The Madrid Río project originated when the section of the M-30 ring road running parallel to the Manzanares River was moved underground, resulting in an area of parkland 10 kilometres long. The river bank has thus become an integral part of the city centre, and now offers Madrilenians and visitors an area surrounded by vegetation and filled with wide a range of sports, leisure and cultural facilities. Discover it on the Madrid Río guided tour, conducted in Spanish.
The redeveloped area covers 649 hectares in six districts: Moncloa-Aravaca, Centro, Arganzuela, Latina, Carabanchel and Usera. The Madrid Río project will create a large area of environmental, sporting, leisure and cultural interest.
The restoration process has affected the course of the river itself, both banks and nearby streets. Now that the area has been freed from traffic coming from the M-30, Madrid residents and visitors to the city can once again start enjoying the Manzanares. Moreover, the project has meant removing an obstacle which has separated the districts from the centre and south-east of the city for so long.
To achieve this, 17 new walkways have been built, among them the Matadero and Invernadero walkways, whose arches are decorated with mosaics by Daniel Canogar, the Puente del Principado de Andorra bridge, and the bridge designed by Dominique Perrault, which crosses over the new Arganzuela Park and links Paseo de Yeserías with Avenida del Manzanares. Some of these walkways are destined to become new landmarks in the city. Other existing pedestrian bridges have also been rehabilitated, including the Puente de Segovia bridge, which has recovered the splendour of Juan de Herrera's 16th-century design, and the old dams have been transformed into walkways.
Another important novelty is the creation of green zones, where over 25,000 new trees are being planted. Madrid Río also provides a link with other green spaces in the city such as Casa de Campo and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River.
Salón de Pinos: A 6-kilometre long tree-lined promenade with playgrounds for children, health and exercise circuits, rest areas and paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Starting to the north of Puente del Rey bridge, near Puente de los Franceses bridge, it runs to a point near the Nudo Sur. The promenade follows the right bank of the river except for a 500-metre stretch between Puente Oblicuo bridge and the Puente del Principado de Andorra bridge, where it also runs along the left bank, allowing walkers and cyclists to follow a circular route.
Arganzuela Park: Covering 23 hectares, three times the size of the old park built in the 1960s, this is the main landscaped area in Madrid Río. Pedestrian and cycling routes cover the whole park and there are 5 recreational areas for different ages, including a jungle of tree trunks and a series of slides that take advantage of the slopes.
However, the main attraction of the Arganzuela Park is water, thanks to the city beach. This concept was proposed by children taking part in the Madrid Río Children and Young People contest held in 2005 and comprises three oval-shaped waterside enclosures with different uses. One has a shallow pool of water where people can lie and cool off, another features jets of water rising to different heights with differing effects, and the third has a pool with clouds of spray. There will also be lawns for people to sunbathe by the Manzanares, where sunshades, sun loungers and chairs will be available for the comfort of visitors.
Huerta de la Partida: Back in the 18th century it was the orchard used by the residents of the Vargas Palace, and now it has been restored to its former splendour. Occupying an area of 38 thousand square meters, it is now home to 873 new trees growing almonds, pears, quince, olives, apples, walnuts and figs, and even mulberry trees, and a 480-metre-long s-shaped stream.
Thanks to Madrid Río project many other smaller green areas have also sprung up, including the Aniceto Marinas Gardens, the Virgen del Puerto Park and the gardens by the Puente de Segovia and Puente de Toledo bridges. Together they form a long environmental corridor which join other green lungs as far as Getafe and El Pardo
Sports facilities are one of the cornerstones of the renovation plan.
Bike lanes: The Madrid Río cycle network covers some 30 kilometres and is linked to existing bike routes. Madrid Río not only provides a magnificent setting for leisure and sports cycling but offers an excellent infrastructure to promote the use of the bicycle as a means of transport in the city, an alternative to motorised vehicles, offering great health and environmental benefits.
To the north, from the traffic bridge north of Puente de los Franceses bridge, Madrid Rio connects to the Senda Real, the Green Ring for Cyclists and the GR 7 trail, which goes as far as the Sierra de Madrid mountain range. To the south, Madrid Río provides access to the Enrique Tierno Galván Park and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River, an extensive green zone running parallel to the river as far as Getafe.
As well as the cycle routes there are 42 kilometres of paths for walkers and runners. A tennis court and seven padel tennis courts have been built near the Puente de Praga bridge, and another six padel tennis courts can now be enjoyed on the Paseo Marqués de Monistrol s/n (open Mon to Sun from 9am to 10pm).
In one of the loops in the southern junction, on the edge of Madrid Río, one of the project's star attractions will be located: a circuit for BMX extreme cycling that includes the most advanced technology for this Olympic sport. Beside the Puente de Toledo bridge (Avenida del Manzanares, 108) a ROC30 climbing wall for different levels has beem installed. These are not the only extreme sports which people will be able to do, though: in Arganzuela Park there are two special areas for skaters and skateboarders. In the same park, two artificial pitches have been laid out for seven-a-side football and one for eleven-a-side matches. Those wishing to practise basketball or futsal can make use of any of the three free-of-court/pitch (Calle del Vado s/n, Pasaje de Montserrat s/n and Calle Ricardo Damas s/n). Lastly, the Madrid Río project envisages the construction of a jetty for rowers and canoeists to enjoy their sport between dams 8 and 9.
Madrid Río is an enormous leisure and cultural enclave, housing historical sites and cultural and leisure facilities, as well as providing an exceptional vantage point for discovering Madrid's many monuments.
The newly developed banks of the Manzanares offer an excellent setting for a family outing. Children will have a great time in the 17 playgrounds for kids, all equipped with swings made with natural, sustainable materials such as wood and hemp ropes, also used to provide webs, hammocks, rope bridges and lianas for the children to climb. The areas have different features according to the age group for which they are intended. Some are specifically for small children, while others are for older children, and therefore require skill, balance and strength.
The area also offers adults a wide range of cultural attractions. Matadero Madrid, the city's former slaughterhouse, hosts an array of activities, including exhibitions, music festivals and plays, while the newly built bridges are destined to become architectural icons in the city. Madrid Río also boasts the Puente del Rey Esplanade, where the celebrations for Spain's victory in the 2010 South Africa World Football Cup concluded and where you can now find a commemorative plaque honouring the historical win. It is the perfect site to celebrate major events.
The new riverside park also offers five viewpoints from which to look out on the city and beyond: Mirador de la Huerta de la Partida, Mirador de San Vicente (in the Aniceto Marinas Gardens), Mirador del Puente de Segovia, Mirador del Puente de Arganzuela and Mirador del Sur (from where one can enjoy the Madrid skyline from the south east of the city).
Accessibility has played a very important part in the design of this newly revamped area of the city. In order to make it easier for people with physical, mental or sensory impairments to enjoy the riverside park, the following has been made available:
Madrid Río Norte
Madrid Río Centro
Madrid Río Sur
Telephone: (+34) 91 588 36 39-(+34) 91 588 41 12
Webpage: Madrid Río