Everybody knows about Madrid’s grand architecture, fine art, and delicious cuisine. One thing many foreigners don’t expect to find is a ton of parks and gardens in Madrid. While Madrid is a modern industrial capital, it also boasts some of the finest parks in all of Europe. Madrid locals are extremely eco-conscious and have a great respect for their natural greenery. You’ll most likely see locals taking a siesta, rowing boats, picnicking with family and friends, or even playing bongos as you tour the city’s public parks. Below, we’ll go over 5 best parks in Madrid you have to check out on your next trip.
El Retiro Park
We’ll start our list with the most popular park in the city: El Parque del Buen Retiro (aka El Retiro). This 300-acre park in east-central Madrid was exclusively used as a playground for Spanish royals until the 18th century. The most popular thing to do in El Retiro is rent a boat and paddle through the park’s glorious lake. Anyone traveling with children should visit El Retiro on the weekend to see one of the park’s celebrated puppet shows. A few other hot tourist draws in El Retiro include the Crystal Palace, the Rose Garden, and a drumming circle that meets around the Alphonso XII statue on Sunday evenings. If you only have time to visit one of our 5 best parks in Madrid, then make sure you visit El Retiro. El Retiro is open from 6AM to 10PM in the fall and winter and from 6AM to 12AM in the spring and summer. The closest metro stop to this park is the appropriately named Retiro.
Parque del Oeste
Created in the early 20th century, Parque del Oeste is unofficially known as Madrid’s “Rose Garden.” The park earned this nickname thanks to its impressive Rosaleda garden, which has thousands of exquisite roses. The best time to visit the Parque del Oeste is in May when the roses are in full bloom. Anyone visiting in May can also take part in the International Competition of New Roses. Besides roses, this park is famous for its hundreds of evergreen trees and its Egyptian Templo de Debod. The closest metro stop to Parque del Oeste is Moncloa. Parque del Oeste is open from 10AM to 7PM in the winter and fall and from 10AM to 9PM in the summer and spring.
Casa de Campo
At 4,255 acres, Casa de Campo is unquestionably Madrid’s largest public park. Located in the central Moncloa-Aravaca district, Casa de Campo was once used as a hunting area for Spanish royals. You can still find a great deal of wildlife around Casa de Campo, but thankfully there are no hunters. Casa de Campo is one of the most family-friendly parks in the city thanks to its huge amusement park, zoo, and aquarium. Most tourist experts say the Casa de Campo looks its prettiest during autumn, but you could catch a few rock concerts here in the summer. The closest metro stop to this park is conveniently called Casa de Campo. You could also take an aerial lift from the Argüelles metro stop to Casa de Campo.
Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona
Named after the Prince of Anglona (1786-1851), Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona is an older garden located in an older section of Madrid. You’ll find Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona on Calle Principe Anglona, just a short walk from the Opéra metro station. This smaller garden is ideal for history buffs and nature lovers who want a bit of privacy. As you walk around this garden you’ll pass by a few extremely old trees and tranquil lakes. It’s also quite common to see peacocks here during the spring and summer. The Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona is open most days from 10AM to 6:30PM.
Campo Del Moro
Sometimes called the Moorish Garden in English, Campo Del Moro was named after Muslim troops who napped here during their failed attempt to take over the Royal Palace in the 12th century. Located at Paseo Virgen del Puerto near the Royal Palace, the Campo Del Moro was designed to be the Versailles of Spain. You can get exceptional pictures of the Royal Palace in the Pradera area, which goes from east to west and has a celebrated fountain. The best time of year to visit the Campo Del Moro is in the spring. This park is open from 10AM to 6PM from October through March and from 10AM to 8PM from April through September. Príncipe Pío is the closest metro stop to the Moorish Gardens.
Did you know Casa de Campo is at least five times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park? Although most New Yorkers won’t admit it, they can get pretty jealous when they see the massive green areas Madrid has in comparison to NYC. You could easily spend days of your Madrid vacation exploring and relaxing in this city’s many beautiful parks.