Awash with glorious art galleries, vibrant cafes and stunning architecture, Madrid is a wonderful destination to spend a long weekend or more this summer. While it might not have a beach to relax on, it still has some excellent outdoor spaces where you can unwind and enjoy the weather.
Here are five of Madrid’s finest outdoor spaces for basking in the summer sun:
1) Casa del Campo
Where: Paseo Puerta del Ángel, 1
How to get there: Metro line 5 (Casa de Campo station) or line 10 (Lago, Casa de Campo or Batan stations)
Opening hours: Daily throughout the year
Madrid is home to Spain’s largest green space, the vast and beautiful Casa del Campo, which dates all the way back to the 16th century. A little outside of central Madrid, it is well worth the trip to bask in the sunshine in such pretty surroundings – and it has plenty more to offer than wide open spaces and scenery alone.
In fact, it has a zoo, a fairground, a cable car, a lake for boating and kayaking, a good selection of restaurants, and more – so it’s very easy to spend the whole day here and still have plenty of reasons to come back again. With so much to do and offering a larger green oasis than Madrid residents can find anywhere else locally, it is also a bustling place that’s perfect for people watching. However, thanks to its size, there are usually plenty of quieter spots too for those seeking a little more tranquility.
2) Circulo de Bellas Artes (rooftop cafe)
Where: Calle de Alcalá, 42
How to get there: Take the Metro to Banco de Espana station
Opening hours: Throughout the week 9am to 9pm, staying open later on Fridays and Saturdays
If you like the sound of relaxing with a drink and taking in some amazing city views, head to the rooftop cafe at Circulo de Bellas Artes. It costs a few euros to enter, but the stunning vistas of Madrid’s skyline make it a worthy investment. In fact, from here you can see virtually the entire city, from grand buildings and bustling streets to green spaces and monuments. Plus, you can do so while relaxing in comfort, enjoying the sun with a drink in hand.
3) Parque del Buen Retiro
Where: Plaza de la Independencia, 7
How to get there: Disembark at one of the following Metro stations: Retiro, Príncipe de Vergara, Ibiza, Atocha
Opening hours: From May to September, 6am to midnight, and from October to April, 6am to 11pm
Spanning 118 hectares, Parque del Buen Retiro provides ample space for escaping the bustle of the city and enjoying the sunshine. Its beautiful green landscape is threaded through with monuments, fountains and attractive buildings, so it’s little wonder this space is popular among locals and tourists alike.
Despite its popularity, it has a particularly tranquil feel, especially on weekdays; at the weekends, it takes on a more vibrant atmosphere. The artificial lake is the real heart of this park, and it’s here that you can rent rowboats or relax at the weekend as crowds gather to enjoy a summer sunset over the water.
Highlights include the Palacio de Cristal, which you’ll find on the south side of the lake. Currently, this stunning building is used to house temporary exhibitions, but its original purpose was as a winter garden for exotic flowers.
A particularly charming thing about this park is that there are plenty of hidden corners to discover, including the peaceful Jardin de los Planteles.
4) Jardines de Sabatini
Where: Balien Street, 2
How to get there: Via the Metro, take line 2 to Opera station or line R to Principe Pio station
Opening hours: From May to September, 9am to 10pm; from October to April, 9am to 9pm
Located to the north of the Palacio Real, the Jardines de Sabatini are a real delight to stroll around. Created in the formal French style, this beautiful garden gives no hint that it was once the location of the estate’s stables. Its highlights include its large fountain, conifers and sculptures.
Taking a leisurely stroll through this space, which is part of the royal palace, is a wonderful way to spend a tranquil morning or afternoon enjoying the sunshine. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the garden is used as a location for staged events, such as flamenco dancing, so check what will be on during your stay – you might just get the chance to see something special in this glorious setting.
5) Jardin del Principe de Anglona
Where: Calle Príncipe Anglona
How to get there: Via the Metro, take line 5 for La Latina or line 1 to Tirso de Molina
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm, seven days a week
If you want to get off the beaten track, pay a visit to the Jardin del Principe de Anglona. Tucked away in the neighbourhood of La Latina, this small garden feels worlds away from the busy city streets, enclosed as it is in high walls.
Commissioned in the 18th century, it spans approximately 8,600 square feet and, despite restoration work in the 20th century, still possesses its original layout and brick path flooring. It’s a lovely spot for a gentle stroll, while there are plenty of benches where you can sit, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings; this is very much a place that’s best experienced at a leisurely pace.
Going to Madrid soon? Read about more things to do in Madrid this summer.