Parque del Buen Retiro is located in the heart of Madrid
. It is best accessed through the Alcala Gate. You can reach it by taking the metro to the Retiro or Ibiza stops. This scenic park is open all year round, but the weather is best in the spring and fall. Sundays are especially crowded with families enjoying the greenery and weather. However, Sunday is also the best time to see a wide variety of street performers.
Buen Retiro is a roomy 350 acres park. It was originally developed by King Philip IV in 1632. The royal family would come here for vacations, hence its name: the Park of Good Rest. For about 200 years palaces and fountains were built at the park Buen Retiro. In 1868, it was opened to the public.
The most unique feature of this park is the statue "El Angel Caído," the fallen angel. It is the only prominently displayed statue in Europe that is dedicated to Satan.
The park, Buen Retiro also has two palaces leftover from its royal days. There were many other buildings, but most of them were destroyed during the Napoleonic wars. One palace has a museum dedicated to Spanish military history. You can see the sword of El Cid and the cross that Columbus took to the New World. Another palace was built in 1887, and models London's Crystal Palace.
Parque del Buen Retiro also has a large lake near which you can rent boats for an afternoon of rowing.