Parque del Buen Retiro

Retiro Park (National/State/Provincial)
Free Fodor's Choice

Fodor’s Expert Review

Once the private playground of royalty, Madrid's crowning park is a 316-acre expanse of formal gardens, fountains, lakes, exhibition halls,... READ MORE

Once the private playground of royalty, Madrid's crowning park is a 316-acre expanse of formal gardens, fountains, lakes, exhibition halls, children's play areas, outdoor cafés, and a Puppet Theater featuring free slapstick routines that even non-Spanish speakers will enjoy. (Shows take place on Saturday at 1 and on Sunday at 1, 6, and 7.) The park is especially lively on weekends, when it fills with buskers, jugglers, and other street performers as well as hundreds of Spaniards out for exercise. The park holds a book fair in May and occasional concerts in summer. From the entrance at the Puerta de Alcalá, head straight toward the park's center, where you'll find the Estanque (lake), presided over by a grandiose equestrian statue of King Alfonso XII, erected by his mother. The 19th-century Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), southeast of the Estanque, was built as a steel-and-glass greenhouse for exotic plants from the Philippines, a Spanish colony at the time, and is now a free-admission art exhibition space. Next door is a small lake with ducks, swans, and gnarled swamp trees. Along the Paseo del Uruguay at the park's south end is the Rosaleda (Rose Garden), an explosion of color and heady aromas. West of the Rosaleda, look for a statue called the Ángel Caído (Fallen Angel), a rare depiction of the Prince of Darkness falling from grace.

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Park (National/State/Provincial) Free Fodor's Choice Family

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Puerta de Alcalá
Madrid, Madrid  28014, Spain

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