The El Retiro Gardens, landscaped by the Condes de Buenavista in the 18th century and famous all over Spain, display a rich mixture of English, Italian and French styles and also include an exotic bird sanctuary.The origins of El Retiro date back to 1523, when the site belonged to the Catholic Church. It was then used as a farmhouse and was later turned into a watchtower to patrol the coast.In the 20th century, the Hacienda El Retiro belonged to the Duque of Aveiro and was later purchased by a German society who set up the bird sanctuary.Today the complex is divided into three main areas: the ornithology section, the botanical gardens and the historical park. The bird park includes over 150 Mediterranean and exotic species.The botanical gardens include a vast collection of over 800 specimens, from 100 year old cypress trees, palm trees and American walnut trees to magnolias, avocados and bamboo.The historical part of the gardens is famous for its dolphin-shaped fountain and its statue of Hebe, the goddess of youth. The statues and fountains are beautiful examples of Italian decorative art.Only a short bus ride away from the town centre, El Retiro is the perfect place for a day out and a stroll on a warm sunny day.
Name: Jardines de la Finca El Retiro
Address: Carretera 344 to Alhaurin de la Torre, Málaga, Spain
Tel: +34 952 62 16 00
The El Retiro Jardín Botánico (daily: April-Sept 9am-8pm; Oct-March 9am-6pm; ?7.50, children and senior citizens half-price) lies just west of the airport in Churriana Founded by an eighteenth-century bishop of Málaga, the tranquil gardens are studded with fountains, lakes and sculptures and contain more than eight hundred species of plants and trees. The gardens also hold Andalucía's largest aviary , where more than a thousand exotic birds from all over the world can be viewed in depressingly cramped cages. El Retiro has a restaurant and bar but is not well served by public transport; the closest you can get is a bus to Churriana, and then ask for directions. To get there with your own vehicle, take the N340 out of Málaga towards the airport, leaving the road at the Coín-Churriana exit, just beyond the airport turnoff. The garden is signposted on the right, a little beyond Churriana village some 4km from the autovía . At the time of writing the ownership of El Retiro has changed hands, so check for possible new opening hours with the turismo in Málaga.