What surprised me when I first moved to Madrid is the fact that even though you are in an industrial capital city, there are plenty of green gateways, where you can definitely relax and switch off reality for a while. Madrid’s parks are spread all over the city and can be considered an oasis away from the city’s lights, traffic, subway, and crowded shopping streets! So, if you are looking for some greenery upon visiting the Spanish capital, here are some parks that you should include in your agenda.
What the park gives us is a place to relax, a place to relieve stress and, at the same time, to appreciate nature. In the urban center, all you see is concrete - Moises Camacho
The Parque del Buen Retiro, or simply "Retiro" as most people call it, is one of Madrid's largest parks. It used to belong to the Spanish Monarchy till the late 19th century and later on became a public park. It is one of the city's green lungs, and it is quite popular among the Madrileños. It is commonly frequented by people strolling, doing sports, reading their books, or simply enjoying some fresh air. Exhibitions and public meet-ups are also organized there, so it is absolutely a place for everyone looking to escape the city's noisy reality and enjoy some nature! The park is home to a large artificial lake, where you can even rent a rowing boat for a romantic stroll with your significant other.
The Glass Palace, located also in the park, catches the visitor's attention and should, of course, not be missing from your list. This spectacular semi-hidden monument within the Parque del Retiro of Madrid was born with the intention of hosting temporary international art exhibitions. What fascinates its visitors is its diaphanous completely glazed construction, which could very well be featured in Disney’s Frozen! Next to it, there is an artificial lake that is just as impressive, so do not miss the chance to explore it!
Like Retiro, Madrid Rio is a well-known recreational green area that can be found in the city's heart. It is ideal for families with children, as it houses plenty of modern playgrounds, all with swings made from sustainable, natural materials such as wood and hemp rope, forming webs, hammocks, hanging bridges, or even climbing vines. Located at the Madrid district of Arganzuela, next to the Manzanares River, which functions as a natural border between the center and the south of the city, it is easily accessible with the city’s public transportation.
Nearby, you will find El Matadero, which is a living and changing space at the service of creative processes - or to call it simply, a cultural center. Very frequently you might encounter artistic exhibitions of all kinds - graffitis, graphic design, new technologies, paintings, music, cinema, conferences, meditation, film viewings, and any expression of art that comes to mind.
The Casa de Campo is currently the main lung of the city and houses numerous activities linked to its purpose as a place of recreation and education for citizens. It is Madrid's largest public park, and it is also one of the locals' favorite for outdoor sports, such as running, yoga, dancing, and so on. The park is probably Madrid's most royal park, as in the past it served as a royal site for hunting and thus got its name: it was the king's 'country house'. In 2010, it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest.
Grab your favorite book, your Ipad, a coffee, or a beer (whatever you prefer) and escape reality while exploring the best parks in the city of Madrid! Casa de Campo, El Retiro Park, and Madrid Río are Madrid’s best known green areas. Still, almost every neighborhood in the city has its own park, square, or community garden for visitors to step off the pavement or do outdoor sports. Wherever you may roam, the greenery will appear right in front of you!
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