Madrid is known all around the world for many things; its river, however, has never been one of them — though this may be about to change. Inaugurated in April of 2011, Madrid Río is a new park that runs the length of the urban stretch of the Manzanares River. Spanning 1.210.881 square meters of terrain, the park was made possible when the city’s inner beltway, the M-30, was moved from the banks of the river into tunnels constructed beneath the riverbed. The space now void of the highway has since been exploited in a number of different ways for the everyone’s enjoyment.
Bridges and Crossings in Madrid Río
As the park encompasses land on both sides of the river, it has been necessary to build additional bridges; there are currently 33 crossings altogether which Madrid’s residents can use to take advantage of all the park has to offer. The oldest bridge over the river is the Puente de Segovia, the construction of which dates back to the late sixteenth century. Other historic bridges include the Puente de Toledo and the Puente del Rey, both of which were built during the early eighteenth century. Of the newer constructions, perhaps the most eye-catching is the Puente Monumental de Arganzuela, a 274-meter pedestrian bridge made of two enormous steel tubes.
Bike Paths and sports facilities
Madrid Río is an excellent place to go cycling or to take a leisurely bike ride. The park has thirty kilometers of paths that can be ridden on, although these are simultaneously used by pedestrians, thus necessitating the use of caution by cyclists. What’s more is that the park’s bike paths link up with the city’s Anillo Verde, a type of cycling beltway that surrounds the capital. There is also the possibility of connecting to bike path GR-124 from the north of the park, which leads all the way to the mountains as far as the town Manzanares El Real. In the South, Madrid Río’s paths connect to Parque Tierno Galván and Parque Lineal Manzanares Sur, reaching all the way to the city of Getafe.
In addition to bike paths, Madrid Río is full of various sports facilities. There are tennis and padel tennis courts, a rock climbing wall, soccer fields, a skate park, and a BMX circuit, among others. The most important facility, however, is Vicente Calderón Stadium, where Atlético de Madrid soccer team play. There are currently plans to demolish the stadium and move the team to La Peineta, however. Be sure to catch a game before you’re forced to go to the other side of the city to do so.
There’s no beach in Madrid… or is there?
The residents of Madrid are no doubt proud of their city, but one of its drawbacks has always been the fact that it is landlocked and hours away from the closest beach. In fact, there is even a song from the eighties about it. Madrid Río has made an attempt to change this, however. As part of the project, an ‘urban beach’ was constructed, which consists of three artificial shallow ponds and areas around them where you can relax. The water in these ponds alternates producing different effects, from still water to fountain-like jets to spray. Only open in the summer, this is an effective and economic method to escape the summer heat in the capital.
See it for Yourself
Madrid Río must be by far one of the best urban parks ever constructed. After all, the possibilities are endless. Once in Madrid, be sure to go see this park for yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.