If you’re taking a trip to Spain, make sure you check out one of these gorgeous gardens in Spain.
In a beautiful country like Spain, you might think that it can’t get any better than winding streets, grand palaces, sandy beaches or dramatic natural landscapes. These stunning gardens prove that it can! From formal Royal gardens to city parks, botanical collections and modern, architectural gardens, these are the most beautiful gardens in Spain.
Gardens in and near Madrid
If you’re visiting the Spanish capital and the surrounding region, make sure you pay a visit to some of these lovely gardens.
Retiro Park, Madrid
By Or from My Path in the World
Covering 350 acres, El Retiro is one of the largest parks in Madrid. It actually used to belong to the Spanish Monarchy but was open to the public in the late 19th century. Today, it’s one of the most popular places in Madrid, loved by both tourists and locals.
Apart from all the beautiful, relaxing green areas, this park is also home to many fountains, monuments and small specialist gardens. Rose-lovers shouldn’t miss La Rosaleda, a magnificent rose garden that really comes to life in May and June.
Other points of interest in the park include El Palacio de Cristal (‘The Glass Palace’), a unique glass and metal structure dating back to the 19th century; the Retiro Park Lake: An artificial lake located right in front of the impressive monument of Alfonso XII; and the Velázquez Palace, A gorgeous building from the 19th century that now functions as an art gallery.
This garden in Madrid is filled with many more interesting spots to discover, and you can easily spend a few hours roaming around and exploring everything it has to offer. With a cup of coffee in your hand, it makes a perfect morning or afternoon stroll.
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Atocha Tropical Garden, Madrid
This beautiful garden in Spain’s capital city is in the old part of the Atocha railway station. The old station was built in 1892 (the architect Alberto de Palacio Elissagne collaborated with Gustave Eiffel on its lovely brick and wrought iron design) but by 1985 it was too small for the number of trains arriving. The station was remodelled, train services moved to a new extension and the old building was filled with bars, restaurants and a 4,000 m2 tropical garden.
The Atocha tropical garden is one of my favourite gardens in Spain because it’s so unusual – who would expect to find a tropical garden complete with hundreds of terrapins and turtles in a train station? The building is absolutely beautiful and it’s a really peaceful place to wait for your train – perhaps with a drink from one of the bars that surround the garden. Even if you’re not travelling from the station, I recommend visiting Atocha tropical garden on your trip to Madrid.
If you enjoy visiting historic old railway stations, don’t miss the Mercado de Motores vintage market which is held at Madrid’s railway museum – itself also an old train station.
Jardines de Aranjuez, Aranjuez
Aranjuez is a city just south of Madrid, only 45 minutes by train from Atocha station. From the tropical garden of Atocha, the Jardines de Aranjuez are altogether a more traditional Spanish garden experience.
Aranjuez is famous for its beautiful Royal Palace. King Philip II (1556–98) had travelled extensively in Europe and had a great interest in botany and nature. Under his reign, the Island Garden area of the palace grounds became a wonderland of plants, with fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs and perfumed plants all growing in the gardens.
Later, Charles III (1759–1788) had the Prince’s Garden landscaped – this garden is the largest fenced garden in Europe and has been called the “garden of gardens”. It’s multiple gardens in one, with an arboretum, a Spanish Garden and gardens influenced by the English style. There are also fountains, rotundas and a day palace for the Royal family and their guests to relax in after a day in the gardens or the hunting grounds.
The Aranjuez gardens, palace and the historical centre together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gardens in Catalonia
Barcelona and the Catalonia region contain some of the most beautiful – and famous – gardens in Spain.
Marimurtra Botanical Garden, Blanes
Of all the gardens in Spain, the Marimurtra Botanical Gardens surely has one of the most beautiful settings. Set at the top of a steep cliff and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the Costa Brava, it’s a gloriously dramatic and romantic place.
The gardens were founded by a German businessman, Carl Faust, in 1924. He had been interested in botany since he was a child but was pushed into business by his family. In his 50s he felt able to give up some of his commercial responsibilities and established the garden in the town of Blanes, near Girona.
Visitors to the Marimurtra Botanical Gardens can see over 4,000 plant species from all over the world, but even if you’re not an expert on gardening, you’ll still love the beautiful flowers and gorgeous sea views at this lovely garden.
Park Güell, Barcelona
Barcelona’s Park Güell is one of the most famous gardens in Spain, if not the world. Created by Antoni Gaudí between 1900 and 1914, it was originally intended to be a luxury housing estate. 60 plots would have made the most of the views over the city. Only two houses were ever built (the houses were by other architects), and no buyers came forward. Gaudí ended up buying the show house himself; the house now holds the Gaudí House Museum.
