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Madrid parks and gardens

Madrid is a city with high levels of contamination but it is also considered a "green city" with more than 617.000 acres of parks, and some beautiful historic gardens.
In this section we will offer you the best options to enjoy Green Madrid. The best parks for every season, areas where you can enjoy Madrid’s fauna, the closest spots to relax and all the possibilities for those who want some contact with nature while in Madrid...

Madrid's many parks provide great places to escape the sightseeing for a few hours. The most central and popular one is the Parque del Buen Retiro behind the Prado Museum, a stunning mix of formal gardens and wilder spaces. You can jog, row a boat, picnic, have your fortune told and, above all, promenade – on Sunday afternoon half of Madrid turns out for the paseo.
The nearby Jardines Botánicos, whose entrance faces the southern end of the Prado Museum, are also delightful.
Here below we offer extensive information about the parks of the city:

Royal Botanical Gardens

www: Real Jardín Botánico
Plaza de Murillo, 2: Location on Google Maps
Metro: Atocha, Atocha-Renfe (L1)
Bus: 10, 14, 19, 24, 26, 27, 32, 34, 45, 57, 140 and Circular line
Area: Paseo del Prado

In the year 1774 king Carlos III, a king of the Enlightmnet, decided to create the Botanical Gardens. Designed by Sabatini, architect of the Prado Museum, it was for centuries a botanical studies center, with species brought from America, the Pacific, etc.
Madrid´s Botanical Garden invites visitors to enjoy a pleasant stroll surrounded by 30,000 live plant species. In the Gardens there is a greenhouse with 3 climatic areas: desert, tropical and subtropical.
In this vast representation of flora, visitors find the collection of lithops and the living rock cacti particularly astonishing. These cacti live in the deserts of South Africa and Namibia and survive thanks to their own particular defence mechanism: an appearance that makes them look like boulders and stops animals from eating them. Other attractions that draw visitors to stroll around this garden located in the heart of Madrid are a cypress dating from the period when the garden was founded 250 years ago and a collection of carnivorous plants.
Declared Artistic Garden in 1942, among its collections there is a herbarium with over one million specimens, a library and an archive with almost 10,000 drawings. The entrance to the Botanical Gardens is the Glorieta de Murillo right beside the Prado Museum.

Retiro Park - Parque del Retiro

Plaza de la Independencia: Location on Google maps
Metro: Retiro (L2), Ibiza (L9)
Area : Salamanca

paruqe el retiro madridRetiro park is a wonderful oasis of calm in the centre of Madrid. It has 130 hectares of woodland which form a green, tree-clad (more than 15.000 trees) island in the middle of an asphalt sea. One may enter it through any of its fine gateways. These are located in: Plaza de la Independencia, Calle de Alcalá, Calle de O'Donnell, and Calle de Alfonso XII.

retiro park madridIt is Madrid's most famous park, located just behind the Prado museum, and it is an ideal way to finish (or for that matter start) any day in Madrid. Among other attractions the gardens house a working observatory, three exhibition halls, a rose garden, an artificial lake, fountains, Punch and Judy shows for children.....

Autumn is a specially attractive time of the year to visit the Retiro due to the great amount of trees of different species which display splendid colors for the enjoyment of the passer by.

The origins of the Retiro park date back to 1630 when the Conde Duque de Olivares, minister of Felipe IV, decided to create a leisure complex with gardens, an artificial lagoon and a palace, in the terrains of the monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, where the kings had a retirement lodging (Retiro means retreat) for special solemn occasions. The palace and other installations were destroyed during the independence war in 1812. In the 19th century the park was opened to the public.

Th Palacio de Cristal built in 1887 to house an exhibition about the Phillipines with plants, animals and real native population, is one of the most beautiful sites in the park placed by a small lagoon with a water jett. Made entirely of glass and iron, it is today a contemporary art showroom dependant of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Travelling art exhibitions are frequently housed there or in the nearby Palacio de Velázquez.

