El Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid

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  • Retiro Park
    Retiro Park
    by MichaelFalk1969
  • Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain.
    Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain.
    by planxty
  • Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain.
    Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain.
    by planxty
  • planxty's Profile Photo

    They do WHAT in the cowshed?

    by planxty Written Dec 14, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Casa de Vacas, Madrid, Spain.
    4 more images

    This is yet another tip on one of the many things to do in the el Retiro Park where I spent a wonderful few hours on a crisp and sunny November afternoon albeit that it was very cold. I did have a guidebook but was effectively just wandering about to see what I could find when I came upon the Teatro Casa de Vacas. As I have stated elsewhere on this page, my Spanish is just about non-existent but for some obscure reason I was fairly sure that vaca (vacas in the plural) meant cow. I think I had associated it with the same root word as vache which means the same in French and subsequent research indicates that I was correct, which pleased and surprised me in about equal measure.

    Anyway, there I was outside the "Home of the Cows" or cowshed as I would say in English and I have to say that it looked nothing like any such structure I have ever seen. It was a rather grand affair and I hope my images do it justice. Although it was evidently a cowshed fit for a King I was wondering why on Earth they would have one in the middle of an old Royal park? Undoubtedly dairy products could have been easily carted in from the outlying areas. In fact, the place was actually an attraction for people to come and visit.

    I found this slightly odd, thinking that all those years ago cities were not as developed and people were more used to animals and then I remembered a talk I had attended in London some years before by an excellent speaker called Bob le Vaillant, an ex-soldier who had turned to charity work on his retirement. One of the things he was involved in was taking underpriveleged youngsters from the area of London I live in to the country for summer breaks and he spoke of how many of them had never seen a cow "in the flesh". I suppose it must have been the same in 19th century Madrid and it was probably quite a treat to come and watch the beasts being milked especially when you could sample the fresh product straight from the pail.

    I wandered into the Casa, admission to which was free, and found yet another art gallery. The Madrillenos certainly do love art and they seem to have concentrated a lot of it in the various buildings in the el Retiro. This one was much more to my liking than the exhibition in the Palacio de Velasquez (see seperate tip) which was far too much of the modern "art" variety for me. I have made no secret here on VT about how awful I find that genre but at least in this place there were things I could actually look at and make sense of. Exhibitions change regularly but when I visited, the work was by Elena Perez Abel de la Cruz, Raul Gil Rodriguez and others. I spent a pleasant time there without another soul about the place and it really is worth a wander round if you are passing.

    There is a theatre in the building which stages regular events (see attached website for details) and the place appears to be fully accessible, at least to my untrained eye).

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    parque del buen retiro

    by gwened Updated Feb 23, 2013
    main ent on plaza de la independencia or Alcala
    4 more images

    well buen retiro or good retreat for the kings of old, until one nice one opening it up to the public and that was it, now it is Madrid's park. Its a must when in Madrid, in fact , you are not here until you have been there.

    My park actually lived for four years just around it,and my church was just across it. So much written on it, even here ::) you go to Madrid you must be there;period.

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    • Historical Travel
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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    An amazing park

    by muratkorman Written Dec 16, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    El Retiro was the first place we visited after our arrival in Madrid. A large park of 350 acres with gardens, a pond, statues and many trails for jogging, walking or whatever you feel like doing. You can fill your whole day here and relax.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Parque del Buen Retiro park

    by gwened Written Sep 22, 2012
    back of mon king Alfonso XIII and lake
    4 more images

    The park of Madrid and Madrileños for years, it was near where I lived there for four years, and it was a perennial presence. My first girlfriend,kiss, you name it was here;;; The rowing or pedaling of the boat was a must, eating ice cream or horchata drink, jogging, running, playing, and just walking and seeing the wonderful statues, monuments and castles inside was a must.

    I cannot come again to Madrid without stopping by here, and hightly recommend to all who read me to do so, day or night. This last time there was a large amount of people jogging, even folks inviting others to join their group for jogging all over the park lol!!!

    I have another entry on the Parque del Buen Retiro or park of the good retreat, Retiro Park. So will just let you know the lake or estanque with the monument to king Alfonso XIII ( buried in Rome,and not brought back to Spain until 1980 to be deposited in the pantheon of kings at Monasterio El Escorial; he is the grandfather of the current king of Spain Juan Carlos I) , and the monument to General Martinez Campos of many wars including that of Cuba's independance wars.

