A guide to the Retiro park in Madrid

El Retiro: A Guide to the Retiro Park

Parque del Buen Retiro, also known as El Retiro or just the Retiro Park, is the best public park in Madrid. It is very large and has plenty to offer – and we consider it an absolute must-visit place when you are traveling to Madrid!

Why the Retiro Park is amazing

There can be no doubt that the Retiro park is the best in Madrid, and perhaps one of the best parks in all of Europe.

It is beautiful and contains trees from all over the world. The air is fresh, and it is simply incredible that such a park can exist within a city so huge.

Retiro is visited by locals as well as travelers. Even though it attracts millions of people yearly, there is plenty of space for everyone, and you can always find a spot for a picnic, or a place to play some ball.

It has magnificent sculptures and statues at many different locations. There is a beautiful lake. And a lot of events also take place in Retiro.

All in all, Retiro is a very calm area, and it is large enough that you can always find a place to do what you have in mind. Furthermore, it’s a great place to go exercising. And it’s a great place to just sit and enjoy the sun. The designed nature in and around the park is simply amazing.

Palacio de Crystal
Palacio de Cristal. Located inside the Retiro Park.

Facts about Retiro

Retiro covers 1,4 square kilometres. That equals 350 acres. It was founded in the early 16th century, first with just one building, and later extended with gardens.

It was initially owned by the royal family, and they hired several architects over the years to make it into a wonderful retreat. In the 19th century, it became a public park, and free for everybody to come and enjoy.

To this day, things are still being added to the Retiro gardens, and it is kept in great condition at all times. It is the most green area of Madrid and has a lot of interesting features.

How to get to Retiro

Retiro has a metro stop – it’s on the Line 2. You can take the metro there from Sol.

But the park is quite close to the centre, and it’s only a 20 minute walk from Gran Vía. For that reason, you can probably walk there if you are staying somewhat central. Atocha is also close, and the Prado Museum is almost right next door!

It’s also close to the area Pacífico, so if you have a metro line that goes to any place in that area, you can walk the rest of the way quite fast. From Salamanca, it’s an even faster walk.

There are also buses that drive to the Retiro Park. Taxis are another options, or you can rent a bike or a scooter and go there by yourself. Takes just a few minutes on a scooter, and they cost 1 euro to rent.

Things to do in the Retiro Park

There are countless things to do in Retiro.

The most common thing is to meet up with friends or family and have a nice, quiet day in the park. You can sit and enjoy the sun. You can go for a nice walk in beautiful surroundings. Or you can bring some great food and go for a picnic, as there are many nice places to sit down. If you are not bringing your own food to the park, visit one of the many restaurants or cafés.

Retiro has a lake where you can rent a boat for an hour and sail around.

Exercising is very popular in Retiro. For the most part, people go there for a run, as it is very peaceful and nice. Cars and motorized vehicles are not allowed inside the park, which makes a run very pleasant. A lot of people also go here with a frisbee or a ball, just to get a light variety of exercise. Finally, there are some constructions in the south end of the park that allows you to do calisthenics and general bodyweight exercises. Overall, you can a really nice workout in Retiro, regardless of whether you are into muscles or conditioning.

Sometimes there will be markets in the Retiro Park. Books are commonly sold, and you can find a lot of interesting books in Spanish. Sometimes also international books. The prices are generally alright.

Most days, you will find events in Retiro. It can be anything, really. There are also plenty of meetups arranged here, based on all kinds of interests. It is highly recommended to go to one of those meetups and find friends with similar interests, particularly if you are staying in Madrid for a while.

Even if you don’t intend to do anything special, a simple walk in Retiro is amazing. Once again, it is a must-visit place in Madrid for all travelers!

Any questions or comments?

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