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Retiro Park : Madrid

By Meg West - Fri 5th Jul 2013

Retiro Park is a great place to visit all year round, but is especially pretty in Spring and Summer. Retiro Park is a hotspot for both tourists and Madrileños and could even be described as a symbol of Madrid. Once a private recreational ground for the royal family, today it is open to the public to enjoy the beautiful walks and views.

The main focus of the park is the lake, which is right in the middle and features an impressive monument which can be appreciated from afar and from up close. All year round groups of friends, couples and families scatter the steps, enjoying picnics along with the great view. It’s also possible to rent out small rowing boats for about €7 per boat (sadly they’ve put up the prices this year) which is always a good laugh and creates a great atmosphere, whether you’re on or off the lake.

Retiro is also a popular running spot, so if, like me, you struggle to find the motivation when running alone, change your route to encompass Retiro and join the streams of runners who circle the park at all hours of the day. Biking is also popular here, so if you don’t have a bike of your own here in Madrid, make the most of the bike rentals which were mentioned in a previous post; there are loads!

If the idea of putting on your lycra and running around in this increasing heat doesn’t massively take your fancy, worry not. Retiro, of course, is a popular picnic spot in summer to the point that at weekends it can be hard to find a clear spot of grass. You’ll also find it’s a popular place for people to come on their own to read – and sleep! – under the shade of the trees. The only advice I can give is to take something to sit on, because the grass isn’t quite like that of the UK and can be quite uncomfy to sit on!

To cut a long story short, if you’re in doubt of what to do on a sunny summer’s afternoon, head to Retiro and join the like-minded crowds. There’s a little cafe and plenty of drink stalls to keep your thirst and hunger at bay, so row/cycle/jog/sit/lie-back and enjoy the beautiful surroundings!

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