How is Madrid in Christmas? There are few times of the year when Madrid is as beautiful as Christmas. The shop windows glow brightly adorned, thousands of colored lights illuminate the city and the “villancicos” (typical Christmas songs) play everywhere.
For this and much more, Madrid in Christmas is the ideal destination to spend holidays. Despite the intense cold that characterizes this time of year the Spanish capital.
What to do in Madrid on Christmas day?
One of the most rooted Madrid traditions to welcome the New Year eve party Madrid is to eat twelve grapes (one for each touch of bell) at Puerta del Sol at noon on the night of December 31st. Tradition has it that an immense crowd of people gather under the clock of the Casa de Correos – seat of the Comunidad de Madrid – and that the ceremony is broadcast live on television to millions of Spaniards.
The first evidence of this practice dates back to 1896-1897, although the main cause of this tradition dates back to 1909. In the autumn of that year there was a great production of grapes in all of Spain and consequently increased consumption, so farmers wanted to thank consumers. They went to the Puerta del Sol and began to give bunches of grapes to all those who went near the clock to celebrate the new year like Madrid in Christmas.
Apparently one of the assistants had the idea of eating a grape for every bell touch of the clock de Gobernación. And from then on this tradition took hold, first Madrid and then national.
For some years now in Madrid the people celebrate in Puerta del Sol. In fact a large group of people meets under the clock even the previous night, that of 30 December, when the trial of chimes takes place.
Madrid Spain Christmas Traditions
One of the funniest traditions of Christmas in Madrid and Spain is the Día de los Santos Inocentes, which is celebrated on December 28th. On this Madrid Christmas Traditions day you make jokes (like our April 1) and people go around with wigs or fancy caps. These caps you can buy in the market of Plaza Mayor.
It seems that the origin of this celebration has to do with a biblical episode related to King Herod, and with time this day has become so popular that even the media are used to invent some false noticia. Madrid in Christmas is an awesome time to go to markets and eat delicious and sweet churros with chocolate.
Things to do in Madrid at Christmas | Madrid in Christmas Time
Madrid Spain Christmas Illuminations
Every year, as Christmas approaches, the center of Madrid gets full with every kind of Christmas decoration. Christmas trees, garlands and of course the colorful lights. How would Christmas be without the lights? Madrid Christmas Lights opens at the end of November and remains until 6 January.
As it is easy to imagine the main roads and the more commercial ones enjoy a more spectacular decoration. We recommend you visit the Puerta del Sol, where you can admire a gigantic Madrid Christmas Tree (35 meters).
Other emblematic streets such as: Arenal, Preciados, Mayor, Plaza de Callao or Gran Vía (all very close to the Puerta del Sol) are those that attract the most visitors thanks to their artistic decorations. As you can see, Madrid in Christmas time is an awesome season, ideal to come with family and friends.
Another very commercial and very decorated area is the famous Barrio Salamanca, the old banking district. Today this district is home to many luxury boutiques and the most exclusive shops in Madrid.
This year the lighting program will be as follows:
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: from 18:00 to 23:00
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays: from 18:00 to 24:00
24 December and 5 January: from 18:00 to 03:00
The most important chain of shopping centers in Spain, El Corte Inglés, organizes every year at Christmas an incredible show for the little ones. The show have a multitude of animated dolls that sing and dance to the tune of the mall. Every year you change the theme and the decoration of the show.
This show was first organized in 1979 and has since become a Christmas tradition for the city’s inhabitants.
-Where does it take place? At the Corte Inglés of the Preciados Shopping Centre (very close to the emblematic Puerta del Sol)
-Price: Free of charge
Madrid on Christmas Ice skating rinks
Ice skating has never been a very popular sport in Spain, however, for the inhabitants of Madrid it is a very loved leisure. During the weeks before Christmas many skating rinks are set up in the city center. It is not necessary to bring the skates, you can in fact rent them by contacting the staff of the skating rink. This year the ice skating rinks are in the following locations:
Cultural center “Centro centro” at the City Hall: from 21 December to 6 January
Plaza de Colón: from 17 December to 15 January
Madrid Christmas Typical sweets
In Spain it is normal that all parties are accompanied by abundant food and sweets. We could say that every holiday has its own typical dish; and of course, Christmas is no exception.
