Madrid Travel Guide
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EVENTS

It always seems like there's a party going on in Madrid, but the city goes particularly crazy during Carnevale (February/March), the Fiesta de la Comunidad de Madrid (2 May) and Fiestas de San Isidro (15 May). There's localised mayhem in June-July when the city's districts celebrate their various saints' days. Offices, banks and some shops close on public holidays, and they often also close on the intervening day if the holiday falls close to a weekend. Madrid is just about evacuated in August, as the locals head off on their holidays, and you may find that some restaurants and shops will be closed for the month.

OK, a picture of Madrid wouldn't be complete without mention of the city's bullfights. Those with the machismo of Hemingway and the sensibilities of Sid Vicious can taste the blood and sand at the Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas, the world's biggest bullfighting ring. The season kicks off in February, and there are small local corridas throughout summer and spring. The main event on the bullfighting calendar is the mid-May feria, the four weeks of bloodletting that are part of the festival of San Isidro.

Public Holidays
12 Oct - Spanish National Holiday
1 Jan - New Year's Day
8 Dec - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
1 Nov - All Saint's Day
25 Dec - Christmas day
6 Jan - Epiphany
15 Aug - Feast of the Assumption
2 May - May Day
Mar/Apr - Good Thursday
1 May - Labour Day
Mar/Apr - Good Friday

January
Calvalcade of the Three Kings
An evening procession through the city centre where children are showered with sweets.
San Anton
The traditional procession of animals is blessed around the Church of San Antonio Abad.


February
Holy Week
Partying and fancy dress parades take place throughout the week before Lent.


March
Easter Week
In late March or early April, depending on when Easter falls, Easter Week (or Semana Santa) is celebrated in Madrid on a lower key level than in Toledo.


April
Easter Week
In late March or early April depending on when Easter falls, Easter Week (or Semana Santa) is celebrated in Madrid, on a lower key level than in Toledo.
Flemenco Summit
April is the month for the Flemenco Summit in Madrid. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.


May
Fiesta del Dos de Mayo
At its zenith in the 1980s, fiesta musical revelry still unfolds around the Plaza Dos de Mayo in early May. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.
Fiesta de San Isidro
Heralding arrival of bullfighting season, fiesta events tied to carnival take place non-stop for a week with bands, parades, and entertainment often around the Plaza Mayor. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.


June
Fiesta de la Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida
On June 13, San Antonio Day, girls gather at the hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida. Dressmaker tradition dictates a single girl must place 13 pins in the baptismal font. If one sticks to her finger, she will marry during the year. Events occur around the church.
Fiestas de San Juan
Bonfires and fireworks entertain in El Retiro. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.
Retiro Park
Every Sunday in June, July and August brings music to the bandstand at Retiro Park.


July
La Virgen del Carmen
Fiesta is in chamber arrio, north of the city center.
Retiro Park
Every Sunday in June, July and August brings music to the bandstand at Retiro Park.


August
Castizo Fiestas
Traditional fiestas of San Cayetano, San Loreno and La Virgen de la Paloma in La Latia and Lavapies barrios. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.
Retiro Park
Every Sunday in June, July and August brings music to the bandstand at Retiro Park.


September
Autumn Festival
In September and October, concerts, theater and dance performances celebrate arrival of autumn. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.


October
Autumn Festival
In September and October, concerts, theater and dance performances celebrate arrival of autumn. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.


November
Jazz Festivals
November brings jazz to various Madrid theaters, attracting some world-class musicians. Call (212) 265-8822 for more information.


December
New Year’s Eve
Restaurants, bars and clubs throughout Madrid embrace celebrants, while bands often perform in open-air venues. Puerta del Sol is the “in” place to assemble for the stroke of midnight.


When to Go

As in much of Spain, spring (March-May) and October are the best times to be in Madrid. The weather is generally agreeable, the city has a fresh feel to it and it isn't too overrun with tourists. If you love to party, visit during May for Madrid's biggest fiesta. You might like to book ahead though, it's a tough month for tracking down accommodation.



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