Although some may have you believe that Paris in springtime is the only place to be, this adopted Madrileño will always opt for a Spanish springtime. Of course, it’s undeniable that the French capital comes alive during the spring, but there’s just something about a blooming Madrid this time of year that warms the heart.
Already master strollers in any type weather, Madrileños swarm into the lively streets and sun-filled terraces at the first hint of warm air and long sunny days. And for those looking to enjoy a bit more of nature’s brilliance at this time of year, the Iberian capital has quite a few parks scattered around the city that really sprout in the springtime. Take a look at my personal choices for the best Madrid parks every visitor should explore while on a trip to the elegant capital city.
Starting off with the city’s most famous park, which dates back to 1505, Retiro is an expansive 350-acre park smack dab in the city and is filled with classical gardens, beautiful sculptures, mini-lakes, and an abundance of locals dressed in their Sunday finest. For many, it is the place to put on your best casual attire and stroll along the man-made lake until you make it to the spectacular Crystal Palace, where you can feed the turtles and fish while you pretend to not people watch.
El Capricho Park
Probably one of the best kept secrets among locals, El Parque Capricho is a park lovers dream come true. The park dates back to 1784.
It was once the residence of the Dukes of Osuna. The “whimsical” park was designed by the Duchess herself, Doña María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimente.
Today, it’s a idyllic green park that’s home to a small palace, beautiful sculptures, a duck pond, antique bee houses, incredible flower gardens and a variety of hidden surprises including restored bunkers from the Spanish Civil War. Although pretty far from the center, this park is accessible by subway and makes a perfect escape from the city’s bustling and crowded center.
West Park and the Temple of Debod
El Parque Oeste is one of those city parks with a little bit of everything. Referred to by my conservative Spanish in-laws as the “Hippy Park”, this park is full of skaters, tai-chi practioners, yoga students, fire breathers, dogs, cats, acrobats, professional protesters, theater performers, children’s play groups, a few junkies here and there and most definitely, young blooming love.
Although scattered with just about everything, the most notable and most famous landmark is the beautiful Debod Temple that was a gift to the Spanis capital from Egypt. It greets visitors as they enter the park’s main promenade and is really a beautiful landmark in the city.
El Quinto de Molinos Park
If you visit one park in Madrid during springtime, you must visit “los Quintos”. Although make sure to ask a local when the almond trees (almendros) are blooming to get the full effect of this beautiful, off-the beaten path park. Registered as a Historic Park and Heritage Site of Cultural Interest, the land originally belonged to a rich Count, who gifted it to his friend, an architecture professor.
After his death, the architect’s family donated it to the city as a public space. The blooming almond trees are certainly the star of the show here, but there’s also a small pond with a water mill and even an olive grove.
Are you a flower lover? Check out Where to See Spring Blossoms in Europe.