Madrid's botanical garden (El Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid) was inspired by Fernando VI, who in 1755 gave the order for its creation on the banks of the River Manzanares. Then, in 1774, Carlos III ordered it to be transferred to its current location in the Plaza Murillo, alongside the Paseo del Prado, where it was inaugurated in 1781.
Designed by the architect Francesco Sabatini, with later work by Juan de Villanueva (the architect of the
Prado Museum), the 20 acres of the gardens contain plants from five continents, with an especially large number originating from South America and the Philippines.
Neatly laid out beds, medicinal plants and herbs, and several types of trees and shrubs make up the rest of the variety of flora. In total it is estimated to contain about 30,000 plants and flowers, and 1,500 trees.
Especially attractive are the wild roses of many hues and varieties, and the Classical Romantic Garden with a duck pond.
Madrid's pleasant climate allows it to be open year-round, with locals using it as a relaxing place for lunch, and visitors as part of their sightseeing itinerary. In the year 2014, it was Spain's fifth most visited "museum" with over 415,000 visitors.
It is also used for research, with state-of-the-art greenhouses dedicated to maintaining the delicate local ecosystem.
Located just south of the
Prado, it is a pleasant place to rest after seeing the museum, as well as a great spot for
Address: Plaza de Murillo, 2, 28014 Madrid (opposite Museo del Prado)
Opening hours: Every day from 10am to 6pm (November - February), 7pm (March), 8pm (April & September) or 9pm (May-August)
Closed on 25 December and 1 January
Entry fee: 2 euros (discounts for students, free entry for pensioners and children)