Ultimate Guide to el Retiro Park Madrid

Activities Retiro park cover

El Retiro park is Madrid’s biggest and most famous park. Regardless of how long you’ll stay in the city, don’t miss this attraction.

Throughout this post, I’ll give you a few local tips to make the most out of your visit to Madrid’s Retiro.

El Retiro park is three times smaller than Central Park. However, if this is your first time around, I encourage you to use a map, or some hidden gems might go unnoticed.

Here’s a map with the main spots mentioned in the article.

Retiro Park Madrid – A few facts

El Retiro opened to the public in the late 1700s—before that, the park was the Royal Family recreational area. Its easy access makes Retiro one of the go-to parks in the city.

If you are planning to go to El Retiro, keep in mind it gets super busy on the weekends.

Important things to know about the park

El Retiro is a gated park that opens from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. If you are visiting Madrid’s Retiro Park in spring or summer, it stays open until midnight

The best way to get to el Retiro park is on the metro. You can take line 2 to Retiro station or line 9 to Ibiza.

Things to see in el Retiro Park

Retiro’s pond is one of the most iconic spots in the park. Renting a boat is less than 10€, and you’ll get to take some incredible pics, especially around sunset.

Retiro park pond monument

You can’t miss Retiro’s Crystal Palace. Made of glass, this palace is home to different exhibits throughout the year. There’s a beautiful pond in front of the palace, which makes it look like it comes right out of a fairy tale.

Crystal Palace view Retiro Madrid

La Rosaleda is Retiro’s rose garden, which has over 4000 flowers. The peak time to enjoy the roses blooming is from spring to early summer. The various fountains and colorful scenery makes this garden a unique location worth-visiting.

The library inside Retiro is a quiet place to do some work, study, or relax and read for a few minutes. The library has crystal windows for walls, and the sun lights up every room in the library.

It gets pretty busy on the weekends and from February to June when university students are taking their exams.                  

The statue of the Fallen Angel is the only sculpture in the world dedicated to the devil. Fun fact, this statue sits 666 meters above sea level.

Things to do in El Retiro Park Madrid

Rent a bike and discover the park at your own pace. There are a few companies nearby that rent bikes. However, I would use BiciMad—it’s the public service run by the city and it’s way cheaper than other alternatives.

Renting a segway near Retiro Park might be a good idea if you can’t be bothered to pedal uphill.

There are several Facebook groups around different interests: yoga, boxing, running, or rollerblading, to name a few. Try to find a group that’s up your alley and make some friends along the way.

Have a picnic: pack a few things and go to el Retiro park on a sunny day. You might see birthday celebrations and some other meetups. I love going to Retiro and reading a book lying on the grass.

Teatro de títeres: This theater stages puppet shows every weekend. It’s usually oriented towards younger audiences but anybody is welcomed. Check full program.

dog puppet Retiro park

For those of you who are into working out, there’s a calisthenics park in Retiro.

Book fair: running down from el Retiro Park there are a few bookstalls with second-hand books. This fair is also known as “Feria del Boquerón”, the story goes that back then you could buy a book for the same price as an anchovy (Boquerón).

Feeling a little peckish? Strolling around Buen Retiro Park you’ll find a few outdoor cafés. They are a great place to sit for a bit and fuel up.

In case you run out of things to do, you can pay a visit to some of the best Museums in Madrid.

The Madrid Book Fair takes place every June. El Retiro park hosts authors from all over Spain willing to talk to fans and sign copies of their books. If you want to learn more about it go to Feria del Libro.

I hope you found this post useful. If you liked this one, you might also find the article about the best parks in Madrid interesting.

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