Madrid Río is one of Madrid’s major ecosystem-rebalancing projects. Part of the busy M-30 ring road running parallel to the River Manzanares was buried underground, which resulted in a vast 10km-long park that both locals and out-of-towners can enjoy.
The renovation of the spaces freed from traffic has helped Madrid recover the river. But the project goes beyond that, since tearing down a section of the M-30 meant removing an obstacle that had separated the southern districts from the centre for long.
Inaugurated in April 2011, Madrid Río covers nearly 700ha of restored land. The banks of the river and the surrounding area are filled with a wide range of recreational facilities and attractions that revolve around four themes – new architectural highlights, green corridor, sports, and leisure and culture.
Designed by architect Dominique Perrault, the Arganzuela monumental footbridge is the gem of the park. It’s a 274m-long structure that links Paseo de Yeserías with Avenida del Manzanares. Cone-like in structure, its two sections have two interlocking metal spirals and provide direct access to the Parque de la Arganzuela below. The place is remarkably beautiful when the sun goes down and the lights of the tree-like lamp posts illuminate the interior of the bridge.
A peculiar area in Madrid Río is the urban beach. It’s formed by three oval-shaped water areas with different effects: a smooth sheet of water, jets of varying heights and a cloud of water vapour. The beach, accessible only in the summer, is perfect to freshen up on hot, sunny days. Children love it!
The Invernadero and Matadero twin vaulted footbridges stand across the facilities bearing the same names. They were decorated by Daniel Canogar with recycled glass tiles depicting local residents.
Other remarkable sights are the Oblicuo bridge, a stretch from the old M-30 road recovered for pedestrians, and the Principado de Andorra bridge, built of iron and featuring three Y-shaped arms.
La Arganzuela is the largest landscaped garden in Madrid Río, spanning 23ha. Within the park are interesting sights like the Arganzuela monumental bridge, the urban beach, the jungle of tree trunks, the hill with slides and the skatepark.
SALÓN DE PINOS
Salón de Pinos is a 6km-long tree-lined walkway that runs along one alternate banks of the river.
HUERTA DE LA PARTIDA
A fruit tree nursery next to Casa de Campo, Huerta de la Partida has retained the splendour it had in the sixteenth century, when it was the orchard used by the residents of the Vargas Palace.
Smaller parks and gardens like Jardines Aniceto Marinas, Parque de la Virgen del Puerto, Jardines del Puente de Segovia, Jardines del Puente de Toledo and Parque del Matadero complete the green corridor.
Madrid Río offers ample opportunities for sports. It has a 30km cycling route, shared by walkers and cyclists, that is linked to the Green Cycling Ring on the north and the south, as well as to other cycle lanes in the city and on the outskirts. Visitors can hire bikes and other sporting vehicles to ride safely along fantastic green trails by the River Manzanares.
Besides running and cycling, in Madrid Río you’ll find a skatepark for skateboarders and roller skaters to ride and perform their tricks; ROC 30, a rock-textured climbing wall and climbing school; BMX tracks; an 11-a-side and two 7-a-side football pitches; multi-sport tracks; paddle tennis courts; tennis courts, a boules playing area and even facilities for rowing and sport fishing.
What’s more, Madrid Río is home to Vicente Calderón, the home stadium of Atlético de Madrid. The club offers guided tours of the Atlético de Madrid Museum and the stadium, where you can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a football player in a world-class professional team.
Madrid Río is filled with cultural and leisure facilities for people of all ages.
At Madrid Río you’ll find endless photo opportunities, especially from Puente de Segovia or the Arganzuela monumental footbridge. Also, you’ll enjoy wonderful vistas from the two terrific cafés situated on the urban beach and to the south of Puente de Segovia, or the three bars on jetty No. 6, next to the Arganzuela footbridge and close to Calle San Zacarías.
The park is an ideal setting for children. They’ll love the 17 play areas designed for them, especially the jungle of tree trunks, the hill with slides and the zip-line.
Culture buffs coming to Madrid Río can’t miss Matadero Madrid, a former slaughterhouse built in 1921 and fully renovated to become a space dedicated to contemporary art and culture.
Following the burial of the M-30 ring road on both banks of the river, some sights – the Puerta del Rey gate, the Puente del Rey, Puente de Segovia and Puente de Toledo bridges and the Shrine of Virgen del Puerto – recovered their former glory.