The typical Christmas sweets are the “polvorones” (sweets made with flour, butter and sugar) and the “torroni” (made with a mass composed of honey, almonds and eggs). The variet of sweets and nougats have really tasty and unique flavors. In addition to the traditional flavors new combinations: chocolate, fruit, etc. These sweets are only prepared in Madrid in Christmas time, so you should try them and enjoy the amazing flavors.
We recommend visiting Casa Mira (located in Calle Carrera de San Jerónimo 30), where the people can try artisan nougats since 1855. A typical dessert of this period is the “Roscón de Reyes”, a dessert filled with cream or cream and decorated with candied fruit.
Another culinar tradition in Madrid are the “churros” (pancakes) with chocolate. You can find the most traditional ones at the famous Chocolater a San Gin s (Pasadizo de San Gin s, 5), the oldest in Madrid founded in 1894.
Madrid on Christmas day bus
During the weeks leading up to Christmas, a panoramic two-storey bus runs through the city centre to the delight of both adults and children who can thus admire all the Christmas decorations. Despite the intense traffic these days, the experience is really worth it. The top of the bus is fully open, so it is advisable to wear warm clothes.
This is also a really fun activity to do in Madrid in Christmas day. you can take a complete view of the city decoration on the main day of celebration. The journey takes about 45 minutes in which you can visit the main streets of the center and ends at the same starting point (Plaza de Colón).
Madrid at christmas time Nativity scenes
In the 18th century King Carlos III, former king of Naples and Sicily, brought to Spain a beautiful tradition from the south of Italy: the crib. Initially, the king promoted the spread of cribs among the aristocracy and later this extended to the whole people. From Spain, the tradition of cribs has reached America where it is still preserved intact.
Every Christmas Madrid is full with cribs that make children and the elderly happy. The most spectacular and normally receive the most visitors are: The cultural center “Centro centro” at the Town Hall, Royal Palace and Madrid Histo Museum.
Madrid Christmas Time Market in Plaza Mayor
Of all the Christmas markets in Madrid, the most popular is undoubtedly the one that takes place in the Plaza Mayor. In this market you can find all kinds of Christmas decorations (Christmas trees, garlands, balls and lights for the Christmas tree, etc.) and fun items.
you need to have special attention to the stalls dedicated to the sale of figurines for the nativity scene, a tradition deeply rooted throughout Spain. This Madrid Christmas Market is an awesome option to buy really cool things.
January 5th and 6th
January 5 is a day marked on the calendar by children from all over Spain. The Magi of the East come to visit houses all over the country and leave gifts and sweets. The Madrid Christmas Parade begins on January 5 in the afternoon with the arrival of the Magi in the city. A great parade with elephants, horses, camels, floats and bands runs through the streets of the city center. Passing the Magi throws candy and toys for children.
Temperature in Madrid at Christmas | Madrid Christmas Weather
Climate: The Madrid Christmas Weather is generally rainy and temperatures vary between 3 º C (Min) and 11 º C (Max). Same temperature that you can find in the Madrid New Years Eve
| Directions: Barajas International Airport is about 18 km from the centre of Madrid (20/40 minutes), and is connected by direct flights to the main European and Italian cities. The direct flight from Rome to Madrid takes 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Getting around: The Metro is one of the most effective means of transport for getting around. The single ticket costs €1.50, the 10-ticket carnet costs €12.20. Very recommended to buy tourist season tickets (€8.40 for 1 day, €14.20 for 2 days, €18.40 for 3 days, €26.80 for 5 days, €35.40 for 7 days)
Useful passes and cards: to save on the entrance ticket to museums, bike and scooter rental and meals, we suggest the purchase of the Madrid iVenture Card.
Average Christmas dinner fee: from €50.00/70.00 per person (NB: on Christmas evening restaurants close around 19:00/20:00)Whatever you do dont forget to join us in our Christmas Party Madrid. We are going to make an awesome tou of bars with a lot of people. Make today our reservation and enjoy a funny night.