Campo del Moro


These gardens beneath the Palacio Real were designed to mimic the gardens surrounding the palace at Versailles; nowhere is this more in evidence than along the east–west Pradera, a lush lawn with the Palacio Real as its backdrop. The gardens’ centrepiece, which stands halfway along the Pradera, is the elegant Fuente de las Conchas (Fountain of the Shells), designed by Ventura Rodríguez, the Goya of Madrid’s 18th-century architecture scene. The only entrance is from Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto.

From the park the palace views are exceptional, and you can also gain an appreciation of Madrid in its earliest days – it was from here, in what would become known as Campo del Moro (Moor’s Field), that an Almoravid army laid siege to the city in 1110. The troops occupied all but the fortress (where the Palacio Real now stands), but the Christian garrison held on until the Almoravid fury abated and their forces retired south.

The 20 hectares of gardens that now adorn the site were first laid in the 18th century, with major overhauls in 1844 and 1890.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Madrid attractions

1. Armería Real

0.15 MILES

Part of the Palacio Real, the Armería Real showcases weapons and striking suits of armour, mostly dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

2. Farmacia Real

0.15 MILES

The Farmacia Real, at the southern end of the Plaza de la Armería courtyard inside the Palacio Real compound, contains a formidable collection of medicine…

4. Palacio Real

0.23 MILES

Spain's jewel-box Palacio Real is used only occasionally for royal ceremonies; the royal family moved to the modest Palacio de la Zarzuela years ago.

5. Muralla Árabe

0.26 MILES

Behind the cathedral apse and down Cuesta de la Vega is a short stretch of the original ‘Arab Wall’, the city wall built by Madrid’s early-medieval Muslim…

6. Jardines de Sabatini

0.27 MILES

The formal French-style Jardines de Sabatini are to the north of the Palacio Real, a palace with lush gardens.

7. Plaza de Oriente

0.29 MILES

This graceful square is one central Madrid's most beautiful, home as it is to a royal palace that once had aspirations to be the Spanish Versailles,…

8. Statue of Felipe IV

0.31 MILES

This important landmark in the centre of the Plaza de Oriente was unveiled in 1843.