It can be as difficult to find things to do during the months of scorching temperatures in Madrid as it is to entertain your toddler on a rainy day, especially if you don’t have easy access to a swimming pool. Some parks and places seriously lack shade. However, here are some places you could try:-

1. Let them have a splash in fountains at

(a) Parque Juan Carlos I (metro Campo de las Naciones):

Most of the park is pretty deserted in summer as there is a serious lack of shade. However, there is one cooling-off activity in the park: the tall fountains in the square on the side of the park beside the M40 (near the main car park). Being sprayed with very cold water doesn’t appeal to all toddlers but some do like it and have fun running in and out of the fountains. The fountains are switched off at certain times of day for maintenance. If you arrive at this time, you shouldn’t have more than a half hour wait before they are switched on again, hopefully less.

(b) Plaza by Atocha station (metros Conde de Casal and Pacifico)

There are fountains here too in the plaza on Avenida de la Ciudad de Barcelona where it crosses Calle Abtao.

2. Go to an outdoor pool or lido (note that you can get a ‘bono’ or pass to cover 10 visits to public sports centres or swimming pools):-

Polideportivo Luis Aragonés (metros Canillas, Campo de las Naciones)

Calle El Provencio, 20 (beside M40). Tel 91 300 3612

This public sports centre has several outdoor swimming pools for children and adults and a paddling pool. There is also plenty of lawn for your toddler to run around on and a café/bar.

NOTE: Apparently this pool is closed during the summer of 2010 for rennovation work. Can anyone confirm this?

The following pools also have children’s swimming or paddling pools:-

Centro de Natación Mundial, 86 (M-86) (metro Sainz de Baranda)

Calle Jose Martinez de Velasco, 3. Tel 91 409 4582

Instalaciones Deportivas Canal de Isabel II (metros Canal, Ríos Rosas)

Avda de Filipinas, 54. Tel 91 533 1791

Polideportivo San Blas (metro San Blas)

Calle de Arcos de Jalón, 59. Tel 91 320 9818

Polideportivo Palomeras (metros Miguel Hernandez, Sierra de Guadalupe; Renfe Vallecas)

Calle del Tranvía de Arganda. Tel 91 778 8204

Polideportivo Moratalaz (metro Pavones)

Valdebernardo (no street number). Tel 91 772 7121

Polideportivo Hortaleza (metro Parque de Santo Santamaría)

Carretera Estación de Hortaleza, 11. Tel 91 382 1965

Polideportivo Casa de Campo (metro Lago)

Paseo de la Puerta del Angel, 7. Tel 91 463 0050

Polideportivo Municipal Dehesa Boyal

Avda Navarrondán, s/n, San Sebastian de los Reyes. Tel 91 659 29 23.

Has indoor pools for little ones with jet streams, a ball park (on the first floor), and open-air pools, open from 29th May to 29th August. There is an outdoor toddler pool amid pleasant green surroundings, with a cafe and kiosk nearby. You’re allowed to enter the pool area in street clothing and can also bring your own picnic.

3. Try one of the ‘piscinas naturales’ in the Sierra. They will definitely cool you down! Here are a few:-

Parque Recreativo Las Berceas, near Cercedilla

Open from late June to end of August from 10am to 8pm. They are located in Valle de la Fuenfría, near Cercedilla, next to the remains of a Roman road. Take the road from the Cercanías train station of Cercedilla in the direction of ‘la Calzada Romana’. The area is known as ‘Las Dehesas’. There are two pools, each with a shallow end for paddling toddlers. They are in a beautiful setting and there is lots of green lawn space. However, eating near the pool is not permitted, though you can exit and enter the area without having to pay again. There is a restaurant and picnic tables nearby. Entrance fee is 5,70 euros for adults. Small children get in free.

La Panera

Take the Carretera de la Coruña. Come off the motorway at El Espinar and then drive to La Estación de El Espinar, which is another village. Drive through this village and then take the road to La Panera. There is a small entrance fee.


Las Presillas en Rascafría

Take the A-1 and then turn off towards Lozoyuela and take the M-604 to Las Presillas. The pools have been constructed by damming parts of the river and there is also plenty of lawn for children to run around on. You can also get there by taking the Continental Auto bus from Plaza de Castilla. Entrance is free, though the car park costs 4 euros. It is open from 9am to 10pm.