Parque del Buen Retiro
Parque del Buen Retiro - or Park of the Pleasant Retreat - is Madrid's most expansive park and landmark, covering 1.4 km2 (350 acres). Known locally as just "El Retiro", the park is referred to as "The Lungs" of Madrid, providing the majority of the greenery to feed off of the carbon dioxide of urban life and release enough oxygen to keep its many residents and visitors alive.
One of the city's most popular attractions, Parque del Buen Retiro is filled with numerous statues, gardens, galleries and a beautiful lake. People go to meet with friends, to read or picnic, and to admire the art, both indoors and out. You can even rent yourself a boat to paddle around the lake. During the warmer months, also be sure to catch the free concerts in the park every Sunday afternoon.
Review by Brian S, November 2012
Doing what: Madrid Super Saver: El Escorial Monastery, Valley of the Fallen and Panoramic Madrid Sightseeing Tour
FANTASTIC!! Loved the tour and the guide was one of the best we had in Spain. She was very nice, well informed and her english was perfect. She managed to go back and forth in a timely basis in both languages so no one missed any sights or information on the tour. The El Escorial Monastery was one of the highlights of the trip. The Crypt is incredible and worth seeing as is the Fallen. I also opted for the additional afternoon sightseeing tour and got the same guide again. Such good luck! It was a quick but compehensive tour of Madrid which gave me great ideas on what to see during my visit. We also were able to get off and take photos which was great. Our guide even gave us tips on what to do during the "Austerity Strike" which worked out wonderfully so I didn't lose a day of sightseeing. This tour was money well spent!! Go, you won't be dissappointed!!
Review by Yu Kwang P, April 2013
Doing what: Madrid Super Saver: Toledo, Illuminations Evening Tour and Flamenco Show
Madrid evening tour was great. We were glad we joined the tour; Madrid is such an amazing city.
Review by Helen K, November 2012
Doing what: Madrid Super Saver: El Escorial Monastery and Valley of the Fallen, Illuminations Madrid Tour and Flamenco Show
We loved the El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen. Just like any other tour, a little more time would be nice. I guess we were not aware that there is a 4 hour time gap in between...
The Illumination Tour was very good. The Flamenco dancers are great but we (6 of us)left after watching 4 performers performed. The venue was basic and costumes were plain and our appreciation level is not sophisticated enough to stay all night. All in all, it was good value.
Originally property of the royal family, El Retiro still has palaces on its grounds. These have since been transformed into museums hosting Spanish art and army artifacts. The park is also home to monuments commemorating King Alfonso XII and the victims of the Madrid train bombing in March 2004. For more art and history, visitors may also visit the Prado museum located just outside and midway along the park's western border.