Beaches near Madrid Spain require a bit of a journey, as this wonderful capital city is set pretty much in the exact center of the country. In fact, Puerta del Sol in Madrid marks the geographic center of Spain. However, the Madrid Rio project will place the closest beach to Madrid within the city limits if all goes according to plan. This ambitious project was begun by the mayor of the city in 2008. While this project began as part of a bid for the 2010 Olympics, the plans for the urban Madrid beaches continue to bring more options to spend time at a beach or waterfront with each passing year.
The Madrid Rio Project is developing a five mile long section of the Manzanares River just to the west of the city center attractions. The river is heavily canalized as it runs through the city. A large section of the city’s inner ring road is sunk underground, making way for urban Madrid beaches and a long park along the course of the widened river. There will be walkways and bicycle paths, playgrounds, shopping kiosks, and dining spots. This will mean that the closest beach to Madrid will be less than a mile from Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. There are numerous parks (including the Casa de Campo, the city’s largest park that contains an artificial lake), hotels, and attractions in this area. The river’s magnificent medieval bridges are being restored, and pedestrian footbridges are being built to provide access to both sides of the river. Madrid prides itself on its abundant number of public parks that provide residents and visitors alike relief from the summer heat and green spaces to enjoy right in the metropolitan area.
You can also find Madrid beaches north of the city where there are rivers and lakes with swimming areas, as well as alpine ski resorts. Otherwise, you must look for beaches near Madrid Spain along the Mediterranean coast. The closest true beach to Madrid will be found in the area of Valencia, a little more than 200 miles to the west, which has miles of beautiful stretches and white sand. This is also a major ferry port for trips to Ibiza and the other Balearic Islands. You can drive here in about four hours, or catch a short flight at Barajas Airport. The metro and trains connect Valencia to Madrid, and this journey takes about 30 minutes less time.
Beaches near Madrid Spain that require an even shorter train journey will be found around Barcelona, which is actually further away from Madrid. However, the new high speed AVE train can reach it in only 2.5 hours. If you are staying in Madrid and have only one free day, this trip is actually doable as a day trip. You can spend a good portion of the day at one of the Barcelona beaches, and get back to Madrid in time for some tapas and nightlife. Next to the Costa del Sol, Barcelona offers the best beaches in mainland Spain.