Madrid’s Casa de Campo is the city’s 1,722-hectare verdant heart, an urban park that originated as hunting grounds for the Spanish Royal Family, whose decorative Palacio Real lies just to the south on Plaza de la Armeria. Since 1931, the park has been open for all comers to enjoy, and a favorite weekend picnic destination for Madrileño families.
Centered on a vast boating lake, this sprawling green oasis is a haven for walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters; for kids there’s a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel, water slides and rollercoasters, plus a zoo and aquarium. Free classical and rock concerts are held in the park in summer.
Casa de Campo is linked by the Teleférico de Madrid cable car to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales; the cabins travel at a height of 40 meters (130 ft) above Madrid and the single 2.5-km (1.5k mile) journey takes 10 minutes, looking down on Plaza España and the Palacio Real en route, with far-reaching panoramas over the Manzanares River. The terrace of the restaurant at the Casa de Campo cable-car station also has panoramic views over Madrid, and is just the spot for a reviving glass of sangria.
The park is located at Avenida de Portugal and is open daily from 8:30am to sundown. There is no charge to enter. Metro line 5 can be taken to Casa de Campo, while line 10 can be taken to Lago.