No-one celebrates quite like the Spanish do, and their holidays and festivals are reflections of this truth. Regardless of which season you choose to visit the capital city of Spain in, there is always a festival or a holiday going on, or about to start. Festivals are also one of the best ways to immerse in local culture and really understand life in Madrid, beyond the monuments, attractions and restaurants.
If you are keen to visit one of the major Madrid festivals, it is important to make your plan in advance and purchase the tickets as well – many big festivals can sell out very, very quickly, so planning in advance will help you avoid disappointment. Visit your neighbourhood SOTC branch to know about amazing Madrid tour packages and Spain tour packages – we’d love to get to know you better and find the right festivals for you to visit during your holiday in Madrid.
So, without further ado, here is our round up of Madrid festivals that everyone should experience in their lifetime.
Taking place in May every year, San Isidro is the world’s biggest bullfighting event. It definitely isn’t a festival for the faint-hearted. But if you are interested in experiencing or watching this traditional Spanish sport first-hand, this is the best time to go. Along with bullfights that take place as Las Ventas, the major bullring in Madrid, there are other events during the days of San Isidro, and you will find many locals dressed in the traditional costumes. It’s an exciting time to be in the city, whether you are keen to watch the bullfights or not – but if you are, make sure to buy your tickets as soon as possible because they tend to sell out many, many months in advance.
Taking place in August, this is one of the most important festival’s that takes place in the capital. La Paloma is in dedication to Virgen de la Paloma and during this festivity, you will see locals dressed in traditional costumes of ‘chulapa’ while singing and dancing to traditional Spanish music on the streets. Feel free to join them in their celebration – they are always warm and welcoming, and truly take ‘the more, the merrier’ to heart. If you are planning a trip to Spain this summer, stop by the capital for the festival – a major Madrid upcoming event that you do not want to miss.
This is the official autumn festival that takes place in Madrid every year, and is one of the most prominent Madrid October events to participate in. It is celebrated through a series of performances, acts and concerts of song, dance and theatre that take place at major venues across the capital, including Teatro de la Zarzuela and Teatro Madrid. Starting in the first week of October, the festival goes on for almost a month, so it’s a good idea to get your hands on the calendar in advance and shortlist the events that you are most keen on experiencing, to make sure that you do not miss out.
As is the case in the rest of the world, New Year’s Eve is a major celebration in Spain, and you are right in thinking that the capital of the country celebrates the changing of the year in a magical way. The bulk of the festivities take place at Puerta de Sol, a major public square the heart of the city, where thousands of people gather near midnight to await the sound of the twelve bells that are rung. In Spain, they have a tradition of eating one grape with each bell, believing that doing so will bring good luck in the next year – if you’re around, you must try it out for yourself! Once the clock has struck twelve, the crowds disperse to the many bars, restaurants, lounges and nightclubs that are located in the city centre, and the party continues till the early hours of the morning.
By now, you know that the Spanish love to sing and dance. Flamenco is one of the most popular Spanish dance forms, and there are many festivals around the country and throughout the year that celebrate it – but Suma Flamenca is one of the key ones and is a major Madrid cultural event in its own right. It takes place during the spring month of June and goes on for two weeks, featuring performances from upcoming and famous artists in spaces and venues across the city. It’s a must-do Madrid event.
This is one of the major Madrid November events, celebrating the city’s love for art. Feriarte is an annual antique and art gallery fair that takes place in mid to late November every year. Not only can you visit, admire and purchase the art that is displayed; there are also a wide range of activities that can be enjoyed by one and all. It is not only a major culture event for the capital, but a huge must-do on Madrid’s social calendar as well. If you are visiting Madrid during this time, take out a day or an afternoon to visit the main event or one of the associated events that take place in venues across the city.
The city of Madrid offers something for everyone, regardless of your budget, taste and companions – and the festivals in the capital city are no exception, either. Regardless of what you’re interested in and when you’re travelling, you are bound to stumble across a festival, big or small.