The entrance to the Botanical Gardens is the Glorieta de Murillo right beside the Prado Museum. These gardens, which contain about 30.000 different species of trees and plants from all over the world, were founded by Charles III for the Faculty of Totany. The different sections are divided by magnificent avenues and each tree and plant is labeled with its Latin name and species.
Plaza Murillo, 2.
How to go: Metro: Atocha.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8p.m. daily.
You may like to go for a stroll afterwards in one of the big parks. The largest and most beautiful of all Madrid's parks is the Retiro. It has 130 hectares of woodland which form a green, tree-clad (more than 15.000 trees) island in the middle of an asphalt sea. One may enter it through any of the fine gateways. These are located in the Plaza de la Independencia, the Calle de Alcalá, the Calle de O'Donnell, and the Calle de Alfonso XII. White stone figures of the Kings and Queen of Spain peep out from the avenues of lofty tees and thick bushes, and just inside the park there is a large artificial lake where row-boats can be hired. The park also has its rose garden, as well as the Cecilio Rodríguez gardens and many delightful secluded nooks where strollers can enjoy a little privacy. In the middle of the park there are two buildings known as the Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal, where art exhibitions are sometimes held.
How to go: Plaza de la Independencia. By Metro: Retiro, Ibiza and Menéndez Pelayo.
Located on the right bank of the Manzanares River to the west of Madrid, the Casa de Campo is a large park with an area of about 4.000 acres. Rowboats can be rented for a ride around the artificial lake. Swimming and tennis can also ve enjoyed. The Parque Zoológico or Zoo and Parque de Atracciones, a large amusement park, are found in the southern part.
How to go: Access: Metro: Lago and Batan. A cable car can be taken from Paseo de Pintor Rosales.
A small, quiet park crisscrossed by paved pathways and dotted with fountains and flowers beds.
How to go: Metro: Ventas.
ROSALES AND PARQUE OESTE
On the Western fringes of Madrid and sloping down towards the River Manzanares there are two extensive parks called Rosales and the Parque del Oeste (West Park). They are an ideal playground for children, with their spacious stretches of lawn, their shady trees and sandy paths. There is a large rose garden at the bottom of the hill, where a rose show is held each spring, with international awards given for the finest blooms. The Sabatini Gardens, Campo del Moro and Plaza de España Not far from the Royal Palace there are several gardens: the children's playground in the Plaza de Oriente, the enclosed Sabatini Gardens on the northern side of the Palace, which are entered from the Calle de Bailén and have benches and well kept hedges and borders; and the so-called Campo de Moro entered from the Cuesta de la Vega. There are gardens, too, in the Plaza de España, at the end of the Gran Vía.
How to go: Metro: Argüelles and Moncloa.