Parque del Buen Retiro - or Park of the Pleasant Retreat - is Madrid's most expansive park and landmark, covering 1.4 km2 (350 acres). Known locally as just "El Retiro", the park is referred to as "The Lungs" of Madrid, providing the majority of the greenery to feed off of the carbon dioxide of urban life and release enough oxygen to keep its many residents and visitors alive.
One of the city's most popular attractions, Parque del Buen Retiro is filled with numerous statues, gardens, galleries and a beautiful lake. People go to meet with friends, to read or picnic, and to admire the art, both indoors and out. You can even rent yourself a boat to paddle around the lake. During the warmer months, also be sure to catch the free concerts in the park every Sunday afternoon.
Originally property of the royal family, El Retiro still has palaces on its grounds. These have since been transformed into museums hosting Spanish art and army artifacts. The park is also home to monuments commemorating King Alfonso XII and the victims of the Madrid train bombing in March 2004. For more art and history, visitors may also visit the Prado museum located just outside and midway along the park's western border.