Working out is a popular thing to spend your time. Many people enjoy the thousands of possibilities that Madrid offers even under the hot summer sun. Many locals go for a run in the early morning or in the evening when the sun goes down. During the day, you can also find people doing sit-ups or chin-ups in the Retiro park, but in the summer it’s usually too hot outside to exercise around noon. Winters in Spain are mild, so you can also enjoy outdoor activities from November to March.
Why exercise in the parks around the city? Easy answer: it’s the best possibility to enjoy sightseeing and getting to know Madrid combined with physical exercise. You won’t need more than comfortable cloths. It’s also possible to rent a bike or to attend one of the yoga classes held in many parks. They fulfil an important function in a big city like Madrid: they’re the way to escape the traffic and the noisy streets, and to feel the peaceful and sort of quiet atmosphere. Madrid is a kind of a green city and here you’ll find information about the three best parks for running: the Oeste Park, Retiro Park and Casa de Campo.
Just north of the Royal Palace, this English styled park, with the ancient Egyptian Templo de Debod and the great view down the hill, offers the perfect ambience for working out. If you don’t mind other people watching you sweating and sharing your misery of physical exercise you should definitely run at the Oeste Park. You have to remind that a park is still a public place and there are tourists watching the sun set and locals working out next to each other.
Alejandra is already fixing her bike she is ready to start off. Fully equipped, helmet on and a matching sports outfit. She has been living in Madrid for several years. But she is from Mexico. She likes the great view from the hill. The whole atmosphere catches her while cycling. About 30 meters away from her a runner is stretching. Francesco Madaga is a talkative man, who has been living in Madrid for 10 years. “All the views are beautiful but there are too many people and it’s difficult to avoid them”, he explains. He tries to come to the park as often as possible to go for a run. He prefers 8 p.m. but in winter he comes two hours earlier.
On the right side of the temple on the ground there are many people sitting in a circle. They all have their legs crossed and looked really relaxed. There are doing yoga. Aillien comes from the Domenican Republic and she adores her new home town. She prefers doing sports at open places. The Oeste Park offers the perfect place for that. Aillien isn’t the only one who likes the sound of water, the wind, the whole atmosphere while moving her body. Yoga takes place at the Oeste Park every Monday, Tuesday, not Friday and many people attend the classes.
If you ask locals for the most famous park of the city they will probably answer straight away Parque del Retiro. Just at the other side of the Oeste Park, this almost 150 years old garden is like a meeting point for madrileños. It offers you a cheap possibility (only 6€) of renting a boat in the artificial lake surrounded by the monument to King Alfonso XII. Furthermore, it`s a must to visit the Cristal Palace in which you may also be able to enjoy an exhibition. The Retiro Park is also a crowded place. Near the lake and the Crystal Palace are the majority of the visitors. During the day you can also find people doing sit-ups or chin-ups in the Retiro park, but in the summer it`s usually too hot outside to exercise around noon. In the southwestern corner of Retiro you can find kind of a small forest with a memorial.
This forest offers a lot of shady ways to enjoy your exercise without getting a sun stroke. So, it`s also possible to do your workout in the early evening when the sun is still burning bright.
Casa de Campo
Welcome to one of Europe’s biggest parks. It reaches an area of about 1800 hectares! The zoo, the amusement park and the cable car are all placed in this area, that reaches about 1800 hectares. So, it doesn`t matter if you are going to play paintball, watching one of the 3,000 animals in the zoo or dancing at one of the rock concerts that take place there in the summer, Casa de Campo is worth visiting while staying in Madrid. Also, athletics competitions take place here, together with triathlon and canoeing in the lake.
Casa de Campo with the path around the lake offers a lot of free space and an appropriate ground to run or to ride your bike. An old man sits on a bench with his bike next to him. He is dressed quite professional: special expensive looking bike, gloves on his hands and sports-outfit. His English is not good, but he explains that he comes here every day with his bike. “Only in this park”, Juan says repeatedly. He explains that he comes here every time around noon and then he rides his bike for about an hour. Around midday the lake at Casa de Campo is shining under the sun and there are not many people out there, because it’ s kind of too hot. That’s the main reason why Juan is riding his bike at that place it’s quiet. So if you plan to spend a few hours on your training you should go there. I wouldn’t recommend to enter the deserted part of the park, because it’s so large-scaled that you may get lost in it.
Mono Yoga; Oeste Park – Templo de Debod; Paseo de Moret 2; Monday and Tuesday (10:30-11:45 & 19:30-20:45), Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday (19:30-21:20); Metro Plaza de España.
Retiro Park; Plaza de la Independencia, 7; From April to September from 6 am to 12 pm. From October to March from 6 am to 10 pm; Metro Retiro.
Casa Campo; Paseo Puerta del Ángel, 1; Open 24 hours; Metro Lago.