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MADRID PARKS AND GARDENS
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botanical gardens madrid
Botanical gardens

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Lake in Retiro Park

 
GREEN MADRID

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Madrid is one of the cities with highest levels of contamination, but it is also considered a "green city" with more than 250,000 hectares of parks, and beautiful historic gardens.
Big cities and nature do not have to be mutually exclusive. In this section we will offer you the best options to enjoy Green Madrid. The best parks for every season, vegetarian restaurants, the areas where you can enjoy Madrid’s fauna, the closest spots where you can relax and all of the possibilities for those who want to live in tune with nature and be environmentally conscious...

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. You can also visit the newly-built ‘Hill of the Absents' – a mound constructed in memory of those who died in the Atocha bombing of 2004. Travelling art exhibitions are frequently housed in the beautiful Palacio de Velázquez and the nearby Palacio de Cristal (times and prices vary according to exhibition). The nearby Jardines Botánicos, whose entrance faces the southern end of the Prado, are also delightful.
Here is a list of the parks of the city, with information about them.

 

Royal Botanical Gardens

www: Real Jardín Botánico
Plaza de Murillo, 2
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

Designed 250 years ago, Madrid´s Botanical Garden invites visitors to enjoy a pleasant stroll surrounded by thousands of live plant species. 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, as well as an exhibition of 5,000 live plant species.
In this vast representation of flora, visitors find the collection of lithops or 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. Some of the 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 or a collection of carnivorous plants.
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
Google maps
Metro: Retiro (L2), Ibiza (L9)
Zone: Salamanca

retiro park madridIt is Madrid's most famous park, which located just behind the Prado museum, and it is an ideal way to finish (or for that matter start) any day in Madrid. The large Park was originally built as the gardens for the Palacio del Buen Retiro of Philip IV, in the 15th century but has been open to the public since the end of the 1800's. Among other attractions the gardens houses some 15000 trees, a working observatory, three exhibition halls, including which the Palacio de Cristal a building entirely built of glass and a lake, (shown in the picture).
Retiro park is a wonderful oasis of calm to the East of the centre of Madrid, it is the largest and most beautiful of all Madrid's parks is the Retiro. 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 the fine gateways. These are located in the Plaza de la Independencia, the Calle de Alcalá, the Calle de O'Donnell, and the Calle de Alfonso XII. White stone figures of the Kings and Queen of Spain peep out from the avenues of lofty tees and thick bushes, and just inside the park there is a large artificial lake where row-boats can be hired. The park also has its rose garden, as well as the Cecilio Rodríguez gardens and many delightful secluded nooks where strollers can enjoy a little privacy. In the middle of the park there are two buildings known as the Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal, where art exhibitions are sometimes held.
It is very popular on Sunday mornings when people turn up for a leisurely stroll through its leafy paths. The park was once a palace garden, and it contains a boating lake and many majestic fountains. On Sunday’s you’ll also see Punch and Judy shows, tarot card readers and stalls selling candy floss.
There are several café bars throughout the park where you will usually 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.

retiro park madridThe fallen angel
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) located in 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 which are characteristic of the series of sculptures known as Laocoon and his two sons. Built on a circular stand, it rises above the observer on a granite pedestal shaped like a truncated pyramid whose lower base displays eight faces of evil in four groups of two, holding in their hand snakes, lizards and dolphins.

Casa de Campo

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
Google maps
Metro: Moncloa (L3,L6)
Zone: Moncloa- Argüelles

On the Western fringes of Madrid and sloping down towards the River Manzanares there is the Parque del Oeste (West Park). This area also called Rosales. It is a beautiful old garden with spacious stretches of lawn and shady old trees. There is a large rose garden at the bottom of the hill, where a rose show is held each spring, with international awards given for the finest blooms. Designed in 1900 by the landscape gardener Cecilio Rodríguez. "La Rosaleda", the rose garden is particularly beatiful.They are an ideal playground for children

debod temple madridTemplo de Debod
Ferraz, s/n
Metro: Plaza de España (L3,L10), Ventura Rodríguez (L3)
Zone: Moncloa- Argüelles

The "Templo de Debod", close to the Plaza de España (A-3) is a Egyptian temple from the 4th century before Christ, that was a present from Egypt to the General Franco, because of the Aswan Dam.
The Debod Temple is in one of the most beautiful places from which to watch the sunset. Behind the temple the park opens into a terrace with wonderful views westward and eastward, over the encina trees and pines which soften the horizon in the wide green expanse of the Casa de Campo. With intense contrasts in colour, at one’s feet lies the Parque del Oeste, or western park, while around one is the temple and its surroundings, whose stone reflect the light of the setting sun and from whose reflecting pool this vision is magnified. Even in a cosmopolitan city like Madrid we can still be surprised by what is hidden in the Cuartel de la Montaña park: the Temple of Debod, a monument that is over two thousand years old, which was brought to Spain from Egypt, stone by stone and carefully reconstructed in the capital.

The sanctuary, which was located on the shores of the Nile, was threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam, so the UNESCO launched a call to save the endangered monuments. Spain was one of the destinations of these architectural works in gratitude for its collaboration in saving Abu Simbel.

The Temple of Debod, open to the public since 1972, is one of the few monuments of its kind that can be seen outside Egypt, but when it was moved to Spain, its original orientation, in other words, east to west, was retained. Models, videos and audiovisual projections are exhibited on the walls to help understand the meaning of the location of the splendid building, its decorative motives and to discover its history. In this way, all onlookers will be captivated by the charm of this millenary culture.