Today Park Güell is firmly on the Barcelona tourist trail and 9 million people visit the garden each year. To try and mitigate the impact of so many visitors, tickets are now required for what’s called the “Monumental Zone”. This part of the garden contains most of Gaudí’s work at the site, including the dragon mosaic at the main entrance and the winding mosaic seating in the large main square.
Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona
By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com
Built on the location of an old citadel, this 17-hectare urban oasis is one of the greenest and most beautiful spots in Barcelona. As well as being a regular hangout for skaters, dancers, jugglers, slackliners, picnickers and ping-pong players, it also harbours a host of attractions, including Barcelona’s sprawling zoo. No joke, attend one of the park’s regular funky food-truck festivals and you may very well hear the roars of lions and tigers in the distance.
Rent a rowing boat and drift around the lake or pop into the Castillo de los Tres Dragones (Castle of Three Dragons) to see the fascinating zoological collection. Pose for photos in front of the cascading waterfall and definitely don’t miss the scenic route to or from the park via the palm-fringed Passeig de Lluís Companys, the crowning glory of which is the hulking Arc de Triomf. Built in 1888, when Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition, it is one of the city’s biggest emblems and one of those places where you are sure to be warmed by that “Wow, we’re in Barcelona!” feeling.
From Parc de la Ciutadella it’s just a gentle stroll back into the old town or, better yet, to the old fishermen’s neighbourhood of Barceloneta, where you can feast on seafood tapas and stretch out on the endless city beaches. Eso es la vida.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Barcelona
By Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Barcelona, the Catalan capital is full of wonderful corners. But you certainly wouldn’t have thought there was a labyrinth in the middle of Barcelona, would you? One of the unique things to do in Barcelona is a visit to the Parc del Laberint d’Horta. At its center, you can find a real maze.
This labyrinth consists of hedges that are two meters high. It’s easy to get lost inside. As soon as you reach the middle of the labyrinth, I recommend that you take a short rest and enjoy the silence and tranquility of this place. Take a look around and discover how beautiful the Greek-oriented style of this section of the park is.
But also the rest of the park outside the labyrinth is beautiful and well worth a visit. The romantic garden was created in the 18th century to expand the labyrinth and covers around 54 hectares.
For us, this park is one of the most beautiful places in the city. Especially since it is one of the unknown attractions of the city and is therefore not full of tourists, such as the Parc de la Ciutadella. If you are looking for a little rest and want to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city, the park is just perfect. Its location a bit outside the city center also contributes to its peacefulness.
Botanical gardens on Montjuic Hill, Barcelona
By Ciara Turner-Ewert of the blog Wellness Travel Diaries
Barcelona is full of beautiful Gaudi inspired architecture, mouthwatering restaurants, and evergreen gardens for the ultimate wellness retreat. While there’s a plethora of unique things to do in Barcelona, with vivid green gardens and parks located throughout the city, a majority of these elegant gardens are on Montjuic Hill.
On top of Montjuic Hill, there are three botanic gardens to stroll through. First, there’s the Jardí Botànic de Barcelona, the Botanical Garden in Barcelona. This garden is placed between the vast Olympic stadium and magnificent Montjuic Castle. This botanical garden is the largest in the city and home to extensive vegetation that thrives on the Mediterranean climate. It’s comprised of giant forest trees, various green plants and fascinating shrubs, some of which have originated from other countries with Mediterranean climates such as California and Australia.
Likewise, the botanical garden, Jardí Botànic Històric, or Historic Botanical Gardens, is also found on the hillside of Montjuic. This charming garden hosts unique vegetation because of its rare microclimate that allows plants to be at colder temperatures. Therefore, some of its plants can’t be enjoyed in other botanical parks in Barcelona.
Finally, the last garden to explore is the Jardin Botanico Montjuic, Botanic Garden of Montjuic, another verdant oasis on Montjuic Hill.
Gardens in Valencia
If you’re visiting Valencia and the Valencian region, don’t miss these stunning and unusual gardens in Spain.
Valencia has one of the loveliest urban gardens in Spain, but it’s here because of a disaster. Where the park is today, the River Turia used to flow. After a devastating flood in 1957, the river was diverted south of the city, leaving a 9km riverbed through the city. After some debate, the city decided to turn it into a garden. The gardens are still crossed by the bridges that used to cross the river, including several from the 15th, 16th and 17th century.
The Turia Gardens have multiple sections. Some are dedicated to children (the giant Gulliver play area will make you wish you were small enough to have a go), some parts are grassy and shaded with trees and some are more formal, with fountains or defined planting.
