/ The Madrid Guide
Madrid — By Nellie Huang on April 8, 2010 at 3:31 am
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Snap Shot Wednesday: Spring in Retiro Park

Today’s Snap Shot Wednesday brings us to the lungs of Madrid: Park Retiro. A refreshing green zone alarmingly close to the city centre introduces clean and crispy air to the metropolis.

It’s spring and you can see it from the faces of locals who lounge on its greens and revel in the sunshine. Temperatures are at a pleasant high, skies clear and air balmy – a perfect time to head to Park Retiro for some leisure fun. But there’s more to the park than just a place for relaxation.

Crystal Palace

The sprawling park spreads over 1.4 km sq, with plenteous sections and architecture to admire. The photo above shows the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace): an aesthetically-pleasing building that dates back to the 19th century. Today, it is transformed into an arts exhibition centre with many displays of paintings and abstract art through out the year. Around the building, you’ll find a swan lake, sprinkled with a glorious fountain. Lovers enjoy frolicking in its shallow waters in summer, while families gather around the lakeside shrubs for a picnic.

Retiro Pond

The park’s main attraction is the artificial pond that lies in the centre of the greenery. El Estanque del Retiro (Retiro Pond) makes for some excellent boating – on weekends, couples paddle out onto the lake to unwind and take in a view of the park from the waterfront. Right by the lake, there is a monumental semicircular colonnade built in honor of King Alfonso XII. With majestic figurines, massive columns and realistic lion statues, the colonnade itself is worth a visit.

Around the lake, there are plenty of puppeteers entertaining children with classic puppet shows. Alongside these street performers, popcorn stands and fortune tellers create a rather bustling scene, especially on a Sunday. You can even sit and have a drink at one of the outdoor cafes, especially on a sun-kissed day.

Paseo de la Argentina

Upon entering the park from Puerta de Alcalá, you’ll find a wide boulevard lined with multi-hued flowers and emerald green leaves. This pedestrianized walkway that leads to the heart of the park smells of history and allure. You’ll find yourself entering a different world, somewhere far from the chaos of daily life.

Information for Visitors:

Address: Plaza de Salvador Dalí, Madrid 28009

Location: Park Retiro

Entrance fee: Free

By metro: Alight at Retiro (Line 2) station, the gate is right infront of the station exit.

By bus: 1, 9, 20, 146, 15, 2, 51, 52, 74

By foot: At the end of Gran Via, walk along Calle Alcalá towards the direction of Retiro.

*Park Retiro was included in my list of 5 Sunday Activities in Madrid, read more to find out other items on the list.

Photo used with the permission of J.A.Alcaide.

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