In the past few years the River Manzanares has been transformed from what was referred to as just a stream running through Madrid into a beautiful 8km green zone area lined with parks and trees as well as a concert area and much more.
Image by Márcio Cabral de Moura
The river Manzanares has its source near the Navacerrada mountain pass in the Guadarrama Mountains. The upper river is protected as the Parque Regional de la Cuenca Alta del Manzanares, which is a nature reserve that is recognized and protected by UNESCO.
The Manzanares flows in a south-eastern direction from its source, and passes through the medieval town of Manzanares el Real where it a dam was created in order to form the Santillana reservoir, one of the most important water supplies for the capital. The river then takes a southern direction and enters the Monte del Pardo, an ecologically valuable area on the edge of Madrid.
The river is canalised where it passes through the built-up areas of the city. The Manzanares runs past the west of the city and further downstream and acts as a natural division between the old city and the Carabanchel and Usera neighbourhoods to the southwest. Along here it runs past Atlético Madrid's football ground, the Vicente Calderón. The river leaves the city at its southernmost tip. It makes a strong eastern turn which takes it past the village of Perales del Río and towards the river Jarama, into which it flows near the dormitory town of Arganda del Rey, ending its 83 km (52 mi) journey.
In an astonishing project of urbanization that’s taken eight years, cost a small fortune and managed to avoid and work around certain environmental legislation, the sections of the M-30 motorway that ran alongside the river have been hidden, and instead cars now pass through 43 kilometres of underground tunnels. This means that finally the banks of the Manzanares have been given a makeover and reclaimed as an enormous greenbelt.
People relaxing by the river (image by Enrique A Sanabria)
Just finished in time for summer and running eight kilometres in length, it includes 33,000 and 460,000 planted trees and bushes, respectively, football pitches, fountains, playgrounds, baroque-style gardens, new bridges, restored old bridges, cafes, a BMX track, climbing walls, a concert area big enough for 20,000, an orchard and, even, a beach.
If you would like to visit Madrid and take a stroll down this wonderful river but you are still looking for a place to stay then check out Habitat Apartments where you will find some lovely apartments available to rent. Featured below is the Latina Nature Apartment which is just a few minutes walk from the river.
If you liked this article and would like the chance to see more then follow us on our social media below!