Updated: Aug 1, 2022
They, who went after the industrial progress and were overwhelmed by that, are now trying to follow the call of the wild. They are us.
All my life I lived in the smaller city of Tallinn where life was moving at slower pace and shorter distances. And when ending up in Madrid, I felt like something huge and overwhelming fell on me. Standing at the rooftop of Circulo de Bellos Artes watching the sunset, I experienced one of those overwhelming moments, the good ones, where a new chapter of my life was starting to unveil to me.
There are a few classic places in Madrid where everyone one would go to discover the city. These were the top places that enchanted me.
1. Siete Tetas park (Cerro del Tio Pio)
Why do I love this place? It's quite away from the city center, in the district of Vallecas, and the park is scattered across 7 hills where you have the whole city deployed in front of you. For a photography enthusiast there's a temptation to explore the perspectives with a telephoto lens. And most probably there will be some people at the hills asking about your camera with genuine curiosity and what sort of pictures you take with that.
The below shown perspectives aren't the most typical that one would capture from these hills but if you are attracted to geometry of the city, as I am, you will spot these triangular rooftops. There are 4 years between the two images from the same place. The first one taken in 2017 in the month of October. Second one - in January 2021 when Madrid city was hit by historical Filomena snowstorm. Snowy rooftops in Madrid is not the kind of scene you will see on the annual basis.
But you can always go for the classic view with Piruli (Torre España) and 5 towers, add some sky drama and it can't go wrong.
With a street view and dramatic light it can't go wrong either.
2. Casa de Campo
If you are introverted, like me, and crave for more open space after submerging into urbanization and city crowds, this is a place to go. The park is tremendous and invites you to contemplate tall trees and even witness rabbits running around.
As a kid I always thought of the trees as some mystic creatures full of wisdom who knew a lot about the world and kept this knowledge in secret for ages. What if the trees could talk? They'd probably tell the whole story about us...
If you start exploring the park from station Lago, you can continue to the east of the park, through the alley of tall trees up until Teleferico.
From there you will have a panoramic view with a mix of greens and urban elements like attraction park.
3. Manzanares Park
Surprisingly, this place happened to be in vicinity from where I lived in Madrid for nearly 3 years. Often beautiful things can be just around the corner, you just need to look around. The park is popular among sportsmen, video makers, dog lovers and family walks...and occasionally photographers too.
Walking uphill will allow you to see a panorama like this one. The hill in the view is called locally "Cabeza de Ariadna" or "Ariadna head". This view opens up from Cerro Coyote, the hill just behind it.
Truth to be told, during pandemic I took a good deal of photos in Manzanares park where I was constantly looking for new inspirations. It taught me to recognise new perspectives, different story angles without having to be far from home.
Here is another series of images for the telephoto lens shot from Cerro Coyote.
Another curious photogenic spot in Manzanares Park is auditorium.
4. Madrid Rio
Madrid Rio park also has several photogenic spots. One of them is Puente de Perrault (Perrault Bridge), a modern metallic construction connecting 2 sides of Manzanares river. The other one is Toledo Bridge with its monumental archs labyrinth garden underneath.
This area is equally loved by sportsmen, dog walkers, cyclists and... photographers too. We used to cycle all along the river stopping at all these spots and capturing the moments. Continue moving forward from Toledo bridge on until Segovia bridge and you will have a view of the Royal Palace with Almudena Cathedral reflecting in the river. All these places are best to be explored in the early morning with the rising sun.
5. Mirador Huerta de La Partida
If you already take a walk or cycle through Madrid Rio, there is no way you can miss this hidden viewpoint. Mornings there are quiet and certain days of the year it's possible to capture full moon rising over Royal Palace. The latter one is a work for telephoto lens.
6. Tierno Galvan Park
I discovered this park during pandemic in the autumn of 2020 and immediately wondered why I didn't do it earlier. This place is well in the top of my most loved corners of Madrid because of its diverse landscape. It boasts of auditorium, a planetarium, a passthrough bridge with a rockodrome, zig-zag ascending paths and a whole lot of space for various activities. It's northern entry is located near Mendez Alvaro train station, north-east from Manzanares park. And its eastern access is near subway station Arganzuela-Planetario.
Mirador Norte and Auditorium seen from above.
Retiro park is more crowded in the evening hours and for the views like this it can be easily explained why. People gather to watch the sun setting behind the buildings of the Alfonso XII street.
When you search for inspirational moment, turn around and it appears the moment is there behind your back...Then you start walking towards the magnificent light and things happen.
Within Retiro park there are several beautiful corners, one of them is Parterre Garden (Jardin de Parterre) with symmetrical garden art.
I happened to visit Retiro more than other parks due to its central location and explored it in different seasons.
Autumn with golden leaves can still be observed in late November and early December, way much later than it would be in Tallinn.
My most memorable moments were experienced in the early spring morning, when city was waking up, somebody was running, somebody was cycling and somebody was preparing for the tricky work.
8. Quinta De Los Molinos
This park is most attractive in the season of blooming almond trees, which can be observed in late February/early March. Weekend afternoons the park gets ultimately crowded, therefore the best time to enjoy the moment of peace and tranquility is early morning, once again.
This post has been updated since its original publishing date, make sure to stay tuned.