Fun and exciting fiestas: important festivals and holidays in Madrid!
No matter the season, in Madrid there is always plenty to see an do! For this reason, we know it can be difficult to decide what to do or when to visit, so we’ve put together a list of the most important public holidays and festivals in Madrid to help you out: if you know the general time of year you’d like to visit but aren’t sure which exact dates would be best, use this helpful guide to plan your trip around an exciting event happening here in the Spanish capital!
The majority of public holidays fall between April and October but the Christmas season in Madrid is also filled with unique traditions, charming markets, and extends for a full two weeks! The biggest events of the year are Dos de Mayo, San Isidro, La Paloma and La Almudena; as a note, all of the banks, shops and museums are closed on these holidays. AIL Madrid is closed too, but we make up for class time missed during the rest of the week!
- April (exact dates vary, see our calendar for this year’s schedule): Semana Santa (the Holy Week/Easter), is celebrated in Spain with numerous processions throughout the streets. People taking part wear traditional dress and carry models representing the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and other religious figures. Madrid’s celebrations are incredible and enthralling: the city takes this ancient tradition very seriously and it’s a wonderful week to spend in the Spanish capital. Or, if you’re looking to visit more than one city while in Spain, try spending the first part of the week here at AIL and then heading to Andalucía, where the processions are even bigger!
- May 2nd: This sunny spring day holds great historical significance for Madrid. It is the festival of the Comunidad de Madrid (Community of Madrid) and is celebrated in the Malasaña neighborhood, commemorating the day the rebellion against the French started in the Puerta del Sol during the War of Independence, which led to Spanish victory. Today, it’s a day full of joy, concerts, dance performances, and sporting events!
- May 15th: the Festival of San Isidro! This is a day very unique to the Spanish capital: San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and therefore this is one of the largest, most famous festivals in the city. To kick off the celebrations, the famous Feria Taurina (the bullfighting fair) takes place at the Plaza de las Ventas in Madrid, but that’s not all! There are also dance performances, specialty baked goods, traditional costumes, tons of activities for kids, and plenty of tinto de verano (summer wine) to go around!
- June 13th: a special holiday commemorating San Antonio de la Florida, which is celebrated in the Moncloa neighborhood! This is celebrated with traditional dress, dances, a ceremonial torch, and a special tradition that may tell you how many romantic partners you may have in the future!
- June 23rd and 24th: the Festival of San Juan takes place in the “Parque del Retiro” and on the night of the 23rd of June, features an enormous display of fireworks to celebrate the longest day of the year!
- July (first Sunday): is the day of Nuestra Señora de las Victorias: most of the celebrations take place in the district of Tetuán and includes a bunch of great concerts.
- July 9th-16th: the Festival of the Virgen del Carmen is celebrated in the district of Chamberí, where a wide range of events and music shows take place next to the Canal de Isabel II. From July 9th-17th, the celebrations move to Carabanchel Bajo and from the 8th-17th to the Vallecas neighborhood.
- July 25th: the Festival of Santiago takes place in Carabanchel Bajo.
- July (entire month): “El Festival de Verano en la Villa” (The Villa Summer Festival) begins and continues until September. The program is filled with a range of events related to the cinema/theatre and features a ton of outdoor concerts!
- August 6th to 15th: this sunny week in August is home to the Festivals of San Lorenzo, San Cayetano and la Virgen de la Paloma, which take place in the district of La Latina, Lavapiés and Las Vistillas. The men dress as "chulapos" (the traditional Madrid folk dress) and the women wear “mantones” (traditional embroidered scarves) and do a dance unique to Madrid, the “Chotis”, which you can check out at any of the three fesitivals. In short, during the first half of August, these fun fiestas convert the historic centre of Madrid into a constant street party!
- September 24th-29th: the Fiestas de Otoño (Autumn Festival) takes place in the Chamartín neighborhood!
- October 12th: Spain’s national holiday! Also called the festival of the “Hispanidad”, there are military processions in the centre of the capital, which are broadcast throughout the country. Madrid also celebrates Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (in the Salamanca, Pilar and Orcasitas neighborhoods).
- November 9th: is the Festival of the Virgen de la Almudena, the female patron saint of the city. Her image was found in a wall of the Arabic tower “La Puerta de la Vega”, where it was hidden during a Moorish invasion.