1. Parque del Retiro

    In 1767, Carlos III broke with tradition by allowing members of the public into the Retiro, providing they were “washed and suitably dressed”. However it was not until the 1860s and the advent of the First Republic that the partitions separating the royal enclosure from the public area were finally torn down for good .

    Parque del Retiro

    Parque del Retiro
  2. Jardín Botánico

    The botanical garden is the perfect place to recharge the batteries after the exhausting walk around the Prado Museum. The shady paths are lined with statues, the air cooled by judiciously sited fountains .

  3. Jardines de Campo del Moro

    Surprisingly, the gardens in the palace grounds were not laid out until the 19th century. The name, “Moor’s field” refers to the Arab general, Ali Ben Yusuf, who is said to have camped here while besieging the city after it had fallen to the Christians. On a fine day, the views of the palace and the Casa de Campo from here are unbeatable.

    • Open Apr–Sep: 10am–8pm Mon–Sat, 9am–8pm Sun, Oct–Mar: 10am–6pm Mon–Sat, 9am–6pm Sun

    • Closed public hols

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  4. Parque del Oeste

    This lovely park, to the west of the city as its name suggests, was designed in the early 20th century by Cecilio Rodríguez, head gardener at the Retiro. Apart from the rosaleda (rose garden), the main attraction is the Temple of Debod, an ancient monument, dating from the 2nd century BC. It was a gift from the Egyptian government. Cafés abound on Paseo del Pintor Rosales, a terminus of the Teleférico.

    • Free

    • Dis. access

    • Closed to cars at weekends

    Parque del Oueste
  5. Casa de Campo

    The city’s largest green space and Felipe II’s favourite hunting ground was opened to the public with the overthrow of the monarchy in 1931. Attractively planted with pines, oaks, poplars, and other trees, there are also huge areas of open space, mostly scrub. The amenities include cafés, picnic areas, restaurants, a boating lake, a zoo and the Parque de Atracciones amusement park.

    • Metro Lago or Casa de Campo

    • Free

  6. Parque Juan Carlos I

    This attractive park lies within the exhibition grounds of the Campo de las Naciones. Highlights include catamaran trips on the river and the largest fountain in Spain, with 300 jets.

    • Metro Campo de las Naciones

    • Open 7am–1am Sun–Thu, 7am–3am Fri–Sat (summer), 7am–11pm Mon–Fri, 7am–midnight Sat–Sun (winter)

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  7. Jardines de Sabatini

    These small gardens next to the Palacio Real occupy the site of the royal stables. Laid out in the 1930s, the design was based on original 18th-century plans. A quiet, restful place for a picnic .

    • Open Apr–Sep: 9am–10:30pm daily; Oct–Mar: 9am–9pm daily

  8. Parque de Berlín

    When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, everyone wanted a piece of the action. Set among the fountains at the far end of this small neighbourhood park, near the Auditorio Nacional, are three concrete sections of the wall with original graffiti. Children’s play areas and plenty of places to eat and drink are nearby.

    • Príncipe de Vergara

    • Metro Concha Espina

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  9. Estación de Atocha

    The space beneath the magnificent iron-and-glass canopy at Madrid’s central railway station is occupied by a miniature botanical garden, replete with palms and tropical plants .

  10. Parque El Capricho

    These delightful 18th-century gardens belonged to the palace of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna and were landscaped by Jean Baptiste Mulot, the gardener at Versailles, outside Paris. They have been restored to their former glory with tree-lined paths, fountains, a lake and follies.

    • Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna

    • Metro El Capricho

    • Open 9am–6:30pm Sat–Sun & hols (to 9pm Apr–Sep)

    • Closed 1 Jan, 25 Dec

    • Free

    • Dis. access

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