The Parterre, at the entrance by the Puerta de Felipe IV is a palatial garden with curiosly shaped bushes and some of the oldest trees in the park.
The artificial lake is one of the oldest structures of the park, as it was part of the original 1630 park, naval battles were performed in it for the enjoyment of the royal family in the 17th century. Today the grand monument to Alfonso XII borders one side of its shores and a bongo playing crowd gathers there at weekends. Navigating the lagoon on the hiring rowing boats is an all-time tradition in Madrid.
Madrid is the only capital in the world which has built a monument dedicated solely to the devil. The fountain of the Fallen Angel (Ángel Caído) at the Retiro gardens, takes as its theme the expulsion from paradise, in which Lucifer is shown being banished and embodying the spirit of evil which has sway over him. Created by Ricardo Bellver and inaugurated in 1885, this monument leaves a striking effect of tension, expressivity and drama. Its lower base displays eight faces of evil in four groups of two, holding in their hand snakes, lizards and dolphins. In the park is also the newly-built ‘Hill of the Absents' – a mound constructed in memory of those who died in the Atocha bombing of 2004.

White stone figures of the Kings and Queen of Spain peep out from the avenues of lofty tees and thick bushes, the park has its rose garden, as well as the Cecilio Rodríguez gardens and many delightful secluded nooks where strollers can enjoy a little privacy.
It is very popular on Sundays for a leisurely stroll through its leafy paths. The park was once a palace garden, and it contains many majestic fountains. On Sunday’s you’ll also see Punch and Judy shows, tarot card readers and stalls selling candy floss in the area around the lake. There are several café-bars throughout the park where you may also have the pleasure of listening to the many talented musicians who serenade the crowds. It is an excellent place to relax, making it one of the very popular Madrid tourist attractions.

 

Casa de Campo

West of Madrid - Location on Google maps
Metro: Lago (L10), Batán (L10), Casa de Campo (L5, 10)
Zone: Casa de Campo

Located on the right bank of the Manzanares River to the west of Madrid, the Casa de Campo is a large park with an area of about 4.000 acres. It is hard to believe that the Casa de Campo park has survived the passing of the centuries being, as it is right by the city center. Formerly haunting grounds of the kings of Spain, it became a public park in 1931, it is 5 times the size of New York City's Central Park. The huge Casa de Campo is the lungs of Madrid, it is mostly wild land -dehesa- with pine trees, holm oaks, chestnut trees, ash-trees....and plenty of wildlife, one can feel being at the end of the world, at a ten minutes ride from the city center in the cable car. People tend to concentrate in the area around the lake at the weekend: children love the amusement park and the zoo; but the great, empty extensions of this fantastic natural reserve are not so frecuented by madrileños, as it has a reputation for being a place for seedy exchanges, the City Council has lately done a lot to root out this practices, which were anyway limited to a specific area. The Casa de Campo is a great place for cycling, running, picnic and day-trekking. The park also has facilities for exhibitions and sports.

At the Paseo del Pintor Rosales, in Arguelles, you can take the teleférico (cable car) which drops you right in the middle of the park. This aerial cable car runs above the Parque del Oeste and the Casa de Campo. It offers from the sky a unique panoramic view of the city. Inside the Casa de Campo is Madrid's amusement park which has improved significantly in recent years by adding 3 new roller coasters, also Madrid Zoo, and the leisure area around the lake, where you can rent a rowboat for a ride at the artificial lake, and later have a drink or a bite in any of the chiringuitos (refreshment stalls) around. The area can be reached by metro, at the station Lago (lake).

Parque del Oeste

Plaza de la Moncloa - Plaza de España - Location on Google map
Metro: Moncloa / PLaza de España (L3,L6)
Area: Moncloa- Argüelles

On the Western fringes of Madrid and sloping down towards the River Manzanares there is the Parque del Oeste (Western Park). This area is also called Rosales. It is a beautiful old garden of 98 hectares with spacious stretches of lawn and shady old trees. There is a large rose garden down the hill, "La Rosaleda" designed in 1900 by the landscape gardener Cecilio Rodríguez. A rose show is held there each spring, and international awards are given to the finest blooms.

The park was created in 1906 when the current Mayor of Madrid don Alberto Aguilera, decided to create a promenade for madrileños. The park is situated on a slope, designed in an English style, it has cedars, firs, beeches, pine trees... and winding paths in the shade.
In the park are also located some interesting facilities: the station of the cable car to the Casa de Campo, the School of Ceramic, the Tinaja park, and a Music Bandstand.

