Fiestas in Madrid

Fiestas in Madrid Fiestas in Madrid

Madrileños need little prompting to enjoy themselves, and regularly take to the streets to go out for a drink, a meal or just pasear (go for a stroll). It may be the climate, the way most families live in small apartments or the fact that the city of Madrid has more bars than many entire countries but, as its inhabitants regularly say, this is a city with mucha marcha (loosely translated as lively spirit). This page describes mostly day-time activities, but you may also like to check out Madrid's nightlife.

The most important popular celebrations take place between April and October. During the spring and summer the Madrileños take to the streets in droves, enjoying a series of constant fiestas throughout the city. In general, we could say that the major Madrileño fiestas (as opposed to national or international ones) are those of Dos de Mayo (2nd of May), San Isidro, La Paloma and La Almudena. All banks and most shops and museums will close on these feast days.

At the beginning of May, the Madrileños enjoy two consecutive public holidays, the 1st of May due to a national holiday and the 2nd to celebrate Dos de Mayo. On the 2nd May 1808, a popular revolt started in Puerta del Sol, eventually leading to the War of Independence and the defeat of the French invaders.

San Isidro is the male Patron Saint of Madrid. His feast day is celebrated on the 15th May with typical popular gatherings such as romerías (local festive pilgramages), verbenas (fairs) and bullfights. The most important bullfights in Spain (and thus the world) take place in Madrid's Plaza de Ventas bullring at this time. Lasting more than 20 days, this series of fights held in Spain's premiere bullring attracts the best fighters and breeders, together with the most knowledgable aficionados. If you want to see a bullfight, this is the time to go. Click here for more information about bullfights in Madrid. More info about San Isidro...

The fiesta of the Virgin of La Paloma comes immediately after those of San Cayetano and San Lorenzo, converting the old centre of Madrid in a constant stream of street parties, dances and popular celebrations during the first half of August. On the 15th August (a Spanish national holiday) a statue of this Virgin is paraded through the streets to cries of "Guapa!" (beautiful). More information about La Paloma, San Cayetano & San Lorenzo...

On the 9th of November, the female Patron Saint of Madrid - the Virgin of La Almudena - is remembered. Her image was supposedly brought to Spain by the Apostle Santiago (St. James) and hidden away inside a city wall when the Moors invaded in year 783. Two centuries later, the legend goes, the wall fell away exposing the same lit candles she had been hidden with.

At Easter, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated in Madrid as it is in all Spanish towns, with multiple religious celebrations. However, don't expect to see the same fervour and extroverted dedication you can experience in Seville - the Madrileños are a little more moderate in that respect.

Forty days before Holy Week, Madrid's inhabitants are out on the streets once more, this time in diverse costume to celebrate the Carnivals, and especially at Madrid's most famous masked ball located within the Circulo de Bellas Artes building. A curious phenomenon at Carnival time is the tradition of the Burial of the Sardine (El Entierro de la Sardina) to mark the end of Carnival week. This act, complete with soberly dressed mourners, tongue firmly pressed into cheek, commemorates the day a shipload of rotting sardines arrived at Carlos III's court whence he ordered them away to be immediately buried.

Saint Valentine's Day, on February 14th, is now commemorated the world over, and what better occasion to take your loved one out for a romantic dinner? Check out this St. Valentine's Day Dinner at the Corral de la Moreria, or any of these other special restaurant offers. Whilst not of course a Spanish fiesta, St. Patrick's Day on March 17th is celebrated in Madrid's Irish pubs, with special beer promotions, menus and parties and is fast becoming a traditonal event in Madrid. And for the Americans in Madrid, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated at many restaurants, including the Cornucopia.

Click here for a complete list of public holidays. And don't miss our Christmas & New Year information. A more complete calendar of fiestas and processions can be found here.

Fiestas in different districts ("barrios") of Madrid

The different "barrios" or neighbourhoods of Madrid enjoy their own popular celebrations. These fiestas will not, in general, be public holidays unless they coincide with the major ones mentioned above. If you're in Madrid during any of these dates, head for the appropriate part of the city and join in the celebrations and street parties with the locals!

Fiestas of the Melonera.
From 11th to 15th of September.

Fiestas of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.
From 12th to 15th of September.

Fiestas of San Pedro - Carabanchel Alto.
From 27th to 30th of June.
Fiestas of Santa Bárbara.
From 4th to 7th of July.
Fiestas of the old historic centre.
From 12th to 14th of July.
Fiestas of Santiago - Carabanchel Bajo.
From 25th to 28th of July.

Fiestas of San Lorenzo, San Cayetano & la Virgen de la Paloma.
From 27th of July to 15th of August.

Fiestas of Convivencia.
From 28th to 30th of June.
Fiestas of Barrio de San Vicente.
From 28th to 30th of June.

Fiestas of Carmen.
From 12th to 16th of July.

Fiestas of El Pardo.
From 2th to 8th of September.

Fiestas of la Dehesa del Príncipe.
From 27th to 30th of June.
Fiestas of las Aguilas.
From 29th of June to 7th of July.

Fiestas of San Federico.
From 18th to 21st of July.
Fiestas of Nuestra Señora del Buen Camino (Aravaca).
From 6th to 8th of September.

Fiestas of Entrevías.
From 28th of June to 7th of July.
Fiestas of Carmen.
From 12th to 16th of July.

Fiestas of the Distric.
From 4th to 7th of July.

Fiestas of San Fermín.
From 4th to 7th of July.
Fiestas of Usera.
From 12th to 15th of September.

Fiestas of the District.
From 27th to 30th of June.
Fiestas of la Virgen de la Presentación.
14th & 15th of August.

Fiestas of la Virgen de la Torre.
From 7th to 15th of September.

Fiestas of San Cristóbal de los Ángeles.
From 5th to 10th of July.
Fiestas of Villaverde Bajo.
From 25th to 28th of July.
Fiestas of Villaverde Alto & Ciudad de los Ángeles.
From 12th to 21st of July.

Please use the links to the left to find out all you need to know for your visit to Madrid.