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Cañada Real Galiana - Toboganes de Competi.jpg

Cañada Real is a shanty town in the Madrid Region of Spain, a linear succession of informal housing following a 14.4-kilometre-long stretch of the drovers' road connecting La Rioja and Ciudad Real. It extends through the municipalities of Coslada, Rivas-Vaciamadrid and Madrid.


Cañada Real is situated on the Cañada Real Galiana, one of the traditional cattle roads running from La Rioja to Ciudad Real and close to the M50 motorway, Madrid's third outer ring road. The irregular settlement features both high-end detached houses as well as pockets of extreme poverty.[1] The initial settlement, started in the 1950s and 1960s was built on what it currently forms part of the Coslada urban centre; many of the residents later bought the land to the State.[1]

The Cañada Real is divided into 6 subsectors: the Sector 1 (the first 0.52-kilometre-long stretch in Coslada, ending at the limit with Madrid at the M-45), the Sector 2 (1.8-kilometre-long; between the M-45 and the M-203), the Sector 3 (0.73-kilometre-long; between the M-203 and the M-823), the Sector 4 (2-kilometre-long; between the M-823 and the Camino de la Partija y Santísimo), the Sector 5 (1.45-kilometre-long; between the Camino de la Partija y Santísimo and the A-3) and the Sector 6 (6.7-kilometre-long; the last stretch in Madrid, going from the A-3 to the municipal border with Getafe).[2] The Sector 6 is considered a "supermarket" for drug addicts.[3]


With around 8,048 inhabitants and 2,650 houses as of 2012, the Cañada Real was considered at the time to be the largest shanty town in Southern Europe.[4] The population is mixed, it houses both Spaniards and immigrants (mainly from Morocco).[5] As of 2017, it had a population of 7,283.[2]


Valdemingómez, a quarter in the center of Cañada Real, is controlled by drug gangs, and is scarred by violence. Drug users from around Madrid frequent this quarter to visit the drug markets.[6]


  1. ^ a b Aunión, J.A. (12 July 2017). "Cañada Real: así se formó durante más de 40 años el mayor asentamiento irregular de España". El País.
  2. ^ a b Velasco, Patricia (16 January 2017). "Un tercio de las 7.283 personas que viven en la Cañada Real son menores". Madridiario.
  3. ^ Blasco, Pedro (30 April 2014). "Madrid deja el mayor supermercado de la droga de Europa fuera del pacto que resuelve el problema de la Cañada Real". Voz Pópuli.
  4. ^ Calleja, Ángel (27 February 2012). "El censo definitivo de la Cañada Real: 8.048 habitantes y 2.650 construcciones ilegales".
  5. ^ (in French) Article on France 24 website
  6. ^ Giles Tremlett, “Drug clans take control in shanty town where Madrid's politicians fear to tread,” The Guardian (16 November 2009). Retrieved 28-04-2013.