Where to see Europe’s most famous monuments without leaving Madrid

Bienvenidos a Parque Europa!

Bienvenida a Parque Europa!

If you’re a bit strapped for cash but want to see the most famous monuments in Europe, I may have a solution for you. Parque Europa, located in Torrejon de Ardoz (a suburb of Madrid), is home to 17 replicas of European monuments, as well as an original piece of the Berlin Wall, serving as the perfect place for a bit of travel inspiration.

Trevi Fountain/sick clouds

Trevi Fountain/sick clouds

Usually I’m not a big fan of places like this. The 11-country worldwind that is the “World Showcase” at Walt Disney’s Epcot always left me disoriented and confused, so I was a bit skeptical about Parque Europa. Finally after the fifth student raved to me about how awesome it was, I knew I had to check it out. Spanning 233,000 meters, Parque Europa is the largest green area in Torrejon de Ardoz and features replicas of the most famous monuments in major European cities. Although at times I may think that I’m a travel “expert”, my day at Parque Europa proved that I am a novice because I came across monuments that I had never heard of. The travel nerd in me had a great time snapping photos and taking notes while mentally planning my next trips!

The Brandenburg Gate - Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate – Berlin

I think what I liked most about Parque Europe was it’s size.  None of the monument replicas felt like they were on top of each other which made me feel like I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.  I was able to take a lazy stroll through the park and check out the monuments I wanted to see, instead of feeling like I was being rushed through an amusement park ride.  There were also tons of places to sit and relax and take it all in.

In addition to monument replicas like the Greek Theater, Michelanglo’s “David”, and the Tower Bridge in London, there are over 5,000 trees, 120,000 seasonal flowers, three lakes where guests can paddle boat or ice skate in the winter, a petting zoo, a zip line ride, restaurants and bars.  The park also features a small piece of the Berlin Wall on loan from the Berlin city council. One aspect I noticed is that Parque Europa is obviously much more hopping during the summer time. Although a dark, moody fall day was perfect for picture taking, there was hardly anyone in the park when I visited. It’s clear that most of the activities are targeted towards the warmer months. I also heard that on weekend summer nights, there is a light and fountain show a la Las Vegas. I can’t wait to see it next summer!

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Original piece of the Berlin Wall

Original piece of the Berlin Wall

What’s the best part about Parque Europa you may ask? Is it the fact that you can go there for a jog and be entertained by the sites of 18 of Europe’s most famous monuments? Noooooo. Is it the fact that you can play on this fun MAP OF EUROPE?? Nooooo (but close)…

I livessss hereeeee!

I livessss hereeeee!

The best part is…IT’S FREE! There are no entrance fees to Parque Europa and I’m telling you right now, a trip to the park momentarily calmed my travel itch…at least until I got my paycheck. Remember when I said that my trip to the park served as travel inspiration? Well, you better believe that shortly after my excursion I booked a flight. Can you guess where? It’s probably the most famous monument in Europe and the only one I haven’t mentioned…

Oh yes that's right. I'm a typical girl...Paris!

La Tour Eiffel

Yep, Paris! I’m going straight up cliche on you guys and heading to Paris in a couple months to take obnoxious pictures, tap into my inner coquette, twirl in the streets, possibly get yelled at by French people (I speak no French) and eat croissants. Although the Eiffel Tour replica at Parque Europa was kind of shitty, it definitelly served its purpose by making me gasp and reminisce on family vacations in France. It will be my first time back to Paris in over 12 years and to say that I can’t wait would be the understatement of 2013!

So what do you think about Parque Europa? Do you like themed parks like this? Do you find them tacky? Have you ever been to a similar park like Epcot (Orlando, Florida), Window of the World (Shenzhen, China) or Mini-Europe (Brussels, Belgium)?

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