Madrid, Spain is home to plenty of festivals and events. If you truly want to immerse yourself in the city’s culture and traditions, there’s no better way than to celebrate and witness their unique festivals. All year round, there’s always a reason to visit Madrid. During festivals, the streets are decorated with colorful garlands, flags, and lights. The festive atmosphere and the waves of laughter add up to an experience that you will never forget. Most festivals are a celebration to honor patron saints, commemorate the Holy Week, showcase the talents of artists from diverse backgrounds, and more. Every year, new flavors, elements, and ideas are added that make everyone upbeat and happy. We know, you’re having a hard time deciding when to visit this destination. Luckily, we have a list of the top festivals in Madrid, Spain to help you out. Read this article now to know more!
1. Virgin of La Almudena
The story behind the religious festival, Virgin of La Almudena, will make you believe in miracles. According to legends, the statue of the Virgin of La Almudena was with Saint James when he first introduced Christianity to Spain. The Moors took control of some parts of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain today) and tried to destroy Christianity, so the locals hid the image to protect it from the Moors and placed it in a wall with two candles burning. After Madrid was liberated two centuries ago, the locals found the rumored image. The wall hiding it fell apart and revealed the image of the Virgin of La Almudena in good condition, together with the same two candles, still burning. Open-air mass at Plaza Mayor is the first on the list during the feast. Afterward, a religious procession will take place and the locals will typically offer flowers to the patroness. A real treat includes a traditional food called roscón de la Almudena (sweet bread roll).
Feast of the Virgin of La Almudena
Address: Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Almudena, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: November 9
2. Madrid Pride Week
Madrid Pride Week (La Semana del Orgullo) is a vibrant and colorful affair, attracting over two million people around the globe. Madrid is one of the most sought after destinations for LGBTQIA all over the world, following the success of WorldPride in 2017. Colorful, vibrant, and happy people with their flags - all these can be seen in the gay neighborhood of Chueca.
Madrid Pride Week
Address: Chueca neighborhood, Madrid, Spain
Website: Madrid Pride Week
Takes place: June to July
3. Semana Santa
Semana Santa commemorates the Passion of Christ. This event is one of the most important celebrations and traditions not only in Spain but in the entire world. Since the 15th century, Madrid has celebrated and commemorated the death, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament. The biggest draw of this event is the popular Cristo de Medinaceli (Christ of Medina) procession during Good Friday. The procession starts at Jesús de Medinaceli Parish and makes its way through the city’s main streets. Thousands of people come and join the processions, walking slowly through the decorated streets carrying images or statues of saints on their hands.
Address: Jesús de Medinaceli Parish, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: April
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Puerta del Sol in Madrid is the counterpart of Trafalgar Square in London if we are talking about the New Year’s Eve celebration. Plenty of people come together at this square to celebrate Nochevieja, and they wait here for the 12 bells to ring at midnight. As one bell rings after another, everyone in Spain eats a grape until the final toll of the bell. They believe that this tradition brings good luck for the whole year. Afterward, the parties and celebrations continue all throughout the heart of the city.
Address: Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: December
5. Festival de Otoño
Festival de Otoño in Madrid is one of the most popular fall music festivals in Spain. With outstanding performances in music and dance, plus acts from famous theater companies around the globe, this event will rock your world. Hundreds of music enthusiasts are lured to join the festival. Every year, this celebration brings new and unique ideas to serve the Community of Madrid. These important events are held in the city’s main theaters, like Teatro Madrid and Teatro de la Zarzuela.
Festival de Otoño
Address: Teatro de la Zarzuela, Teatro Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes, and Teatro Albéniz, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: November
6. La Trashumancia
Discover the unique culture of Madrid by witnessing Fiesta de la Trashumancia. It presents more or less 100 retina goats and 2,000 marino sheep. The flocks of sheep and goats start their trip from Picos de Europa (León) through the beautiful royal canyons of town. Other attractions include wine tasting, dance, music, storytelling, and more.
Address: Picos de Europa (León), Madrid, Spain
Website: La Trashumancia
Takes place: October
7. Dos de Mayo
Known also as the Battle of Madrid and Comunidad de Madrid, Dos de Mayo started the Peninsular War. It began in Puerta del Sol on the 2nd of May 1808 when Spaniards revolted against the French troops, and it eventually led to the Independence War. During the festival, the streets of Malasaña are decorated in a festive atmosphere, and you will hear music and laughter all throughout. Exciting events are set up at Plaza San Ildefonso, Conde Duque, and Plaza Commendadores, which mark the celebration of the festival. At night, restaurants and bars present “night of flamenco” (traditional dance).
Dos de Mayo
Address: Malasaña neighborhood, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: May
8. San Isidro
San Isidro Festival offers major bullfights that attract the top cattlemen and bullfighters. It is the world’s biggest bullfighting event, held at Las Ventas, Madrid’s bullring. Meanwhile, Madrileños dressed in traditional costumes go to Plaza Mayor to witness some cultural events together with open-air concerts and a wide range of art exhibitions - this will last for eight days. Meanwhile, Casa de Campo, a huge park in the center’s southwest, presents rock concerts during the celebration.
Address: Las Ventas, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: May 15
9. La Paloma
La Verbena de la Paloma, together with San Lorenzo and San Cayetano, is one of Madrid’s most important and popular summer fiestas. It is celebrated in veneration of the Virgen de la Paloma (Virgin of the Dove). During the festival, the streets are filled with laughter and music, and the people in their traditional costumes dance the chotis (traditional folk dance). The real draw of the celebration is the procession of the Virgen de la Paloma, where the statue and the people march through the streets. Moreover, there are various kinds of musical acts and competitions on various outdoor stages.
Address: La Virgen de la Paloma Church, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: August
10. San Cayetano
You are already a winner if you happen to be in Madrid during the month of August. The latter is jam-packed with one of the most important summer festivals in town. The vibrant celebration of San Cayetano is held in the area of Rastro/Embajadores. The joy extends to Lavapiés, in the church devoted to a saint at Calle Doctor Piga and Calle Argumosa. Music, performance and a procession - these are just pieces of a picture that celebrates San Cayetano.
Address: Rastro/Embajadores area, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: August
11. San Antonio de la Florida
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Another underrated festival in Madrid is San Antonio de la Florida. Single women in Madrid will don their traditional costume (chulapos) and visit San Antonio de la Florida Chapel to know if they are likely to meet their husbands soon. How? They will place 13 pins inside the baptismal font, put their hand in, and count the needles that stick to their hands. The more needles, the merrier, as the number will match the number of suitors.
San Antonio de la Florida
Address: Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida, 5, 28008 Madrid, Spain
Takes place: June 13
12. Day of Nuestra Señora de las Victorias
In the district of Tetuán, you will hear waves of laughter and music - the sound of people having a great time and enjoying plenty of food. This is thanks to the feast of Nuestra Señora de las Victorias. It is celebrated every first Sunday of July. Plenty of school activities occur during the celebration, like touring the neighborhood to the music of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and taking part in the longest “Paquito Chocolatero” - a favorite activity among local kids.
Day of Nuestra Señora de las Victorias
Address: Tetuán District, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: First Sunday of July
13. El Festival de Veranos de la Villa
Madrid shines among the rest, thanks to El Festival de Veranos de la Villa (The Villa Summer Festival). During the celebration, a variety of programs are spread out across plenty of areas. All the fun activities in Madrid can be experienced at this festival. It is a big event where tons of artists gather to showcase their talents in various fields, including concerts, dancing, sports, theater, and even circus and magic. Whether you want to join the traditional games, witness an awesome electronic concert underwater, or dance the salsa to the tune of the best Latin bands, a superb Madrid experience is guaranteed.
El Festival de Veranos de la Villa
Address: Madrid, Spain
Takes place: July to August
14. Festivals of San Lorenzo
If you are planning to visit Madrid, August is the best time to do so. During August, one of the most popular summer festivals being celebrated is the Festivals of San Lorenzo (Fiestas de San Lorenzo). The streets are colorful, decorated with lights, garlands, and flags. In the afternoon, you can join the procession and march through the town. The celebration does not stop there - at night, open-air parties (verbenas) are held. You are also welcome to enjoy the concerts. This event is also the perfect opportunity to experience Madrid’s culinary scene, as plenty of traditional food is sold in every corner, from sardines to churros and sangria.
Festivals of San Lorenzo
Address: Area of Rastro/Embajadores, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: August
15. Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is celebrated in devotion to Zaragoza City’s patron saint, Virgen del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar). This week-long celebration takes place annually, with different affairs organized by the City Hall. Some organizations and private companies host their own events, contests, and shows. Since the 12th century, the locals have venerated the Blessed Virgin of Zaragoza. The feast starts on the 12th of October, which commemorates the Marian apparition in 1640 as well.
Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Address: Zaragosa City, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: October 12
16. Festival of San Juan
Something big happens in Parque del Retiro every 23rd of June. The night is filled with lights as plenty of fireworks shoot above the sky to celebrate the Festival of San Juan (Noche de San Juan). Though the influence of Christianity turned this event into a religious one, the festival has long roots of custom. It focuses on the fires that are built to burn away unwanted energies and objects. The tradition includes throwing old things that have a connection with something or someone you want to forget and let go of. Plenty of superstitious beliefs have also emerged, such as the one where you can supposedly perform miracles if you bathe in the sea wearing nothing, and how the water from wells and springs have powers to heal on this night.
