A visit to Madrid in Spain is not complete without a walk in its fabulous park, Parque del Buen Retiro. It literally means ‘relaxing park 🙂
I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but the park is H-U-G-E: about 300 acres!
It first opened as a public park in 1868. Earlier, the park belonged to the grounds of Phillip IV’s royal palace.
And you can certainly tell its regal origins! While many of its buildings were destroyed in the war with Napoleonic (begin 19th century), there are is still plenty to convey its grandeur.
For one, the grounds are gorgeous! Both locals and tourist love its lakes and botanical gardens. Particularly in summer, the park becomes the go-to spot for tourists as well as locals. It’s when the park really comes alive. You’ll find musicians, fortune tellers and other forms of entertainment. Really fun. And all this makes for my most favourite pastime in the park: people watching!
Second, there are lots of sculptures and monuments in the park that are of that ‘must-see’ calibre. And the natural beauty of the park and artworks seem to go hand-in-hand.
In the gorgeous Rosaleda rose garden, you’ll find all kinds of rose varieties as well as the statue of the El Ael Caido. This work shows the Satan as a fallen angel. Seems so perfect and romantic of good winning over evil.
Third, there are the classy remains the Cason Del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejercito, both really worth a visit.
The works by the Spanish master, Sorolla, are part of the 19th to 20th century art collection in the Cason.
The Ejercito holds Spain’s premier army museum. If you are planning a visit here, be sure to see the most elusive pieces of its large collection: the sword of the famous warrior, El Cid; and a cross carried by Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World. I just love this last piece, although the former is more famous, I believe.
The park is centred around a big lake. Rent a boat or follow the trails and paths around it. It is very scenic everywhere. Particularly noteworthy are the statue of King Alfonso XII on his horse backed by a magnificent colonnade. I love it. This is one side of the lake.
On the other end you’ll find the must-see Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). a late 19th century greenhouse for exotic plants! Near it, is the Palacio de Velazques. In this palace you’ll find temporary exhibits from the Queen Sofia museum of art. — I told you there is a lot going on in this park! —
Another natural feature of the park is the Cecilia Rodriguez gardens which have a delightful array of flora and are located close to the fine dining restaurants on Serrano Street. Also near this is the Prado Museum which can easily be combined with a trip to the park.
So if you’re in Madrid, make sure you take a stroll through the magnificent and charming Parque del Buen Retiro. It is sure to be a highlight of your holiday.
From the rolling greens of Scotland to the beautiful ancient ruins of Greece, there are a variety of interesting places to visit in Europe. Take a trip to Europe and your most difficult decision is going to be which places to visit during your vacation.
Some of the major cities on this diverse continent include London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Madrid, and Frankfurt.
Since there are so many interesting places to visit in Europe, you may need a bit of help deciding where to go. The following are 10 of the best places to visit for a great time.
Eiffel Tower – Known as one of the most famous landmarks in the world, there is no structure that has ever been built like the Eiffel Tower. The tower is 984 feet high and one of the tallest buildings in the world. The view of Paris from the tower is a definitely must see if you are in Europe.
Acropolis – If you are interested in history, one historical site in Europe that you won’t want to miss is the Acropolis. Located in Athens, you’ll see sites such as the Parthenon, sites built as far back as the 5th Century BC. Not only will you get to have a close up look at all these ancient buildings and ruins, but you’ll also get a great view of the city of Athens from here as well.
The Roman Coliseum – Another of the many interesting places to visit in Europe is the Roman Coliseum. This grand site was originally a huge amphitheater that could seat more than 50,000 people. With amazing ancient architecture, even in disrepair, this is a magnificent site that you definitely have to see.
Tower Bridge – Since 1894, this beautifully designed bridge has been standing over the River Thames in the city of London. From the bridge’s beautiful walkways you can see some breathtaking views of London. You can also visit the engine rooms containing the steam engines that power the bridge. Whether you go in the day or at night, this is a breathtaking must-see.
Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh Castle is another of the most interesting places to visit in Europe. It is over 1,000 years old and once you see this magnificent castle you’ll soon understand why more than a million people visit it each year. You can tour the castle, enjoy the views and visit the surrounding gardens as well.
Buckingham Palace – Since 1837 Buckingham Palace has been the residence of British royalty, and what would a trip to Europe be without taking the time to see the home of the Queen of England. If you visit during August or September you’ll even be able to see inside the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.
Big Ben – The world’s largest turret clock tower, Big Ben is one of the best known landmarks in London and definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Europe. Although it is not open for public tours, it looks spectacular, especially at night when it is all lit up.
La Sagrada Familia – While in Europe, another must see is the unfinished church La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, designed and worked on by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. Unfortunately, he died before the structure was completed. With amazingly designed towers and innovative architecture, however, this is an excellent place to visit while in Europe.
Cathedral Notre-Dame – No visit to France is complete without stopping by the Cathedral Notre-Dame. History buffs will enjoy the rich history of this attraction while art lovers will enjoy the beautiful statues, columns and windows.
St. Michaeliskirche – Right in Hamburgh, Germany, is the beautiful St. Michaeliskirche, known locally as Michl. During the day you can enter the church for free. However, if you choose to go up to the top of the spire, you will have to pay a small but worthwhile fee for its beautiful view of Hamburg.