Newbies to Christmas in Madrid
Spending the holidays in a foreign city can be daunting. Locals know the Christmas traditions, the special places to go and attractions to see, and newcomers often have no idea!
But that’s what we’re here for!
Are you new to Madrid? Looking for ways to celebrate like a local but feeling a little lost in the holiday rush? Worry not! In this post we’ll spill the details on special Christmas and New Years attractions and sites to see here in the capital of Spain this holiday season!
One of the most unique things you’ll find about the holidays in Madrid is the emergence of its Christmas Markets. Small, barn-like wooden sheds are set up in several plazas throughout the city, each plaza group offering different kinds of items to buy. Below you’ll find some tips on where to find what!
- Plaza Mayor Christmas Market – a vast plethora of Xmas decorations and costume attire, plus gag-toys for kids galore
- Plaza Isabel Christmas Market – drool-worthy Christmas foods and treats
- Plaza de Espana Christmas Market – artisanal market
As the capital of a Catholic country, Nativity Scenes are especially popular. But to see the best Madrid has to offer, you need to know where to find them! Here are the top three locations for nativity scenes in Madrid that you won’t want to miss:
- Centrocentro Cibeles de Cultura y Ciudadanía – former post office, holds an antique 17th century nativity scene
- City Hall– one of the biggest
- Plaza Mayor – one of the only ones you’ll find outside
But surely, the most noticeable change to Madrid’s appearance comes with the donning of its Christmas lights. Every year around November 29, hanging lights above the streets of Madrid are lit, and stay that way until January 7th. Walk through the city center to see lights spanning like bright banners overhead as far as the eye can see, with each street boasting its own unique matching set! Get the best views of hanging Christmas lights on and around these three major streets:
- Gran Via
- Puerta del Sol
- Paseo de la Castellana/Paseo del Prado
For a fast and convenient way to view the best lights, catch a ride on the Christmas Lights Navibus! For only 2 euros, this double decker tour bus will take you down all of the most spectacularly lit streets, far faster than you could hope to walk them! You can catch the bus in front of the Jardines del Descubrimiento in Plaza Colon.
Finally, in the Puerta del Sol, there is one more special thing which you cannot miss- LITERALLY! As the biggest light installation in the city, I’m talking about the 12 story high, cone shaped, Christmas Tree sitting in the center of the plaza! As you explore around the Sol area, you will find many other plazas with their own, much smaller versions of this Christmas tree as well, each with a different design and color scheme.
Still not enough for you?? In addition to everything listed above, some plazas in the city also break out special decorations and attractions. The Plaza Mayor building, for example, is adorned with large cartoon candles in each balcony window. Several plazas also feature carousels, skating rinks and other temporary installations as entertainment for both children and adults. There is something for everyone during the holidays in Madrid!
So now that you know how to explore Madrid on the holidays and the best places to do so, what are you waiting for?! Get out there like a true Madrileño and see the spectacular holiday displays while they last!