from the capital, the "Madrid Beach" (Playa de Madrid) is a dam located in San Juan. This is the only artificial lake in the entire city of Madrid where bathing and water sports are allowed. Built in 1955 for the purpose of supplying water and electricity to the southwest regions, it has over 14 kilometres of beach for everyone to enjoy. The most visited area is the Virgen Nueva (in San Martin de Valdeiglesias), with beautiful sand, restaurants, and canoe rentals in spectacular surroundings.

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Foto: Pantano de San Juan by © Olga Berrios (Flickr)

After San Juan, Alberche Beach is the second most popular in Madrid. Just 50 kilometres from the centre of the capital, in Aldea del Fresno, this is a place where the waters of Alberche and Perales rivers join up, thus forming perfect sandy beaches. There are even picnic areas and showers.

In the town of Rascafría, a recreation area known as Presillas is located in the unique Lozoya valley. It consists of natural pools from which you can enjoy spectacular views of Pico de Peñalara. Rascafría Island extends to the banks of Lozoya, which is a natural pool that is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and walking trails. Here you can enjoy the breathtaking views of Paular valley as you follow the trail towards the waterfalls.

The Piscinas Naturales de Cercedilla pools are located in the Fuenfría valley, in the heart of Sierra de Guadarrama, close to the Roman road and bridge. Created in 1978, the waters from the stream flowed freely without their level ever going down. But later, there was a period of drought that led to special treatment with chlorine in order to reduce consumption. However, the main feature of these streams is that they retain freezing temperatures throughout the year.

The last beach is called Charca Verde, located in La Pedriza. For many years it was one of locals' favourite places to sunbathe and swim in the icy waters of Manzanares. Today, Madrid Community has prohibited bathing in this area. Still, it will always be remembered as the real beach of Sierra de Madrid.

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