December in Madrid is a festive month that all locals can enjoy. The Spanish capital offers many activities that will please all members of the family and prolong the magic of Christmas, with many markets, illuminated streets and shows to enjoy during the holidays. This is one of the most important times of the year and one of the busiest, throughout the month, everyone runs for gifts for every family member and friend. It is a month full of the festivities where everyone is preparing for this special day.
it’s also not just about Christmas. Did you know that in Spain the New Year is welcomed by eating twelve grapes? It is Spanish culture to eat them one by one, to the rhythm of the twelve final chimes at midnight on December 31st. It is said that only those who manage to swallow them in time will live a year of prosperity and luck. Even if you are not superstitious, it is an experience worth having and one that is sure to keep you entertained. The grape tradition is the most awaited moment of New Year’s Eve. In many towns and villages, people go to a square or place where there is a clock, to be able to eat the 12 grapes together and share the last minutes of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the best places to visit in Madrid during the magical festive season.
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Puerta del Sol
Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is less than a 5 minutes walk from Plaza Mayor and a few minutes walk from Gran Vía. This square represents the geographical center of Spain. The square is made up of many elements that are part of the history of Madrid. And not far from the Sol metro station you will find El Oso y el Madroño. This bear is the symbolic animal of the city of Madrid because many years ago there were many bears in the region and in the city of Madrid.
Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is possibly the most iconic place to celebrate the 12 grapes tradition. Every year on New Year’s Eve, thousands of people gather in front of the clock to celebrate the arrival of the New Year in a collective festive atmosphere. Music, confetti and streamers await you. After the grapes, there is a real explosion of joy. Everyone has a toast of cava with family and friends. This is just the beginning, because there are hours and hours of celebration. You will discover how difficult it is not to get carried away by this enthusiasm.
Location: Puerta del Sol
There’s nothing better to appreciate the beauty of the Spanish capital under the Christmas decorations than to admire its illuminated streets. From the last Thursday in November until January 6, you can enjoy beautiful lights installed throughout the city. Many ornamental lights, including cherry blossoms, are installed to illuminate various points in the city. And even if you are not a fan of this Christmas season, you will be enchanted by the atmosphere of the garlands because it is a real show in itself.
You cannot miss the Christmas trees, especially those in Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Callao, Plaza de Colón and more. The Gran Vía is greatly illuminated by lights throughout its 1.36 kilometer length. It is very typical to take a walk or drive through the center of Madrid to discover the illuminations. For this, it is better to avoid the first weekend since the people of Madrid usually have the same idea at the same time, and this generally leads to traffic jams in the center.
Location: Gran Vía
One of the greatest Christmas traditions since 1979 in Madrid is Cortylandia. The windows of the El Corte Inglés shopping center on Calle de Maestro Victoria are filled with animated characters, decorations and Christmas songs and carols – to the delight of passers-by. The spectacle can be viewed every day and each presentation lasts approximately 15 minutes.
El Corte Inglés is originally from Spain and is one of the most important shopping centers in the country. It is also one of the few establishments that has survived time and the Spanish economic crisis. Spaniards’ attachment to the brand is strong and that is why all families eagerly await the traditional Christmas show that runs every year.
Location: El Corte Inglés
Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
The magical season at this park, an amusement park located in the famous Casa de Campo park: the largest in Madrid, usually starts in early December. Here, you’ll find a special Christmas program packed with musical shows, animation and, of course, the illuminations prepared for the end of the year celebrations.
The most anticipated novelties in Christmas are the activities through the streets of the park. In the Great Auditorium Theater a themed show is presented to the visitors. Also Santa Claus is always around and children are able to meet him at La casita de las Cascadas and deliver their letters until December 23.
Location: Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
El Gordo de Navidad Lottery
If there is a tradition that unites all generations, it is the traditional great Christmas lottery. This is the most famous lottery and one of the oldest in Spain (founded in 1904). You will find the lottery tickets very easily, at Christmas, and the queues that form are really impressive. This lottery is the one that distributes most of the prizes in Spain. On December 22, Spain holds its breath and everyone who bought a ticket waits for the results, dreaming of winning the jackpot. Everywhere the same petition is heard on radio and television, repeated by the voices of children until all the winning numbers come out.
The tickets are quite expensive though, they are bought in tenths and each tenth costs 20€. But since the first prize is 4 million euros many people are tempted to try and win it. It is possible to see the drawing of the numbers live by going to the Teatro Real, which opens at 8 a.m. the morning of December 22.
Website: Lotería Nacional de Navidad
For amusement park lovers, know that Parque Warner is also in the Christmas spirit. For the festivities, they have a great agenda which allows for lots of fun. The park dresses up in Christmas colors and lights. Christmas shows are part of the program like The Christmas Musical, a Christmas parade – and there’s much more to spread the magic of Christmas. They also have an Animated Forest with the characters of Looney Tunes, the shelter of Santa Claus and more.
Reserve your entrances on time for the Christmas holidays. The prices normally range from 38€ per person and are free for children under 1 meter of height. The theme park is located in San Martín de la Vega, 25 kilometers south of Madrid.
Location: Parque Warner
If this year you want to give yourself a happy and enjoyable holiday season, between parties, colored lights and smiles, then the ideal destination for you is undoubtedly Madrid!
Enjoy our list to better organize your holidays and get ready to have an amazing Christmas in Madrid! Complete your trip with a Royal Palace Segway Tour and we’ll have you covered with the amazing points of interest in the city.