Modeled on London’s famous Crystal Palace, this 19th-century building is made almost entirely of glass and today hosts regular exhibitions.
The Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) is one of the most photographed monuments in Madrid. This 19th-century glass palace lies at the edge of a lake inside the Parque del Buen Retiro, one of the largest parks in the city. Come to admire the incredible glass and iron architecture of the Crystal Palace, browse seasonal museum exhibitions inside and relax in the surrounding parkland.
The Palacio de Cristal was built in 1887. It was originally designed by architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco to house exotic flora brought over from the Philippines, which was at the time occupied by the Spanish. The flower display was part of a larger exhibition on the Philippines that took place in the gardens and included a reconstruction of a Philippino village. Today the Crystal Palace is home to contemporary art and museum exhibitions organized by the Museo Reina Sofia of Madrid.
The design of the structure was based off the Crystal Palace in London, which was built to house the Great Exhibition a few decades before. Like the original Crystal Palace, Madrid’s Palacio de Cristal was designed so that it could be dismantled and moved to another location.
Admire the palace’s incredible architecture. The Palacio de Cristal is made almost entirely out of glass, which is set on an iron framework and decorated with ceramics. When the palace was built, glass was an exciting new material in architecture that symbolized modernity and progress.
Visit the monument in the morning to see the light reflect off the glass to create small rainbows of color. The building is surrounded by trees and looks out onto a lake. Photograph the surrounding scenery framed by the arched windows that line the building’s walls.
The Palacio de Cristal is closed on Tuesdays. Opening hours vary depending on the season. The Crystal Palace and Parque del Buen Retiro lie at the edge of the city center and are easily accessible by metro.