El Parque de el Buen Retiro , more often known as “El Retiro” is one of the most visited sites in Madrid. The name translates as “the park of pleasant retreat”. Located in the center of the city, it is a relaxing haven for locals and tourists alike.
The park grounds span more than 100 hectares and 400 years of history. Construction began in 1630 when it was ordered that King Felipe IV have a residence close to the city, but still removed from the political activity. The residence has since disappeared and the only thing that is left from that time is the Estanque Ochavado, a fountain that dates back to the 17th century. In 1868 it was officially opened to the public, though at the time, a strict dress code was enforced. Things are a lot more casual today, as many people come dressed ready for exercise or even take in the sun during spring and summer months.
What to see
- The pond known as “El Estanque” has been used for mock naval battles and swimming competitions, but is now only used for row boats.
- The Monument to Alfonso XII lies alongside the pond and makes for spectacular photos and is also a popular picnic spot.
- El Palacio de Cristal (the Crystal Palace) was built in 1887 to display the exotic plants from the Philippine Islands, but is now used to display art exhibits and is free to the public.
- El Palacio de Velazquez is just across from the Palacio de Cristal and is also used to display art free to the public.
- The statue known as “El Angel Caido” (the fallen angel) is a said to be the only statue like it in the world.
- El Pabellon de los Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez- a newer addition built in the 1970’s to pay homage to one of the parks’s most famous Directors, Cecilio Rodriguez. Here, you’ll find many peacocks roaming the grounds freely.
- La Rosaleda is a garden was designed by Cecilio Rodriguez in 1915 and boasts many varieties of roses.
Important Information about Retiro
Open from 6am until midnight (April –September) and 6am until 10pm (from October until March)
Address: Plaza de Independencia 7, Madrid 28001