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Alternative route before Segovia: San Ildefonso - some notes

Time of past OR future Camino
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Just wanted to give this alternative route its own thread so that future Madrid pilgrims can give it due consideration ahead of their journey.
When I walked the Madrid in Oct 2023, like most people, I didn't see the need to go off-piste and add some further kilometres by taking the detour to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, a small town beside the bizarrely magnificent palace and gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso.
But as we got closer to Segovia we couldn't see any beds available there for less than 130 euro.
So at Cercedilla we booked into the Pensión Pozo de la Nieve in San Ildefonso, where we received simple clean single rooms for 17eur each. The next day it took us about three hours to walk into Segovia, of which more than half was very pleasant, alongside the reservoir and the winding river. Along the way we were passed by hundreds of half-marathon runners, which was the reason why beds in Segovia had been100 euro more than usual the night before.. for which, now, I am very grateful!
I'd recommend the detour because:
- it makes for a slightly shorter, more manageable stage from Cercedilla
- The palace and its huge gardens are open to the public. I didn't actually go into the palace although my fellow pilgrim did, and was wowed (which was open until 6pm I think) but I wandered around the astounding gardens which are free of charge. Just a wonderful place to walk or sit and contemplate, beneath the ring of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
- the little town is pleasing, friendly and well kept
- you get to arrive at Segovia around mid-day, and half a day is all you really need for sightseeing the old town.
So how do you take the detour?
It is straightforward, particularly if you have the Mapy.cz app or equivalent. Mapy shows two places to turn right off the camino - one a cycle path and the other a small road, which joins that same cycle route. The cycle route passes just NW of the hamlet of Valsain and joins a small road. The cycle path turns right, but you go left. Beside the road is a path which is marked on Mapy.cz as called Pasaderias-Pesquerias.
You follow this path when it veers away from the road and goes down and across woodland and a small river, directly into San Ildefonso. See attached screenshot, where I have indicated the path with a purplish hue..:)
 

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Just wanted to give this alternative route its own thread so that future Madrid pilgrims can give it due consideration ahead of their journey.
When I walked the Madrid in Oct 2023, like most people, I didn't see the need to go off-piste and add some further kilometres by taking the detour to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, a small town beside the bizarrely magnificent palace and gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso.
But as we got closer to Segovia we couldn't see any beds available there for less than 130 euro.
So at Cercedilla we booked into the Pensión Pozo de la Nieve in San Ildefonso, where we received simple clean single rooms for 17eur each. The next day it took us about three hours to walk into Segovia, of which more than half was very pleasant, alongside the reservoir and the winding river. Along the way we were passed by hundreds of half-marathon runners, which was the reason why beds in Segovia had been100 euro more than usual the night before.. for which, now, I am very grateful!
I'd recommend the detour because:
- it makes for a slightly shorter, more manageable stage from Cercedilla
- The palace and its huge gardens are open to the public. I didn't actually go into the palace although my fellow pilgrim did, and was wowed (which was open until 6pm I think) but I wandered around the astounding gardens which are free of charge. Just a wonderful place to walk or sit and contemplate, beneath the ring of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
- the little town is pleasing, friendly and well kept
- you get to arrive at Segovia around mid-day, and half a day is all you really need for sightseeing the old town.
So how do you take the detour?
It is straightforward, particularly if you have the Mapy.cz app or equivalent. Mapy shows two places to turn right off the camino - one a cycle path and the other a small road, which joins that same cycle route. The cycle route passes just NW of the hamlet of Valsain and joins a small road. The cycle path turns right, but you go left. Beside the road is a path which is marked on Mapy.cz as called Pasaderias-Pesquerias.
You follow this path when it veers away from the road and goes down and across woodland and a small river, directly into San Ildefonso. See attached screenshot :)
I agree with every word! I went to San Ildefonso in a half-planned sort of way after an unfortunate incident with a bull, (with a happy ending). At that time there was a lovely albergue Camino de Lis, not strictly for pilgrims, but a fine place. I was the only person there by myself, but the owner came to let me in. I see sadly it is not there any more. But as Tom says, there are other options.

I agree, the gardens and fountains are very fine indeed. I also did not go into the house.

In the morning I recommend a morning coffee in the very old fashioned coffee bar inside the covered market.

Yes a nice easy walk into Segovia - you don't see the acqueduct from the path until you are nearly there. On the way to San Ildefonso from Cercedilla I remember you could see the towers of the palace in the distance nearly all the way.

My route was a bit random - from Cercedilla I found my way to Valsaín and then kind of followed my nose. This was in the very early days of my using GPX and Google maps. I remember a bit of trial and error but no real problem.

i think I am right in saying that La Granja is the spiritual home of very large butter beans (I would call them) called judiones.
 
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I remember sitting on a rock near the turning, pondering which route to take. I chose Segovia, rather than 'the one less traveled by.' No regrets, but I'll definitely take the other path next time.

From what I recall, there was an obvious signpost. Perhaps close to this stone:
tempImageZcFMw1.jpg
 
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I agree with every word! I went to San Ildefonso in a half-planned sort of way after an unfortunate incident with a bull, (with a happy ending). At that time there was a lovely albergue Camino de Lis, not strictly for pilgrims, but a fine place. I was they only person there by myself, but the owner came to let me in. I see sadly it is not there any more. But as Tom says, there are other options.

I agree, the gardens and fountains are very fine indeed. I also did not go into the house.

In the morning I recommend a morning coffee in the very old fashioned coffee bar inside the covered market.

Yes a nice easy walk into Segovia - you don't see the viaduct from the path until you are nearly there. On the way to San Ildefonso from Cercedilla I remember you could see the towers of the palace in the distance nearly all the way.

My route was a bit random - from Cercedilla I found my way to Valsaín and then kind of followed my nose. This was in the very early days of my using GPX and Google maps. I remember a bit of trial and error but no real problem.

i think I am right in saying that La Granja is the spiritual home of very large butter beans (I would call thenm) called judiones.

I also remember thinking ...... 'so this is where Tim had that bull encounter.'
 

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