Now that spring has just arrived I felt like writing a springly post. And what better than writing a post about parks? (The photos have been taken by myself during some of my visits to some parks in Madrid).
The Retiro Park
It is Madrid's main park. El Parque de el Retiro, is not far from the city's main tourist attractions such as the Prado Museum and is a very popular and magnificent place for a stroll. Home to several sculptures, monuments, and a boating lake, it also presents an annual book fair, and there are free concerts throughout the summer. Many local families spend their Sunday afternoons here, renting a horse-drawn carriage or paddling a rowboat in the pond. But it wasn't always this democratic, as in the 17th century only the royal family was allowed to use it privately, hosting pageants, bullfights, and mock naval battles. Only a century later did it open to the public, but even then visitors had to be formally dressed to enter.
The Royal Botanical Garden
Madrid's botanical garden was inspired by king Fernando VI and then another king, Carlos III, inaugurated it in 1781. Especially attractive are the wild roses of many hues and varieties, and the Classical Romantic Garden with a duck pond.
The Campo del Moro and the Sabatini Gardens
These gardens belong to the Royal Palace and were opened to the public in 1978 by order of the king Juan Carlos I.
The West Park
This is Madrid's best landscaped park, structured according to the style of British or naturalistic parks with great open grass spaces and copses. In the bottom half of the park we can find the Rosaleda, the rose garden. Nearby, it is possible to take the cable car or Teleférico to the Casa de Campo.
Literally called the "Country House", the Casa de Campo consists of 1722 hectares and is therefore one of Europe's largest public parks. In the 16th century, king Felipe II ordered the purchase of the Vargas' country house, around which further grounds and estates were added. The park was declared the "Royal Forrest" under the reign of king Fernando VI. It suffered enormous damage during the Civil War and was finally handed over to the City Authorities in 1963. Its flora is represented mainly by Mediterranean oaks, ash groves, copses and reafforrestation areas; the fauna by a variety of birds and small mammals, rodents, and insects. It has a trade fair area, an amusement park, Madrid's Zoo and the Teleférico (cable car).
The Capricho Park
El Capricho (literally, a whim) is one of the most beautiful, charming and atractive parks in the city. Though this park is still quite unknown even to Madrid´s inhabitants. Maybe because it is not in the center of the city and it only opens on weekends.
In the XVIII century the Duchess of Osuna bought this ground. She belonged to a well known aristocratic family interested in music, arts and literature. They wanted the garden to become a place for leisure and enjoyment. The idea was to create a park where the visitor would be surprised by different small buildings and special arrangements, like a labyrinth, which would appear unexpectecly while walking in the park.
The Fuente del Berro Park
The origins of these gardens date back to 1631, when the owner of the land, the Duke of Frías, sold a large piece of property to King Felipe IV. It had a wealth of orchards and abundant water from a spring that irrigated then, which was known as the Fuente del Berro spring. In the present day, lush plant life, trees, including some age-old specimens, statues and monuments scattered throughout, as well as the summerhouses, lodges and pavilions that can also be seen from the paths, contribute to preserving the look of this late 19th/early 20th-century garden.
This park occupies 7.4 hectares, 1200 square metres of which have been used to plant certain species of plants that are easily recognised by blind people due to their touch and smell.
The Quinta de los Molinos Park
This park is the perfect place to watch the flowers blossom on the countless almond trees in spring, I was declared a Historical Park and is considered part of Madrid's cultural heritage.
And after showing you some of the parks of my city to go strolling, let me wish you a very happy spring!