5 Most Beautiful Parks To Visit In Madrid
By: Pinki Thu, 07 Nov 2019 5:44 PM
Madrid is flush with parks and gardens, many of them originally built for Spanish royalty. Some of these places were opened to the public only very recently, allowing Madrileños and tourists a verdant taste of the good life. So when you’re in need of some nature, a perfect picnic spot or just a break from the hustle of the city, head for one of these outdoor spaces.
* Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
Spring is one of the best times to visit Madrid’s magical botanical garden, flush with endless rows of blooming tulips, lilies and roses in a kaleidoscope of colours, but the grounds are open year-round. The garden has been in operation since 1755, thanks to King Ferdinand VI. It is split into seven outdoor areas, along with five greenhouses full of plants that are not endemic to the hot Mediterranean climate. The park has some 90,000 plants and 1,500 trees, plus a library dedicated to educating guests about the collection.
* Parque del Buen Retiro
Felipe IV designed the Parque del Buen Retiro in the 17th century as a retreat for royalty, but it was eventually opened to the public in 1868. It’s since become a sanctuary for Madrileños, who curl up under the canopy of the green trees, glide across the lake in blue rowing boats, enlist in public yoga classes and sip drinks at the outdoor cafés. The grassy lawns are meticulously manicured and elegant marble buildings are dotted throughout, including the Palacio de Cristal, a palace made of glass that often houses temporary modern-art exhibitions. Make sure to head to the eastern edge of the park, home to a rose garden overrun with peacocks.
* Parque de El Capricho
Once a retreat for the Duchess of Osuna and her royal friends and family in the late 18th century, the Parque de El Capricho is now open to the public. The park flaunts a mixture of French, Greek, Italian and English architecture: you might stumble upon Greek columns and ruins or a tiny house called the Casa de la Vieja, which is like something straight out of a fairytale, complete with a slanted roof, sandy stones and minute windows and doors fit for elves. A skinny lake curls through the park, bobbing with black swans. There are a number of interesting sights throughout, including a peaceful rose garden and a labyrinth formed out of pristine trees and bushes.
* Parque de Juan Carlos I
You’ll know you’ve reached the Parque de Juan Carlos I when you see the little train that circles here every half hour. This park has been open since 1992, catering to families with an entertainment-packed auditorium, skating and fishing areas and bike rentals. There are modern sculptures scattered throughout, all conceived in the early ’90s by artists such as Mario Irarrázabal and Toshimitsu Imai.
* Jardines de Sabatini
The Jardines de Sabatini were part of the Royal Palace of Madrid before being opened up to all of Madrid in the 20th century. They were built in a Neoclassical style, replete with manicured hedges, trees position in symmetrical patterns, a shallow reflecting pool, sandy paths and marble statues and fountains. Although the gardens were designed in the 18th century, they were only opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978.