Madrid is the capital of Spain, a city known for many things, including a large number of museums and art galleries, the Royal family, delicious cuisine, Beaux-Arts-style buildings, historical parks, and expansive green spaces. Madrid is also regarded as one of the greenest cities in Europe, so what better way to enjoy the gorgeous weather in the Spanish capital than to stretch your legs at one of the many gardens and parks in Madrid?
Madrid's parks offer a variety of things to see and do and make for a lovely day out with the family, sports and recreational activities, picnics, or romantic strolls.
Perhaps you want to stop by Buen Retiro Park and take some photos, or you want to explore Plaza de España and Parque del Oeste after a long hike, but your backpack is too heavy to carry around. Bounce luggage storage in Madrid has locations all across the city, making it easy to drop off your backpack after hiking. This way, you'll be free to explore Madrid's parks without the burden of bags.
A Unesco World Heritage Site and the most popular park in Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro, literally translates into Good Retirement Park. The name is perfect, too, as this is one of the best parks to retire to after a long day at work, which the locals do religiously. Located right in the center of the city makes access easy and convenient by local transit or simply walking.
At 291 acres, El Retiro is also the largest park in Madrid and a wonderful combination of forested areas, gardens, and man-made water areas. The Estanque Grande Pond is a perfect spot to rent a rowboat on those warm sunny days in the city and go for a little paddle around. You will also find jogging and bike lanes to enjoy. For those that like to take their time, walk through this picturesque park and really take in its incredible monuments, statues, and beautiful fountains scattered throughout.
On the weekends and holidays, El Retiro Park is alive with free concerts and puppet shows for the kids. There are several historical buildings, like Casa de Vacas and Velazquez Palace, but the most impressive is the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal). Make sure to check out the Oriental, Rosaleda (Rose), and Cecilio Rodriguez Gardens, arguably the most beautiful spot in the park.
Being in the center of the city, there are several restaurants in the areas surrounding the park, as well as two within the park itself. No matter the time of year, Retiro Park is always a perfect place to relax and explore.
Parque del Oeste
One of Madrid’s other large parks, Oeste Park, covers 247 acres and has some of the city’s most stunning landscaped scenery. With a plethora of paths that wind through the entire park, you can visit many times and never walk or bike the same way twice.
Parque del Oeste, besides being one of the most beautiful parks in Madrid, is also home to some of its most famous monuments. One of the most unique is the Temple of Debod, an Ancient Egyptian temple, which was transported from Egypt brick by brick. An absolute must-see, especially at sunset.
There are multiple playgrounds for kids, statues to find, and an award-winning rose garden at the south entrance. Located near the city centre and surrounded by other historical sites, you will find plenty of places to sit, relax and enjoy a bite to eat with an incredible view.
Parque del Oeste is also one of the best parks in Madrid for scenic views. To enjoy one of the best views of the city, hop on the Teleferico en Rosales cable car. You can get on in Oeste and travel to Casa de Campo, and you could hit two great parks in one day. On the ride, you will soar 40 meters in the air, and the round trip only costs around $6.
Parque Juan Carlos I
If you're looking to get away from the city noise, head down to Campo de las Naciones, for one of the best parks in Madrid and a haven for outdoor adventures. Located near Barajas airport, this 400 acres of green space will keep you occupied for the whole day. Some of the highlights of Parque Juan Carlos I are the large lake, the olive groves, 19 open-air sculptures, fountains, canals, and the Tres Culturas Garden.
At Juan Carlos I Park, you'll see families celebrating or picnicking, active people playing sports at the designated areas for sports games, and children blowing off steam at the many playgrounds scattered across the park. You'll also have the chance to explore miles of trails and cycling paths, test your skills at the ice skating rink, hop on a free train and enjoy bike rides. Make sure to arrive early in the morning to have the time to see it all and bring some food with you as there are no food options within the park's grounds.
Casa de Campo
For a park that offers maximum fun for the whole family, you have to check out Casa de Campo. The park is by far the largest in Madrid, over 4,200 acres, and is home to many of the city’s attractions. That said, you can go to Casa de Campo for a thoroughly relaxing experience or an adrenaline rush.
Located on the northwest side of Madrid, Casa de Campo features biking trails, jogging tracks, and lakes for swimming and rowing, all in an incredible setting. Even though the park is located in the city, you'll feel like you are out in the country. This park was once the home of the Spanish royalty but was opened to the public in the 1930s.
