La Rosaleda, Madrid, Spain

Category: Madrid

Are you planning to visit Madrid, Spain in the near future and need some ideas with regard to some of the enjoyable and interesting sites to visit during your stay?  Are you a fan of natural and man-made landscapes, particularly those with a long and storied history?  Madrid, the capital and largest city in Spain, is a beautiful and historically-rich city, loaded with must-see sites and attractions.  From the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, which together make up the renowned “Golden Triangle of Art,” to the hundreds of historical buildings and commemorative monuments, there is never a shortage of things to do and see when visiting this one-of-a-kind city.  This can often make for a very busy and demanding tour schedule. However, if you’re looking to recharge your batteries and take a break from the crowds and noise of the city, your best bet is to head for the Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) where, among other interesting attractions, you will find La Rosaleda, or the Rose Garden.

Retiro Park is known by locals as the “great green lung” in the center of Madrid.  The park boasts nearly 25,000 trees and many other types of vegetation, making it the ideal locale for escaping the noise and pollution caused by the thousands of cars that drive around the park’s perimeter everyday on the Calle de Alfonso XII, Plaza de la Independencia (Puerta de Alcala), Calle Alcala, Calle O’Donnel and Avenida de Menendez Pelayo.  With over 118 hectares of total land area it is one of the largest parks in Spain, and at the very heart of its beauty is La Rosaleda, the beautifully sculpted rose garden.

La Rosaleda was designed in 1915 by Cecilio Rodriguez, the head gardener for the city of Madrid, at the request of the Mayor, Carlos Prats.  It was modeled after the rose garden in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, France, and was designed to serve as a type of centerpiece for the various palaces and monuments that grace the park.  After the garden was completed, it initially included a statue at its main entrance depicting the Marquis of Salamanca, but during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, that statue disappeared and the garden itself sustained damage.

Strolling through La Rosaleda offers a treat for the eyes and nose, particularly during the spring and early summer months when the roses are in full bloom.  Many different Spanish rose varieties are on display at the garden, featuring almost every color in the rainbow.  The most important rose breeders in the world are represented at La Rosaleda; breeders who use the garden as a test plot to study the behavior of certain species of roses in the Madrid latitude and climate.

The layout and ultimate success of La Rosaleda is attributed almost entirely to gardener, Cecilio Rodriguez.  Today, the gardens bear his name in honor of his contributions.  Important to note is that in the 1930s and 1940s, the work of Rodriguez continued and ultimately resulted in the creation of many other rose gardens throughout the city.

The Parque del Buen Retiro and La Rosaleda are open year round and admission to the park is always 100% free for children and adults.  During the winter months, the park is open between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, while during the spring and summer months you can visit anytime between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM, and even later during special events and festivals.