Did you know that a tiny bit of the Camino de Santiago exists between two Madrid metro stations?

Following the train tracks (and veering off them every now and again) reveals the industrial past of the Jarama Valley: current and disused railway infrastructure, an old fly-tipping zone (with a warning sign in pesetas!), bunkers and abandoned agricultural buildings.

The Camino de Santiago doesn’t always end in Santiago de Compostela. One of the pilgrim routes begins in Madrid and is called the Camino de Uclés, which culminates at the Monastery of Uclés in Cuenca, a 10th-century building and the second-most important convent in Spain – the most important being the Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela. As a curiosity, there’s a section of this route that passes through two Madrid Metro stations: La Poveda and Rivas Vaciamadrid (L9).

This five-kilometre route belongs to a much longer 144 km route which can be done in six or 11 stages, passing through several towns where you can stamp your traditional Camino passport. The Camino de Uclés is well signposted, but the Madrid section is a little more no-frills with simple paint marks, milestones and crosses of Santiago. It’s not hard to get lost, but if you stay close to the train tracks, you’ll be alright!

Passing through the Jarama Valley

These are the stages of the Camino de Uclés

  1. Madrid – Rivas Vaciamadrid (28.6 kilometers)
  2. Rivas Vaciamadrid – La Poveda (4.3 kilometers)
  3. La Poveda – Arganda del Rey (3.6 kilometers)
  4. Arganda del Rey – Morata de Tajuña (17.8 kilometers)
  5. Morata de Tajuña – Perales de Tajuña (7.1 kilometers)
  6. Perales de Tajuña – Tielmes (8.3 kilometers)
  7. Tielmes – Carabaña (9.2 kilometers)
  8. Carabaña – Estremera (15.9 kilometers)
  9. Estremera – Barajas de Melo (26.2 kilometers)
  10. Barajas de Melo – Huelves (13.9 km)
  11. Huelves – Uclés Monastery (9 kilometers)

The section of the Camino de Santiago that passes through the metro stations Rivas Vaciamadrid and La Poveda

Most of this route is done along either a pedestrian path or some old rail tracks, making it relatively accessible to anyone. One point is Rivas Vaciamadrid metro station, and the other is La Poveda – it is 4.3 km in total and is curious in that it coincides with the fact that it’s between two metro stations. Here’s what to expect:

The old bridge where art from the Prado and Reina Sofia was smuggled out of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War

A small barrio of Arganda with only casas bajas

Door curtains

An old fly-tipping warning sign in pesetas

An abandoned block

Beautiful old wallpaper remains intact in the abandoned block

An old green door in the abandoned block

Off-piste under a motorway that is missing a lane

Metro station Rivas Vaciamadrid with live-in storks


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