The three lungs of Madrid
El Retiro Park
The most famous park in Madrid is El Parque del Buen Retiro, which is abbreviated as Retiro by most people. Originally a royal meeting place, it was once a stage for garden performances and concerts. Today it is famous for its wide cobbled paths, beautiful crystal palace, immaculate stone fountains and expansive man-made lakes, with rowboats available for hire. Culture can still be experienced here; in summer, the park hosts free concerts and open-air exhibitions by artists from all over the world.
While Retiro is definitely a major tourist attraction today, nothing can diminish its incredible natural beauty. Come for a jog or bike ride or take a walk and admire the beautiful surroundings.
Casa de Campo
With its 1,535.52 hectares, this natural space is the largest public park in Madrid.The history of Casa de Campo began when Philip II decided to move the court to Madrid and live in Madrid. The king established a mansion to connect the palace to the hunting grounds in El Pardo, adding fields purchased from neighbors. With the arrival of the Second Republic (1931), the space was given to the residents of Madrid, who have since made it their favorite park. Under the leadership of Ferdinand VI, this place was declared the Royal Forest. In view of the hunting and rural use of the manor and its proximity to the palace, the original Vargas manor was extended into royal apartments for these purposes.
Parque del Oeste
Parque del Oeste is one of Madrid’s unique parks and a real hidden gem, dotted with evergreen trees common in Northern Europe. However, it has another place where it has become famous for; the beautiful rose garden, where a colorful rose show is staged every spring. When all the beautiful roses are in full bloom, a walk in the park is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Outside the southern edge of the park lies a special treasure: the Temple of Debod an ancient Egyptian temple. This is the ideal place to stop and admire the sunset after a walk in the rose garden!
By: Felisha Mia, The Hague ’21