El Retiro Park
With its lakes, monuments and beautiful gardens, El Retiro Park is one of Madrid’s true natural gems. If you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, a visit to El Retiro is an absolute must. Pack a picnic and enjoy the fresh air that this lush historic park has to offer. Walk through the landscaped gardens at Campo Grande before taking a stroll down the Paseo de la Argentina, taking pictures of 16th century Royal statues along the way. Make sure you visit the beautiful Rose Garden, where you’ll find a unique statue of the devil known as El Ángel Caído (The Fallen Angel), before going to see the romantic Glass Palace, a cast iron pavilion housing exotic plants. El Retiro Park is also home to a 400 year old Mexican conifer, which is the oldest tree in Madrid, and a manmade lake where you’ll find a huge statue dedicated to Alfonso XII. Hire a rowing boat at the lake, or visit on a Sunday evening when crowds of people come together to dance. The park’s also home to a number of museums and galleries. At Casón del Buen Retiro you’ll find a collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, while the Ejército Museum is one of the most important army museums in all of Spain, full of artefacts from warriors and explorers of times gone by. For a relaxing day out, visit El Retiro during the week when it’s much quieter. The park comes to life at the weekend, so enjoy a spot of people watching as you sip a cool drink at one of the open-air cafés.