I’m dedicating a song to my favorite parks of Madrid because I want to

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Caroline B.

You’re welcome for soundtracking your next stroll.

Madrid is a city full of parks, and I am a person who’s always listening to music. It only felt natural to assign a song to some of my favorite parks of the city, based on theme, feeling, lyrics, and (most importantly) vibes. 

Let’s get into it!

Parque Oeste

Oeste collage

To get started, I’m choosing the park closest to my apartment. Oeste is located in the Argüelles/Moncloa area, a part of town full of university students. I take frequent strolls through Oeste, where I love to people watch and pet as many dogs as I can. Oeste is beautiful during all seasons, but in spring, when people are eager to get outside after the colder winter months, it really glows. Picnickers picnic in the fields, and pickup soccer games keep pedestrians on their toes – you never know when you might need to dodge a wayward ball. Students lie in the sun, taking a lazy break from exam preparation. The light casts the grass and the trees in vibrant green, and flowers bloom anywhere you look. 

“Campus” by Vampire Weekend encapsulates the hopeful sensation of springtime euphoria I feel in Oeste once it gets warm. The song explores the feeling of new romance on a college campus, where it’s difficult to avoid spotting someone you just can’t get off your mind. The song depicts this excitement and claustrophobia with imagery of springtime sun-soaking: “In the afternoon / You’re out on the stone and grass / And I’m sleeping on the balcony / After class.” The song builds to crescendo, repeating this lyric, demonstrating the inevitable, explosive, and joyous nature of springtime romance.

When I’m walking in Oeste in the springtime, I can’t help but play this song on repeat. The final bridge makes me feel like I’m floating. With so many young people milling about, the song feels like a spot-on soundtrack for a springtime stroll. Madrid may be a big city, but you can always expect to run into someone you know when out and about on a beautiful day. With this song as your soundtrack, you can only invite possibility and serendipity to your day.

Templo de Debod

Templo collage

Alright, the Templo de Debod is technically part of the Parque Oeste. But I think, as the unrivaled best place to watch the sunset in Madrid, this park deserves a song of its own.

The Templo de Debod is a second century BCE Egyptian temple that the Egyptian government gave to Spain in 1968, and it’s well worth going inside to see immaculately preserved hieroglyphics and feel transported through space and time to ancient Egypt. The park surrounding the temple, dotted by palm trees, sits up on a hill, overlooking the Royal Palace and the city below. It’s a surreal (and popular) spot to sit with good company and watch the sun set.

“Bike Dream” by Rostam is the perfect song to represent watching the sunset from the Templo. The song takes a dreamy, sleepy tone but still buzzes with excitement and awe. The lyrics describe “orange swimming through the trees,” mirroring the vibrant colors of the sunset cast against the shadows of the palms surrounding the Templo. When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I see the oranges and pinks and purples of a sunset and feel at ease. It’s a song to be shared and enjoyed, just like a Templo sunset.


Retiro collage

El Retiro is the Central Park of Madrid – it’s iconic, historic, and a must-see for any visitor to the city. It’s got a lake with boats, marble sculptures, and manicured gardens, with wide and winding paths. People come to Retiro both to gather with friends and reflect individually. I have not even lived in Madrid for a year, and already I have so many memories in Retiro. Some are happy, and some are more melancholy.

I couldn’t think of a better song to embody Retiro than “In My Life” by the Beatles. An iconic song for an iconic park. Both the music of the Beatles and the Retiro have nurtured generations, steadfast but ever-relevant. In the song, the band sings, “All these places and things have had their moments / With lovers and friends I still can recall . . . I know I’ll often stop and think about them / In my life I love you more.” These lyrics make me imagine all the memories I’ve made in the park, and the ones to come. I can envision walking around the park and reflecting on these moments in the future, the park as a microcosm of a lifetime of emotions. The song is wistful and sweet, and giving it a listen on your next visit to Retiro might invite nostalgia and reflection. 

Plus, who doesn’t love a harpsichord solo. If that doesn’t scream retro but relevant, I don’t know what does.

Real Jardín Botánico

Garden song collage

Picture this: you’re meandering among beautifully cultivated flowers and various rare plants, thinking of all the steps you’ve taken to reach this peaceful moment. The Real Jardín Botánico is the perfect spot for mindfulness. Here, you’ll see dahlias of every color, tall cypresses, and seedlings getting their start in raised beds. Gardens may be a common metaphor for the growth that only comes with hard work, but it’s a pretty on-the-nose comparison.

That’s why “Garden Song” by Phoebe Bridgers is the perfect song to accompany you through the Royal Botanical Gardens. The song is all about going through hard things but growing despite and even because of them. Bridgers sings, “I don’t know how but I’m taller / It must be something in the water / Everything’s growing in our garden . . . No, I’m not afraid of hard work.” The singer employs garden imagery to depict personal growth through hard work. Like a plant that’s been tended to, the speaker grows taller and takes a moment to acknowledge her progress.

To speak from my own experience, I have done a lot of growing to get to where I am now. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in next steps that I often forget to be proud of all the hard things I have done that have landed me where I am right now. And I’m so happy I’m here. 

Here are some of the hard things I’ve done preceding this moment of rest:

I graduated college this year. Then, this summer, I tried to get my career started but realized I had to redirect my efforts. I learned about a great opportunity with CIEE and decided to move to Madrid. I jumped through bureaucratic hoops to get my visa. I found an apartment in a foreign country. I made friends. I started a new job. I navigate the city in a second language, which I feel like I am never going to stop learning. I manage my mental and physical health. All these hard things have led to a lot of forced character development, and I expect much more to come. But it’s important for us all to rest on our laurels for a moment, amidst all this growing, and allow ourselves to be proud.

Paseo del Prado

paseo del prado collage

Does this count as a park? The Paseo del Prado is a scenic median on the boulevard where many of Madrid’s most famous museums stand. Along the Paseo del Prado, you’ll admire the architecture of important buildings like the Cybele Palace and the Banco de España. You’ll also see graceful trees and fountains. Imagine yourself strolling down this path, buzzing after a day full of art. Now let’s soundtrack that.

My pick for the Paseo is “Elephant Gun” by Beirut. This song is wistful and whimsical. Because it evokes theatrics, movement, and emotion, it would be apt to compare this song to a painting. The singer, accompanied by emotive horns, calls upon nature to “Let the seasons begin.” If you’re fresh off a long visit at a museum, full and overwhelmed from seeing so much art, this song is like dessert. Even when you’re full, there’s always room for something sweet to end a meal. This decadent song pairs irresistibly with romanticizing your life while recovering from museum fatigue.

Casa de Campo

Casa de campo collage

The biggest park in Madrid, Casa de Campo is an escape from the city, full of bike paths, walking trails, and wildflowers. The park truly feels like the countryside and offers lots of recreational opportunities. 

I picked the song “Taking Over The Sun” by Goth Babe for Casa de Campo. This song is full of energy and optimism and leaves me feeling invigorated and ready to take on the day. Much of Goth Babe’s discography adopts a similar tone, but “Taking Over The Sun” most embraces a sense of adventure and determination. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is a great anthem not only for a run or walk around Casa de Campo, but also for welcoming the daily joys and surprises of living in Spain.


I had a wonderful time compiling this playlist. I immediately knew which song to pair with some parks, but others required more deliberation. Considering my experiences in the parks of Madrid through this musical lens allowed me to process and relive some fond memories, both from my semester abroad in Madrid with Hamilton and from my time teaching here. If anything, I hope this playlist might introduce you to a song or allow you to consider an old favorite song from a new perspective.

Playlist linked here!