Well, there may be no beach here, but there are plenty of parks to escape the high temperatures.
The capital has beautiful, interesting and important parks that all local residents can enjoy. Many of them have impressively well-kept and romantic landscapes. We've tried to put together a selection here of the best ones for cooling off. All of them can be reached by taking the Metro. Of course, with these high temperatures we advise you to go early or late in the day.
Let's start with the biggest of them all: it’s the largest public park in the municipality of Madrid. We're talking about Casa de Campo. It’s a historic garden, located in the west of the city, and it occupies 1,722.6 hectares. It’s twice the size of the Bois de Boulogne, in Paris, two and a half times larger than Dublin’s Phoenix Park, five times larger than New York’s Central Park and 6.5 times larger than London’s Hyde Park.
The history of Casa de Campo began when Felipe II decided to move the Court to Madrid and reside there. The king began to build an estate linking the Palace with the hunting lodge at El Pardo. Around this core area, farms and fields bought from the surrounding areas were added. After the proclamation of the Second Republic, it was ceded by the State to the people of Madrid (1 May 1931), and has remained open to the public ever since.
Batán (L10),Casa de Campo (L5, L10), Lago (L1 0)
The most well known
El Retiro park is a classic, one you're sure to have been to many times, but that's no reason not to mention it. It is a historic garden located in the centre of Madrid. It has 125 hectares and more than 15,000 trees, a real lung for the capital. Considered to be one of the city’s main tourist attractions, it houses numerous architectural ensembles, sculptures and landscapes from the 17th to the 21st centuries.
It was built in the first half of the 17th century as part of the landscaping project developed for the Palacio del Buen Retiro, a former royal possession created by the Count-Duke of Olivares for Felipe IV to enjoy. Its use as an urban park dates back to 1767, the year in which Carlos III allowed the public to enter for recreational purposes and, definitively, from 1868, when it came under the ownership of the Madrid City Council.
Retiro (L2), Ibiza (L9); Atocha (L1) y Atocha Renfe (L1)
Another big park
Parque Oeste is another of Madrid's large green spaces, with a surface area of almost 100 hectares. It stands out for its enormous variety of plant species, especially the exceptional population of conifers.
It’s a large English-style garden, with knolls, paths, groves, meadows and even a stream and a rose garden.
The park was built as part of an initiative by Alberto Aguilera, mayor of the city at the beginning of the 20th century, who in 1906 asked the landscape architect Abraham Pedraza to design a place for walks and for resting. Many years later, after being destroyed by the Civil War, it was rebuilt by Cecilio Rodríguez.
Moncloa (L3, L6), Plaza de España (L2, L3, L10), Príncipe Pío (L6, L10, R)
The most romantic
El Capricho Park is considered one of the most beautiful parks in the city and, paradoxically, one of the least well known (especially its Civil War bunker). The garden offers three different styles: the French parterre or garden, the English landscape and the Italian giardino.
It was created in 1784 by the Dukes of Osuna, mainly by the Duchess, Doña María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel. A patron of artists, bullfighters and intellectuals, the Duchess created a veritable natural paradise that was frequented by the most illustrious personalities of the time and where the most prestigious artists, gardeners and set designers worked. It covers an area of 14 hectares.It’s the only Romanticist garden in Madrid. Examples of this style include the labyrinth of bushes, the buildings, such as the mansion, the small hermitage or the beautiful ballroom, as well as the streams that run through it and the ponds, where swans and ducks can be found.
The least well known
And we finish with the Quinta de los Molinos Park, a historic garden which covers an area of 25 hectares. Although this park is not very well known, it’s one of the most spectacular during the blooming season of its vast expanse of almond trees. This garden was the property of the count of Torre Arias. In 1920, he gave it to the Alicante architect César Cort Botí, who was a professor of Urban Planning at the School of Architecture.
The park includes several groves in cultivated areas for almond and olive trees, as well as holm oaks, pines, eucalyptus and fig trees, among other species. At the top of the northern end of the park, the mansion designed at the beginning of the 20th century has been restored. There is also a pond, a mill and the building known as Casa del Reloj. A paved road, lined with large banana trees, almost run through it entirely from south to north, from the main entrance, at calle Alcalá, to the mansion.