Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)

#1 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro) picture1 of 3
Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)2 of 3
Juan Jimenez / EyeEm/Getty Images

Key Info

Plazade la Independencia, 728014

Price & Hours

Free
6 a.m.-10 p.m. or midnight daily

Details

Parks and Gardens, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Buen 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 Buen 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 Buen Retiro Park 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 Buen Retiro Park's page on the Madrid tourism website.

See all Hotels in Madrid »

More Best Things To Do in Madrid

Plaza Mayor1 of 13
Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado)2 of 13
Type
Time to Spend
#2 Plaza Mayor

This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza. 

Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here. 

Read more
Pvicens/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Madrid »

Explore More of Madrid

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019