The lovely park holds some very modern activities like a multi-purpose tennis stadium, Madrid’s Zoo and Aquarium, the Parque de Atracciones amusement park, and Nickelodeon Land. There are plenty of restaurants and bars around the man-made lake to relax in and sample local cuisine. And if you are feeling exhausted but still want to see that park, hop on the cable car that'll take you from one end of the park to the other.
Casa de Campo offers people an escape from the city without ever leaving Madrid. No matter the time of year, there is always something to enjoy here.
Jardines de Sabatini
More than a park, the Sabatini Gardens are one of the most striking parts of Madrid's Royal Palace and Gardens, exuding classic French style design and decor with symmetrically trimmed hedges turned into a maze. Here you'll find some peace and tranquility surrounded by a large pond, beautiful fountains, trees, and white marble sculptures.
Built in the 1930s on what was once former stables, Sabatini Gardens today is a lovely way to spend a day in nature and explore the Royal Palace grounds. Come summer, the lovely Sabatini Gardens are the host of the "Los Veranos de la Villa" festival, celebrated with live music and cultural events. To round out this stunning adventure, make sure to book a table at the Sabatini Rooftop, from where you can enjoy spectacular sunset views of the gardens and the Royal Palace.
Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid
When exploring Madrid, people inevitably end up exploring a museum or two, and one of the most visited is the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado). But located right beside the museum, just 3 miles from the Royal Palace, is a true hidden treasure, the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid. If you've never visited a botanical garden, take advantage and don’t miss out on this one.
Near Atocha Station, the Royal Botanical Garden is one of the best parks in Madrid, a place that just allows you to breathe. You'll get a feeling of serenity that isn't often found in a city. You can’t ride a bike or go rollerblading here, but what you can do is walk peacefully through a wonderland of over 5,000 species of flora, curiosities, and history.
Kids find the 20-acre garden interesting, too, as it contains three different greenhouses that have their own special environments, tropical, sub-tropical, and desert. There's a charge of $5 to explore this little slice of paradise unless you go on a Tuesday after 5 pm, then it's free. Most parks are best visited when the weather is warm, but these gardens are just as beautiful in the winter months, and the greenhouses are heated so you can get out of the cold. Also, there are plenty of restaurants nearby, so you can always grab a bite to eat.
Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona
A hidden gem in the Plaza de la Paja, the historic neighborhood of Madrid, this romantic walled garden will take you back to the time when Francisco Goya called Madrid home. Although small and compact, The Garden of the Prince of Anglona is a perfect little corner to escape the crowds at the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor.
Being surrounded by high walls makes you feel like you're in your own little secret garden. People come here to enjoy a good book, and young lovers strolling around are also a common sight. At the Garden of the Prince of Anglona, you're surrounded by different species of trees and plants, water fountains, and amazing views of the Almudena Cathedral and many cupolas of old Madrid.
The garden is encircled by a variety of restaurants and bars, making it easy to grab something and return to eat in the park in complete serenity.
El Capricho Park
Unlike most parks in Madrid that are open to the public year-round, El Capricho Park opens only on weekends and holidays. Though it's on the outskirts of Madrid, right next to the airport, Parque del Capricho is one of the most beautiful parks in Madrid, and it's worth a visit. Three different sections make up the 42-acre of green areas: one takes after the Versaille, another park that is modeled by an English garden, and one that resembles an Italian garden.
El Capricho Park is also home to a 2,000 square meters Spanish Civil War bunker and Casa de la Vieja farmhouse. Nearby points of interest are Juan Carlos I Park, Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, and the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Keep in mind that the park is private, and you need to follow certain rules. This includes no eating in the park, no cycling and roller skating, and no animals are allowed. If you wish to eat something, there's a large selection of restaurants in the area around El Capricho Park.
Built in 2011, Madrid Río is one of the most modern parks in Madrid, extending over 4.6 miles from the southwestern end of the city center, running parallel to the Manzanares River. The urban Madrid Rio Park features running paths from where you can enjoy beautiful views of some of Madrid's most famous landmarks, like the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral, and a number of bridges across the river.
There are a few children's play areas along the route, benches, play fountains, and green areas for picnics. Other features are the skate park and the urban Rio Beach, which is an excellent place to escape the city crowds. There's no need to walk far to get food as there are multiple eating options within and near Madrid Río Park itself. If you want to take great photos, this park in Madrid provides some of the best photo ops.
The most beautiful parks in Madrid to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy nature
If there's something Madrid's short of, that's certainly not parks and places where you can sit back, relax and connect with your green side. Whether you're looking for fun play areas for your kids or manicured lawns to spread a blanket out for a picnic, or perhaps you want to test your talents at one of the sports facilities, parks in Madrid have it all.