Chewy at Parque Retiro
We worried about Spain. When I looked online for information about traveling with pets in Madrid and Barcelona, I found a lot of articles talking about abused animals, pets left at homes, and inadequate veterinary care. Perhaps my problem was that I was searching in English rather than Spanish because Spain, and especially Madrid, turned out to be a nation of dog lovers.
Parque del Oeste
Parque del Oeste
Our favorite park in Madrid was Parque del Oeste, a park built upon the old filled-in main landfill, which has huge trees, stunning views of the Palacio Real, and its own Egyptian temple. Dogs are not allowed inside the Temple of Debod but they are allowed everywhere else in the park and we loved walking them through this beautiful and very peaceful area. Chewy and Abby even met another American dog, a little Chihuahua who had flown with his owner and is living in Madrid while she is teaching English.
Temple of Debod
The Egyptians donated the Temple of Debod in 1968 to Spain and it is definitely worth walking inside for a few minutes to see the beautiful ancient carvings.
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro
Madrid is chock-full of parks and all of them are pet-friendly, many even with specially designated dog areas. There are no leash laws so most well-behaved dogs run off-leash around the parks and visit with other dogs. Parque del Retiro is the most famous park in Madrid with a large lake and statues strewn about throughout the park. The dogs liked this one though car parking was expensive and not very close by.0;
Casa del Campo
Casa del Campo is the largest park in Madrid with many restaurants lining the lake that overlooks the city skyline. We found the park to be a little confusing because though it is large, there aren't very clear signs pointing out locations of walks and trails (though it appeared that there were tons of trails in the park). We finally picked one off the main parking lot.
Madrid Vacation Rental in Ventas Neighborhood
Madrid Vacation Rental Ventas Neighborhood
We loved our apartment rental in Madrid in the beautiful Ventas neighborhood. The spotlessly clean apartment has a small well-equipped kitchen, fast WiFi, a comfortable living area, and two large bedrooms. There is free offstreet parking but we paid $10 per day for a secure spot in a parking lot right near the apartment.
Views of Calero Park, including off-leash dog areas, and children's playground
But, the best part of the apartment was its location. The Ventas neighborhood is a real Madrid neighborhood with no tourists or English and plenty of local shops and small restaurants. The apartment is directly across the street from the leafy Calero Park. In the afternoons and on Sunday, the park buzzed as old men brought out checker boards, children rode bikes, dogs came out to play, and we shared nods, smiles, and short conversations with the locals. The park has two off-leash dog areas, a children's playground, a basketball court, and plenty of lovely places to sit and chat.
The apartment is also about a five minute walk from the subway which took us to the main tourist centers within 20 minutes. We often drove into the city center in the mid-afternoon because we found driving to be convenient and easy, but if you don't have a car, the metro is very easy to use. We highly recommend the Ventas apartment (especially for owners with pets) and would definitely stay there again if we are in Madrid.