At the southern end of the Turia Gardens you’ll find the City of Arts and Sciences, which has a garden of its own. It’s quite a surprise when you emerge from the trees and meandering paths and see the futuristic buildings of the City of Arts and Sciences in front of you.
If you’re planning to visit Valencia, make sure you spend some time in the Turia Gardens. Rent a bike or some rollerblades, read a book under the trees, or just spend a day wandering through one of the most unusual gardens in Spain.
At the southern end of the Turia Gardens is the City of Arts and Sciences, an ultra-futuristic complex designed by Santiago Calatrava that houses an aquarium, science museum, IMAX cinema and theatre. There’s also a sculpture garden called l’Umbracle that’s filled with palm trees and other species native to the Valencia area.
The plants in l’Umbracle’s terrace have been designed to change colour with the seasons, so it’s different whenever you visit.
Gardens in Andalusia
Sunshine-filled Andalusia is filled with some of the most historic – and romantic gardens in Spain.
Real Alcázar de Seville
The Real Alcázar de Seville is simply dreamy. Right next to Seville Cathedral and forming part of the same UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a heart-stoppingly romantic complex of gardens and palaces. It’s no surprise that visiting the Real Alcázar is one of the best things to do in Seville.
The Real Alcázar was built on the site of an older fortress; what you see today is the product of over 500 years of construction and blends Gothic, Romanesque and Moorish elements. The gardens are just as varied – there are quiet courtyards for contemplation, orange groves, lovely fountains, shady corners where peacocks roam and even a maze.
Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs, Córdoba
By Paul from Anywhere We Roam
After conquering Córdoba, the Christians built the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs in 1328 on the site of previous Roman and Islamic ruins. As both a fortress and a palace, it’s infamous for serving as the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition in 1482.
But apart from an imposing palace, the alcázar also contains one of the most beautiful gardens in Spain. The expansive grounds consist of large ponds framed by extremely well-maintained trees, intricate water features, marble statues and beautiful mosaics. The whole compound has a spectacular grandeur befitting the kings who have added to it over the years.
The highlight is the Avenue of the Monarchs, a long tree-lined boulevard which features statues of all the key royal figures who have been associated with the palace. During the late afternoon, with the Córdoba sun drifting to the horizon, the gardens of the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs are a lovely place to stop and appreciate the history of this beautiful setting.
After exploring the many exquisitely designed spaces in the gardens, climb up the stairs to the Tower of the Lions for a bird’s eye view of the whole compound. From here, it’s easy to see why the kings and queens of Christian Spain chose this as their base.
Botanical Garden, Malaga
By Paulina from Paulina on the Road
If you happen to be in Spain and wondering about things to do in Malaga then the Botanical Garden is the one for you. This garden is the perfect place to reset your mind, meditate, have a picnic, or just enjoy the exotic ambience of nature.
The Botanical Garden has plants and trees from all around the world to create a beautiful garden that spans 23 hectares. The garden is impressively designed with multiple ponds, waterfalls, streams, fountains, sculptures, greenhouses and historical buildings, and has a large collection of more than 25,000 plants. As well as plants, you can also see various species of birds, rabbits, frogs, and chameleons.
Don’t forget to visit the northern section of the Botanical Garden Malaga, where you can find a route known as Around the World in 80 Trees and a collection of palm trees. Another feature worth noting in the botanical garden is the San Telmo aqueduct, built in 1782.
The Botanical Garden Malaga is a must-see horticultural gem and one of the most beautiful gardens in Spain.
Casa Don Bosco, Ronda
By Jeanine of Le Wild Explorer
Casa Don Bosco is a house-museum located on the historic side of the beautiful city of Ronda. The home is a modernist palace that was built at the beginning of the 20th century. It has a peaceful garden decorated in Moorish-style tiles and offers breathtaking views of the valley and of the city’s most famous bridge, Puente Nuevo. You won’t find many people here as it’s located in a more quiet part of the city.
If you’re looking for some to find tranquility it can definitely be found in the gardens. The garden offers plenty of seating and some shade. And at €2.50 for admission it’s definitely less expensive than eating lunch at the neighbouring restaurants just to get a good view of the Puente Nuevo bridge.
It’s one of the more underrated places to visit in Ronda. And if you love Casa Don Bosco you can even stay the night! Be sure to add Ronda to your Spain itinerary and check out more things to do in Ronda.
