Things to do in Madrid

Madrid Parks and Gardens

Join us as we explore Madrid parks and gardens, which promise tranquillity and natural beauty amid the urban bustle.

When compiling your itineraries of things to do in Madrid, schedule some time to rest and relax in nature. Local parks and gardens provide a range of beautiful spaces to connect with nature. Lace up your walking shoes and join us on a tour of the best parks in the city.

Large Urban Parks

From admiring sculptures to visiting a zoo, Madrid is filled with large urban parks.

1. Parque de El Retiro

Parque de El Retiro sits in the city center, covers over 125 ha, and has over 15,000 trees. Be sure to visit Jardín de Vivaces and Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez, where you can discover a showcase of perennial plants and classic Andalusian garden designs.

As you wander through this park, you’ll encounter all kinds of sculptures, fountains, and historic spots. For example, the restored Monkey Pit was once home to baboons, but today, they live in much more suitable housing at the Madrid Zoo. Check out the Monument to Alfonso XII, which looks over the lake.

In 2021, the park snagged a UNESCO World Heritage Site title alongside the Paseo del Prado, and it’s not hard to see why. Both form part of the capital’s Landscape of Light, demonstrating how Madrid is one big melting pot.

Photographer: Lazar Krstić

2. Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo is the city's largest park, spanning over 1,500 ha. Its history dates back to King Philip II, who established it as a royal farm connecting the palace with the El Pardo hunting grounds. Over time, it’s become a beloved historical park in Madrid.

Be sure to check out the Botanical Trail, which showcases various plants. During your stroll, listen for woodpeckers, which can often be heard hammering away at the park’s many trees. For more animal encounters, visit the zoo located within the park or watch the birds on Casa de Campo Lake.

If you’re visiting with kids or simply enjoy expressing your playful side, the amusement park offers almost as many thrills as one of our shows.

The park is always open, so you can visit for a pre-dawn run, an afternoon of leisure, or a sunset cycle.

3. Parque Juan Carlos I

Parque Juan Carlos I is a vast green space crisscrossed by accessible walkways. It features a lake, an estuary, and peaceful olive groves. In addition to the gorgeous natural scenery, you can seek out the 19 outdoor sculptures.

Areas for children and seniors ensure the park offers something for everyone, with sports facilities and a spot for dogs to run free. For optimal park viewing, rent bicycles and explore on two wheels. Be sure to visit the Garden of Three Cultures, which symbolizes harmony between Christian, Jewish, and Arab communities.

4. Parque Madrid Río

Parque Madrid Río has undergone remarkable restoration in recent years, which has led to birds, such as herons and kingfishers, making their home here.

As you walk along the banks of the Manzanares River, look for stunning bridges, such as the famous Arganzuela Footbridge, designed by Dominique Perrault. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the Lady of Manzanares sculpture by Manuel Valdés.

Families flock to the park’s 17 play areas, which feature eco-friendly swings and obstacle courses for kids of all ages. The Madrid Río Beach, known as the city's green lung, provides a natural playground. On hot summer days, three wading pools offer respite to families from all over the city and beyond.

If you want to practice your serve, check out the Caja Mágica, a nearby state-of-the-art tennis center designed by Perrault.

5. Parque El Capricho

Parque El Capricho was founded in 1784 by the Duke and Duchess of Osuna. Over the centuries, it’s been a favorite place for creatives such as Leandro Fernández de Moratín and Francisco Goya.

After restoration in 1999, the park reopened, allowing new generations of Madrid locals and tourists to enjoy its botanical delights and sculptures. Its gardens are split into French, English, and Italian sections, each with its style. Once you’ve explored all three, look at the mansion, bandstand, lake, and labyrinth.

One fascinating feature of Parque El Capricho is the bunker that remains from the Spanish Civil War. This historical place once served as the headquarters of the Republican Army of the Central Region. Take a guided tour to learn about the city's history and this park's crucial role.

Photographer: Karabo_Spain

Historical Gardens

Madrid’s historical gardens enchant visitors with centuries of rich heritage and regal elegance.

6. Campo del Moro Gardens

Campo del Moro Gardens dates back to King Philip II's time. It earned the title of Artistic-Historic Monument in 1931 and has been wowing visitors ever since. A makeover in 1890 ensured the gardens' future preservation, including the beautiful fountains and fantastic views of the Royal Palace.

Two new entrances to the park opened in 2023, giving you new ways to explore this beautiful green space. You can access the gardens directly from Parque Madrid Río through the Túnel de Bonaparte. Why not spend the day exploring two of the city's parks?

Photographer: Joanna Sutkowska

7. Sabatini Gardens

During your time in Madrid, spend some quality time wandering around the classical-style Sabatini Garden. Designed as an extension of the Royal Palace, these gardens feature stunning sculptures originally intended for the palace’s cornice. The gardens' geometric layout makes them stand out as some of the most beautiful in the city.

The gardens are beautiful by day but truly spectacular at night. Pack a picnic and pick a spot by the central pond. Surrounded by fountains, trees, and marble sculptures, you can watch as the sunset transforms the palace’s gray stones with hues of yellow and red.

Botanical Gardens

Learn about trees, flowers, and more in Madrid’s botanical gardens, which feature carefully cataloged collections of plant species.

8. Real Jardín Botánico

The Real Jardín Botánico houses an impressive herbarium with more than 1 million dried and pressed samples. It also has a library with nearly 10,000 drawings and a live plant exhibition with 5,500 species.

Guided tours offer a chance to explore various plant species, from common onions to exotic flora. Follow the guide through the gardens and greenhouses to boost your botanic knowledge. You’ll learn about the features of plants in daily life and the history of interesting species.

9. Alfonso XIII Royal Botanical Garden

As you stroll along the central avenue of the Alfonso XIII Royal Botanical Garden on the Madrid University Campus, take a moment to breathe in the intoxicating scents. The Mediterranean flower beds showcase species typical of the local area.

We highly recommend the Wangari Maathai Walk, which features a stunning rose garden and vegetable garden bursting with color and life. Guided tours are available if you’re interested in delving deeper into the garden’s history and biodiversity. These tours offer fascinating insights into the garden’s diverse plant collections and ongoing research.

Local Parks and Green Spaces

No visit to Madrid would be complete without stopping by some of its parks, which provide accessible green spaces to residents and visitors. They also host many of the best festivals in Madrid, Spain. These are some of the parks we frequent when we're in town.

10. Parque Cerro del Tío Pío

We love the amazing views of Madrid from Parque Cerro del Tío Pío. If you sit on one of its many hills, you can spot landmarks in the southern part of the city.

It’s particularly popular at sunset when locals and visitors sit on the grass below the Illusory Ornamental Rectangle sculpture to quietly contemplate or hang out with friends. Parque Cerro del Tío Pío also has sports facilities and bike paths, making it the perfect place to get active.

If you get hungry or thirsty, there's an on-site kiosk. Sit on the terrace and enjoy your snack in style.

Photographer: José Luis Rodríguez Martínez

11. Dehesa de la Villa

Dehesa de la Villa has retained its natural woodland charm, making it unique among Madrid's parks. Nothing smells fresher than the cedar plantations, home to at least 70 species of birds. The park also has almond, acacia, ash, poplar, and elm trees.

The garden areas feature distinctive purple-leaved plum trees and shrubs, such as rosemary, rockrose, and broom. After walking the botanical trail, relax in the picnic area or head to the sports area to play a friendly game with friends.

12. Parque de San Isidro

Parque de San Isidro is the second-largest green space in the Carabanchel district. Usually known for its sporting facilities, this expansive park transforms into a lively fairground in mid-May, when it hosts part of the annual San Isidro festival.

One of the park’s highlights is the Palm Garden, home to various palm-like species. Stroll the scenic botanical path to discover ornamental fountains hidden among the perennials. This park also has vast meadows, dirt paths, and a dedicated bike path.

Next to the park, you’ll find the historic Hermitage of San Isidro. If you have time, stop by San Isidro Cemetery nearby. While you're there, take a guided tour to learn about the history of Madrid.

13. Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos

Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos has diverse olive, pine, and eucalyptus trees. The almond trees burst into pale pink blooms in early spring, creating a peaceful and beautiful spectacle. We love watching the petals flutter to the ground, twisting and turning like acrobats in one of our shows.

The north part of the park has a romantic landscape design, making it the perfect place to stroll with a date or catch up with a much-loved friend. Its southern area retains its agricultural charm. The main routes throughout the park are accessible for people with reduced mobility. Keep in mind, the park closes at 10 pm every day.

14. Parque Enrique Tierno Galván

Parque Enrique Tierno Galván offers many amenities for visitors of all ages, including two kids’ play areas, sports facilities, dedicated cycleways, and a running circuit. Check out the many viewpoints for a great view of the surrounding area.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Madrid Planetarium and the open-air auditorium, which hosts various events. Pay homage to the statue honoring Mayor Enrique Tierno Galván, who created one of the city's most beautiful parks for everyone to enjoy.

Waterfront Parks

A seaside stroll can calm your mind and leave you feeling refreshed. We always head to Parque Lineal del Manzanares when we want to go hiking in Madrid.

15. Parque Lineal del Manzanares

Parque Lineal del Manzanares is a large park bisected by the Manzanares River. There’s much to discover here, from the crescent-shaped Plaza Verde to the leafy Paseo de los Sentidos adorned with large trees and aquatic features.

Be sure to visit the iconic Lady of the Manzanares, a striking sculpture by artist Manolo Valdés that crowns the park's highest point. This bronze and steel sculpture overlooks the city, which spreads out below like the set of a spectacular show. At night, it lit up with lights that change color to match the season.

Finding Serenity: Unwinding in Madrid's Parks and Gardens

Exploring Madrid’s parks and gardens is a great way to connect with nature’s beauty. We invite you to experience a similar enchantment by attending one of our shows in Madrid.

Our performers bring spell-binding stories to life using breathtaking choreography, gravity-defying aerial tricks, and music that tugs at your heartstrings. We look forward to seeing you in the audience soon.

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