Madrid's Magnificent Parks
One thing most visitors don't expect to find amid Madrid's bustling metropolis are so many incredible parks, but with 33 million square meters dedicated to green space within the city limits, it's the most heavily forested city in Europe. Chances are you can find a cozy Madrid hotel in a lovely neighborhood within easy walking distance of these magnificent parks where you can not only get some face time with Mother Nature, but indulge your craving for history, culture and fun.
El Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid – Plaza de Murillo
Since 1781, this stately park next to the Prado Museum has been home to exotic plants brought to Madrid from all over the world. The neat beds are crowded not only with flowers and shrubbery but medicinal plants and herbs that are labeled for your education. Wild rose bushes bring splashes of color and fragrance to beds around the over 1,500 mature trees that flank meticulously manicured lawns.
The Buen Retiro Park - Calle de Salusatiano Olozaga
This mother of all parks harbors the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal), the Rose Garden (la Rosaleda), the Ministry of Culture's Museum (Palacio de Velázquez) and even a crescent-shaped boating lake. During the weekend, street theater performers, jugglers and magicians entertain the crowd while fortune tellers and portrait painters seek out one-on-one encounters. Once home to Spanish monarchy, the entire grounds were gifted to the public in the late 1900s and are always free to the public.
Monte de El Pardo – El Pardo Highway
Although it is just eight kilometers from Puerta del Sol in Madrid, this extensive 16,000 hectare park encompasses one of the most well-preserved Mediterranean forest in all Europe, making it an excellent place to get back to nature. Full of wildlife and fascinating flora and fauna, visitors can expect to encounter rabbits, partridges and even wild boars that make their home in this remarkably peaceful and quiet retreat from busy Madrid. Sports enthusiast hit the jogging trails that run around the perimeter of the River Manzanares valley while history buffs appreciate the museums in the El Pardo Palace while art lovers drool over the sculptures and paintings at the Convent of Our Lady of the Angels. If you go on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons, there is no charge.
Parque del Oeste – Paseo del Pinto Rosales
Considered the most beautifully landscaped park in Madrid, it may be close to great attractions like the Templo de Debod, but it provides an excellent setting for a serene stroll far from the maddening crowd. Great sweeping lawns, formal rose gardens and manmade hills are arranged to enhance romantic moments and enchant road-weary travelers. Once you're centered again, grab a ride on an old-fashioned cable car that will take you on a leisurely tour around the neighborhood.
Parque Enrique Tierno Galván - Calle Planetario
This relatively young city park doesn't have an illustrious past, but it is packed full of amusements primed for the present and future. Amid the luscious greenery lurks an IMAX 3-D cinema, a state-of-the-art Planetarium, an Amphitheater Auditorium and even a Motorcycle Museum. Admission to each attraction is separate but watching the model boat races on the four artificial ponds linked by waterfalls is always free.
Madrid is full of wonderful, affordable neighborhood hotels, to make your trip budget friendly. To find detailed information including pictures, & reviews check out Hostelbookers.com, and book yourself a cozy getaway in this great city.