    There you can see the palace of Cristal a small resemblance to Crystal palace in London, and the palace of Velazquez, both places of art and expos. You ,also, find the famous Florida Park resto and flamenco place, that was frequented by me when young for birthdays and youth parties. I have some photos recently taken.

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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Parque de El Retiro (1/4): The Gates

    by Redang Updated Mar 7, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Puerta Independencia (Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain)
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    The offical name is Parque del Buen Retiro, but everybody calls it Parque de El Retiro or just El Retiro. This is a must in Madrid and you should go to visit it while here.

    The park offers many possibilities:
    - A lake where you can, if you feel in shape, row.
    - Three venues that organize temporary exhibitions: Centro Cultural Casa de Vacas, Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal (each one has its own Things to Do tip).
    - A rose garden.
    - Statues (one of them dedicated to the Fallen Angel), fountains and monuments.
    - A book fair which takes place in Spring (visit the local custom tips section).
    - Very nice open-air terraces for a coffee or drink.
    - Performers, cards readers, storytellers and mimes, mostly on Saturday and Sunday morning, beside the lake; in short, much to do.
    - Shows for kids such as puppets (in summer) with a festival called Titirilandia.

    Very close to Plaza de Cibeles, Prado Museum and Atocha Railway station. It's surrounded by Plaza de la Independencia (main gate), calle Alfonso XII, calle O'Donnell and avenida Menéndez Pelayo.

    Due to it's quite big and has many gates, it is possible to reach it from many places.

    How to get there:

    Main Gates
    * Puerta del Angel Caido (close to Atocha railway station)
    - Situation: Southwest of the Park
    - Address: Calle de Alfonso XII
    - Metro: Atocha-Renfe (line 1)
    - Bus: 19

    * Puerta de Felipe IV
    - Situation: West of the Park
    - Address: Calle de Alfonso XII
    - Metro: Atocha-Renfe (line 1, closer) or Retiro (line 2)
    - Bus: 19

    * Puerta de España
    - Situation: West of the Park
    - Address: Calle de Alfonso XII
    - Metro: Retiro (line 2, closer) and Atocha-Renfe (line 1)
    - Bus: 19

    * Puerta de la Independencia (close to Plaza de Cibeles): Maybe the most touristy
    - Situation: Northwest of the Park
    - Address: Plaza de la Independencia
    - Metro: Retiro (line 2)
    - Bus: 1, 2, 9, 15, 19, 20, 28, 51, 52, 74 and 146

    * Puerta de Hernani
    - Situation: North of the Park
    - Address: Calle de Alcalá
    - Metro: Retiro (line 2)
    - Bus: 2, 9, 15, 19, 20, 51 and 146

    * Puerta de Madrid
    - Situation: North of the Park
    - Address: Calle de O’Donnell
    - Metro: Retiro (line 2, closer) and Príncipe de Vergara (line 2)
    - Bus: 2, 20 and 28

    * Puerta de la América Española/Puerta de O’Donnell
    - Situation: Norhteast of the Park
    - Address: Calle de O’Donnell corner Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo
    - Metro Príncipe de Vergara (line 2)
    - Bus: 2, 20 and 28

    * Puerta de la Reina Mercedes
    - Situation: East of the Park
    - Address: Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo
    - Metro: Ibiza (line 9)
    - Bus: 20, 26 and 28

    Quick note:
    Sometimes the bus lines change, so, check before, but the best way is either by metro or just walking (if you happen to be nearby).

    Some useful websites:
    - enciclopedia.us.es/index.php/Jardines_del_buen_retiro_de_Madrid (Spanish)
    - es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parque_del_Buen_Retiro (Spanish)
    - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parque_del_Buen_Retiro (English)

    Pics:
    - Main: Puerta de la Independencia.
    - 2nd: Puerta de España.
    - 3rd: Puerta de Felipe IV
    - 4th: Puerta de Madrid.
    - 5th: Puerta del Angel Caído.

    PS: Puerta means Gate.

    For more pics, go to the next tips or the special Travelogue dedicated to the park.

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Parque de El Retiro (2/4): Around the Lake

    by Redang Updated Mar 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lake (Retiro Park (Madrid, Spain)
    4 more images

    This lake offers the possnbilty of rowing. On one side of the lake, there is a monument dedicated to the King Alfonso XII (5th pic); on the other side, called Paseo del Salón del Estanque (2nd pic), there are many performers, cards readers, storytellers and mimes, mostly on Saturday and Sunday morning.

