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Retiro

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El Retiro

Plaza Independencia
Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s answer to New York’s Central Park is a warren of paths carved in green with a large, central man-made lake and plenty of space (330 acres) for lolling about. Originally conceived as a royal garden, Retiro has been a public park for 300 years. Madrileño families arrive in droves on Sundays, many with picnics or on bicycles, to relax and breathe a bit or play soccer. In the late 1880s the Palacio de Cristal, a palace-like pavilion entirely of glass, was built in the center. Modeled after London’s Crystal Palace greenhouse, it now hosts occasional exhibits.

Insider Tip:

Biking is the most convenient way to see the park; rentals at By Bike (Av. Menendez Pelayo, 35; www.bybike.info; 011-34-90-287-44-83) start at 4€ (about $5) per hour.

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