Discover Madrid's beautiful historic garden and public park

The Parque del Retiro or Parque del Buen Retiro, popularly known simply as “Retiro”, is a historic garden and public park that acts as a green “lung” within Madrid’s capital. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a peaceful oasis filled with gardens, fountains, terraces and story-like buildings, a huge pond with small boats to go on a tranquil ride and observe or feed the fish, as well as designated areas to sunbathe, do some sport or have a hearty picnic. All in all, just enjoy the vast range of activities at the majestic Parque del Retiro!

Undoubtedly, if you’re visiting Madrid, the Retiro is a must-visit. Not only can you enjoy a marvellous stroll out there, but once inside it you can also admire the incredible architecture from the XVII and XXI centuries. Some of the biggest highlights of the latter are the Palacio de Cristal (“Crystal Palace”), the Estanque (“The Pond”), the Parrete, the Puerta de Felipe IV (“Felipe IV Entrance/Door”), the Real Observatorio Astronómico (Royal Astronomical Observatory) and the Fuente de la Alcachofa (“Artichoke Fountain”). 

Furthermore, another recommendation that we’d like to point out at L&H Hotels is the experience of riding one of the charming small boats at the Parque Retiro Madrid. The pond is actually the first thing you will see if you enter the park from Alcalá street. You can rent one of the rowing boats and enjoy a fantastic time with your family or partner. The dock is located in the Paseo de Colombia. 

Entrances at the “Retiro”

The Parque del Retiro has up to seventeen different entrances, conceived -initially and in great measure- as monuments. The artsiest and most historical ones are:

Puerta de Felipe IV (“Felipe IV Door”), this monumental entrance is the oldest one out of those that still remain in Madrid. It’s located in Calle Alfonso XII, directly at an angle from the Casón del Buen Retiro.

Puerta de la Independencia (“the Independence Door”), built back in 1817 as the main entrance to the Casino de la Reina (“the Queen’s Casino”). It is situated right by the famous Puerta de Alcalá, and so it connects the Plaza de la Independencia with Paseo de México. 

Puerta de España (“Spain’s Door”), this one is located in Calle de Alfonso XII street and connects Calle de Antonio Maura street with the Estanque Grande (“Large Pond”) through the Paseo de la Argentina.

Puerta de Madrid (“Madrid’s Door”), inaugurated in 1990. It was designed to be quite ample in order for vehicles to be able to drive through it. It’s located right where Alcalá and O’Donnell streets meet.

Puerta de Hernani (“Hernani’s Door”), this one was actually substituted for another one a little more “monument-like” back in 1943. Today, it is located in Calle de Alcalá street and has the famous Church of San Manuel and San Benito right in front.

What to see at Parque del Retiro

As we hinted to you before, apart from being an ideal place to go for a light walk or practice an outdoor sport such as running, skating, biking or any other fun activity that could be enjoyed at the Parque del Retiro, it’s also a great opportunity to witness impeccable Spanish architecture from the XVIII and XIX centuries

At L&H Hotels we have selected a few of the most important and unique ones so that you won’t miss any of them during your visit to the Parque del Retiro in Madrid: 

Palacio de Cristal (“Crystal Palace”). Undoubtedly, this is more than a must-see when visiting Madrid’s Retiro. It’s an impressive work of art that seems to take you inside a wondrous fairytale. Its crystal- and white iron-made structure plays with the sun rays that go right through it and make it even more spectacular.

Real Observatorio Astronómico (“Royal Astronomical Observatory”). Built in 1790, neoclassical style.

Ermita de San Pelayo y San Isidoro (“San Pelayo and San Isidoro Chapel”). Nowadays, only the apse and one side entrance remain, but visiting it is still really worth it.

Palacio de Velázquez (“Velázquez Palace”). The Parque del Retiro once hosted a series of competitions and events for which a certain number of exhibition pavilions were built. One of them was the Palacio de Velázquez.

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