It might not be the first thing you think of when picturing Madrid, but the Spanish capital is flush with parks. From small city gardens to sprawling green spaces, there are plenty of places to relax. So take a break from museums, shops, and restaurants, and enjoy a little down-time at one of the best parks in Madrid.
Most visitors to Madrid only hear about a couple of the city’s primary parks. And many more don’t get a chance to visit any! We think it’s a shame to go all that way without making the most of your destination. Whether you set aside an hour or an entire afternoon, be sure to visit at least one park to enjoy the sun while you’re in Madrid.
But which to choose? With so many beautiful spots on the cards, settling on just one can seem tricky. Here, we’ll bring you our top parks in Madrid to help narrow down the search and make planning your trip more comfortable.
The Best Parks in Madrid
There are all kinds of parks to explore in Madrid. From large public spaces which have been around for decades to once-royal gardens, only recently opened to visitors. Let’s take a look at some of the best parks in Madrid.
- Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
- Parque del Buen Retiro
- Parque de El Capricho
- Parque de Juan Carlos I
- Jardines de Sabatini
- Casa de Campo
- Parque Europa
- Parque de las Siete Tetas
- Madrid Río Park
- El Parque Quinta de la Fuente del Berro
- Campo del Moro
- Parque del Oeste
We’ll explore some of these parks in a little more detail, so you can prepare for your trip before you arrive.
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is, without doubt, one of the best parks in the Spanish capital. Particularly if you’re visiting in spring. On the banks of the river Manzanares, this bright botanical garden is a favourite among visitors and locals alike, with plenty of space to spread out and explore.
It started as the private botanical garden of King Fernando VI when botany was a popular royal pastime. The gardens were re-opened as a public space in 1981. A small entrance fee is still charged, which means you can expect a higher level of care and maintenance here than in some of the other parks around Madrid where entry is free.
Explore beds of bright blooming tulips, roses, and lilies on display as you wander around. The park is split into seven outside areas, with a further five greenhouses filled with plants from around the world.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Also known as El Retiro, or often just Retiro, this is one of the biggest parks in Madrid. It’s the perfect choice if you only have time to visit one during your trip. Strewn with monuments, gardens, and centred around a vast artificial lake, there are lots of things to see and do here.
Retiro is another once-royal spot. Laid out by King Felipe IV in the 17th century, the park was finally opened to the public in 1868 and has been a locals’ favourite ever since.
Look for a shaded bench and read a book, enjoy an afternoon out on the lake, or sip house vermouth in one of Retiro’s many open-air terrazas. What could be better?
Parque de El Capricho
Capricho is another of the most impressive parks Madrid has to offer. This 14-hectare space is the only park in the city designed in the Spanish Romantic style, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts in the area.
Parque de El Capricho is one of the most beautiful places in Madrid, although it tends to be off the tourist trail and can be a little quieter than some better-known spots. We think that makes it even more special.
There are three main areas to explore, each with their own personality. Discover beautiful Italian-style fountains and statues, perfectly maintained flower gardens, and an 18th-century palace nestled inside the park. There’s also a unique farmhouse to explore, with life-size figures and furniture to represent the old-timey lifestyle.
Parque de Juan Carlos I
If you’re searching for wide-open spaces, Juan Carlos I could be the park for you. Over 160 hectares wide, this vast green space is home to an olive grove, a lake, an auditorium, and an activity centre.
There’s also a skating rink, a golf course, and a bike rental within the park. Not to mention watersports available on the lake. It’s a perfect choice for an afternoon stroll or a full day of fun with the family.
Jardines de Sabatini
Enjoying royal parks? Next up is Sabatini Gardens, which were part of the Royal Palace of Madrid before being opened to the public in the 20th century. These neoclassical gardens boast nearly pruned hedges, beautiful symmetrical trees, and smooth sandy paths that you can explore at leisure. There’s also a shallow reflecting pool and lots of impressive sculptures and statues scattered about.
Enjoy spectacular views of the Royal Palace while you wander around this beautiful and flourishing park. We recommend you head here for sunset. The pink and golden tones of dusk highlight the grey stone palace beautifully.
Casa de Campo
The most immense green space in Madrid, Casa de Campo covers around 2,100 hectares. It’s perfect for a quick hike without travelling too far, or a leisurely bike ride and lots of fresh air.
For a memorable entrance, take the cable car into the park. Known locally as the Teleférico, this unique ride carries visitors from Rosales station into the centre of the park. You’ll alight close to play areas, hiking trails, and a restaurant with beautiful views across the city.
There’s also a zoo, aquarium, and an amusement park hidden inside Casa de Campo. If you want to really get out of the city, this is the place for you.
Madrid Río Park
An excellent spot for an afternoon stroll, Madrid Río Park was completed in 2011, making it one of the most modern choices on our list. It’s just a stone’s throw from the city centre, but a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle.
Things to see include the Matadero, Madrid’s former slaughterhouse, which is a cultural hub today. Head here for Spain’s only documentary cinema, exhibition spaces, a restaurant, and traditional outdoor markets.
Río Park is also home to lots of unique footbridges. These include a substantial spiral tube bridge, the Arganzuela, which links two neighbourhoods through the park. Not to mention the Puente de Toledo, a historic bridge built between 1718 and 1732.
The river and riverside which run through Río Park are also embellished with lots of food stalls and drinks terraces. It’s an ideal place to stop for refreshments on a hot summer’s day.
Other parks in Madrid
Or check out one of the city’s other beautiful parks! From old royal gardens to breathtaking modern grounds, there’s a green space for everyone in the Spanish capital.
Getting Around Madrid
Madrid is a substantial city, which means it won’t always be possible to walk to your destination. If it’s too far or if you don’t have time, save your legs and take public transport wherever you need to go.
You can take the metro, bus, tram, or train to get around Madrid. The most popular option for tourists is the metro, which can transport you from A to B in moments. There are over 300 metro stations in Madrid, with services running from 06:00 to 01:30. Trains depart every two minutes during peak time, and every 15 minutes throughout the rest of the day. So you’ll never need to wait long for a ride.
Choosing a metro ticket in Madrid
Swipe on and off the Madrid metro with a Tarjeta Multi, a contactless travel card which lasts for up to ten years! You can pick up yours at any metro station or from some local shops, and it’ll be free if you load a multi-day travel pass onto it. Otherwise, the cost of your Tarjeta Multi will be €2.50.
A multi-day fare lets you travel on any Madrid metro for the entire duration of your trip. Alternatively, load a ten-trip ticket onto your card and ride – you guessed it – ten times. This could be the right choice if you only plan to use the metro a handful of times and don’t want to buy a new ticket for each journey.
Taking the train to Madrid
Thanks to the efficient service run by Renfe – Spain’s national train company – it’s easy to reach Madrid by train. High-speed AVE trains can get you from Barcelona to Madrid in 2h 30m on the fastest services, Valencia to Madrid in 1h 40m and Seville to Madrid in 2h 30m. Trains to Madrid arrive into one of the city’s two main stations – Madrid Atocha or Madrid Chamartín; look out for the botanical garden if you arrive into the former!
Want to learn more about travelling by rail in Spain? Read our guide to trains in Spain, your one-stop-shop for all things rail. Our Renfe page also gives you the lowdown on Spain’s national train operator, including how to find the cheapest tickets.