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Jardines de Sabatini
Jardines de Sabatini

23 beautiful Madrid parks and gardens

Discover the inviting green spaces of Madrid's parks and gardens, from the glorious Retiro to the massive Casa de Campo, to tiny hidden gardens

By Noelia Santos
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We've got something to say to those who think Madrid is just a city of concrete and smoke. Although you might not notice at first, there are actually numerous parks and gardens around the city; some are hard to miss, and some are tucked away, the kind you can get to only if you know where they are. The result of our extensive search for green spaces in Madrid is this guide to 23 uniquely wonderful public parks, from the centre to the outskirts (and we all know there are many more).

Invernadero del Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela

Things to do Legazpi

This garden is a complete delight: more than 7,000 square metres of plants and vegetation set in what was once a municipal slaughterhouse. It was built between 1908 and 1928 by architect Luis Bellido y González. The restoration was done in the style of 19th-century London or Viennese greenhouses and accommodates 9,000 species of plants, including cacti and succulents, and even some species of fish. Seriously, the place will blow you away.

Fundación Olivar de Castillejo

Museums Santiago Bernabéu

You don't have to leave Madrid to visit this magnificent olive grove (the 'olivar' part of the park's name). Just a few metres from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu you'll find this green space and its foundation, where more than 100 century-old olive trees are conserved along with almond trees and rockrose and bloom plants, and along the border of the plot, rosemary. Various cultural activities are organised in the gardens, including the summer cinema cycle that attracts locals in July and August with the year's top films.

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Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona
© Losmininos

Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona

Things to do La Latina

In a forgotten corner of Plaza de la Paja, in the La Latina neighbourhood, you’ll find this hidden garden. A brick wall keeps prying eyes away from Príncipe de Anglona’s best-kept secret: the garden he used to stroll through when he lived in the adjacent palace back in the 19th century. A small stone fountain in the centre of the enclosure is the starting (or ending) point of several stone pathways. The park also features an iron arbour, and a pergola that transforms into a colorful rose garden in spring.

El Retiro

Things to do

The origins of this 118-hectare park date back to the construction of the Monasterio de los Jerónimos by Queen Isabela I and King Ferdinand II. Currently, it’s one of the most popular green areas for people to go jogging, boating, picnicking and walking with pets. It’s worth checking out the monument to Alfonso XII, a large colonnade by José Riera Grases overlooking the pond, the Casón del Buen Retiro, a majestic ballroom that nowadays belongs to the Museo del Prado, and the Palacio de Cristal, built for the 1887 Philippine Exposition.

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Café del Jardín del Museo del Romanticismo

Bars and pubs Café bars Malasaña

Hidden away in an enclosed garden is this lovely café and tearoom, where you can get home-made cakes and pastries – perfect for breakfast or a snack. The garden café is in the Museo del Romanticismo, an ideal setting for those partial to the work of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Goethe, Lord Byron and Rosalía de Castro. The museum houses a lovely collection of more than 1,600 pieces, including furniture, paintings, crockery, pianos, and more, which have been available for public viewing once again since 2009 after a massive remodelling.

Dalieda de San Francisco
Time Out

Dalieda de San Francisco

Things to do La Latina

Next to the Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, in La Latina, lies this small park, divided into several beds of dahlias. Overshadowed by the majesty of the adjacent church, this viewpoint is one of the best and quietest places in Madrid to take in a beautiful sunset. The 'San Isidro' group of sculptures, designed by Santiago Costa, presides over the area. An ideal spot for a romantic rendezvous.

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Jardín Casa Museo Lope de Vega
© Daniel López García

Casa-Museo Lope de Vega

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Barrio de las Letras

Spain's most prolific playwright and poet, Félix Lope de Vega Carpio (1562-1635) spent the last 25 years of his life in this simple, tranquil three-storey house. The house and charming garden – remarkable survivors from the Golden Age – are the most interesting things to see. The furniture and ornaments, are approximations to Lope de Vega's household inventory rather than being the originals. However, even the garden, where Lope would sit after a day's writing, contains the same fruit trees and plants he detailed in his journals.

Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste
© José Javier Martin Espartosa

Rosaleda Parque del Oeste

Things to do Argüelles

This more-than-30,000-square-metre rose garden is the perfect spot to woo your sweetheart, hone your photography skills, or simply stroll among the splendid flowers, fountains and greenery. It was built in 1956 by the head gardener of Madrid’s city government, Ramón Ortiz. In the centre of the rose garden you’ll find a pond where water lilies float, presided over by a statue of a nymph. The park’s many flowerbeds boast more than 500 varieties of roses, which are the subject of an annual competition for the most beautiful blossom. You can feast your eyes on them yourself for free year-round.

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Museo Sorolla
Museo Sorolla

Jardines del Museo Sorolla

Museums Castellana

Joaquín Sorolla was a true proponent of Luminism, the celebration of light. Although Luminism doesn't wow everyone, with its look nearly akin to simple postcard motifs, Sorolla (famous during his lifetime for his paintings where the sun fills the frame, including portraits and family scenes on beaches and in gardens) is often considered a Neo-Impressionist, and his museum is worth a look-in.

El Huerto de las Monjas

Things to do Austrias

This is one of the most charming secret gardens in Madrid. The Huerto de las Mojas was once protected by the walls of a convent, whose nuns turned the space into a garden. You can get in through a passageway between modern buildings at No 7 on C/Sacramento. In 1972, the religious building was demolished in order to build flats, though fortunately the garden remained untouched. In the centre you can admire a small fountain featuring three bronze cherubs at the centre of the space.

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Jardines de las Vistillas

Attractions Ships and boats La Latina

One of Madrid’s most traditional green spaces. Located in La Latina, next to the Viaducto de Segovia, the Fiestas de San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid, are held here every year. At the southern end, you’ll find Parque de la Cornisa, which surrounds the Real Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, and which has an extensive area of gardens Venture to the top of the hillside to enjoy some really spectacular views.

Jardines del Museo Lázaro Galdiano
© José Luis RDS

Jardines del Museo Lázaro Galdiano

Things to do Barrio de Salamanca

For reasons unbeknownst to us, this museum remains unknown to many in Madrid, yet its collection is extraordinarily ecclectic: 15,000 paintings and objets d'art covering 24 centuries of history, accumulated over more than 70 years by financier and bibliophile José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947). The museum hosts a variety of activities, including guided tours, workshops for children, concerts and conferences. We recommend you stop in and admire the four-storey mansion and its gardens, which also don't get many visitors.

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Jardines del Campo del Moro
© Patrimonio Nacional

Jardines del Campo del Moro

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Centro

This vast garden was named after a Muslim leader in the Middle Ages, Ali Ben Yusut, who attempted to capture the fortress that is now the Palacio Real. Unfortunately, it is only accessible from the Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto side, requiring a fairly long walk down Cuesta de San Vicente or Cuesta de la Vega. As a reward, however, you'll find a quiet, leafy garden (in complete contrast to its surroundings) with two fine monumental fountains where you can see peacocks and forget about the outside world.

La Quinta de los Molinos
© Kus Cámara

La Quinta de los Molinos

Things to do Walks and tours Ciudad Lineal

There's a park in Madrid that even many locals don't know about, where the almond trees bloom each spring. It's the Quinta de Los Molinos, in the El Salvador neighbourhood. Its 21.5 acres are home to a large number of olive, pine and eucalyptus trees, as well as various fountains and a lake. But the real stars of the show are the white and pink flowers on the almond trees, which give off a heady scent.

