No matter what the season, it's worthwhile to wander through the exquisite Retiro Park when you're in Madrid. Here you can find a tranquil escape from crowded streets and museums. The unrivaled architecture of Madrid is echoed here in the wonderful monuments, statues, and buildings. Be sure to visit the gorgeous Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal), originally a greenhouse and now used for art exhibitions. Look for the beautiful black swans in the lake.
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A Long Walk in the Park
When you travel to a new location, the only way to see it is through the eyes of a local, which means finding the local hangouts. If you happen to be in Madrid, this means strolling the afternoon away through Retiro Park.
This isn't any ordinary park; you can spend a full day (or two, or three) exploring the vast array of gardens, parks and art centers. As we strolled along, each turn in the path led to something new to explore. A rose garden. An open-air book fair (which we wandered for over an hour and we can't read Spanish!). Locals rollerblading and playing football. As we continued on and turned a corner, we knew we had come across something special.
Retiro Park was originally built for Spanish King Phillip IV, and opened to the public in the 1800s. One of the most beautiful buildings is the Palacio de Crista, or the Crystal Palace. It's made entirely of glass, and is worth spending some time at both inside and out.