Spanish weather has been warming up quite a bit these past few weeks which means time for outdoor activities! I´ve compiled a list of my personal favorites that you should definitely try out in and around Madrid.
I was able to visit the Royal Botanic Garden this weekend and it was amazing. The entrance is located right next to the Prado Museum and for 4 euro (with a student discount) you get access to eight hectares of gorgeous plant life. There are around 30,000 plants and flowers, and about 1,500 different trees. When I went, the flowers were in full bloom and many of the orange and lemon trees were already dropping fruit. There were also ducks you could feed that were very cute!
You can get to the Royal Botanic Garden via the 1 Line or the 2.
In April they are open from 10 AM to 8 PM and 10 AM to 9 PM in May.
Hiking in Cercedilla
If you haven’t been venturing outdoors during your time in Madrid, I highly recommend heading over to Cercedilla. You can hop on the Cercanías and ride it right to the end of the line. You’ll end up in a sleepy Spanish town nestled in the Sierra de Guadarrama where you’ll find plenty of hiking trails and scenic views. When I was last in Cercedilla, I got to snack on wild blackberries and hang out with some pretty adorable cows. Some of the hiking trails lead past small farms on the mountain side so expect to find yourself walking among grazing horses and chickens (watch out for the cow/horse dung!).
You can get to Cercedilla by taking the Cercanía (C-8B)
If you have time between classes for a sit-down lunch I definitely recommend eating outside when the weather is good. Retiro, Parque de la Montaña and Madrid Rio are all excellent choices within Madrid.
Visit Other Cities!
If you haven’t been yet, Ávila is a great town close to Madrid that is also very easy to get to. It´s famous for its city wall which is accessible on foot and the entry price is around 8 euro. There are also several history museums that have pretty cheap entry fees. If you do decide to go, bring a warm layer since Ávila is known as the coldest city Spain!
Another great, closeby town is Cuenca. Cuenca is known for its hanging houses and a bridge that spans the width of a massive ravine. It´s an incredibly picturesque town full of hidden gems and it’s rarely crowded which makes the experience of visiting more authentic. There is also a wonderful contemporary art museum in the hanging houses so you can actually look out the windows over the ravine. When I was in Cuenca, Ai Wei Wei had an exhibition at the cathedral which was very interesting to see. The cathedral itself is also well-worth visiting for its gorgeous stained glass and distinct architecture.
Both Ávila and Cuenca are accessible using Renfe.