MADRID, SPAIN. Now that the cold weather is coming to an end, it is time to get in shape for spring. If you’re a runner, jogger, or walker, take advantage of the following parks and green spaces before it gets too hot in the summer.
PARQUE DEL RETIRO
Look no further than the heart of Madrid and you have the 140-hectar Parque del Retiro, the nearest escape from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Originating from the reign of Philip IV, the park was declared a Garden of Historic-Artistic value in 1935. Given its central location, it park can get crowded on the weekends, but during the week the crowds are manageable. The perimeter is a total of 4,5 kilometers of roads and paths. Public toilets, fountains and bars are available to charge up on water and snacks if needed.
WINTER (from October 1 to March 31): 06.00 – 22.00
SUMMER (from April 1 to September 30): 06.00 – 24.00.
METRO: Retiro (L2), Príncipe de Vergara (L2, L9), Ibiza (L9), Atocha (L1)
BUS: 1, 2, 9, 15, 19, 20, 28, 51, 52, 79, 146, 202.
No parking lot.
BOTTOM LINE: Best for a quick run inside the city. If you are looking to really escape the hustle and bustle, read on to one of the other options below.
CASA DE CAMPO
You thought Central Park is big? Get this, the Casa de Campo is five times the size. Creating as a hunting ground, the 700 hectar area is also home to an entertainment park, including a zoo, aquarium, sports club and more. Runners can enjoy the hilly slopes, with a maximum difference in height of 110 meters. If you like alternating your runs with bike rides, kayaking, tennis or other sports, this is the place where you can do it. There are restaurants around the lake, too.
METRO: Casa de Campo (L5, L10), Lago (L10), Batán (L10)
BUS: 160, 161, 41, 75, 25, 31, 33, 36, 39, 55, 65.
CAR: There are numerous parking opportunities, including a parking lot near the amusement park, zoo and Teleférico. Take the A5 to Casa de Campo – Parque de Atracciones – Zoo. Parking in the winter is open from 6.00 – 24.00, and in summer until 1.00 a.m. The access is cut off once too many cars try to get in, so make sure to get there early.
The Casa de Campo also connects near Ciudad Universitaria (right next to the Hospital de la Moncloa) with the Anillo Verde, or Green Ring, which is a 60 km biking track that goes around all of Madrid. Those who like running on asphalt can also use this track.
BOTTOM LINE: A real escape from Madrid. There is endless exploring to be done, just make sure you don’t get lost! Each day, you can try a new trail.
Coming from the south of Madrid? You can connect from the Casa de Campo to Madrid Rio, just read on.
Over the last years, Madrid has witnessed an architectural renovation of the Manzanares river in the south. Here, runners can enjoy 42 km of tracks that even link with the Casa de Campo. Along it, you will find architectural highlights such as the Arganzuela bridge pictured above.
METRO: Príncipe Pío (L6, L10 and R) and Puerta del Ángel (L6), Pirámides (L5), Marqués de Vadillo (L5) and Usera (L6), Legazpi (L3)
BOTTOM LINE: Ideal for those in the south of Madrid. Known for its sightseeing attractions, see the downloadable guide above.
PARQUE JUAN CARLOS I
Parque Juan Carlos I is an urban park in the north of Madrid, near the IFEMA or conference area. Runners can enjoy both paved and unpaved paths around a perimeter of around 6 km. Both flat and hilly areas are available. You can also take a rest at one of the fitness spots, where you will find bars, for example, to train your arms and abs. It can get crowded on the weekends, with many families coming here to enjoy picnics in the sun.
WINTER: 7:00 – 23:00
SUMMER: 7:00 – 1:00
METRO: Campo de las Naciones (L8)
BUS: 104, 112, 122
CAR: There are three parking lots, the least crowded usually being the one on Avenida Diagonal 40.
BOTTOM LINE: Come on a weekday and enjoy the sun. Come on the weekend and spend the whole day. Easily accessible by car, a bit further out from the center if you are coming by metro.