Parks and gardens of Spain
With its fantastic climate all year round, Spain is a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. There are plenty of nature reserves where you can get away from the urban hustle and bustle, but even in the heart of the biggest cities there are countless options to enjoy some tranquility. Here are some top picks for visiting Spain’s urban parks and gardens.
Located in the heart of Madrid, Retiro Park is one of the most famous and historic ones in all of Spain. This vast green space includes a small lake where you can paddle a row boat, a winding rose garden, the Casa de Fieras zoo, and various historical monuments. It was even declared a Garden of Historic-Artistic value in 1935. Of course, this is not the only place in Madrid to get a breath of fresh air. Also try the peaceful Sabatini gardens and the Campo de Moro gardens, which was the 12th century campsite of the Muslim armies who attacked Madrid. For more excitement, the Casa de Campo park has an interesting zoo and a thrilling amusement park.
Barcelona’s most iconic park is the magical Park Guell, created by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Spend an afternoon marveling at colorful mosaics and sculptures, and try taking in the view over the city up at the Three Crosses monument. Another great choice is Park Montjuic. You can easily spend an entire day discovering its many different gardens, the old Olympic stadium, hidden cafes and restaurants, and world-class museums like the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Miró Foundation. Stay until dark for the lights, colors and music of the magic fountain. For a break in the city center, duck into Park Ciutadella, or for something really different, get lost in the Horta Labyrinth Park.
The main attraction among Valencia’s green spaces is the old Turia riverbed, which was rerouted to put an end to frequent flooding. In its place lies an enormous park of over 9 kilometers that runs through the city. You’ll discover plenty of gardens scattered throughout, as well as the Bioparc zoo at one end, and the City of Arts and Sciences at the other, with its various cultural spaces, museums and an excellent aquarium.
For a true Andalusian experience, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Maria Luisa Park. It’s a perfect way to keep cool while seeing the park and other sights like the Giralda, the Cathedral, and the Alcázar Palace. This park was once the garden of the Royal Family, and is now one of Spain’s most popular and most visited spots. Your group may recognize some parts of it from film and TV productions, including Game of Thrones.