Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

The Crystal Palace of the Retiro Park

One of the monuments that most attract tourists when they decide to visit El Retiro Park is the popular Crystal Palace. This building that today is used to host contemporary art exhibitions is shaped like a greenhouse since it was originally the place where an exhibition on the typical flora of the Philippine Islands was held.

palacio de cristal

History of the Crystal Palace of El Retiro

El Retiro’s Crystal Palace was built in 1887 by the architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. It is made up of a metal structure covered by glass plates, revealing everything that goes on inside. It is a building clearly inspired by the Crystal Palace in London, which adds to its natural beauty that of the environment in which it is located.

And it is that right next to the palace we can find an artificial lake surrounded by trees that makes up one of the most beautiful places in the Retiro Park. Therefore, if we pass there on a Sunday, it will be easy for us to meet hundreds of tourists walking, riding a segway, taking pictures or simply enjoying the views.

Since it was built, the Crystal Palace has had various uses. Thus, in that place, Manuel Azaña officially took office as president of the Republic. It was also in charge of hosting the National Fine Arts Exhibition every two years, which focused especially on sculptures.

After being abandoned for years, a complete repair was carried out in 1975, and since then it has continued to maintain its cultural functions since it has been co-managed since 1990 by different estates such as the Madrid City Council or the Reina Sofía Museum.

A wide schedule to visit it

Between the months of April and September you can visit the Crystal Palace from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., while during the winter months the hours of this place are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A fairly long schedule so that everyone can enjoy it.

But even if you pass through the Retreat when the Palace is closed, for example taking a Segway tour, it is worth seeing from the outside, since it is a quite impressive building. Do not hesitate, therefore, to take a break during your visit to the city to walk through this park and enjoy its views. It is an essential in Madrid that you should not miss under any circumstances.

On weekends there are usually quite a lot of people in the Retiro and therefore to see the crystal palace, so we recommend that you go to see it during the week if you can. There will be much less people and you can see it quietly. The Crystal Palace is an ideal place if you are doing a Segway tour, with this tour you will be able to see the entire Retiro Park in a single day.

El Retiro

Obviously if you visit the crystal palace you will be visiting the Retiro park, since the palace is located here. In the heart of Madrid you can enjoy this wonderful park where you can rent a boat to spend the afternoon on the lake, visit the crystal palace or simply go for a walk with your pet. The retreat is one of the most visited places in Madrid, more than 80% who come to Madrid visit the Retreat at some point during their visit.