This book fair is very popular among madrileños. The location, in the Retiro Park, is excellent and the atmosphere is perfect for a day with the kids.
In the stalls 203 and 204 you can buy books about Madrid (art, history, old photographies etc) some of them also in English, like the "Illustrated Atlas of the History of Madrid".
It’s a very stylish contemporary 4-star hotel in the center of Madrid, next to the tranquil Retiro Gardens. Some of the best museums (Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza) are a short walk away, and the area is very fascinating and lively. It is very moderately priced for the quality and location.
c/Antonio Maura, 5
This park is in my opinion better than the
El Retiro park in central Madrid. It is more geared towards children and families. Children will love it as there is lots to discover such as ... I am not going to tell you. Go to the park, ignore the plan of the park, lose yourself and discover the many buildings within it for yourself.
I assure you that around every corner you will discover something new. It will feel like you are nowhere near Madrid at all (El Capricho park is in fact right on the very edge of the Madrid) as it is small and showy with colourful roses and sunflowers all year round. The sun brings out the autumnal colours. Take food and drink with you though as unlike El Retiro park there are no food or drink shops within the park itself. Although there is a free tap providing free drinking water within the grounds near El Capricho palace. My favourite spot to stop and sit was on the seat by the artificial lake opposite the waterfall on the manmade island in the middle of the lake. Sadly this park which was previously unknown to many tourists and Madrileños has been discovered and is now very popular and can be busy which is why they have a daily limit of 1,000 people in the park at any one time. This has spoiled the serenity of the park somewhat but there are still some secluded spots left within the park to escape the crowds which is good. If you are lucky like I was you will be treated to some free dancing and acting outside the dance hall in the park (usually between 12.00am and 13.00pm). Entry is free but the park is only open Saturday and Sundays from 9.00am to 21.00pm.
Calle de la Galera, 0, 28042 Madrid, Spain
+34 917 42 97 87
Nearest metro station: El Capricho
The long 45 - 60 min metro journey from central Madrid is worth it I promise you!
Exit El Capricho metro station (there is only one exit) and follow the brown signs which say Parque El Capricho which will lead you across scrubland and past some flats to the park entrance on the opposite side of the zebra crossing.
Google map: bit.ly/TpdqoR
Monday afternoon between noon and 2pm is the best time to sit in the shade by the mermaid sat on her fish by the lake in El Retiro park. The monument to Alfonso XII provides a suitable backdrop to watch people messing about on boats in the lake next to the monument. It is funny to watch them trying to row their boats as there are the occasional crashes between boats. Don't forget to smack the mermaid's bottom for good luck before you reluctantly leave the lakeside!
An Egyptian temple built 2,200 years ago taken apart brick by brick in Egypt and shipped over to Spain and then finally put back together in Madrid. The whole story of the moving of the temple from Egypt to Spain and its history is covered in great detail in the museum's displays and videos. An interesting and unusual thing to find plonked tastefully in Madrid's western suburbs. Behind the temple there are very good views of Madrid's western suburbs, the Casa de Campo park and the mountains to the west of the city. The park is a lovely setting for family picnics too.
Entry is free.
If - when walking around Royal Madrid - you feel in the mood for a wander around a garden, give the insipid Jardines Sabatini (next to the Palace) a miss, and instead head round the corner to El Campo del Moro (The Moor's Field). Far more beautiful, with peacocks and a fine view of the rear of the palace.
Entrance on Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto
A museum with fascinating artefacts from every era of Spain's history - starting with prehistory.
Amazing Moorish and Visigoth exhibits. There are reproductions of the famous Altamira cave paintings in a specially constructed grotto outside.
The museum is also right by the Jardines de Descubrimiento with impressive modern fountains and sculptures celebrating Colombus' discovery of the new world. More famously this is where the Giant Flag flies - a Spanish national flag the size of a tennis court.
Just behind Jardines de Descubramiento, to the right.
If you're ever fortunate enough to visit the exciting city of Madrid during the hot summer months, you might welcome a bit of respite from museums, galleries and shopping. A great way to sample a slice of local life and cool off is to visit the Instalación Deportiva Municipal swimming complex in the endless Casa de Campo. For 3.8 euros or 2.15 euros for under 16s, you'll have the use of an Olympic sized pool, a smaller pool and a childs pool. There are plenty of shady areas for relaxing and a cafeteria on site and you won't hear an English word spoken! The El Lago Metro station stops right outside the entrance. Having worked up an appetite, you will find a great choice of restaurants just outside the complex under shady trees overlooking Lago lake.
Numancia, 128039Tel: 34 91 459 9871
An absolutely wonderful natural park just outside Madrid, it is a mountain river which falls in gentle cascades to form pools, some deep enough to swim in. In the summer it is a marvellous place to escape the heat of the city, but go early, it fills up fast.
From Madrid take the M607 to Manzanares el Real (about half an hour) and La Pedriza is just past the village.
El Retiro is the nicest park in Madrid. It's pretty big and has loads of interesting features: the lake, where you can hire little rowing boats; Casa de Vacas where you can see art exhibitions; and the Palacio de Cristal where art exhibitions are shown. El Retiro is great all year round for walking, running, cycling, having a drink or simply lying on the grass.
Two huge pools and a kids' pool, in a fantastic location. Get there when it opens - 11am. Leave before the gangs of dive-bombing boys turn up - 1pm. Closed after the first weekend of September.
Next to Lago metro station
In the heart of Madrid you'll find this beautiful park that's a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Amble around the wide winding lanes through fabulous park land and greenery and make sure you visit on Sunday as the place comes alive with musicians and street entertainers alike.
Beautifully kept and little known ornamental gardens behind the Royal Palace. A total respite from the hustle and bustle outside. Frequented at weekends by swarms of meringue clad brides and their grooms posing for the album in the lush elegant surroundings. When tired of the peace and solitude it is just a stone's throw from the large converted Estación del Norte shopping centre, and when you are sick of that pop straight down to the Goya frescos nearby, right next door to Casa Mingo where you can eat there yummy chicken for lunch washed down with real Asturian cider.
Take the C circular bus or go to Principe Pio metro station. For the frescoes in the chapel where Goya is buried and which he painted himself walk straight down the Paseo de San Antonio de la Florida to the twin chapels of San Antonio - only one has the breathtaking frescoes, recently restored.
On Sunday afternoons, after a long lunch, this is the best park to laze around in. Surrounded by natural beauty, with the sun sparkling upon the waters of the boating lake, you can enjoy the spontaneous gathering of people as they dance amongst the statues to the beat of crazy tribal drums. Not to be missed if ever you are in Madrid.
Nearest Metro Stations: Retiro and Ibiza.
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