Lonely Planet review
Although not as expansive or as popular as the Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid’s botanical gardens are another leafy oasis in the centre of town. With some 30,000 species crammed into a relatively small 8-hectare area, it’s more a place to wander at leisure than laze under a tree, although there are benches dotted throughout the gardens where you can sit.
In the centre stands a statue of Carlos III, who in 1781 moved the gardens here from their original location at El Huerto de Migas Calientes, on the banks of the Río Manzanares. In the Pabellón Villanueva , on the eastern flank of the gardens, art exhibitions are frequently staged – the opening hours are the same as for the park and the exhibitions are usually free.
There are Spanish-language guided visits to the gardens; reservations by phone are essential.