The Royal Botanical Gardens cover 8 acres in the centre of Madrid and are a wonderful place in which to wander, or just linger on a seat, perhaps after a visit to the Reina Sofia. Our AirBnB flat was only a 15-minute walk away and so it was easy to ‘pop in’.
A brief history
King Fernando VI founded the first gardens in 1755 in the north of Madrid, on the river banks. Just twenty years later Carlos III moved the gardens to their present location, next to the Prado Museum and on the Paseo del Prado.
The garden was designed in three terraces according to the classifications of Linnaeus. The aims were to create a beautiful garden but also to research botany and to teach people about plants.
Today the collections include about 90,000 plants and flowers, and 1,500 trees.
Terraza de los Cuadros
The plants in this terrace, closest to the main road, are arranged according to their use as ornamental, medicinal, aromatic and edible plants. In the middle of each square is a fountain.
The first group is ornamental plants and the dahlias here were spectacular!
The rose garden had passed its best but must be very pretty in June.
And finally there was the orchard, fruits and vegetables.
Terraza de las Escuelas Botánicas
The plants are arranged in ‘families’ here and this was all rather above my head, but I enjoyed these two!
Terraza del Plano de la Flor
This part of the gardens dates from the mid-19th century. It is a collection of trees and shrubs laid out in the English style, i.e. less formally. At the top end of this section is the Villaneuva Pavilion which is earlier and dates from 1781.
Corners and views in the gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid are a joy, and of course there is also a cafe, just beyond the potting area.