Certainly, Spain is one of the most beautiful and exciting countries in the world. However, if you are expecting lush greenery and wild landscaping, you’ll find better places elsewhere than Madrid, the capital of Spain. On the other hand, this is a majestic metropolis with some of the most gorgeous parks and gardens beautifully maintained.
Madrid lacks a surplus of natural greenery, but it is indeed a city full of green spaces; the locals frequent these for a bit of tranquility, for walking and jogging, or spending time with their loved ones. Here are the 8 most beautiful parks and gardens in Madrid which you should definitely visit if you are ever in the city.
1. El Retiro
El Retiro is the shortened form of El Parque del Buen Retiro, which is a major tourist attraction of Madrid. Tourists love to rent rowboats to spend time on the pond in the middle of the park, as well as to enjoy the various concerts and garden plays which are held here regularly. El Retiro actually belonged to the Royal Family of Spain in the past, but now it has been opened up for public use.
2. El Capricho
Parque De El Capricho was constructed in 1787 for the Duchess of Osuna for her personal enjoyment. Later, El Capricho, which is a beautiful park featuring a variety of French, English and Italian architecture, was opened for the public. Soon afterwards, it became a major tourist spot visited by thousands every year.
One of the main attractions of El Capricho is the Casa de la Vieja, which is a beautiful, small house that appears as if it has come straight out of a children’s fairy tale.
3. Jardines de Sabatini and Campo del Moro
This beautiful park is named after Sabatini, the architect who designed the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid. It is designed in a traditional French manner, full of hedges cut into interesting geometrical shapes.
The Compo del Moro, on the other hand, literally translates to “the Field of the Moorish”. This park originated as a camping site for soldiers during a siege on Madrid around 1100-1200 A.D. Later, it held jousts and tournaments for members of the Royal Family and nobles. At present, it is a beautiful park for the public to enjoy.
4. Real Jardín Botánico
This is a botanical garden that houses hundreds of rows of stunning tulips, roses and lilies. In spring, the sheer beauty of these blooming flowers can be breathtaking. During off-season, the massive greenhouse with a great collection of Bonsai and carnivorous plants are a sight to see.
5. Parque del Oeste
The Parque del Oeste is actually a wide green area that hosts, among other attractions, a beautiful rose garden with tall evergreen trees, the “Rosaleda”; it is a great place for a romantic stroll with a loved one, especially in the spring. Parque del Oeste holds a prestigious rose exhibition each year, that is attended by large numbers of both tourists and locals.
6. Atocha Station Tropical Garden
The Atocha Station Tropical Garden is actually a delightful sudden surprise for people traveling via train in Madrid – a magnificent garden in the middle of a train station! This is actually a greenhouse in the middle of the train station, with a massive group of tropical trees surrounded by iron railings on all sides.
7. Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo translates to “Country House”, mainly because it was a second home of King Felipe II. This is a massive park, five times the size of Central Park in New York City. At present, this is a great place to enjoy oneself, have a picnic with family members, go biking, try light hiking, or ride the Madrid Cable Car. It also hosts a great amusement park and a zoo.
8. Quinta de Los Molinos
This is another stunning park in Madrid spread over 25 hectares of land, but unfortunately, not a place much frequented by tourists. Hundreds of almond trees look absolutely spectacular all around the park when they are in bloom; the Quinta De Los Molinos also has provisions for running, a botanical trail and a sports area.
These parks can be visited at any time of the year, although they have a greater influx of people in spring and summer; especially during summer, when the Iberian Peninsula heat invites tourists and residents to look for alternatives to refresh themselves. If you’re reading this in summer, you might also be interested in the article “places to freshen up in Madrid“, where we’ve also presented some of these parks.
The parks and gardens of Madrid are an integral part of this city. Whether it is locals spending some personal time in these parks, or tourists trying to take in the country’s culture, our beautifully maintained parks are definitely worth a visit by everyone!
This article is also available in Spanish