El Retiro Park / Parque de El Retiro
Retiro Park is one of the most charming places to take a stroll if you are visiting the Spanish capital.
When traveling is always a good idea to walk through the city's parks. For Madrid's citizens, this park is where they take their Sunday walk or workout every morning, so it's also a place to see the locals on the everyday routine.
A historical royal park
Known by Spanish people as the ‘green lung' of the city, the Retiro Park was initially designed as a retreat space for the royal family. In the 1800s it finally opened its door to the public.
Today it holds more than 15.000 trees and covers an area of 350 acres. The park is not only a large green area for the city, but it also offers entertainment and officiates as a sport and a cultural space too.
What to see in the park
On a sunny day hop on one of the rowboats and paddle around the lake to admire the park from a different viewpoint. It is one of those experiences that deserve to be lived once and of course, to be photographed!
In the east, the lake overlooks the monument to Alfonso XII featuring marble lions. More to the south you will find the ‘Fuente Egipcia' – an ornamented structure decorated with sphinxes. Rumor has it that Felipe IV hi his fortune here in the 18th century.
Walk to see ‘Casita del Pescador', located in a small pond near the 15-meter high artificial mountain, specially built by request of King Fernando VII.
The ‘Palacio de Cristal' is perhaps the most emblematic building in the park. It was built in 1887 as a winter garden and, now it is used to host art exhibitions by the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Visiting the palace is a peaceful experience. Take a moment to stare at how the light of the sun enters the crystal glasses.
If you wish to see peacocks, you must walk towards the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez – one of the most beautiful parts of the park. There are tons of peacocks flying around in the trees, bushes and, the fountains that ornament the garden.
Close to these gardens, you will stumble upon the La Rosaleda – the botanical garden which usually blooms in May. If you happen to be on that month you will have the chance to see around 4000 colorful roses of different shape and sizes.
To add a bit of history and culture to your stroll at Retiro, take the 'Paseo de la Argentina' lane, also known as the Statue Walk, where statues from Spanish's royals are displayed along the path.
The park opening times are from 06:00-22:00 or 0:00 in the summer.
You can rent bikes to tour it around or take your roller skates and join a skating group.
Retiro Park is an ideal place for a picnic so take some snacks with you or sit down by one of the open-air cafes known as Terrazas, offering a variety of snacks and drinks.