Around three kilometres west of the city centre of Madrid an enormous rural park, twice the size of London’s Richmond Park, dominates the landscape. Originally a royal hunting ground established by Philip II (and retained by subsequent royals until the Second Republic finally opened it to the public in 1933) it’s a favourite weekend retreat of Madrilenos. At its centre, the hill Cerro de Garabitas (675m), commands a strategic position over Madrid – a fact used by Franco’s nationalist forces to shell the city during the civil war, military trenches still dot the landscape.
Aside from the running, cycling and hiking, add an outdoor swimming complex, a theme park, a zoo and a boating lake surrounded by restaurants and you’ll need a few Sunday visits to exhaust the recreational opportunities.
Featured image: entrance to Casa de Campo from inside the park and the Palacio Real.
(c) Photos Essential History