Generalife gardens, Granada
By Joanna from Andalucia In My Pocket
Generalife is one of the most famous gardens in Andalucia, the best example of Moorish landscaping that still remains in Spain. The gardens from Generalife used to belong to the summer palace of the Nasrid rules of the Emirate of Granada, bank in the 13th century, and were built on the idea of providing the visitors with the five most important benefits in life: spirituality, aesthetics, psychology, nutrition and science.
The tall trees are a connection between the earth of the sky, the water is life, the vegetables growing in the garden provide nutrition, the top of the hill which used to have an old Muslim oratory provides a perfect space for meditation and praying.
There are more than 600 different plants in Generalife. The gardens are split between two courtyards, each with water features, canals, pools, and fountains. As all other hidden gardens in Granada, Generalife used to have only one access point, to maintain its peaceful atmosphere without any disturbance from the outside world.
If you only have a couple of days in Granada and didn’t get a chance to book tickets for the Alhambra, you can still visit Generalife. The ticket office is just outside the main gate, at the end of the official Alhambra parking lot. Many people don’t know that Generalife can be visited independently from the Alhambra.
Kitty Harri’s Sculpture Garden, Costa Tropical
By Joanna from The World In My Pocket
Kitty Harri’s Sculpture Garden is a unique art experience located in the mountains of Almijara, just off Granada’s Costa Tropical. The garden – one of the most unusual gardens in Spain – is located in a remote area on a hilltop ridge, off the main road, and has stunning views over the mountains on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other.
Kitty Harri is a Swedish artist who moved to Spain 17 years ago. Her exotic garden is an ongoing project, featuring her own work but also pieces of art from artists who come to her beautiful house to let themselves be inspired by the nature and create.
The works of art are scattered around the terraced two-acre garden, between trees and flowers, creating a utopic alternative experience. Not only the art comes from artists around the world, but the plants in her gardens do too. The Costa Tropical is known as a microclimate in which any plant can grow.
Kitty Harri’s Garden is usually open every first and third Sunday of the month. The guests are invited to join Kitty and her husband Nick for beautiful afternoons by the pool’s bar, in the company of baroque classical music played at the harpsichord by The Chamber Players. The band is Nick’s soul project.
The entrance ticket to the garden is 10 euros.
Gardens in Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The otherworldly landscape of Lanzarote might not seem conducive to creating beautiful gardens, but that’s far from the case – thanks to Lanzarote’s most famous son, César Manrique.
By Megan of Meganstarr.com
Spain is teeming with many beautiful and unique gardens and LagOmar on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is one of the most spectacular I have ever seen.
LagOmar is a museum and garden that was the former home of Omar Sharif, a famous actor, who fell in love with the property in the 1970s while on Lanzarote filming ‘The Mysterious Island’. He fell so captivated by the private property designed by César Manrique, an accomplished Spanish architect, that he bought it.
Today, the property is one of the most popular places to visit on Lanzarote and is a day trip from Arrecife and many other places on the island. When you arrive at LagOmar, you will be greeted by lots of colorful flowers, pools and ponds, and several gorgeous outdoor spaces that provide picturesque views over the island. Tickets are affordable and there is a cafe on sight and a lot of information to help you navigate the museum. There are also many tour options available that hit up LagOmar and other parts of northern Lanzarote.
Between the caves and labyrinths at LagOmar, it is a must-visit place if you like greenery and gardens combined with architecture that is incomparable to anywhere else on the planet.
Jardín de Cactus
By Darek from DarekandGosia.com
Spain is an extremely colourful place, full of castles and palaces surrounded by magnificent gardens. The charm of buildings created over hundreds of years is added by landscapes in the form of mountains, olive groves and vineyards. But there are places in Spain which are so dry that the only type of garden you can create is a Cactus garden!
One of those paces is the Jardín de Cactus on Lanzarote island. The garden was opened in 1990 and it is considered as the last work of César Manrique, on which he worked for almost 20 years.
The island of Lanzarote has particularly good conditions for growing cacti – the dry, warm climate and poorly fertile soil are just perfect for them. The garden was built on the site of an old quarry and you will be able to see both, local growing cacti as well as many imported from around the world – over 450 different type of species.
Tickets are at €6.50 for adults and €3.25 for children. There is also free parking in front of the garden. It is recommended to spend 3-4 hours in the garden, including lunch at the cactus restaurant.
If you are planning a holiday in Lanzarote, make sure the Jardín de Cactus is on your list of places to see. It really is one of the most beautiful and unique gardens in Spain!
If you enjoyed this post about gardens to visit in Spain, you might find these other posts useful:
- 18 beautiful gardens to visit in Italy
- Visiting Giardini la Mortella, a garden love story on an Italian island