Madrid’s Parque El Capricho is full of rules–and I love ‘im for it. You see, in a world when a typical park just lets everyone and their brother walk all over him, Capricho lays down a few ground rules. For example:
- No pets
- No food or drink
- Only weekend visits
- No football matches (or other ball sports)
- Visitation limit; only so many people can enter at a time
It may seem a bit stuffy at first, but if you comply with Capricho’s not-so-whimsical demands, you’ll be happily rewarded. The grounds are spotless and well-groomed, the vistas lovely, and the amount of people per square feet beats out Retiro Park any day. It’s the perfect place to bring a book and read without being annoyed that the group getting sloppily drunk a few feet away is now cajoling your to join them (you sweet thang, you!), or worried that the pick-up football game will send a ball straight into your head. And you can forget about dog poop when it comes time to fan out the picnic blanket! In other words, it’s the perfect place for nature lovers or natural curmudgeons like me.
Capricho Park is also wildly popular with photographers. The combination of well-kept grounds, cool and unusual photo-ops, and the relative lack of people make Capricho a photographer’s playground. It’s no wonder this area is popular for photo sessions; on Saturday we saw several photographs snapping shots of models, families, and a girl in her first communion dress. The bottom line? If you come to Capricho, bring your camera!
Reading on one of the park’s many benches
Many people had the same idea
La Ermita / The Hermitage
Daffodils in blooms
El Estanque / The Pond
A walk in the woods
The very photogenic Casa de la Vieja
More close-ups of Casa de la Vieja
Wild boar or Razorback??
The park is open from 9:00 to 18:30 October – March and from 9:00 to 21:00 April – September, and only on the weekend. I recommend going early, as there is strict enforcement of the limit of people allowed in. When we left the park around 2 pm, there was a waiting line of at least two dozen people.
Here’s a map–and don’t forget your camera!