Parque del Buen Retiro
No trip to Madrid would be complete without a stroll through the city’s elegant El Retiro park, found just behind the Prado.
rnOriginally part of the palatial grounds of King Felipe IV (1621–65), they were opened to the public in 1868 after the ousting of Isabel II. Today, among its shady tree-lined avenues and around its artificial lake, you’ll find couples, families, cyclists, joggers, buskers, fortune-tellers and drug dealers (not threatening), who come to rest in the shade, indulge in some people-watching, or just make a living.
rnSitting here for an hour can give you a perfect snapshot of how life is in the city and the people who inhabit it. All through the year, the park is central to city life and is full of people well after sunset, particularly on Sundays. Come and clear the head before a long Sunday lunch.