One of the sovereigns of the kingdom of Meroe, in modern-day Sudan, which dominated the Valley of the Nile for centuries, was the first builder of Debod. His name was Adijalamani and the chapel was built during his reign; this was the original heart of the temple, called the Chapel of the Reliefs where epigraphic references are made to an “Ammon de Debod”. Many changes have occurred since its creation. Pharaohs from subsequent reigns added rooms until it took on the appearance that can be seen today, and the cult of the Ammon of Debod was replaced with the cult of the goddess Isis.

Almost two thousand years ago, the temple of Debod started its magical-religious work with the each new year. The start of each year, on 15th June according to our Gregorian calendar, when the star Sirius appeared at dawn, Egyptian priests interpreted that the goddess Isis was announcing the start of the flooding of the Nile. On this date, the priests of Debod marched the statue of the deity in a procession up to the centre of the chapel of Osiris to charge it with energy for the rest of the year.

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.


Campo del Moro

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

It was not called Campo del Moro until the XIX century, and was beacuse in these lands between the river and the Real Fortress, the hosts muslim camped during their stay in the village.
When in 1734 the Fortress was destroyed because of a fire, the Royal Palace rose in iits place. When Mar’a Cristina was in goverment, the garden was designed inspirated by Versalles. It has some 70 arboreal species, some up to 170 years, two famous fountains: the Newts and the Shells that establish the axis of the gardens.

If the Field of the Moor is located in the facade west of the Palace, the Gardens of Sabatini are toward the North, bordering with the Cuesta de la Vega and the Bailén street. They are of classic style and around 1930.

Jardines de Sabatini

calle Bailén
Google maps
Metro: Opera (L2, R)
Zone: Operamadrid
Google Maps

If the Field of the Moor is located in the facade west of the Palace, the Gardens of Sabatini are toward the North, bordering with the Cuesta de la Vega and the BailŽn street. They are of classic style and around 1930.

The Sabatini Gardens, Campo del Moro and Plaza de España are not far from the Royal Palace there are several gardens: the children's playground in the Plaza de Oriente, the enclosed Sabatini Gardens on the northern side of the Palace, which are entered from the Calle de Bailén and have benches and well kept hedges and borders; and the so-called Campo de Moro entered from the Cuesta de la Vega.
There are gardens where people lie under the sun in the spring in the Plaza de España, at the end of the Gran Vía.

Las Vistillas Gardens

calle Bailén
Google maps
Metro: La Latina(L5)
Zone: La Latina

After crossing the Plaza de Oriente and the Bailen Viaduct, we arrive at one of the most authentic neighbourhoods in Madrid, Las Vistillas, which owes its name to the wonderful views over the eastern part of the city. As spring makes its entrance, part of this small tree-filled park is filled with lively café terraces which are ideal open-air seats from which to enjoy a wonderful sunset.

In one single glance we can take in the view from Las Vistillas over the Park of the Moor (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

calle Bailén
Google maps
Metro: La Latina(L5)
Zone: La Latina

Parque de la Dehesa de la Villa

calle Bailén
Google maps
Metro: Francos Rodríguez (L7)
Zone: Cuatro Caminos
Google Maps
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 (range) of Guadarrama. The park dates back to 1152 when the king Alfonso VII gave this area to the township of Madrid. As of 1890, following some renovation work, the town hall planted 100 000 trees here, most of which are pines trees.

Surrounded by trees, the only buildings which betray the urban 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.

Jardín El Capricho in Alameda de Osuna

Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna
Google Maps
Metro: El Capricho (L5)
Bus: 101, 105, 115
Zone: Ifema - Madrid Airport
Google Map & Panoramio picture
The Park of El Capricho, know as The Whim, is one of the most beautiful parks of the city, while it is paradoxically the most unknown one for most inhabitants of Madrid. Located outside Madrid center, in the area of Barajas, it occupies some 14 hectares of land.
The garden dates back to 1784 when the Duke of Osuna, from one of the most illustrious and powerful of the city’s families, acquired the land for the specific purpose of giving expression to the family’s visionary and artistic values aas well as to give the family a place to escape city life.
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 are many love trees, elms, almond trees, Holm oaks and lilac bushes, which contribute their colours in springtime.
it has been of private property until the years 80, and it is a garden of 1783 that harmonizes the French layouts, Italian and landscape. There is a labyrinth, parterre, a lake and creek, and a group of beautiful constructions. Regrettably it is a little far from the tourist routes, that makes him to be not very well-known.

Parque Juan Carlos I

Gran Vía de Hortaleza (junto a M-40)
Metro: Campo de las Naciones (L8)
Zone: Ifema
Google Map
Between Barajas and the Osuna Alameda, today it is known to have the Fairgound of Ifema, where they take place the most important international and national fairs. It is a recent construction, y it has among other things big ways, sculptures of the XX century, hint of bicycles. and the Garden of the Three Cultures: bean, Muslim and crsitiana, main relating cultural in Spain.

Parque de la Arganzuela

Paseo de la Chopera
Metro: Legazpi (L3)
Zone: Embajadores
Google Map
Remodeled in the years 90, it was enlarged with the old Municipal Slaughterhouse, and it transformed their Palace of Glass in a hothouse that maintains some 9.000 tropical species under a microclima.

Parque de Tierno Galván

Calle Meneses
Metro: Méndez Alvaro (L6)
Bus: 148
Zone: Embajadores
Google Map
On the edge of the M-30, very near the South Station of Buses (Estación Sur de Autobuses) , when Enrique Tierno Galv‡n was mayor from Madrid, it was decided to locate the Planetarium and to landscape an area until then well-known as the Hill of the Silver, due to the cinder residuals coming from the trains of the near ones you park Atocha and Delicias. Died Tierno, they named on their memory to the park that is another of the main green spaces of the city. They are also in their enclosure, the cinema room IMAX, and the spanish champion's of motociclismo museum Angel Nieto.