It was a short walk from our hotel (Vincci Soma) to Parque del Buen Retiro, and as soon as I walked in, I realized I was going to want more then a mere weekend in Madrid. I could have stayed in the park for the entire day ~ it’s big, beautiful with lovely gardens, marble statues/monuments, acres of greenery, manmade lakes and an abundance of locals doing various exercises.
The Park was originally laid out by Felipe IV in the 1600s for the use of the Royals and close family/friends but the park was opened to the public in 1868. Throughout the following years, statues and buildings have been added with the most recent being the “Bosque de Recuerdo” (memorial forest) which is a memorial for the 191 victims of the 11 March 2004 train bombings.
It’s a great place for the Madrileños to enjoy a pleasant walk, a vigorous workout or just to sit and watch the world go by.
The park has many beautiful marble statues including El Ángel Caído (The Fallen Angel ~ Satan) by Ricardo Bellver. He is said to have been inspired by a passage from Paradise Lost (John Milton). The gargoyles around the base of the statues creeped me out more than the statue itself. From my research, it looks to be the only public statue of Lucifer and supposedly it sits at 666m above sea level.
Besides the lovely statues, there are several beautiful buildings including Palacio de Cristal which was built in 1887 as a winter garden but is now being used for temporary exhibitions of modern artwork. If you look closely at the photo below, those color discs are the artwork currently on display.
Our time in Parque del Buen Retiro was wonderful and I definitely would have stayed longer but after a few hours it was time to head over to Museo del Prado to see the Goyas. The Museum is a short walk just outside of the park…