All you need to know about the artificial mountain in El Retiro Park

From wide-open green areas to magnificent architecture, El Retiro Park is one of Madrid’s most iconic and visited places.

El Retiro is known for the numerous statues, fountains, and commemorative monuments that convert this awesome open space into a unique open-air museum. In 2021 the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with Paseo del Prado.

El Retiro hides a multitude of legends, interesting facts, and secret places that even many locals are unaware of. Among them is the Artificial Mountain that the monarch Ferdinand VII ordered to build in 1817, which opened to the public again in 2023 after 18 years closed.

Where is El Retiro Mountain located?

One of the best things about El Retiro is its incredible location next to the Puerta de Alcalá, the Prado Museum, and other top attractions of the city.

El Retiro Artificial Mountain is located in the northeast corner of the park. The closest access is from the O’Donnell Gate.

The mountain is surrounded by some of the main tourist attractions of the Park, such as La Casita del Pescador and the Ruins of San Pelayo and San Isidoro.

How to get to El Retiro Mountain?

Metro Madrid is probably the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to get to El Retiro Mountain as there are several subway stations next to the Park, such as Principe de Vergara (Lines 2 and 9), Retiro (Line 2), and Ibiza (Line 9).

Which are the opening hours?

El Retiro Park opens daily, from 6:00 to 22:00 in Autumn and Winter (October to March) and with extended hours until midnight in Spring and Summer (April to September).

When was El Retiro Mountain built?

In 1817, King Ferdinand VII ordered the construction of a series of unique buildings and landscapes to delight his guests in an area reserved for royalty within El Retiro Park.

This is how the royal architect Isidro González Velázquez designed, among others, the Artificial Mountain, the Fisherman’s House, the pier of the Big Pond, and the former city zoo.

What is El Retiro Mountain?

In its three centuries of history, different uses have been given to El Retiro Mountain.

The Mountain is entirely hollow, made of brick, covered with diverse vegetation, and surrounded by several waterfalls and a pond that originally had fish and geese.

In addition, originally there was a waterwheel inside to take the water to the waterfalls and a small temple at the top so that the King could admire the wonderful scenery around.

According to the chronicles of the time, years later Queen Isabel II used the temple built by her father to monitor the movements of the Carlist troops in the successive battles that were unleashed to seize the throne.

Finally, in the 80s, the interior enclosure was converted into an exhibition hall until it closed its doors in 2002.

Why is it also known as the Mountain of the Cats?

In the past, it seems that this was one of the places used by the citizens of Madrid to abandon their pets, which used this enclosure to breed and protect themselves from the cold.

Why was El Retiro Mountain closed?

In 2002 there were a series of landslides. In 2004 and 2005 the entire enclosure was fenced off because it posed a risk to pedestrians, first the upper part and then the whole complex.

When will El Retiro Mountain reopen?

El Retiro Mountain reopened its doors in July 2023, one of the best times to visit Madrid.

The comprehensive reform of the mountain has involved an investment of 2.6 million euros. It will prioritize respect for the original construction at all times, maintaining the upper observation area, the original waterfalls, and the walking paths that allow visitors to climb to the top. In addition, the entire irrigation system and the lighting of the enclosure will be renewed.

From July 26th, a temporary exhibition will be on display in its interior vaulted space, which will allow visitors to learn about the history of the Mountain, as well as details of the work that has been carried out for its full recovery. The exhibition will be open from 11 am to 1 pm and from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Visiting El Retiro Mountain is one of the best things to do in El Retiro Park.

Leave a Comment