Parque de Buen Retiro, Madrid, Spain

My obsession with Madrid only begins with this amazing, beautifully landscaped park in the middle of the city. I made sure to visit the park every day that I was in Madrid, so I thought it deserved it’s own post of glory. Originally built as a private park for the Spanish Monarchy, the gardens were not opened to the public until the 19th century. Now, the park is full of Spaniards sunning, picnicking, playing sports, and enjoying the practically rain-less weather.

The Palacio de Cristal in the Parque de Ritero

The Palacio de Cristal in the Parque de Ritero

This breathtaking greenhouse structure sitting on a pond in the Parque was originally built to house exotic flowers and plants from the Philippines. Now, it serves as an extension of the Museo Prado, housing rotating temporary exhibits. During my visit, the exhibit was called “Splendide Hotel” by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. A sign on the front of the glass building marked the “hotel” entrance. Inside, there was one glass-walled room with no entrance, and the rest of the building was scattered with books and rocking chairs. It was an interesting interactive exhibit that I didn’t really “get” but I never claimed to be an art expert.

The entire park was meticulously landscaped, from the incredible green lawns (Spain is primarily a desert, and Madrid has a water conservation problem, but at least the grass is luscious, haha) to the Dr. Seuss-looking trees and flower gardens.

Dr. Seuss trees

Dr. Seuss trees

While one day was spent really exploring the park and it’s never-ending gardens, monuments, and paths, other afternoons were spent sunning and napping on the grass with picnic snacks or after dinner walks. The concession stands sell beer and sangria and I loved sitting and watching the Spanish families walk by. People-watching in this park is also the reason I think everyone in Spain is absolutely beautiful. Literally everyone, from the time they’re a child till they’re going grey, was incredibly pretty.

parque 3 crop

The view out towards one of the entrance gates of the park, with city buildings in the background.

It rarely rains in Madrid, so blue and cloudless is the norm. Are you starting to see some of the reasons I love this country? The Parque is one of my top recommendations if you spend any time in Madrid. It’s a great place to have a picnic lunch or get some exercise in during your vacation. I’m pretty sure even push-ups would be fun in this green wonderland. The park is surrounded by the gorgeous historical city, but it was so easy to get lost in this little oasis for a little bit each day.


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