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  • Frisbeeace's Profile Photo

    Parque del Retiro

    by Frisbeeace Updated Jul 9, 2004
    Parque del Retiro

    The Parque del Retiro is behind the Prado Museum and is the green lung of Madrid. It was originally a royal retreat when Madrid was much smaller and the Retiro was outside the city. There are 17th century French-style garden and other areas are more modern and natural.

    It has 350 acres and is the most popular place for people to relax and stroll on Sundays. There are street performers, vendors and rowboats available for hire.

    The most important features of the park are: the statue of El Angel Caído (the fallen angel) which is said to be the only statue to Lucifer in the world; the Cristal Palace, a huge glasshouse used for exhibitions; the Casa de Vacas and the Palacio de Velazquez also being used for exhibitions and the Rosaleda or rose garden.

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  • diver-x's Profile Photo

    Parque del Retiro

    by diver-x Written Jun 11, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rent a boat at Parque del Retiro

    Parque del Retiro has everything a good park should have: formal gardens, leisurely walkways, sculptured shrubs, statues, fountains, stately buildings - even a man-made lake where you can rent a row-boat!

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  • Hosell's Profile Photo

    PARQUE DEL RETIRO

    by Hosell Updated Feb 17, 2003

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    The Retiro is perhaps Madrid's best known park. It occupies 120 hectares (300 acres) of land in the very centre of Madrid in very stylish Jerónimos district. (By comparison Central Park in New York City occupies about 340 hectares of land.) It originated as the gardens of the Palace of the Buen Retiro and was opened to the public by decree of the First Spanish Republic in 1868. The Retiro includes the Rosaleda (a rose garden) and a boating lake, around which there is always a large variety of shows and street theatre during the weekends. The pictures above show the Palacio de Cristal (the Crystal Palace). It is located on the south side of the park.

    The Parque del Retiro was were Felipe IV's royal palace stood. Now all that remains is the Casón Del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejército. (The Museo del Ejército is Spain's Army museum. Its most famous exhibit is the sword of El Cid.) The park began in 1632, but its use was limited to the Royal Family. In the 18th century it was partially opened to the public and in 1869 it was fully opened to the public.


    This is a view of Retiro's Lake.

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  • Beach_dog's Profile Photo

    El Parque del Buen Retiro

    by Beach_dog Updated Jan 28, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The lake at Retiro Park

    The most central and popular park in Madrid, Retiro Park is a delightful mix of formal gardens and wide-open spaces. Once a royal retreat, the grounds suffered damage during the Napoleonic invasion in the early 1800s and later became public property. It includes gardens, trees, monuments and fountains.

    In the summer months many outside events take place here, including Ferias and Festivals. Great for just a stroll as I did, or to go for a coffee by the lake.
    .

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Parqe del Retiro

    by acemj Updated Dec 17, 2002

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    This monumental equestrian statue of King Alfonso XII graces the edge of the lake at the center of Madrid's beautifully city park, Parque del Retiro (literally translated, "the retreat"). There is also a beautiful Crystal Palace which house exotic plants, many trails and recreation areas.

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  • El Parque del Buen Retiro is a...

    by ChicaAmable Written Aug 24, 2002

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    El Parque del Buen Retiro is a very large park. It's a relaxing place to spend a lazy afternoon. Madrileños normally visit the park on Sunday afternoons for quality family time. The picture shows a lake where there are rowboats for rent. The statue portrays Alfonso XII.
    If you are interested in people watching, find a bench, sit back and enjoy the show!

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  • Also located in the Parque del...

    by ChicaAmable Updated Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Also located in the Parque del Buen Retiro is the Crystal Palace. It is beautiful. The park is very large, however, so have a good map of the park when setting out to find this gem. I led my students around the park for quite a while before stumbling onto it. One of my students took this great picture of the palace.

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  • El Parque del Retiro is a very...

    by malyshka Written Aug 24, 2002

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    El Parque del Retiro is a very nice place to visit, especially on a Sunday afternoon.

    You'll see all kinds of people. If you're not interested in observing people you will find the park to be a nice green spot in the middle of the city (this is not to say that the city is not green). However, if you're looking for peace and quite don't go to the Retiro Park.

    The park has a couple of museums, and there are tonns of performers just dancing or playing music right on the sidewalks.

    There's also something of a lake in the north side of the park. You can join the other million people and rent a boat or take a short 'cruise' along the lake.

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  • parsix's Profile Photo

    EL RETIRO

    by parsix Updated Sep 14, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    lago

    Madrid's best-known park the Retiro in the very centre of the city. It began life as private garden of the Palace of the Buen Retiro.

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