Party Earth Review Stretching from the Atocha area in the center of the city to the affluent Salamanca neighborhood in the northwest, Madrid’s five-hundred-year-old El Parque del Buen Retiro is a lush and bustling urban playground, a veritable... ... read full review
C/ Alfonso XII, 14
Daily until dusk
Retiro, Madrid –
Stretching from the Atocha area in the center of the city to the affluent Salamanca neighborhood in the northwest, Madrid’s five-hundred-year-old El Parque del Buen Retiro is a lush and bustling urban playground, a veritable feast for the senses that has something to offer everyone.
Visitors will find an animated crowd of all types and ages working out in the gym, sunbathing, and playing football, and an equal number of jugglers, tarot card readers, and people offering massages and henna tattoos.
Those who need a little peace and quiet can take a stroll through the labyrinth of shadowy, tree-lined paths, ponder the Japanese gardens, and admire the Crystal Palace as it glimmers in the midday sun.
A more dynamic scene awaits around the gorgeous man-made lake, the park’s social focal point where walkers will encounter more street musicians and fortune tellers, various vendors, and lovely terrace cafés perfect for sipping a refreshing beer and watching the rowboats glide by.
On summer Sunday evenings, a large group of bohemian youths and their bongos gather at the Romanesque pillars of the Alfonso XII monument on the east side of the lake for what is simply known as the Drum Circle, a wall of rhythmic sound that draws people of all stripes who come to enjoy a bottle of wine, an impromptu picnic, and a beautiful sunset.
Just the end of another beautiful day at El Parque del Buen Retiro.
Check out the park in the early evening when the heat subsides. There’s so much to see and do, so just let yourself get lost – take a walk around the pond and manicured gardens, get some exercise, and marvel at the impressive statue dedicated to the Devil. Those who come upon a jam session shouldn’t be surprised if someone hands them a bongo and tells them to let loose!
Everyone and his/her dog. Literally.
Various bongo groups and street performers wander the grounds. The Florida Park, a dinner café located inside the park, offers ballet and flamenco performances.
Concession stands and several outdoor cafés serve inexpensive beer and tapas. The park’s gym includes a weight room, tennis courts, and a football field. Frequent art exhibits are held throughout the park.
Chinese massage €5/ten minutes, rowboats €4/forty-five minutes, gym €4.50/session, tennis courts €4.90/hour.
Any day of the week, though the cafés are most crowded on weekend nights. Sundays are the most entertaining for the Drum Circle at sundown by the statue of Alfonso XII.