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Spanish Gardens: Everything You Need to Know About the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

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There are so many amazing things to see and do in Spain that sometimes you need a little break to re-energize and refuel. No matter which city or town you’re in, you’re always guaranteed of a peaceful retreat if you visit one of the many Spanish gardens scattered throughout the country.

Image credit: Flickr | Maureen Barlin | CC 2.0

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid (Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid in Spanish) is one of the most popular Spanish gardens, with thousands of beautiful plants, flowers, trees and herbs. It’s the perfect place to escape hectic city life and surround yourself with nature.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid: one of the most popular Spanish gardens

Image credit: Flickr | Duncan Rawlinson | CC 2.0

History of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

The Spanish gardens were commissioned by Fernando VI in 1755, when he ordered them to be designed and built on the banks of the River Manzanares within the Orchard of Migas Calientes. Even back then the gardens contained over 2000 plants – quite an achievement for that time! In 1774, Carlos II demanded the gardens be moved to their current location.

Architects Francesco Sabatini and Juan Villanueva spread the garden out into three tiered terraces and arranged the beautiful plants according to the traditional method of Linnaeus. The idea was for the garden to not only look attractive, but to also teach botany to visitors and promote exhibitions dedicated to the discovery and classification of new plant species.

Image credit: Flickr | Duncan Rawlinson | CC 2.0

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid today

Today the Spanish gardens are still divided into three major sections, with the addition of two wonderful greenhouses.

Terraza de los Cuadros: This section features a gorgeous selection of ornamental, medicinal, endemic and aromatic plants, plus an orchard framing a small fountain.

Terraza de las Escuelas Botánicas: This part of the Spanish gardens offers a classified collection of plants ordered according to the development of each species, set around 12 fountains.

Terraza del Plano de la Flor: This romantic-style area is dedicated to a diverse array of shrubs and trees and hasn’t been changed since the mid-19th century.

Greenhouses: The two greenhouses are divided up into four rooms. The Graëlls greenhouse goes back to the 19th century and is home to various tropical plants and bryophytes. The newer greenhouse is devoted to plants that thrive in tropical climates, in temperate climates and in desert climates.

The Herbarium: The largest herbarium in Spain, this zone contains roughly one million examples of herbs, some of which date back to the 18th century.

Library and Archives: The Spanish garden’s library and archives contain more than 2000 works on the topics of botany, natural history and chemistry.

Image credit: Flickr | Eric Chan | CC 2.0

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid entrance fee

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is one of the cheapest Spanish gardens in the city, making it perfect for anyone on a budget trip to Spain.

Entry is just €2 ($2.30) per person. Senior citizens aged 65+ and children under ten years old can enter the garden for free. You never know when you or your little one will be asked for proof of age, so take some form of ID with you, just in case.

You can save time by booking your tickets online. The website is in Spanish, but you should be able to manage with a bit of help from Google Translate.

Image credit: Flickr | Edmund Gall | CC 2.0

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid timetable

The Spanish gardens are open every day of the year, including public holidays, except December 25th and January 1st. The opening hours vary according to the months:

  • January, February, November and December: 10am – 6pm
  • March and October: 10am – 7pm
  • April and September: 10am – 8pm
  • May, June, July and August: 10am – 9pm

Image credit: Flickr | Nathan Rupert | CC 2.0

How to get to the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is located opposite the Prado museum. The address is: Plaza de Murillo, 2, 28014, Madrid.

You can get to it by traveling by metro on Line 1 to Atocha station or on Line 2 to Banco de España station.

Here’s some more info on transportation in Spain to help you use the metro in Madrid.