Madrid Río

Madrid Rio is an architectural masterpiece, respected throughout Europe as a paradigm for municipal riverside parks. In terms of street photography, the park has a lot to offer.


Madrid Rio is a popular exercise spot for Madrid’s active population. Skaters, rollerbladers, bicyclists, runners, and athletes of many types favor the riverside. It’s generally less crowded than the more central Retiro Park, there is a skate park, bridges, terraces, and plenty of green space for picnickers, idling with their families, friends and pets. The most popular time of year, of course, runs from late Spring to late Autumn.


There are many interesting sights in the Madrid Rio area. La Puente de Segovia, or the Segovia Bridge, is a great place to begin a photo-walk. There, it is possible to shoot from above and to include the river in shots. The Estadio de Vicente Calderon is a little south of there; famous football club Atletico de Madrid has called that stadium their home for years, and its exterior makes a fine background. Traveling south on foot, there is a skate park, a playground slide complex, some scattered terraces, and finally the Matadero, which, having been an old slaughterhouse, offers a lot of lovely old architecture and backgrounds. Today, the Matadero complex has been re-purposed to house an ongoing arts curriculum and exhibition space.


If you are planning to walk Madrid Rio with your camera, do so from north to south, and start about an hour to an hour and a half before sunset. That means starting at the Puente de Segovia and ending at the Matadero, as described above. That will keep the good light on the faces of your subjects as they make their way north. There is a restaurant with a terrace nearly at the halfway point that makes a fine place to pause, perhaps shoot a little terrace life.