I was watching the sunset through the plane’s window with my knees pulled to my chest. After spending 13 hours sitting in a cramped airline seat, I had a lot of time to think about the two weeks I was about to spend in Madrid, Spain and, how I could be active and healthy in a city primarily famous for sangria, paella, and churros.
These thoughts melted away after being in this vibrant city for one day. From exploring parks with multiple activities, to swimming laps in one of the public pools, to getting a gym pass, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy during your visit.
Spain’s capital has breathtaking parks that visitors and locals alike can enjoy, which are filled with countless activities for all ages.
Home to two beautiful rose gardens, La Rosaleda and Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez, Retiro Park is a lovely place to go for a walk or run while soaking up the scenery.
This park is a great place to go spend a day outside surrounded by a lake, monumental statues, and exhibitions. While there you’ll see many people rollerblading, running, and riding around on rented scooters or bicycles.
If you prefer to be surrounded by water, with lovely architecture and greenery in the background, this lush oasis is also home to a large, artificial lake where one can rent a rowboat.
While gliding through the park, don’t forget to make a stop at the Palacio de Cristal, or “Glass Palace”. What was meant to be a greenhouse is now used as a temporary art exhibit that changes seasonally in partnership with the Reina Sofía Museum.
Casa de Campo
On the other side of the city, on the western edge of Madrid, is Casa De Campo, an expansive 4,256 acres filled with a rich history. It got the name “Country House” because it was originally a royal hunting estate. During the Spanish Civil War, many battles were fought here that seem to have had a lasting impression on its construction, making it an intriguing place to visit.
Three young Madrileños, Alvaro Sanchez, Jesus Rozas, and Carlos Sanchez all agree that Casa De Campo is a great park to visit if you want to enjoy the view of the city while being surrounded by nature and taking a nice stroll or bike ride. “The views are very beautiful and you can appreciate all of Madrid,” commented Sanchez.
The park is filled with people who bring their bikes to cycle around the lake or through the park on its trails. The trails offer fitness stations along the way for people to do chin-ups, pull-ups, tricep dips, and run hurdles.
By paying 6 euros, you can rent a canoe for 45 minutes that seats up to four people, a great activity to do with friends or family.
For biking enthusiasts, there are multiple bike rental services located around the city and in the parks that rent bicycles by the hour.
Piscina Lago, a public indoor and outdoor swimming area right beside Casa de Campo, is a great place to go if you’re looking for a way to beat the heat. Due to its location and family-friendly environment, it’s a very popular spot for Madrileños to go to during summer. The price for entry varies depending on age.
Gymage Lounge and Resort
Located in the center of the city is the infamous Gymage lounge and resort. The rooftop consists of a pool, a small garden, and a bar that is open to the public a few hours each day.
For 24 euros, you can enjoy swimming in the pool, with a drink in hand, soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful scenery that engulfs you.
For people who want to be out of the sun completely, Madrid has a variety of gyms that are tourist-friendly and offer different plans to accommodate travelers needs.
Holiday Gym is a well-known chain in the city that offers a free day pass to first-time guests. This gym is located all around Madrid, so there’s a chance one will be walking distance or a quick metro ride away.
Vivagym Embajadores also offers a free pass to first-time visitors. Located in the heart of the city, this is definitely a nice gym to check out during your stay.
At Opera Gym you can go for the day for 8 euros and at Basic-fit, your one-day pass will be 8.99 euros.
Wifit Gym offers a 10-day membership for 56 euros. Getting a membership like this is a great idea for someone who will be staying two weeks or more instead of a few days.
Fausto Nieto, an employee at Wifit Gym, said, “At Wifit Gym, I think we have a great place to train. It’s a good temperature, good software, and has good weights. We’ve only been open for seven months, so we are trying to do the right things the right way.”
El Retiro Park
Plaza de la Independencia. The park is open from dawn to dark. The Glass Palace is free entry, but only open from 6p.m.-9p.m. Monday-Friday and 10a.m.-2p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To rent a boat it’s 6 euros Monday-Friday from 10a.m.-8:30p.m. (5:15 p.m. during winter).
Casa De Campo
Paseo Puerta del Ángel. The park is open 24 hours, 6 euros to rent a canoe for 45 minutes. This is open from 8:30a.m.-6:30p.m.
Centro Deportivo Municipal Casa de Campo, Paseo de la Puerta del Ángel. Open from 11a.m.-9p.m. every day of the week. If you’re 65 or older, it costs 1.35 euros for a day pass. It’s 4.50 euros if you’re 27 to 64 years of age, 3.60 euros for a person that’s between the ages 15 and 26, and 2.70 euros if you are under the age of 14.
Gymage Lounge and Resort
Calle de la Luna. Open Sunday-Thursday 12p.m.-1:30a.m. and on Friday-Saturday it’s open from 12p.m.-2:30a.m. It’s 24 euros for entry.
Locations all over the city. Free day passes for first time visitors.
Ronda de Valencia. Open Mon-Fri from 6a.m.-12a.m. and Sat-Sunday from 8a.m.-9p.m. First day pass is for free.
Calle de Fomento. Mon.-Fri. open from 6:45a.m.-11p.m. and Sat.-Sun. open from 11a.m.-4p.m.
Various locations around Madrid. Mon.-Fri. 7a.m.-10:30p.m. Sat.-Sun. 9a.m.-4p.m.
Calle de Cartagena. Mon-Friday 7a.m.-11p.m. and Sat-Sun 10a.m.-8p.m.
Edited by Brianne Recker.