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Always lively, El Retiro is perfect for walking, playing sports or connecting with nature.

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Retiro Park

This is Madrid's best-loved park.

It is the favourite park of the madrileños. Always lively, El Retiro is perfect for walking, playing sports or connecting with nature. Its name comes from the times of Felipe II when the place was used as a spiritual retreat (retiro). However, it was Carlos III (known as the king-mayor) who made it look similar to what it is today. He gave it railings and only permitted entry to those people with a certain level of hygiene and attire. The centre of this 118 hectare space is the lake with its large sculpture in honour of Alfonso XII. On Sundays the area is heaving with people playing the drums and basking in the sun. The late nineteenth century brought the legendary glass palaces and Velázquez. Water and the flower gardens surround us on all sides: the la montaña de los gatos (Cats' mountain), the Rosaleda (rose garden), la fuente de las Alcachofas (Alcachofas Fountain), the paseo de las estatuas (the statues' walk) etc. If it's spring, the scents fill your nostrils. And don't forget to look for the statue of the fallen angel, one of the few monuments in the world that represents the devil. Also, its altitude with relation to the sea in Alicante is 666 metres (who investigated that?) Anyway, thinking about it makes us a little uneasy.

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