debod temple madridTemplo de Debod. An Egypcian temple - Location on Google map
At the southern end of the Parque del Oeste there is the Templo de Debod. What, you may ask, is an Egyptian temple doing in the center of Madrid? In the 1960's, Spain actively participated in a campaign to salvage an important archeological site in Egypt. As a gesture of thanks, the Egyptian government donated the Debod Temple, an early Nubian structure dating to the 2nd century B.C.E.
Initially, this centre of pilgrimage, one of the most important ones in Egypt, was dedicated to the gods Ammon and Isis, which can be seen in the reliefs and bas-reliefs that decorate the inside of the sanctuary. Many of the images that decorated the temple disappeared due to being underwater for nine months after the first Aswan dam was built. The remodelling effort was not able to fully recover the iconography of this place of worship, which was built for the deity and which only the priests could access. Today, thousands of visitors have been allowed to access this small part of Egypt and return for a moment to the year 2000 B.C.
The balustraded viewpoint near the temple offers fantastic sunset views overlooking the Casa de Campo, Madrid's skyline, and the Sierra de Guadarrama in the distance.


Campo del Moro

Paseo Virgen del Puerto, s/n - Location on Google maps
Metro: Príncipe Pío (L6,10,R)
Zone: Príncipe Pío

These gardens extend along the west facade of the Royal Palace in the terrains that stretch down to the Manzanares river. Around the Palace are also the Sabatini Gardens toward the north, and the gardens of the Plaza de Oriente at the east facade.
The Campo del Moro gardens have a surface of 20 hectares and over 70 arboreal species, some of them up to 170 years old. Two famous fountains decorate the park: the Newts and the Shells fountains, which that establish the axis of the gardens.

It was called Campo del Moro - the field of the Moor-- in reference to the moorish leader who camped there with his army when trying to reconquer Madrid in the XII century. In 1734 the old fortress-palace was destroyed because of a fire, and the present Royal Palace was built in its place. Initially the garden was designed having Versailles in mind. But the present appearance of the gardens belong to the remodelling done in the time when Queen Regent Maria Cristina was in office.



Jardines de Sabatini

Calle Bailén - Location on Google maps
Metro: Opera (L2, R)
madridArea : Opera

The Sabatini Gardens stretch along the northern facade of the Royal Palace. This enclosed gardens are entered from Calle de Bailén --down its elegant stairs- or from Cuesta de la Vega. Inside its 2,54 hectares there are magnificent specimens of pines, firs, magnolia trees and cedars.
The gardens get their name from the 18th century architect Sabatini, who designed many emblematic monuments in Madrid - Museo del Prado, Puerta de Alcalá, Palacio Real...- The Sabatini gardens were created in the 30s decade of the 20th century, but followed a design of Sabatini himself. There are fountains, hedges and benches organized in a symmetrical layout in the classic French garden style.

Las Vistillas Gardens

calle Bailén - Location on Google maps
Metro: La Latina (L5)
Area: La Latina

On the west of Madrid, besides the Bailen Viaduct, no far from Plaza de Oriente, there is one of the most genuine neighbourhoods in Madrid, Las Vistillas, it owes its name to the wonderful views to the east. In spring, this small, tree-filled park .....is filled with lively café terraces: the ideal place in Madrid to enjoy a wonderful sunset: In one single glance you can see the Parque del Moro, the Almudena Cathedral and the Casa de Campo. This privileged lookout offers a panorama splashed with chromatic hues going from intense blue to fire red, the banks of the Manzanares, the Pardo slopes and extending all the way to the Sierra of Guadarrama.

Jardín Príncipe de Anglona

Plaza de la Paja/ Costanilla de San Andrés/ calle Segovia - Location on Google maps
Metro: La Latina (L5)
Area: La Latina

This charming small walled garden in the heart of Old Madrid, keeps its original pattern of the end of the XVIII century. As you enter it from plaza de la Paja, you are transported into the Madrid of Goya times. The garden was designed by Chalmandrier as a leisure area for the inhabitants of the Palace next to it. One of these illustrious inhabitants was the Prince of Anglona who gives its name to the garden. The garden has a geometric layout with a fountain in the middle. There are pergolas with creeping roses, different species of fruit and ornamental trees, as well as an old bower where the aristocratic residents used to have supper.
Intimate and delicate this small garden has elements both of neoclasicism and of the andalucian patio. It is interesting its building structure, risen above the street Segovia on an artificial platform.

