El Retiro Park, one of Madrid's largest public parks, spans over 140 hectares and boasts open green spaces, a lake and water features and a variety of sculptures and monuments. The park is located in central Madrid and is near major landmarks like the Puerta de Alcalá and the Plaza de la Independencia, as well as the Prado Museum and other sites within walking distance.

With its mix of natural beauty, public artwork and regular events, El Retiro Park is among the most popular parks in Madrid for locals and visitors alike. Visitors to the park often spend between 1 and 3 hours enjoying the manicured gardens and relaxing spaces, playing with children and exploring the park’s historic buildings. El Retiro Park can be reached by bus, metro and automobile, with parking available in nearby public carparks.

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What are the highlights of El Retiro Park in Madrid?

One of the most famous features of El Retiro Park in Madrid is its Crystal Palace, a remarkable glass pavilion and conservatory containing art galleries. Near the park’s north entrance is Retiro Pond, featuring a colonnade and monument honoring King Alfonso XII. A 20th-century rose garden contains numerous sculptures, including the Fountain of the Fallen Angel from 1922.

In the Paseo de la Argentina, popularly known as the Statue Walk, you’ll find 18th-century statues depicting some of the Spanish kings. In addition to the Crystal Palace, other museums in El Retiro Park include the Salón de Reinos and the Casón del Buen Retiro. Park amenities include extensive paved pathways for walking and cycling, as well as children's playgrounds, exercise equipment and sports courts.

What is the history of El Retiro Park in Madrid?

Parque del Buen Retiro, or Park of the Pleasant Retreat, belonged exclusively to the Spanish monarchy in Madrid until the late 19th century. The park’s origins can be traced to 1505 when the royal family had a retreat built on this site. Over the decades, the monarchy expanded their park with additional gardens, palatial buildings and the great pond, Estanque del Retiro.

El Retiro Park was neglected for a time following the 1665 death of King Phillip IV. In 1767, the newly restored park was reopened, this time to the public, with the Spanish monarchy continuing to fund expansions and beautifications. El Retiro continued to grow considerably during Queen Isabella II's reign, with many fruit trees and shade trees, gardens and landscapes implemented. Following the 1868 overthrow of Queen Isabella, the park became publicly owned.

Good to know when visiting Madrid’s El Retiro Park

Events and festivities are held year-round in El Retiro Park, including fireworks, book fairs, live music and performances and cultural and vacation events. A local favorite is the El Retiro summer concert series, which features free public performances every Sunday from the end of May through the early part of October.

El Retiro Park is free to visit, making it a great budget-friendly stop for travelers in Madrid. Additional activities within the park are available for reasonable fees, including bicycle hires, pedal boats and horse-drawn carriage tours. A variety of cafes and kiosks are spread throughout El Retiro Park, perfect for snacks or a light meal while you enjoy the park. Locals recommend visiting the park during the evening for an unforgettable sunset view over Madrid.

El Retiro Park in Madrid

Location: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid, Spain

Open: Monday–Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm

Phone: +34 (0)914 00 87 40