Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro)#1 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro(Retiro Park) can be translated as "Park of the Pleasant Retreat," and that's what it is – a sprawling swath of lush greenery filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafes, playgrounds and more. This 300-some-acre park previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens, and didn't become open to the public until the late 19th century.
Today, you can still rent a rowboat to the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which holds regular art exhibitions or stop and smell the roses in the Rosaleda (Rose Garden), which has more than 4,000 roses. Plus, for those traveling with little ones, the Teatro de Titeres hosts puppet shows most weekends.
The overwhelming majority of travelers greatly enjoyed their time at Retiro Park, saying it's a wonderful place to catch some shade and enjoy the lake view. Some compared it to New York City's Central Park, commenting on its size and cleanliness. Others griped about the high price of cafe concessions, but those can be avoided by packing a picnic with ingredients from the Mercado San Miguel.
The park welcomes visitors from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. October to April; and 6 a.m. to midnight, May to September. You can access Retiro by getting off at the Retiro, Atocha or Ibiza metro stations. Access to the park, including its restrooms, is free. Several bus lines also service the area. For more information, visit Retiro Park's page on the Madrid tourism website.
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