Visiting outdoor markets, eating chocolate with churros, watching the lights... There are plenty of Christmas traditions in Madrid to enjoy this time of the year.
The Spanish capital is one of the most popular European cities to visit during the Christmas holidays. If your plan is to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve in Madrid, we invite you to do it like a true madrileño with these 10 very special traditions.
The Christmas traditions you can’t miss
1. Christmas lights tour
Madrid is transformed into a paradise of lights throughout the Christmas season, from the end of November until Epiphany. We recommend taking a tour of the Gran Vía and other main streets to soak up the Christmas spirit, or make the route even more special aboard the Naviluz, the Christmas bus.
2. Try your luck with the Christmas Lottery
The Christmas Lottery is a tradition throughout Spain in which the people of Madrid take part with enthusiasm. You can buy tickets at Doña Manolita, Madrid's most famous administration office, and cross your fingers that this year you will win the "Gordo".
3. Shopping in Preciados
Still have a few gifts to buy? Calle Preciados, one of Madrid's main shopping streets, fills up with shoppers in the last days of the year. Gifts, decorations and a festive atmosphere that will put you in Christmas mode.
4. Photo by the tree
If you don't take a photo next to one of Madrid's Christmas trees, have you really been there? Decorated trees adorn many of the city's landmarks, such as Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor. Pose next to one and create the perfect souvenir of the season!
5. Visit the Plaza Mayor Christmas market
In the last weeks of the year, Madrid's Plaza Mayor becomes a Christmas shopping paradise. Here you'll find everything from decorations to typical products and handmade objects.
6. Indulge on a Christmas meal
One of the quintessential Spanish traditions is Christmas Eve on 24 December, when families get together to enjoy a dinner full of traditional dishes and sweets. Book your Christmas Eve dinner in Madrid at The Principal and enjoy a unique evening at Restaurante Ático.
7. Run the San Silvestre race
On the last day of the year, Madrid fills up with runners in the famous San Silvestre race, many of them dressed up as Father Christmas. A 10 km run to say goodbye to the year in a healthy way and with lots of fun.
8. Bell chimes at Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is the epicentre of New Year's Eve celebrations in Madrid. Do you want to start the year off on the right foot? Join the crowds to hear the chimes and eat the traditional 12 grapes.
9. Start the year with churros with chocolate
After the New Year's Eve party, you can recover with some churros with chocolate at the San Ginés chocolate shop, a Madrid Christmas tradition that you can't miss and that will give you energy to start the year!
10. Collect sweets at the Three Kings' Parade
On the 5th of January, the Three Kings Parade takes to the streets of Madrid, surprising children with a visit from the Three Wise Men, who throw sweets to the crowds that come to greet them.
Enjoy Christmas traditions in Madrid
Madrid's Christmas traditions reflect the magic and fun that fills the streets of the Spanish capital during the festive season. We invite you to enjoy a stay at The Principal Madrid, where you will feel at home while enjoying fantastic views of the Christmas lights.
Our 5-star hotel in Gran Vía is the perfect accommodation for Christmas in Madrid, a haven of luxury and comfort where you can relax as the new year begins and enjoy typical Christmas cuisine. This year, we have dressed up with stunning Christmas lighting on the façade and interiors full of festive decorations to create a cosy atmosphere for our guests.