El Parque del Buen Retiro

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El Parque del Buen Retiro 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... Madrid Spain 40.4173 -3.68278
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El Parque del Buen Retiro - Landmark | Outdoor Activity | Park in Madrid.
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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

  • Neighborhood:

  • Address:

    C/ Alfonso XII, 14
    28014 Madrid

    Get Directions

  • Metro:


  • Hours:

    Daily until dusk

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth El Parque del Buen Retiro Review

The Scene

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...

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.

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Tip from Jonah:

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!

  • Crowd

    Everyone and his/her dog. Literally.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Various bongo groups and street performers wander the grounds. The Florida Park, a dinner café located inside the park, offers ballet and flamenco performances.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    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.

  • Prices

    Chinese massage €5/ten minutes, rowboats €4/forty-five minutes, gym €4.50/session, tennis courts €4.90/hour.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code


  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    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.

El Parque del Buen Retiro User Reviews

Average rating:
A walk in the park
Jasmine D. Aug 27, 2013
Taking in the tranquility of this lush beauty is a simple walk in the park. See what I just did there, ha! But really this is the one place in Madrid where one would not mind literally getting lost. You'll be pleasantly delighted as you stumble upon it's many wonders such as street performers, beautiful gardens, rowboats sailing along or the Crystal Palace ( a hidden gem of its own). For its location downtown just moments away from the famous Prado Museum, this park is the perfect place to come and take in the natural essence of this wonderful city.
Easy like Sunday Morning
Kameron S. Jul 21, 2013
El Parque de Retiro the place to be in Madrid when you want to escape it all but not leave the city.. Nestled on the city's eastside just steps from Madrid's iconic Pardo Museum. This park provides Madrid with it's green lung, pumping the city full of fresh air and fresh vibes. You can spot joggers, clowns, bands, magicians, bodybuilders, and skaters just to give you an idea of the cultural diaspora there at all times. Large green patches with people from all walks of life sprawled out enjoying Madrid's bright sun is what this park jolts to my memory. From the first time I crossed Plaza de la Independencia I was captivated by the lush park overflowing with Huge oak trees and beautiful arrangements of flowers. The runners briskly jogging on cool Spanish mornings as a 60-something year old Saxophonist sweetly blows out the Brazilian song Ipanema. One thinks how could this improve as you walk up on an impromptu Capoeira performance just next to the gazebo. Keep going and you stumble on the massive lake llena de barcos.. People just floating about taking in all the views around and having the best vantage point for some good old school people watching. As you continue on you find one of 3 statues of Lucifer himself among the skater, in-liners and workout enthusiasts of Madrid. This is just a taste of what this park has to offer. From rose gardens to lakes with row boats El Parque de Retiro is your perfect place to keep it easy like Sunday Morning..
The perfect spot to do whatever you want
Kieran H. Jul 19, 2013
This is a beautiful place in Madrid. No matter if it is summer, winter, spring or fall, the Parque Retiro is always the best place where to enjoy, relax, have fun, think... And next to it, you can visit Neo Magna ( http://bit.ly/rneomagna2 ), a high-standing students hall right in the center of Madrid.
My home away from home in Madrid
Arianna S. Mar 5, 2013
I am in love with this place! I have been here for two months and have yet to explore the entire thing because of how immense it is. It's gorgeous on a sunny day, with people milling about or rowing a boat on the "lake", and yet is still has an amazing charm to it on overcast, rainy days. This is a perfect place to walk around and enjoy the sights and the weather, or to challenge yourself and go for a run. There are always, always, always people running, rollerskating, skateboarding, or working out on the outdoor "playgrounds" for people of all ages. As cheesy as this sounds, this is definitely a place where I would just want to get lost in forever --- actually, it wouldn't be that difficult to get lost for a bit of time. I would definitely recommend running through here, or walking through, and just appreciating the nature, since it's hard to find anywhere else in the city!
it's a little getaway place from the city but right in it's center
Sara S. Jan 6, 2013
This is a very nice spot to bring a book and read under a tree. Or to go walk around with your friends and take some pictures. Or to have a picnic and sunbathe. The best part is that this park is big beautiful and free :) You can go there and rent a rowing boat and also see The Crystal Palace, there are fortune tellers around and also street artists like painters or cartoonists, it's a little getaway place from the city but right in it's center.
A slice of countryside in the heart of Madrid
Peter L. Dec 23, 2012
Retiro is easily accessible from the centre of Madrid, and as such is usually buzzing with the usual array of joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders finding a little recreational time and space in the middle of the city. The weather in Madrid is often "scorchio", so a stroll through the tree-lined park can be a welcome relief from the midday sun. Find a spot in the shade to chill, bring a bit of food with you (not a bad idea as the many in situ vendors tend to be somewhat pricey!) and enjoy a bit of people watching. Just so you are aware, Retiro is pretty big and at its heart lies a lake looked over by a monument to Alfonso XI that is worth a look, and the lake provides further scope for entertainment! Madrid has more than its fair share of parks throughout the urban sprawl, and if you have a bike, they make travel through the city quite straightforward. If you happen to be quite central and need some time-out from the usual madness of a capital city centre, then Retiro is well worth a visit....
nice park
Sam R. Dec 13, 2012
This is a big park. It goes on for ages and there are always things to do. Lots of music happening randomly across the park if that’s your thing. People have different styles, both locals and tourists. Its always nice to have parks in the centre of a city. London has them but many European cities don’t have the same parks. Not in size or character. The Buen Retiro park is an exception. Its nice to go for long walks and I’d like to cycle through here next time I go to Madrid coz its a nice park and a nice place to relax.
One of my favorite parks ever
Jody P. Dec 10, 2012
I love parque de buen retiro and would get there as often as I could. If the weather was nice - which is always in the summertime - then there are tons of people in the park biking, jogging, picnicking, etc. There is an awesome lake where you can rowboat which is really neat. The park itself is huge, you could walk around all day and get lost. But it is beautiful as well, really well landscaped. There are vendors and street performers and stuff in the park as well. Hanging out there makes for a really nice afternoon.
Great park!
Kaile K. Nov 30, 2012
I LOVE el retiro because its such a wonderful place to explore during the day. There's always young people tanning/lounging around and families picnicing. There's so much going on at all times and there's definitely not a shortage of activities to do while you are here. I would definitely recommend getting one of the iconic rowboats - you can't visit Madrid without doing so. I would highly recommend at the very least just taking a quick walk through the park so you can see it!
Gorgeous during all seasons
Lauren H. Nov 7, 2012
Being that largest of many parks in madrid this place is larger than you may realize. Packed with row boats, roller skaters, joggers, snacks, drinks, restaurant, gardens, statues, lakes and much more. This was the "spot" for wine picnics, homework in the sunlight, after dinner stroll and then pre-club drinking. Probably one the place I miss the most in all of Madrid!
Beautiful park in the heart of Madrid
Zoe B. Sep 11, 2012
El Retiro is a wonderful place to stroll through at any time of year, although it's probably most easily enjoyed in the warmer months, when it's a great place to go for picnics. The park is very large and is popular with both tourists and locals, many of whom go there to jog and rollerblade. If you like flowers, I definitely recommend checking out the rose garden in the middle/Eastern part of the park, which is full of different kinds of roses, and in June the park hosts the feria del libro, where hundreds of booksellers set up stands - great for browsing books and enjoying the sun at the same time.
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