El Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro), often referred to simply as El Retiro, serves as the Spanish capital’s green lung. Dotted with ornate fountains, formal gardens, marble monuments, and plenty of space to relax, these former grounds of the Spanish monarchy became public in 1868 and have become a beloved spot for Madrilenos.
Its central location both geographically and culturally means El Retiro is difficult to miss if you spend any time in Madrid. Most sightseeing tours include the park, and those interested in the park’s history and modern cultural significance can explore in-depth on a guided walking tour or Segway tour of the park, stopping at points of interest, such as the Crystal Palace and Fallen Angel statue.
Things to Know Before You Go
- El Retiro Park is a must-see for nature lovers, families, and first-time visitors.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
How to Get There
El Retiro is well-connected by public transportation. Take the metro (Line 2) to Retiro Station, or catch any number of public buses. The park also has more than half a dozen BiciMAD bike-share stations.
When to Get There
El Retiro makes a peaceful escape from the hustle of the city just about any time, but the best time to visit is on the weekends when locals come out to play sports, read a book, enjoy a picnic, and relax. This is also when the park fills with buskers and street painters, creating quite the lively atmosphere.
El Retiro Lake
At the heart of the park sits an artificial lake, set beneath the massive Monument to Alfonso XII. For a quintessential Madrid experience, head to the park in the afternoon and rent a rowboat for a float on the lake.