Home to Madrid’s international airport, Barajas is a former town now enveloped by the Spanish capital’s urban sprawl. It encompasses scenic recreational parks dotted with modern sculptures and historic monuments, which range from a medieval castle to an 18th-century palace.
Things to do in Barajas
In the heart of Barajas is Juan Carlos I Park, a 160-hectare green space that hosts the annual Music MetroRock festival. In addition to an ice skating rink, a golf course and a lake for canoeing and fishing, there are several modern sculptures and an olive grove planted with more than 2,000 trees. A small train chugs its way around the park and children’s activities are organised at weekends.
Adjacent lies El Capricho Park, which was created by Maria Josefa Pimentel, Duchess of Osuna in the 18th century. It has been designated as a Jardin Historico, with an elegant palace, a Civil War-era bunker and an iron bridge among its highlights. You can stretch your legs along the lakeside trails or challenge yourself in the maze before visiting the hilltop Temple of Bacchus.
If you’re interested in military architecture, don’t miss a visit to La Alameda, which is one of only a few Spanish castles to have survived from the 15th century. Originally constructed between the medieval villages of Alameda and Barajas, it’s surrounded by the remains of prehistoric settlements. The castle was transformed into a Renaissance palace in the 16th century and used as a Republic fort during the Spanish Civil War, with its machine gun nests still visible today.
Getting around Barajas
Barajas is 25 minutes’ drive from Madrid and just five minutes from the terminal buildings of Adolfo Suarez Madrid–Barajas Airport. Both subways and buses travel throughout the district and connect most of its attractions.