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Retiro Park

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La Gruta photo

ABOVE: An inexpensive lunch at La Gruta, one of the many bar and snack pavilions in Retiro Park.

Statues and monuments

Fallen Angel photo by Anders ImbodenFurther south in Retiro is the impressive fountain of the Fallen Angel, which features at its apex a statue of Lucifer himself, woefully descending from Heaven. Besides boasting the world’s most famous statue of the Devil, the fountain also features intricate stone gargoyles, along with a gang of rather sinister-looking pigeons.

Other monuments are scattered throughout the park, including a memorial to those killed in the March 2004 terrorist attacks. Furthermore, there are cafés, bandstands, pavilions, and a number of small exhibits in some of the older buildings, which date back to the royal palace that one stood on these grounds.

Other things to see and do

Information point photo by Anders ImbodenThe best thing to do at Retiro Park is to wander. If you get lost or want to seek out a specific attraction, large maps are strewn throughout the grounds, but being one’s own guide is immensely rewarding.

With so much located near the park--the Prado museum, the Plaza de Cibeles, the Puerta de Alcalá, and more--a little tranquility and aimlessness might do a visitor well. It’s no wonder locals flock to Retiro to relax. A Sunday morning Metro ride to Retiro will find you surrounded by young couples attached at the hip, elderly gentlemen with newspapers, and every type of Spaniard in between. What better endorsement than that? When in Madrid, do as the Madrileños do.

Tips for unwary tourists

Like any big-city park, Retiro attracts a small number of unsavory characters who prey on unwitting visitors. Please note:

  • Pickpockets operate in the busier parts of Retiro Park, as they do in most crowded areas. Be aware of your valuables at all times.

  • Retiro is a very different place at night, as one might imagine. The gates should close in the evening, but if the sun is down, it's wise to steer clear of the park until daytime.

Next page: How to reach Retiro Park


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