Which one is the best time to visit Madrid?
This article aims to be a quick and easy travel guide for the best time to visit Madrid.
Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is one of the most touristic European cities in the world.
As it happens with practically the entire northern hemisphere of our planet, the months of May and October are ideal for enjoying a city like Madrid.
In late March and April – May shoulder season, you’ll enjoy great weather as the incredibly intense summer heat has yet to appear, and the hordes of tourists are much more manageable.
Early fall is still hot, but in September – October, with fall in full swing and children and youth back to school, the city begins to cool down, golden hues cover the parks, and you won’t have to worry about sights packed with thousands of tourists.
Madrid’s Unbelievable Summer
Visit Madrid during summer, mid-June, or mid-July, with intense heat afternoons. It will be essential to plan your activities and schedule early in the day and do what many locals do: take a nap or rest in some cool place between 3 p.m. and about 7 p.m.
It will be worth the wait before going outside again.
If you prefer (which I’m sure you do), to avoid the biggest crowds, especially in July, August, and September, try not to go to the most famous sights and attractions, including museums like the Museo del Prado: (museodelprado.es), between 10 a.m. and noon.
You may prefer to skip your nap and visit indoor places like these from 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. They have air-conditioning installed, and you can enjoy the exhibits without hundreds of other visitors blocking your view.
The Royal Palace and Changing of the Guard
Undoubtedly, The Royal Palace (The Royal Palace) is one of the main attractions in Madrid, and many people go there to see the changing of the guard every day.
If the Changing of the Guard is an event on your priority list, you may not want to visit Madrid during the high season of the summer months, July and August, as the heat frequently gets canceled.
But if you’re visiting Madrid during peak season and don’t want to wait in long lines, plan to arrive several minutes before it opens or near the end of the day, about two hours before closing.
The winter or low season is possibly the best time to visit and enjoy the Changing of the Guard optimal experience at the Royal Palace.
Many people will still be in line before 11 a.m. on Wednesdays when the soldiers perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
You will find long lines also on weekends.
Therefore, arriving just before the palace opens, or around 3 p.m., on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday, will give you the best opportunity to enjoy it in relative comfort.
Related Link: The Royal Palace of Madrid
Extraordinary Winter Season
Best Shopping in Madrid
Madrid stands out when it means going shopping due to its variety and options.
In Madrid, retailers and their products are never limited to a particular or single style.
You can almost find anything in Madrid, along with unique treasures that you would never think you would find.
Finding the best prices is always essential to the avid shopper.
To accomplish this task, visiting the city during the summer or winter sales is of absolute importance since it is when you’ll find offers of up to 70 or 80 percent off.
The winter sales begin on January 7, right after the Festival of Kings, and run until the end of February or until inventory runs out.
The summer sales start in early July and last until September.
Overall, if you want the best selection of items without fighting the crowds, check the guide to Madrid and shop during the second week of the sale during any season.
Galeria Canalejas is Madrid’s latest international icon of luxury and food.
Located amid one of the city’s most critical historical complexes, visiting Galeria Canalejas is a memorable experience.
Fashion, luxury, and gastronomy coexist in the same contemporary and distinctive setting, as does the history of the seven colossal buildings that house the Galeria and its exceptional location in the heart of the city.
Galeria Canalejas’s worldwide experience includes more than forty fashion, fine jewelry, fragrance, and accessories enterprises from the world’s most prominent firms, as well as a Food Hall with more than 13 restaurants of various specializations and countries, including Michelin-starred restaurants.
Address: PLAZA CANALEJAS, 1 – 28014, MADRID.
Best Time for Nightlife in Madrid
Madrid is where the party is. Any guide to Madrid will tell you that Spain is infamous worldwide for its rumba and nightlife.
Many people who visit the city for the first time are surprised by the Spanish schedule, which is generally much longer than in most countries but even more so here.
If you want to live this experience at its peak, visit Madrid during June or July, or the school vacations, when there is a particularly festive atmosphere.
In Madrid, many people eat dinner at 10 p.m., and a night in the city doesn’t even start until pubs close in many other European cities. The “‘rumba”‘ doesn’t end until the sun rises and “go out,” which means “go out” only counts if you go past 4 a.m.