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Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico

Real Jardín Botánico

Attractions Parks and gardens Centro

Madrid's luscious botanical gardens were created for Charles III by Juan de Villanueva and the botanist Gómez Ortega in 1781. They are right alongside the Paseo del Prado, just south of the Prado museum, but inside this deep-green glade, with over 30,000 plants from around the world, it's easy to feel that city life has been put on hold. A sign at the entrance asks that you treat the gardens as if they were a museum, but don't feel bad about getting comfortable with a book for a while; it is one of the best spots in Madrid to do so.

Jardín Tropical de Atocha
©Álvaro Ibáñez

Jardín Tropical Estación de Atocha

Things to do Centro

A good book, a cup of coffee, and hundreds of turtles that live in this mini urban jungle make it one of the best ways to wait for a train. Some 7,000 plants of 400 different species make up this unusual garden with its own microclimate that lives under the glass and metal structure of the train station.

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Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna
© Parque de El Capricho

Parque de El Capricho

Attractions Parks and gardens Alameda de Osuna

In Alameda de Osuna in the district of Barajas, you'll find El Capricho (literally, 'The Whim'), a garden that is a jewel of Romanticism and a monument to 18th-century taste. Within its 14 hectares lie an artificial river, lakes, woods, gardens, simulations of temples and other surprising nooks. Building work was begun in 1780 on order of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, the most cultivated couple among the aristocracy of their time, supporters of the ideas of the enlightenment and patrons to many artists.

Jardines de Sabatini

Museums Austrias

Welcome to one of the most beautiful spots in the old centre of Madrid (known as Madrid de los Austrias). This neoclassical-style garden faces the north facade of the Palacio Real, between C/Bailén and Cuesta de San Vicente. With a large circular fountain and a small pond where tourists and locals cool off in summer, its French style has made it a unique green space in Madrid.

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Parque de Berlín
© Gonzalo Malpartida

Parque de Berlín

Things to do Chamartín

The 'Berlin Park' brings a piece of Germany to Spain. You'll find a fountain with three sections of the Berlin Wall presiding over it. The remnants of the wall that divided Berlin and Germany from its construction in 1961 until its fall in 1989 share space with a statue of Beethoven and a bear that symbolises the city of Berlin, which is a sister city of Madrid.

Parque Juan Carlos I
Shuterstock

Parque Juan Carlos I

Attractions Parks and gardens Campo de las Naciones

This huge park, which was opened as a green space when Madrid became the European Capital of Culture in 1992, lies between the airport and the Feria de Madrid trade fair centre. Although its trees have taken some time to grow enough to offer shade, the different gardens here, like Tres Culturas, the artificial river, the attractions for children and the fountains, have all made it a favourite place at weekends in good weather.

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Parque Europa

Things to do Off Madrid

Go through the Brandenburg Gate take a photo in front of London Bridge, toss coins into Trevi Fountain, and pledge your eternal love to your partner in front of the Eiffel Tower – all on the same day and without leaving Madrid. Parque Europa, in Torrejón de Ardoz, offers a free quick tour of 17 European monuments, and there's plenty of other fun to be had in the park as well.

Casa de Campo
© Edescas2

Casa de Campo

Things to do Casa de Campo

At over 1,722 acres, the Casa de Campo is Spain's largest green space. The park has a large lake, where you can hire a boat or a kayak, sports facilities, numerous paths through the trees and bushes for running and cycling, and various leisure facilities like the famous cable car, an amusement park, the Zoo Aquarium, a fairground and the Madrid Arena. There are plenty of restaurants scattered throughout the park, mainly around the lake.

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Madrid Río

Things to do Walks and tours Madrid

The interminable works on the M-30 finally paid off and it’s now a pleasure to walk along the banks of the Manzanares. There are a considerable number of leisure areas with swings, ziplines and slides along these ten kilometres of green zone. There are also fountains and streams for kids to play with in summer and bars with extensive terrace seating. The park has majestic bridges that unite both banks, and plenty of green spaces. If you've got them, definitely bring along your bicycle or skates.

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