Casa de Campo#12 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
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While Buen Retiro Park may be more famous, Casa de Campo is Madrid's largest public park and boasts almost 7 square miles of natural space. Originally used as hunting ground by the Spanish royal family, it's now the perfect place to relax when you need a break from the vibrant city life.
Many people enjoy simply strolling around the park or having picnics on the grass, but there are also plenty of activities in the park. In the southeast corner of Casa de Campo there's a large lake with boat and kayak rentals available. When you work up an appetite from boating, there are restaurants located around the lake. The park also features a large outdoor pool perfect if you need to escape Spain's summer heat.
Thrill-seekers will be excited to find there is an amusement park within Casa de Campo featuring 48 attractions, from roller coasters to carousels. Previous visitors were pleased to find there are many child-friendly activities in the Parque de Atracciones, and they were impressed by the restaurants.
Zoo Aquarium de Madrid, another visitor favorite, sits in the south of Casa de Campo, past the amusement park. The zoo is most famous for its giant pandas and was the first European zoo to breed them. Visitors also recommend the dolphin show.
Those looking for a more unique way to see the park should take a ride in the Teleférico, or cable car, which brings you from Parque Oeste to Casa de Campo. When the cable car lets you off in Casa de Campo, there is not much in the immediate area aside from a playground and a restaurant, according to travelers. So, some suggest taking the cable car one way then walking down through the park in order to see more of the area. The cable car runs daily from April to September.
If you're not up for a cable car ride, you can drive to Casa de Campo and park at one of its free parking lots. For those using public transportation, travelers advise getting off the metro at Lago which is near the lake or at Casa de Campo which brings you near the zoo. For amusement park visitors, Batán is the most convenient stop. The park is about 2 miles west of the city center. The park is free to visit, but several of its attractions, including the amusement park, zoo and cable car, charge admission fees. The park is open daily; attractions within it operate their own hours.
More Best Things To Do in Madrid
#1 Plaza Mayor
This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza.
Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here.
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