Wonderful Walks in Madrid: The River Edition

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‘Pasarela de la Arganzuela’ is just one of the attractions along the Madrid Río park

The Spanish capital is wonderfully walkable and while living there I got to learn many amazing routes in the city. Walks taking me past spectacular architecture and monuments, through parks and atmospheric neighbourhoods. I have earlier presented my ‘Big Attractions Edition’ – and here comes ‘The River Edition’. A scenic and relaxing walk along the banks of the previously overlooked Manzanares River. Take a look and tie those shoes…

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Setting off for this walk you can see the Royal Palace and the Almudena chuch

START: Puente de Segovia (nearest metro: Puerta del Angel)
FINISH: Matadero
TIME: Plan 2 hours if you want to enjoy the park along the way.

It’s not long ago that the area along the Manzanares river in Madrid wasn’t any attraction at all, but a huge regeneration project that ended in 2011 transformed the river banks to an attractive park full of wonderful surprises. Whether you wanna go skateboarding, biking or playing with your kids – this is the place to go.

But more than anything, the relatively new Madrid Río park is perfect for a Sunday stroll for both locals and visitors. A scenic stretch where you’ll have plenty of chances to stop for an ice cold caña (small beer), a light snack or maybe an ice cream.

SEE ALSO: 5 insider tips to highly addictive cafés in Madrid

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A view of the Manzanares River in Madrid

Start your walk from the traffic-carrying Puente de Segovia, from where you’ll get a glimpse of the magnificent Royal Palace beyond the large royal park Campo del Moro. Follow the paved path south along the left bank, through a zone of scattered trees and wooden playground features. You will get to pass several pedestrian bridges and soon the former home of (football club) Atletico de Madrid will come into sight, standing right on the river bank. The iconic stadium is soon to be demolished and to be replaced by an urban park named ‘Parque Atlético Madrid’.

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The former home of Atlético Madrid – right on the water’s edge

From here the river will bend towards a southeastern direction and you will reach the historic highlight of this walk at Puente de Toledo. An impressive stone bridge from 1732 that today is closed for traffic and therefore attracts many pedestrians. The southern bank at the foot of this bridge is adorned by a patern of sculpted hedges and plants, which is very pleasing to the eye when seen from above.

SEE ALSO: 7 unforgettable daytrips from Madrid

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Madrid Río in bloom – as seen from the top of Puente de Toledo

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A look inside the futuristic Arganzuela Bridge that crosses Manzanares

A few minutes walk further along the river, you will be amazed by the futuristic contrast of the spiralling footbridge known as Pasarela de la Arganzuela. An architectural piece of art as much as a bridge. It will lead you across the river via the first section, while a second section can take you up to the main road. But leave the bridge where it splits in two to enjoy the surroundings of the wide sculpted park, that feels like a maze of fantastic features. Or keep going through the bridge’s second section if you want to try some of the city’s best ice cream, which is found at di Angelo Gelateria on Paseo de las Yeserías 41 – a little taste of heaven.

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You’ll have hard choices to make among all the tempting flavours at di Angelo

Back down in the park you can follow the snaking path east and you will pass a football field and a very popular skatepark, before you’ll soon reach the cool and cultural final destination of this walk – Matadero Madrid. A huge complex of former slaughterhouses that are now being used for something much more life-affirming, such as art exhibitions and major outdoor events. And you will also find urban work spaces, a nice café and bar, a restaurant and a small cinema. If you’ve had enough walking for the day, the nearby Legazpi metro station will lead you elsewhere in the city.

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Matadero in Madrid is used for all kinds of events and exhibitions


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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer