The pine forest of El Paular in the Valley of Lozoya is the most beautiful of all Spain, so the people who live there claim. Thousand-year-old tales, as romantic as any ever told in Spain, originated in the valley which lies just behind the Guadarrama Mountain Range, visible from Madrid. Not only tourists and historians find a store of history here, but fishermen, hunters, hikers, skiers, bird watchers, swimmers and mountain climbers too. The visitor’s first surprise is a luxuriant green valley dotted with vegetable gardens, a contrast to the bleak Castilian plateau. But there was a time in the long history of Lozoya when, despite the prodigious gift of beauty from Nature itself, the valley lay in ruins.