The most popular areas of the park are:
El Estanque: This artificial pond or estanque was designed in the 17th century by King Philip IV, who liked to recreate epic naval battles in the pond. Apart from its recreational functions, the pond also serves as a reservoir of water to supply the numerous fountains in the park. On one of the banks of the pond stands the majestic monument to King Alfonso XII, built in the early 20th century.
The Glass Palace: This beautiful building was built in the late 19th century as part of an exhibit about the Philippines (a former Spanish colony) that was held in Madrid. The purpose of this building was to serve as a greenhouse where visitors could admire plants and flowers brought for the exhibit. Today, the Palacio de Cristal has been converted into a hall where artworks from the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art are shown.
Monument of the Fallen Angel: Madrid is a peculiar city, and proof of this is that the first sculpture in the world dedicated to the devil was built here. The sculpture, made from bronze, shows the devil twisting as a serpent coils around his legs. Coincidence or not, this fountain is situated at an official altitude of 666 meters above sea level.
Besides the numerous tourists and locals who enjoy the park each day, Parque de Retiro is also home to a good number of squirrels, ducks and peacocks that are used to tourists and are relatively easy to spot. Without a doubt, this is one of our favorite free things to do in Madrid.
-Address: Plaza de la Independencia, 7
Parque del Capricho
These lovely gardens, unknown to most tourists who visit Madrid, were designed by the Dukes of Osuna in the late 18th century. Here, they created a small paradise away from the city where they would hold private parties for Madrid’s high society.
Now owned by the city government, the park has been renovated and can be seen in all its splendor. The botanical richness is really incredible, with more than 40 different species. Plus, the park has a very interesting architectural heritage: hermitages, temples, fountains and even the palace where the dukes lived. But perhaps the park’s best-kept secret is an antiaircraft shelter built during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which was used by the army of the Popular Front.
- Free entry
- Animals are not allowed
- Eating in the park is not permitted
- Bicycles may not access the park
-Address: Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna 26-32
La Casa de Campo
Madrid has the privilege of being the capital city with the most trees in Europe, and the second in the world, second only to Japan. In total, more than 300,000 trees are planted throughout the city. A good part of these trees is concentrated in the immense public park, La Casa de Campo. A park with 1750 hectares (5 times bigger than Central Park in New York) which has become the veritable lung of the city.
If you like to be in touch with nature, you won’t be disappointed. There are dozens of species of different trees: pines, poplars, oaks, heathers, etc., as well as a good number of animal species, such as ducks, squirrels, owls, foxes, etc. There is even a pond where you can fish for carp. Important! Only “catch and release” fishing is permitted.
-Address: Paseo Puerta del Angel, 1