Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro)
- Type: Parks and Gardens
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) can be translated as "The Retreat," and that's what it is -- a sprawling swath of green, filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafés, playgrounds and more. The 350-acre park used to be speckled with palaces -- where the royals rested after gallivanting in their green space -- but many of these were destroyed in the early 1900s. Today, you can still delight in the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), the Estanque (lake), the Rosaleda (Rose Garden) and numerous monuments and statues, including the Ángel Caído and King Alfonso XII.
The overwhelming majority of travelers greatly enjoyed their time at Retiro Park. Some minor gripes included the high price of café concessions, and some reported the presence of shady characters; however, both of these gripes can be contained by 1) bringing a picnic and 2) using some common sense (not loitering in the park at night).