Can’t take a trip to Middle-Earth (or New Zealand)? This new hike near Madrid could be the next best thing
Who was the most significant star in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movie trilogy? Right answer: New Zealand. We have actually been dreaming of a journey to the country’s wild landscapes since we first saw ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. However with NZ’s borders securely near global tourists, we think we might have discovered the next best thing.
A new mountain hiking trail has actually just opened in Spain, straight inspired by JRR Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Running through the northern part of the Sierra de Guadarrama, about an hour’s drive from Madrid, it’s called ‘El Camino del Anillo’ – ‘The Ring Road’ and it’s a really cool new option to established paths like the Camino de Santiago.
The trail runs for around 76 miles, and is created to complete on foot in eight phases throughout a week. It takes in landscapes, villages and ruined strongholds specifically picked for their resemblance to places in Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films, though you’re most likely to find eagles and wild boar along the path than marauding orcs.
In addition to celebrating the breathtaking natural landscape of central Spain, the Ring Road has actually been produced to reboot tourist in a depopulated part of the country, with hikers motivated to remain in locally-run hotels and hostels along the way. One camping site in the village of Montejo de la Sierra has even arranged a Tolkien-themed exhibition to mark the opening of the trail.
You can either join an organised tour, Fellowship-style, or begin your quest independently from an info centre in the town of El Molar. With Spain having just recently reopened its borders to European travellers, and a new ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ TV series due to land in 2021, this could be the unexpected journey your summer was missing out on.