El Parque del Buen Retiro is one of the largest, and certainly the most famous, public parks in Madrid. The Spanish capital’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park, provides city dwellers a chance to connect with nature on a smaller scale.
Formerly a park for the Spanish monarchy, the park still contains much regal charm. Here’s five moments of beauty to experience during your visit.
Five moments of beauty in el Parque del Buen Retiro
1. Boating in el Estanque
The center piece of the park is el Estanque, a large lake flanked by a marble monument to Alfonso XII. Take a walk around the lake to enjoy the view from the steps of the monument. Wooden boats are available for rent by the hour. Warning: you must use your own power to move but it’s worth it!
2. Wandering through Palacio de cristal
The delicate glass pavilion in the center of the park is fit for a fairytale princess, or in your case, a stroll and a picnic. Gaze up through the clear roof in wonder. Entry is free.
3. Hiding out in a little cave
Not far from the palacio de cristal is “little cave.” As it’s name suggests, this small cavern is a great place to hide away from the crowds for a few moments and take in an excellent view of the small lake. Kids will especially enjoy playing in the crevices of this natural spot.
4. Taking in the Carnival
The main walkways of the park are lined with street musicians, performers and vendors. Take a moment to smell the roses by watching a puppet show, listening to classic tunes on a trumpet or getting a photo with a bad knock off of Mickey Mouse.
5. Posing next to a vintage fountain
Of the many fountains that grace the walks of el Parque del Buen Retiro, this one between C. Alfonso XII and Avenida de Menendez was my favorite. Wander and find your own favorite and discover a perfect backdrop for a photo.