If you’re lucky, on your drive into Madrid from the airport, you’ll drive down Calle de Alfonso XII, past Parque de El Retiro for your first sight of one of the largest parks in the city. You’ll know after your first sighting that this special place is somewhere you’ll have to return one or two times.
There are a couple memorable ways to get to El Retiro. The first – and Margaret’s personal favorite – is along Calle de Serrano, one of Madrid’s best streets for shopping. If you so happen to track down the Manolo Blahnik store (hidden in a courtyard of stores back from the street), pop in and check out some of the Spanish fashion designer’s greatest works.
Your wardrobe will thank you, especially if you luck out and find a pair of hunter green, velvet Hangisi (exclusive to Spain) in your size! Not the most versatile piece, but a great memory to come home with!
The other benefit of this route is getting to see streets worth of beautiful triangular buildings.
The second route – equally as beautiful and more fiscally responsible – is past the Prado Museum and San Jeronimo el Real church.
Once you get into the park, wander down the perfectly kept sidewalks.
And find your favorite fountain.
Or row around the pond in front of the monument to Alfonso XII, dedicated to one of Spain’s most beloved monarchs, who tragically passed away just shy of his 28th birthday.
A real reprieve in the heart of a busy city – an afternoon at El Retiro is truly a pleasant retreat!