Parque de la Dehesa de la Villa

Calle Bailén - Location on Google maps
Metro: Francos Rodríguez (L7)
Area: Cuatro Caminos

Far from the maddening rush of city life, the Dehesa de la Villa park is located on the norht-eastern fringe of the city, and is undoubtedly one of the city's greatest 'green lungs'. With over 60 hectares of woods, this urban forest once extended unbroken from the Casa de Campo to the shores of the Manzanares, across to the Pardo slopes and all the way to the slopes of the Sierra (mountain range) of Guadarrama.
In 1152 king Alfonso VII gave these woods to the township of Madrid as hunt and pasturing lands, being for centuries the meat -reserve of Madrid. Thoughout history, Madrid's city council financed many projects selling or leasing of this property. Therefore, its size has diminished. But it is still surprising that 60 hectares of this medieval property have survived over 800 years.

Most of the park is woodland with Pine trees, cork trees, holm oaks, ash trees.... There are some garden areas with cedars, mimosa, cypress... The only buildings which betray the forest surroundings are those of the University Town.
A unique location, it is possible to climb up one its hills (we recommend the Cerro de los Locos, or Hill of Fools) and to observe in the distance the Sierra de Madrid (Madrid range) as well as the Pardo slopes and the Casa de Campo forest, while the sun disappears below the horizon.

Parque El Capricho in Alameda de Osuna

Alameda de Osuna - Location on Google maps
Metro: El Capricho (L5)
Bus: 101, 105,
Area: Ifema - Madrid Airport

The Park El Capricho -- The Whim--, is one of the most beautiful parks in the city, though it is scarcely popular due to its location outside the city center. Located in the area of Barajas, it embraces some 14 hectares of land. The garden dates back to 1784 when the Duchess of Osuna --lover of the arts, patron of the painter Goya and portrayed by him, and head of one of the most illustrious and powerful families of the time --acquired the land to create a Madrid version of Le Petit Trianon in Versailles.

The art of landscaping in El Capricho is displayed in three different styles of classical gardenscapes: the ‘parterre’ or French garden, English landscaping and the Italian giardino. There is a labyrinth, a parterre, a lake and a creek, and some beautiful constructions.
There are many love trees, elms, almond trees, holm oaks and lilac bushes, which contribute their colours in springtime.
It has been a private property until 1980, and it is open only Saturdays, Sundays and festive days.

Parque Juan Carlos I

www. parque de Juan Carlos I
Gran Vía de Hortaleza (junto a M-40) - Location on Google maps
Metro: Campo de las Naciones (L8), el Capricho (L5)
Area: Ifema

This new 395 acres park is near the International Madrid fairgrounds, IFEMA. In the park you can find: a lake, a 2 km river, .. acres of olive trees orchard , sports facilities, children playgrounds, an auditorium....
An atraction in is park is the Garden of three cultures. It is a garden divided in three parts, each one dedicated to one of the three cultural traditions that conform the Spanish history: There is a jewish garden, an arab garden and a christian garden.
In the park there is a free bicycle rental service. To use it, you need a personal card that will allow you to use the service all year round. You may take the bike for a maximun of one hour.

Parque de la Arganzuela

Paseo de la Chopera, Location on Google maps
Metro: Pirámides (L3)
Area: Embajadores

This park, created in 1969 and enlarged in the 1990s with the terrains of the old city Slaughterhouse, has undergone new remodelation with the underground burying of the M-30 highway. It is is near Puerta de Toledo, on the banks of the Manzanares river.
The neightbourhood of Arganzuela, which used to be an industrial area, is today a residential one close to Madrid's center.
In the park, there is a greenhouse that keeps some 9.000 tropical species. Its pleasant promenades below huge shady trees make it a good place for an evening walk.

Parque de Tierno Galván

Calle Meneses - Location on Google maps
Metro: Méndez Alvaro y Arganzuela-Planetario (L6)
Bus: 148
Area: Embajadores

This park gets its name from the late Enrique Tierno Galván, Mayor of Madrid in the 1980s, who decided to convert this old rubbish dump into a park. The area was known in 1900 as the Silver Hill, because of the cinder residuals coming from the trains of the nearby stations of Atocha and Delicias.
The park is on the edge of the M-30, very near the Estación Sur de Autobuses (southern bus station) at Mendez Alvaro.
The planetarium with its huge white dome is the emblem of the park. There are also: an IMAX cinema, the motorcycling museum Angel Nieto, sports facilities, an open air auditorium and children playgrounds.
In the park there are pine trees, cedars, poplars, mullberry trees, rose and rosemary bushes, lawns, a pond with waterfalls...

 

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