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6 Reasons to visit Madrid during autumn and winter
In Madrid it is very easy to tell when autumn has arrived. Not only because the tree leafs start falling or the day gets shorter and shorter, but because of the cold. Madrid is in the middle of Spain, among the two Castillas (Castilla La Mancha and Castilla y León), two of the coldest areas in the country. The wind, the rain and sometimes even the snow make the capital of Spain a very cold place when the summer ends.
But that´s precisely the reason to travel to Madrid in that time of the year: the city is prepared to face the cold in many ways. In Madrid you can move around with the public transportation enjoying its convenience and, above all, its delightful central heating. In any corner of Madrid you can find a bar, a coffee shop or a restaurant to have a hot snack whenever you want. You can even go to the outside to enjoy the fresh air (fresh indeed!) and, maybe the snow, or just hang out in Fnac, Corte Inglés or one of the other great shopping malls of the city, all of them with their terrific central heating.
So, if you are wondering if autumn and winter are good seasons to visit Madrid, and you are thinking that maybe it would be better to wait for the summer, here are some reasons why you are wrong. Dead wrong. Discover 6 reasons to visit Madrid during autumn and winter. You will enjoy this city!
The cold starts in your belly
Hot soups, hot stews, hot chocolate… Madrid has a bunch of traditional dishes for the cold season. Start your day fighting the cold morning with a nice cup of chocolate with churros. If you still feel cold, at noon you can go to a bar and ask for a Cocido Madrileño, a typical Madrid stew made with chickpeas, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, blood sausage, chicken and chorizo. Have it for lunch and you will immediately feel warmed up. It works like a charm every time, and that´s something the Madrid people has known for generations. For dinner you can try chicken broth in any Madrid bar, a typical hot soup available in any Madrid Bar.
Tip: There are lots of typical Spanish stews: Fabada, Callos, Habas, Garbanzos. And all of them are fantastic for fighting the low temperatures!
The fall of the leaves in autumn
Parks, streets, promenades, it doesn´t matter: Madrid is a city full of trees. That´s why when the autumn comes, and the leaves start to fall, it creates a gorgeous autumn picture. The brown leaves dragged by the cold wind, the naked trees, taking a walk with your loved ones. In Madrid the autumn is also a season to enjoy its romantic and nostalgic vibe, the one we only see in those famous Hollywood romantic comedies.
Tip: Natural Parks like El Buen Retiro or El Capricho are gorgeous in this time of the year. Don´t miss them!
The roasted chestnuts
We have already spoken in this article about how the Madrid people overcome the cold with food. But if there is a food that highlights over the rest when fighting the low temperatures, that is the roasted chestnuts. In Madrid you can find roasted chestnuts stands in almost every corner. You can buy them by dozens, peel them with your hands and eat them directly while walking on the street.
Tip: Keep the bag of hot chestnuts under you coat a couple of minutes before eating them. It´s like a portable stove!
When the cold comes so does the ice skating rinks!
In Madrid there are places like Dreams, the Ice Palace (Hortaleza district) where the ice skating rink is opened the 365 days of the year. But when the autumn/winter arrives to the city, the ice skating rinks start to pop up like mushrooms. During the autumn and winter, you can find ice skating rinks in Plaza de la Luna (Callao district), Plaza de Colon (Salamanca District) or the glass gallery of the Cibeles palace. If you like ice skating, Madrid is for you.
Tip: The ticket is cheaper if you bring your own ice skates!
The street lights and Christmas decorations
Madrid is a city that really lives the Christmas holidays by organizing parades, having Santa Claus or the three wise men receiving children to listen to their gift´s list and, specially, decorating the streets with thousands of Holidays lights. Every year the town hall dresses the whole city with lights and decorations that have the power to brighten the mood while dividing the town people. Some of them always think the decorations are old-fashioned and cheesy while the other half considerate them to be too trendy and avant-garde. Do you want to pick sides in this battle? Come to Madrid.
Tip: The best light decorations are always in the Gran Via Street, from Cibeles to Plaza España.
The San Silvestre Marathon
Running a Marathon is the best way to say goodbye to the year, especially the San Silvestre Marathon, since it takes place the afternoon of the 31th of December. With a route of 10 km long and half a century old, the San Silvestre is one of the most important sporting events of the year and the spots to participate are very disputed. Although sometimes the route varies, it is usual to run through the main streets of the capital.
Tip: Apply for a spot as soon as you can!
Christmas Eve in Madrid (Bonus reason)
Madrid New Year´s eve is famous in the whole world. People gather in the square in front of the old clock to see the twelve chimes that signal the end of the year and the beginning of the next. The people eat twelve grapes for good luck, open champagne and celebrate with each other. It´s a great experience for all those who enjoy the festivity of this night and later go to some of the New Year´s eve parties organized all along the city.
Extra tip: At twelve o´clock of the evening of the 31th of December there is New Year´s Eve rehearsal in Plaza del Sol. Hundreds of people gather, eat the grapes and drink champagne in the middle of the day to practice for the night. Do you want everything to go perfect? Don´t miss it!