Travel Guide to Madrid. Things to do Month by Month:
|01 – New Year’s Day||Make the best of Madrid’s empty streets and enjoy the different barrios and city architecture.|
|05 – Three King’s Parade||Madrid’s Three Kings Parade is one of the best in the entire country. It welcomes the arrival of Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthazar, through a parade that features elaborate costumes, marching bands, music, horses, oxen, and donkeys. It typically goes along Avenida Paseo de la Castellana, passing in front of the Plaza de Colon. Check your guide to Madrid for times and maps.|
|06 – Feast of the Epiphany||A national holiday in many cities around the world. People usually enjoy an Epiphany cake or “Roscon de Reyes.” The relatively large pastry-type sweet cake is decorated as a crown and maybe plain or stuffed with different fillings. Inside, there will be a special prize and a dry bean. Guide to Madrid tip: The person who gets the prize is allowed to wear the golden crown, and the one who gets the bean will have to purchase the cake the following year.|
|17 – San Antonio Abad Festival||This Celebration of the Patron Saint of Animals takes place throughout Spain on January 17. Blessing the Animals involves blessing the creatures and their owners to ensure another year of good health and protection.|
|02 – Día de la Candelaria||The Feast of “La Candelaria” is celebrated every February 2. It is the same day as the celebration of the Lord’s presentation and the Virgin Mary’s ritual purification. During the 5th century, people knew this celebration as the “Festival of lights.”|
|Carnival||The carnival period varies by country but is usually associated with the days before Lent. Traditionally, in Christianity, the Celebration of Carnival marks the last opportunity to enjoy fatty foods before Ash Wednesday. This day marks the official start of Lent. People like the Carnival since it is a period of absolute “lack of control,” where everything is allowed. Joy and anonymity are the main hallmarks of this festival, where all social classes, religions, and genders are mixed.|
|1st Friday – Besapiés del Cristo de Medinaceli.||The Besapiés del Cristo de Medinaceli takes place every year on the first Friday of March in the Basilica of the same name. Every year, from 00 a.m., the Basilica is opened so that the faithful can venerate the image of Jesus de Medinaceli. The Basilica will remain open until one day later or until the last of the faithful waiting in line enters. Once they get in front of the image, the faithful will kiss his feet and ask for three wishes, although only one will be fulfilled. Throughout the day, and until they are no longer faithful, it is possible to perform the traditional besapiés.|
|Easter and Semana Santa||From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, thousands of people come to Madrid to attend the different processions running through this magnificent city’s streets. The exhilarating atmosphere created by the beating of the drums and trumpets and the showiness of the colorful costumes of the brothers is one of the hallmarks of Holy Week in Spain. Madrid commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ, not only in the exaltation of his devotion but also in celebrating other parallel cultural events. While churches and basilicas program sacred music concerts, the different brotherhoods take to the streets with the steps they have been preparing throughout the year, and the best restaurants and pastry shops in the city add typical Easter dishes with a traditional touch to their menus.|
|02 – May 2 Festivities||May 2 is a unique date for the Community of Madrid. That day commemorates the 1808 uprising in Madrid against the French occupation (immortalized in Goya’s paintings). Associations, bars, and shops in the Malasaña area celebrate it and organize the May 2 Festivities. An event usually includes a broad program aimed at all ages and has musical activities, parades, sports, workshops, theater, and exhibitions – all free.|
|15 – San Isidro||San Isidro Labrador Day and the previous days are the perfect occasions to enjoy the most traditional essence of Madrid. These festivities, dedicated to a 12th-century farmer, have become a patronal feast in which everyone gets wholly immersed in the spirit of the traditional and old Madrid. During these days, locals and tourists flock to the Hermitage of San Isidro, located in the Pradera, for a pilgrimage to spend the day among music, dances, and typical festival recipes.|
|Late June – MULAFEST||Tattoo, motor, music, urban art, illustration, photography, urban dance exhibitions, cockfights, photo exhibitions, etc.|
MULAFEST is the most multidisciplinary festival in Madrid and Spain.
