The El Retiro park in Madrid, or simply El Retiro, is one of the largest parks (350 acres) in Madrid, Spain. Located in the city centre it was originally created as a retreat for the Royal Family. The park passed to public ownership in 1868.
El Retiro Park is one of the main attractions in Madrid. It is extremely popular with the locals for a stroll, longer walk, jog or to go to one of the cafes for something to eat and drink. It also hosts many events including a Book Fair, concerts and art exhibitions.
El Retiro also has many interesting sculptures and fountains including the the King Alfonso XII monument on a tall column close to the northern entrance of the park and a semi-circular colonnade.
The Estanque del Retiro, or Retiro Pond, is a large man-made lake next to the semi-circular colonnade and Alfonso XII monument. Rowing boats are available to rent for a paddle around the lake and are very popular.
Palacio de Cristal
The Palacio de Cristal, or Crystal Palace, is made almost entirely of glass and is inspired by The Crystal Palace in London. It is used to exhibit art exhibitions, which are changed seasonally.
The Velázquez Palace was built for the Exposición Nacional de Minería in 1881-83 by architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. Originally it was known as the Palacio de la Minería but referred to as the Velázquez Palace after the architect. It was restored in 2005-2010. The Palace is currently operated by the Ministry of Culture and is used for temporary exhibitions of modern art organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.