Buen Parque de el Retiro is that sanctuary from the bustle of city streets of Madrid. When I lived in Madrid 2 years ago, my apartment was right across from Retiro Park. I would go there read, explore, write in my journal or grab sangria and tapas. I went there like 15 times or more to relax and explore a little more. It’s located at the Metro Stops Retiro, Ibiza, Atoche, Atchoa Renfe and Banco de Espana.
In Spanish it is called Buen Parque de el Retiro translates to The Park of Pleasant Retreat. Parque de el Retiro originated in the seventeenth century when King Felipe IV wanted to create a French-inspired palace. They built a French-inspired palace for grand events. The palace was apparently a beauty but in 1808 Napoleon demolished everything. Since then many statues, garden, fountains and exhibits have been erected through the centuries.
The best time to walk through Retiro is sunset. People are working out or making out.
Many young adults live with their parents in Spain so you can find flocks of teens making out in the park at sunset hidden behind trees and nestled in the grass. Then of course couples like the two above take romantic strolls through Retiro. Truly couples grow old together here.
If you are in Retiro you have to take a row boat across the pond. It’s beautiful, relaxing and a great way to get a tan and a upper body workout.
There’s a Reine Sofia Exhibit (contemporary art museum) in the middle of the park in Palacio de Velasquez. Then there is an open air exhibit in Palacio de Cristal. They rotate the exhibits and it’s FREE! Below is a picture of one of the exhibits, it’s very avant garde art. There is also Teatro de Vacas which hosts many concerts and shows.
In the park there are a collection of gardens including a cypress and olive tree grove dedicated to the victims of the Atocha train bombing. Notable statues are Alfonso XII by the lake and the only public statue of Lucifer is in the south area of the park. (I wasn’t able to find the statue last time but that will definitely be a goal of mine this next time around!)
There are plenty of kiosks with cheap sangria, tinte de verano and food. I love getting a sangria with a friend and people watching!
Retiro is a wonderful slice of nature in the midst of Spain’s largest city.