|Veranos de la Villa Festival||During the summer, the Veranos de la Villa Festival takes place in Madrid. Check your guide to Madrid for a summer program for nights in the capital of Spain that includes everything from concerts, theater, dance, and zarzuela, to cinema and opera.|
|6 to 16 – Festivals of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo & La Paloma||The history and tradition of Madrid can’t be understood without its famous festivals. Three of these festivals take place consecutively in adjoining neighborhoods during August. They begin with that of San Cayetano in the Rastro / Embajadores area, continue with that of San Lorenzo in Lavapiés, and end with the most significant of all, that of the Virgin of la Paloma in La Latina. The San Cayetano festival takes place in the vicinity of the church dedicated to the saint, Calle Embajadores, as well as in the Plaza de Cascorro and streets of the Lavapiés area such as Argumosa or Casino. In contrast, the San Lorenzo festival takes place in the latter neighborhood, around the church of this saint.|
Finally, the Virgen de la Paloma festivities represent the peak of the festivities, both in the number of people and in size.
These festivities occupy the Plaza de la Pajay and its surroundings, the entire Toledo street to the Plaza de las Vistillas, and the roads arouVirgen de la parish Paloma parish in the square of the same name.
|1st Weekend – Fiestas del Motin||In each of the neighborhoods of Aranjuez, scenes of the mutiny are represented by hundreds of residents, with texts based on the National Episodes by Benito Pérez Galdos; assault and burning of the House of Godoy; street staging of paintings by Goya related to witchcraft, covens, etc.; Goyesca bullfight; Cultural and sporting events and great festivals complete the festivities. The Mutiny festivities are a staging of the events in the Royal Site between March 17 and 19, 1808.|
|12 – Hispanic day||The celebration for the wide dissemination of the Spanish language on this day. Also known as the National Holiday of Spain, or Día de la Raza, and is considered in Spain and many Latin American countries as a national holiday. It celebrates the day that Christopher Columbus discovered America, connecting Spain with the rest of the modern world and connecting with the global Hispanic community. This guide to Madrid knows that the festivities begin early in the morning with a military parade always attended by the Spanish Royal Family, including the King, to supervise the raising of the Spanish flag.|
|1st – All Saints||On this day, November 1stSpain and other countries celebrate the remembrance of their deceased relatives and friends. People will buy flowers and take them to the graves of their loved ones. This holiday is el Día de Todos Los Santos (All Saints’ Day).|
Churches will hold special masses in memory of all the people who have passed away, and the cemeteries will get filled with flowers of every kind. In the north of Spain, people head out to the streets or the countryside for a traditional ‘castañada,’ where friends and family get together to eat castañas (chestnuts).
|9 – Virgen de la Almudena||The famous Almudena Cathedral is the setting for the Virgin of the Almudena celebration for three days (November 5, 6, and 7): Three days of prayer in honor of the patron saint of Madrid in preparation for the party on the 9th. The Solemn Eucharist on the 9th is the principal act of this festivity. It takes place in the Plaza Mayor, where thousands of Madrilenians, and numerous personalities, gather to honor the Patron Saint of Madrid in which the Mayor of Madrid renews the Vow of the Villa to the Virgen de la Almudena and makes a floral offering. Once the mass is over, the procession through the streets of Madrid begins. Between applause and ‘cheers,’ the faithful from Madrid accompany, through the streets of the historic center of Madrid, the image of the Virgen de la Almudena, a polychrome and stewed wood carving from the year 1500 adorned with white and yellow roses.|
|6 – Constitution Day||Constitution Day is a national holiday, and the State Administration, the Armed Forces, and educational centers celebrate various commemorative events. Check this guide to Madrid often to get more detail on these events.|
|24 & 25 – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.||Christmas is the holiday when Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. This celebration takes place on December 25 of every year.|
The word Christmas comes from the Latin nativĭtas, nativātis, which means ‘birth.’ Madrid can brag about having many parties to brighten its streets and welcome people who visit.
Few festivals spread to so many areas of Madrid as the arrival of Christmas. During all of these parties, lights of all colors flood the city. Since the end of November (until the Three Kings Day), streets, squares, and buildings are lit with millions of lamps that meet the strictest requirements of respect for the environment and energy efficiency.
Author: Alex Mustaros