Last December I was with my family in Madrid. We spent lots of time walking around and exploring, and hours in museums enjoying the collections.

But the blue skies beckoned and the warm December sun led us to the Parco del retiro, a place I had been for summer visits to Spain’s capital.

Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan

It was nice to enjoy the park during a winter visit. Many Spaniards and visitors had our same idea, so ten park was packed with visitors enjoying a walk under the winter rays.

This 350 acre park was once the property of the Spanish monarchy. It became a public park only in the late 19th century. It was King Philip II who expanded this park in the 1561, when Madrid became the official residence of the Spanish court. As part of this expansion, Philip’s official architect laid out the park with trees and boulevards.

Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan

It was another King Philip (the IV) who would further expand the gardens in 1620. These leafy gardens are a pleasure for those visiting the Spanish capital in the summer months.

There are some nice features in the park. I’ve already written about the Crystal Palace. There is also a small lake that is popular with couples and families who wish to rent rowboats. Every time I have been there have been long lines.

Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan

The park’s central location and the great Madrid weather make it a tempting destination during a Madrid visit. Glad we could explore the Parco del retiro during our visit to Madrid.

Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan
Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan
Parco del retiro, Madrid/ Kimberly Sullivan