No matter where you are, nothing beats a lovely summer concert in the park. Yet as usual, those who visit Madrid are on the lucky side. Each summer, Madrid’s main park, Parque del Buen Retiro (Park of the Pleasant Retreat), puts on a series of midday Sunday concerts by the local Madrid Symphony.
You can rent rowboats to paddle around the Estanque (lake) or take a breezy ride on a romantic horse-drawn carriage. Other events vary week-by-week, but highlights include an annual book fair, puppet shows and all sorts of family friendly activities.
The Retiro Park began as a retreat for the Spanish Monarchy in the 1500’s and was expanded by a number of monarchs between the 1600’s until the late 1800’s, at which time is was made into a public park. It occupies 350 acres in the heart of city adjacent to the Prado Museum.
When people think of el Retiro they often picture the large artificial lake with the semicircular colonnade and statue of King Alfonso XII overlooking it. Beyond the lake you will find La Rosaleda (Rose Garden), with all types of rose bushes and the Fountain of the Fallen Angel. Overlooking another smaller lake is the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), a beautiful glass building built in 1887. The Casón del Buen Retiro is an annex to the Prado Museum and is located at the entrance to the west side of the park and houses a collection of 19th and 20th century paintings. The Paseo de la Argentina, also known as the Paseo de las Estatuas (Statue Walk), is decorated with some of the statues of kings from the Royal Palace, sculpted between 1750 and 1753.
Parque del Retiro:
Address: Plaza de la Independencia, s/n
Metro stop: Retiro (L2), Príncipe de Vergara (L2, L9), Ibiza (L9), Atocha (L1)
Bus: 1, 2, 9, 15, 19, 20, 28, 51, 52, 79, 146 and 202
Winter: Monday to Sunday from 7am to 10pm.
Summer: Monday to Sunday from 7am to 12am.
Photo credit: Daderot / Monument to General Arsenio Martínez-Campos (1831–1900)
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