Festival of San Juan
Address: Parque del Retiro, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: June 23
17. Festival of the Virgen del Carmen
Just like most festivals in Spain, the Festival of the Virgen del Carmen is a combination of religious practice and endless partying. Locals celebrate the festival to honor the Virgin of Carmen, who keeps the waters and shores safe and clean. She is also the protector and patroness of all fishermen, seamen, and even scuba divers. Tradition involves a procession or parade through the town, going to the seafront with the statue of the Virgin carried by a group of fishermen. The statue is taken on a decorated boat and it is sailed around the harbor. Fireworks, music by local bands, events, and even barbecue parties on the beach are also set up.
Festival of the Virgen del Carmen
Address: Chamberei District, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: July 16
18. Fiestas de Otoño
Theatrical and musical performances are the main highlights of Fiestas de Otoño or the Autumn Festival. It focuses on the celebration of Spain’s top-notch festivals, from concerts to dance by various artists from around the globe. Plaza de las Ventas in Madrid is filled with decorations and spectators who want to have a good time.
Fiestas de Otoño
Address: Plaza de las Ventas, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: September to October
19. Gastrofestival Madrid
If you truly want to immerse yourself in Madrid’s culture, then there’s no better way to do so than to experience their rich culinary scene. Luckily, Gatrofestival is here to give everyone an experience like no other. Everything indulgent and delicious you will find at this event. This annual celebration features Madrid’s culinary scene and highlights the link between culinary art and other kinds of arts like literature, music, fashion, visual, and more. It encourages you to enjoy activities from cooking classes to tasting sessions.
Address: IFEMA - Feria de Madrid, Spain
Website: Gastrofestival Madrid
Takes place: Usually held January to February
20. Festival of Santiago
Santiago or Saint James is the first person who introduced Christianity to Spain, so it’s no wonder he became the patron saint of the country. The annual celebration of the Festival of Santiago is one of the most important events in Spain. People take it seriously, and if your visit coincides with the festival you will see over 100,000 pilgrims participating. They will cycle 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) or stroll 100 kilometers (62.13 miles) with their walking staff to Camino de Santiago to receive their Compostella (recognition from Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago).
Festival of Santiago
Address: Carabanchel Bajo, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: July
21. Mulafest [Last event in 2019]
Mulafest is a big name in the country’s music scene. This is a three-day event that features an eclectic and a wide range of performances, from dance and music to art and more. Artists and performers who come from diverse backgrounds are ready to rock your world with different genres of music, including punk, metal, and classic. Plus, there are also motor demonstrations available here. Added elements include art exhibitions, dance competitions, and circus performances.
Address: IFEMA, Av. del Partenón, Nº 5, 28042 Madrid, Spain
Takes place: April
22. Paraiso Festival [Last event in 2019]
Paraiso Festival is a “paradise” for music lovers. It promotes arts and electronic music. The festival has already gained plenty of respect and support from all over the world, thanks to its diverse and well-curated lineups. With genres like techno, pop, R&B, indie, and innovative electronic, just to name a few, Paraiso Festival never runs out music to keep everyone happy. This spectacular two-day event provides an intimate and verdant setting, which is an added wow factor.
Address: UCM Campus, Madrid, Spain
Website: Paraiso Festival
Takes place: June
Price: from 77 USD
23. Rio Babel
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Be sure to catch Rio Babel when you are in Madrid. This event is a combination of Latin and international music that showcases great talents with new and creative music styles. It aims to bring together excellent artists and musicians in one big scene. Big names in the music industry like Mon Laferte, La Pegatina, and Trending Tropics have taken part last year. For the upcoming year, Rio Babel promises to bring more eclectic, vibrant, and danceable music. Watch out for another lineup of big names in the music industry!
Address: IFEMA - Feria de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Takes place: June to July
24. DCode Festival
This coming year, DCode Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary with 18 hours of nonstop spectacular music. It features an impressive lineup of songs that have garnered a good deal of support across the country. It is one of the most sought after and anticipated summer festivals in Madrid. The venue is the gorgeous and lush green area of the Complutense University Campus. Fashion, sports, and activities for kids are the other highlights of this big event.
Address: Cantarranas Complex on the Madrid Complutense University Campus, Madrid, Spain
Website: DCode Festival
Takes place: September
25. Download Festival
Download Festival is ready to take over Madrid’s stages with their rock and metal performances. The name “Download” was chosen for two reasons: Downloading was an unwanted work in the music industry, and rock is portrayed as a rebellious and loud kind of music. On previous celebrations, big names like Sabaton and Slipknot performed in front of over 100,000 people. If you want to be part of one of the biggest festivals for rock music lovers, Download Festival should be included on your bucket list.
Address: Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain
Website: Download Festival
Takes Place: June
Experience Madrid's rich and vibrant festivals
Colorful, vibrant, happy, and traditional - this is just a fraction of what you can experience in Madrid. No matter the season, this city has something in store for every kind of traveler.
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