When you think of big cities like Madrid, greenery is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But the parks in Madrid just happen to be one of the best parts of the city.
Whether you’re a full-fledged nature lover or just looking for a quieter place to get off your feet for a bit, there’s a green space in Madrid that’s calling your name!
When you come up from the metro and step into busy Puerta del Sol, the only tree you’ll see is the one that the bear is hugging in the city’s famous statue. But don’t let the lights, sounds, and concrete of the city center fool you.
Madrid boasts a number of amazing parks, even though most people only know of a few of the main green spaces (if any at all!). We’ve narrowed down our 10 all-time favorite parks in Madrid. Each one is definitely worth a visit and among our favorite free things to do in Madrid!
1. Retiro Park
The most famous park in Madrid is El Parque del Buen Retiro, which most people usually shorten to Retiro. Originally a royal hangout, back in the day it was the stage for garden plays and concerts.
Today, it’s famous for its wide paved paths, sparkling Crystal Palace, immaculate stone fountains, and the sprawling man-made lake, complete with rentable rowboats. You can even still experience culture here: in the summer, the park holds free concerts and open-air exhibitions from artists all over the world.
Although Retiro is definitely a major tourist spot these days, nothing can diminish its incredible natural beauty. Come for a jog or a bike ride or simply to stroll through and admire the beautiful surroundings.
2. Royal Botanical Gardens
In 1774, King Carlos III decided that he just had to have some botanical gardens. He commissioned Francesco Sabatini, an Italian architect who designed the Puerta de Alcalá and parts of the Royal Palace, to design them. They’re still thriving today, and a true hidden gem among the many parks in Madrid.
Home to three different greenhouses—each with a different climate—and over 30,000 species of plants, these gardens are an absolute must-see in Madrid! They’re conveniently located near the Prado, making them the perfect spot to relax and get some fresh air after a morning exploring the museum.
3. Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo is the biggest of all the parks in Madrid—in fact, it’s about five times the size of Central Park in New York City!
Covering more than 1700 hectares (4200 acres) of land, Casa de Campo is packed with relaxing activities and leisure opportunities. On any given warm weekend, local families head here to spend some quality time together. It’s a great place to have a picnic, go biking, or simply take a leisurely stroll, and especially gorgeous when the leaves start to change in the fall.
4. Parque del Oeste
One of the most unique parks in Madrid and a true hidden gem, Parque del Oeste is dotted with the kinds of evergreen trees usually found farther north in Europe. It also has another claim to fame, though: a beautiful rose garden, which displays a colorful rose show each spring. Strolling through the park when all the beautiful roses are in bloom is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Just outside the southern edge of the park, you’ll find a curious treasure: the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod. This is the perfect spot to stop and catch the sunset after enjoying a stroll through the rose garden!
5. Campo del Moro
“The Field of the Moor” (as Campo del Moro’s name translates literally) references the Moors’ 12th-century attempt to recapture Madrid. It has one of the most interesting stories of all the parks in Madrid!
As the story goes, during this campaign to conquer what was then the Royal Alcazar of Madrid (on the site of today’s Royal Palace), a Moorish leader and his troops camped overnight in this green space—giving it the name Campo del Moro. Today it is situated on the western side of the palace and is a lovely spot to visit.
The park boasts a classical design inspired by the royal gardens of England. Despite its easily accessible location from some of Madrid’s main sights, it’s a tranquil oasis of nature and an especially perfect spot for a romantic stroll.
6. Jardines de Sabatini
Remember Sabatini, the architect who designed the Royal Botanical Gardens? He didn’t work on the Sabatini Gardens—which were opened nearly 200 years after his death—but they are named in his honor.
These gardens form part of the grounds of the Royal Palace and are located in what once were the royal stables, which Sabatini himself designed. They’re done in a classic French style, with symmetrically trimmed hedges formed into clean geometric shapes.
7. Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona
A beautiful walled garden in the heart of old Madrid, the Garden of the Prince of Anglona is a portal to a much older time in Spain.
Created in the days when Goya himself called Madrid home, it’s one of the most historical parks in Madrid. It belonged to the adjoining palace and maintains its original design and layout to this day.
This peaceful corner is the perfect place to get off the beaten path in Madrid—surrounded by high walls, it’s a bit difficult to spot and few visitors to the city ever make it here! However, once you’re in the know, you can indulge in the serenity of one of Madrid’s best-kept secrets.
8. Dehesa de la Villa
Located up on the north side of the city near metro Cuatro Caminos, Dehesa de la Villa requires a bit more of a hike to get to. But don’t worry—we promise it’s so worth it.
In 1152, King Alfonso VII gave this piece of land to the township of Madrid as a hunting ground, and it became the local meat reserve for hundreds of years afterwards. Today, it sprawls over 60 hectares, making it one of the largest parks in Madrid!
Unlike a lot of other green spaces in the Spanish capital, though, this park is still densely covered by woodlands. Head here for a magical forest escape and make it back to the city center in plenty of time for an evening tapas crawl!
9. Parque del Capricho
This Madrid park, whose name translates to “the whim,” is actually a private park, open only on weekends and holidays. But if you’re able to work it in to your itinerary, it’s well worth a visit!
Located in the district of Barajas, a little outside Madrid’s city center near the airport, Parque del Capricho is a beautifully designed park with three separate sections. Tthere’s a French park modeled after Versailles, an English garden, and an Italian giardino.
All three areas of the park are immaculately maintained, and the space makes a beautiful afternoon trip for anyone who wants to enjoy a little bit of nature.
10. Parque Juan Carlos I
This Madrid park is the most modern of them all. Packed with plenty of recreational activities, Parque Juan Carlos I is a family-friendly place where you can rent bikes, go rollerblading, or have a picnic. Second in size only to Casa de Campo among parks in Madrid, it’s so massive that it even has its own free little train to get you from place to place!
If you’re curious to explore a bit of Madrid’s cultural side while still enjoying the greenery, this is the park for you. There’s a fascinating three-pronged garden that represents the three historic cultures of Spain, with Jewish, Christian, and Arab gardens.
11. Madrid Rio
As one of the newer parks in Madrid, Madrid Rio is the pinnacle of culture and leisure in a gorgeously kept-up space. It stretches along the southwestern border of the city center along the Manzanares River, packing dozens of walking and running paths, children’s play areas, and even a makeshift “beach” into its 10-kilometer stretch.
12. Jardines de Las Vistillas
There’s no better way to cap off a long day of sightseeing than to head to the Jardines de Las Vistillas to watch a beautiful sunset.
This lovely park is on the western side of Madrid, and is known for having amazing views of the Mazanares River, Casa de Campo and the Almudena Cathedral. As various colors fill the sky, and the sun slowly makes its way down the horizon, sip on a cold drink on one of the many terraces on the park grounds. (Yes, coming here is the perfect romantic plan in Madrid to boot!)
13. Parque Quinta de los Molinos
Located a bit further out from the center, Parque Quinta de los Molinos isn’t quite as well known as many of the other parks on this list. This makes it one of the city’s best-kept secrets!
The park is populated with over a thousand almond trees, which all start to bloom in February and March. Stroll through the rows of magnificent almond blossoms, and then act like a total tourist and take a few snaps with the beautiful buds. Don’t delay—once the blossoms fall off the tree you’ll have to wait until next year to see them again!
Parks in Madrid FAQs
Retiro Park is the best-known green space in the Spanish capital, and the one that most visitors to the city will want to visit. However, as you can see there are dozens of other Madrid parks worth checking out in addition to the famous Retiro!
Madrid has more than 40 parks within its city limits, comprising 33 million square meters of green space!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on March 4, 2013 and was updated with new text and photos on May 3, 2021.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Madrid? Just add your email address in the form below!
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.