In the heart of the Retiro Park lies this large lake, a popular spot with the city's residents, who go there to sunbathe or hire rowing boats.
Built between 1634 and 1636 by the architect, Cristobal de Aguilera, this lake was the heart of the Buen Retiro Palace garden and was used to hold water shows, such as navy battles or mock battles, and boat rides for the King and Queen and their Court. At that time it was linked by a stream to the chapel of Saint Anthony of Padua, which no longer exists, and the Retiro had its own shipyard to build boats. In the middle of the lake there was an oval-shaped island which was used for theatrical and musical performances.
On the same spot, almost a hundred years later, Farinelli delighted the court of Philip V with his singing. In the last third of the eighteenth century the island in the centre was covered by the waters of the lake and in 1902 the monument to Alfonso XII was erected. Financed by popular subscription, it is an outstanding example of historicist architecture. The monument was designed by José Grases Riera and completed by Teodoro Anasagasti, while the equestrian statue crowning it is the work of Mariano Benlliure.
Currently the Retiro Pond offers several activities like rowing boats, two of which are wheelchair accessible (these last ones will be available as of February 2019), solar boat (wheelchair accessible) and solar classroom and the Municipal Kayaking School, for children and young adults aged 7 to 17.
The pier and the solar boat are adapted for wheelchair access.
Two of the rowing boats are wheelchair accessible through a gate located at the back of the boat.