Stroll among plants and flowers from all over the world.
The Royal Botanic Garden is right next to the Prado, and is a great place to relax if you are having a museum day. It was founded in the 18th century by Carlos III. Stop and look at the neoclassical entrance gate, the Puerta de Murillo, which was designed by Juan de Villanueva. The garden was originally devised by the botanist Casimiro Gomez Ortega to cultivate the plants brought back from Spanish colonies all around the world. Back then, the Reina Sofia museum just down the road was a hospital, so the idea was to provide a supply of plants for medicinal purposes. In the lower level of the garden, look out for the pomegranate tree in bed 3 which is around 200 years old. Old varieties of roses flank the Paseo de Carlos III, which leads down to the Puerta Real, designed by Sabatini. On the second level there is an elm tree known as 'Pantalones' because the trunk is divided into two and it looks like a pair of trousers. There is an oval pond on the upper level, surrounded by trees including a lovely Canarian palm. The pavilion at the back was originally a hothouse but is now used for temporary exhibitions, along with the greenhouse designed in the early 1990s by Angel Fernandez Alba.