Madrid creates urban beach in the heart of the city

Great news for everyone suffering in the baking Madrid heat - this summer will see the city’s first manmade beach arrive on the Plaza de Colón.

Madrid creates urban beach in the heart of the city
MadBeach/Madrid City Hall

Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena has approved plans for the construction of ‘MadBeach’, which will be a sandy zone complete with chiringuitos (beach bars) hammocks, volleyball courts and a wave pool.

There will also be food trucks and the complex will also offer DJ sessions, chill-out zones, yoga, zumba and “gymnastics for third age”.

Credit: MadBeach/Madrid City Hall

Although broadly welcomed by Madrid residents, the plans have already prompted some criticism, with PSOE Councillor Mar Espinar voicing her opposition to the idea of the public space being given over to a commercial enterprise.

In response, Carmena cited the popular and successful artificial beaches in other major European cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam, and referred to the temporary ice rinks that Madrid has hosted for years, remarking that collaboration between the public and private sectors would be a positive. 

MadBeach is expected to be open to the public on July 1st and will run until August 31st. The beach zone will be open from 10am-10pm, costing €9 for a full day and €5 for a half day. There are also plans for a similar city beach in Seville.

While this will be the first playa in the city itself, the Madrid region is already home to a spectacular real beach which is now ‘blue-flagged’: the Virgen de la Nueva beach on the San Juan reservoir.

Maybe, somebody took the lyrics of “Vaya Vaya: Aquí no hay playa” by the popular Spanish Ska band The Refrescos to heart and decided it was time to remedy the one common complaint about Madrid: that it has no beach.

 READ MORE: How to survive summer in the city in Spain 


Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.