Madrid plays host to popular festivals and celebrations all year round, both in the summer and in winter. Street parties, open-air events, cultural shows, traditional dance performances, district-specific feasts… These unique celebrations can give you a glimpse of the city’s customs and traditions, as you share in the joyful atmosphere. Check out the calendar of popular events held in Madrid and red-circle those that match the dates of your trip.
Major events in Madrid
- January – New Year’s Celebrations in Sol: The clock tower in Puerta del Sol chimes to welcome the new year. Thousands of people get together around the Km. 0 mark facing the clock to bid farewell to the year coming to a close. They laugh, they dance, they wear fancy dresses and wigs… and they are ready to welcome the 12 months ahead. New Year’s celebrations are among the most popular and vibrant in Madrid.
- 6 January – Three Wise Men Parade: Most Spanish cities hold their own parades to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East, but the one in central Madrid is the most colourful and exciting. Dozens of floats decorated with shiny presents go down the streets in a magic parade that brings fun to all children. Some of the floats carry leading artists who play their music live.
- 19 March – St Joseph’s Day: This religious feast is honoured across Spain; in the Spanish capital, it gives Madrileños the chance to spend a day out with their families and welcome spring. Many of them head for the sierras, while others go out for tapas or on a picnic at El Retiro Park.
- Mid-May – Feast of St Isidore the Farmer: A major celebration in Madrid, revealing the most traditional aspects of the city to whoever wants to take a look: folk costumes, dances and chulapas (women dressed in traditional garments). There are street festivals, or verbenas, with all kinds of live music. Many people gather at San Isidro Park with their Spanish omelettes and wines, or take to the streets to join in the festive atmosphere.
- May/June – Book Fair: A major cultural event, the Madrid Book Fair is a landmark at the national level. Book stalls are set up all around in El Retiro Park, where you can find true gems and all best-sellers at most convenient prices. And you can even meet the authors, who visit the stands of their publishers to sign books for their fans and talk with readers.
- July – Gay Pride Parade: In July, Chueca gets filled with light, sound, colour… and people. Lots of people. Madrid’s Gay Pride Parade is among the liveliest, most flamboyant celebrations held in Spain. People from all over the country – and even the continent and the world – come together in a unique party, dancing and having fun until dawn.
- June/August – Summer Films: Most districts in Madrid organise open-air cinema events, the most popular one being held in Parque de la Bombilla. A great ambience and a careful selection of films have turned this festival into a summer classic.
- August – Festival of Our Lady of La Paloma: The feasts of St Lawrence, St Cajetan and Our Lady of La Paloma are three major summer events in Madrid. There is live music, cookouts, special tapas tours, shows, dance performances, folk dance, art exhibitions… In sum, all kinds of activities for children and grown-ups alike.
- October – Columbus Day: On the occasion of Columbus Day, Madrid plays host to several public events organised by government, royal and military authorities. There are parades in the city centre, galas, special museum exhibitions, and so on.
- December – Constitution Day: Constitution Day, on 6 December, is one of the best times of the year to come to Madrid, just ahead of Christmas. You can buy your Christmas lottery ticket at Doña Manolita, warm up with a hot chocolate and churros, or go to the theatre or the movies and enjoy Madrid’s special Christmas programme.
- 31 December – San Silvestre Race: Feeling the chilly air slash your face as you run along the streets of Madrid is an adrenaline booster which you can share with other sports lovers as you head for the finish line on the last day of the year. This popular race, with replicas in other Spanish towns and cities, gathers thousands of people ready to move ahead without looking back. A nice, peculiar way of bidding farewell to a worn-out year.