Red Christmas tree globe with a star, on a snowey rock, and the text Christmas in Madrid

3 reasons why you should celebrate Christmas in Madrid

December has begun, and Christmas is just around the corner: so, if you’ve ever dreamed of saying Feliz Navidad in a caliente tone of voice, now’s your time to do it. In fact, there are hardly any cities that go deep into the Christmas spirit as Madrid does. If that sounds like you, this is definitely your destination for your winter holidays or, even better, for Christmas itself. There are so many things you can do and see: markets, festive lights, nativity scenes, parades, and the list goes on.

Keep in mind that all the hotels and restaurants sell out pretty quickly, so make sure you book in advance. If you still haven’t found your place to stay, here’s your answer: Radisson Blu Hotel, Madrid Prado. Located in the El Barrio de las Lestras district, just a few minutes from top attractions such as the Prado Museum, the Thyssen and Reina Sofía Museums, and Retiro Park, this boutique hotel will guarantee a stylish retreat in the heart of the Spanish capital.

The central location of this hotel makes it a great starting point for exploring the city. Also, if you book now, you’ll have a 7-day access to Dream Deals and save up to 30%. So, don’t miss out on any of the special things that are going around town on and get ready for the most incredible Christmas holidays ever.

Madrid at Christmas

Christmas markets

Would it be Christmas without the markets? The Spanish people are not the types to spend their days inside: they’d rather be outside, and for good reason. Many plazas and street corners will turn into cosy Christmas markets: there you can find local food, artisan products, and traditional crafts.

The biggest market you can find in Madrid is certainly Mercado de Navidad in Plaza Mayor: this doesn’t come as a surprise since this Plaza is the heart of the Old City and it’s been used as the main market since the 15th century. But there are other big markets around town, such as Fiera Mercado de Artisania (Plaza de Espana), Navidad en Oriente (Plaza Opera), and Medieval Christmas Market (Plaza Jacinto Benavente).

All the markets usually open at 12.00 and close around 21.00, but don’t forget to check their exact running period in December.

Madrid at Christmas

Christmas lights

Around Christmas time, Madrid is incredibly well-decorated: from late November, the streets of Madrid, its buildings, and its squares are filled with colorful twinkling lights. Christmas decorations are literally everywhere, and a magical atmosphere fills the air. Renowned designer, architects, and graphic designers create new breath-taking light shows every year and that’s the reason why everybody wants to see them.

If you don’t want to miss these incredible holiday sights that adorn the whole city, make sure you go to Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, and Paseo de la Castellana; and in the Barrio Salamanca district, don’t forget Calle Goya and Calle Ortega y Gasset. So, just jump into Madrid’s festive street and be ready to take so many pictures along the way: your Instagram feed will have to be updated!

Three Kings Parade

If you have every intention to live these winter holidays like a true Madrileño, you absolutely can’t miss the Three Kings Parade (or, if you want to mix in with the locals, La Cabalgata de Los Reyes Magos). Following the New Year’s Eve, this stunning celebration keeps the Christmas spirit alive: everybody gathers in the city’s street to welcome the Three Kings passing through Madrid.

It’s an incredibly jaw-dropping night and the parade is literally a theatrical eye-opener with camels, carriages, shepherds, townspeople and, obviously, the Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, marching through the crowds with presents for all. This famous parade falls on January 5: it usually departs from Avenida de la Castellana at 6 pm and lasts for more than two hours.


About the Author

Photo of Giulia Fabro, author of this article

My name is Giulia, 29, coffee lover, language enthusiast, amateur musician. But most of all, travel addict. Discovering new countries and new cultures has always been my true passion, and lucky for me it all became part of my everyday life. Now collaborating with several travel agencies, travel blogs, and tour operators across the world.

11 thoughts on “3 reasons why you should celebrate Christmas in Madrid

  1. Erika's Travelventures says:

    I always think of Christmas in the Germanic countries when I’m thinking of Christmas in Europe, but how could I forget Spain and Madrid! The light shows and parade sounds amazing, and it’s great that it takes place after Christmas itself when festivities in other countries start to die down. I hope to be there one day around these holidays 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    Although I have been to Madrid many times on my 9-10 trips to Spain, I’ve never been at Christmastime but I can only imagine how beautiful it is! I am surprised that the ones in Madrid also close at 9. I just recently got home from my first European Christmas Market (in Austria) and they all closed between 9-10pm. That is so early to me for Europe and I thought I bet they are open later in Spain since Spain is notorious for later nights, but no so much huh?

  3. Jeremy says:

    The Three Kings parade sounds interesting, would be nice if you could share some photos ! =)
    I have been to Barcelona only, and wanted to visit Madrid ! Maybe good to do it over Christmas ! =p

  4. Maggie says:

    Madrid looks so beautiful during a normal part of the year, so I bet it’s just incredible at Christmas time! It would definitely be a different vibe than what I’m used to – no snow or pine trees and steaming cups of hot chocolate. But that parade sounds like so much fun, as do the Spanish Christmas markets!

  5. Darah says:

    Christmas in Madrid looks wonderful! I’ve recently discovered how amazing Christmas markets are and I want to visit as many as I can! Madrid is now on my list for (hopefully) next year!

  6. Nicola Hilditch-Short says:

    I’ve heard Madrid is just magical anytime of year but it looks even better at Christmas. I’ve always been interested in how other countries celebrate Christmas and for a country so close to the UK I don’t really know so much about the traditions here, so that’s fun to discover!

  7. Melody Pittman says:

    The Three Kings parade sounds like so much fun and so original! I would not ever have thought about traveling to Madrid for the holidays but it certainly has a special appeal. Thanks for sharing something totally new for me.

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