This blog post was originally posted on March 4, 2013 and was updated on February 11, 2017.
When you think of Spain’s capital city, greenery is probably not the first thing that comes to mind but trust us, there are some stunning parks in Madrid that will blow you away!
When you come up from the metro and step into the busy Puerta del Sol plaza, smack in the center of the city, the only tree you’ll see is the one that the bear is hugging in the city’s symbolic statue, ‘The Bear and the Madroño Berry Tree.’ But don’t let the concrete-filled city center fool you.
Madrid boasts a number of amazing parks, even though most people only know of a few of the main parks (if any at all!). Check out this list of our 10 absolute favorite parks in Madrid—each one definitely worth a visit!
1. Retiro Park
One of the most famous parks in Madrid is El Parque del Buen Retiro, usually shortened to El Retiro. Originally a royal ‘hangout’ it was the stage for garden plays and concerts. Now it is famous for the rowboats that visitors can rent out by the hour and use to paddle along in the man-made pond at the center of the park. Although it is definitely a major tourist spot these days, nothing can diminish its incredible natural beauty. This is one tourist attraction that is worth the hype!
2. Royal Botanical Gardens
These gardens are a hidden gem among the many parks in Madrid. It was in 1774 that King Carlos III decided that he just had to have some botanical gardens. Francesco Sabatini, the Italian architect who designed the Puerta de Alcalá, also designed these gardens. Home to three different greenhouses with three different climates and over 30,000 species of plants, these gardens are an absolute must-see in Madrid! You can find them right next to the Prado Museum.
Address: Plaza de Murillo, 2
Hours: Open daily except for January 1 and December 25. Nov – Feb, 10:00 – 18:00; March and Oct, 10:00 – 19:00; April and Sept, 10:00 – 20:00; May – Aug, 10:00 – 21:00.
Price: 2 – 4 euros; people under 10 or over 65 years old, free.
3. Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo is the biggest of all the parks in Madrid. As a frame of reference, it is approximately five times the size of Central Park in New York City. Like Central Park, it also used to get a bad rap for being a hub of shady business, but a lot of work has been done to change that. Today it is a hugely popular spot to have a picnic, go biking or simply take a leisurely stroll. It is one of the highlights of the city, especially if you’re visiting Madrid in Fall.
4. Parque del Oeste
This Madrid park is most famous for its English design, featuring evergreen trees usually found farther north. It has another claim to fame, though: a beautiful rose garden, which is displayed each spring in a rose show. Strolling through this park when all the beautiful roses are in bloom is an amazing way to spend an afternoon. This is one of the parks in Madrid that is definitely worth your time.
5. Campo del Moro
“The Field of the Moor” is a reference to the 12th century attempt of a Moorish recapturing of Madrid. It has one of the most interesting stories of all the parks in Madrid: during this campaign to conquer what was then the Royal Alcazar of Madrid (now Royal Palace), a Moorish leader slept a night in this Madrid park, giving it the name Campo del Moro. Today it is situated on the western side of the Royal Gardens and is a lovely spot to visit.
6. Jardines de Sabatini
Remember Sabatini, the architect who designed the Royal Botanical Gardens? Well, the Jardines de Sabatini are named in his honor. They are part of the Royal Palace and are located in what were formerly the royal stables, which Sabatini designed. The Sabatini Gardens are done in a classic French style, with symmetrically trimmed hedges formed into geometric shapes. They look almost like an optical illusion of sorts, making them quite different from the other parks in Madrid.
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. The Prince of Anglona was Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón y Alfonso-Pimentel and this is the garden that belonged to what was once his palace. It was created in the days when Goya was wandering around the city and is one of many historical parks in Madrid.
8. Dehesa de la Villa
This is one of the parks in Madrid located up on the north side of the city near the metro stop Cuatro Caminos. Spreading over 60 hectares, this park is absolutely massive! In 1152, King Alfonso VII gave this piece of land to the township of Madrid as a hunting ground and it became the meat reserve for hundreds of years afterwards.
9. Parque de El Capricho
This Madrid park, whose name translates to “the whim,” is actually a private park, open only on weekends and holidays, but well worth a visit! Located in the district of Barajas, a little outside Madrid’s city center, it is a beautifully designed park with three separate sections: a French park modeled after Versailles, an English garden, and an Italian giardino. It is immaculately maintained and a beautiful afternoon trip for anyone who wants to enjoy a little bit of nature.
Address: Paseo Alameda de Osuna, 25
Hours: 1 Oct – 31 March (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), 9:00 – 18:30; 1 April – 30 Sept (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) 9:00 – 21:00.
10. Parque Juan Carlos I
This Madrid park is the most modern of them all. It features plenty of recreational activities and is a family-friendly place where you can rent bikes, go rollerblading, or have a picnic. There is also a fascinating three-pronged garden that represents the three cultures of Spain, including Jewish, Christian, and Arab gardens.
Searching for something else special to do after a day wandering through the beautiful parks in Madrid? Join us on one of our food tours! We’ll show you the best food Madrid has to offer, pairing it with traditional drinks in some of our favorite traditional food spots. If you’re a foodie in the big city, make sure and check us out!