Madrid is a city that captivates its visitors in all seasons. However, Spain’s capital city becomes especially popular in the summer months. Festivals invade the historic streets and the rising temperatures drive people outside once again. If you’re going to be visiting Madrid in the summer, you won’t want to miss one of the following locales, whether world-famous or off-the-beaten-path.
1. Enjoy One of the Many Summer Fiestas
Chances are, if you visit during the summer months, there will be any number of festivals going on while you’re in the city. But there are several local fiestas that taking place every summer that are especially fun and attract visitors from around the globe. The largest of these is La Paloma, which takes place around August 15, to honor the Virgin of the Dove, also known as the Virgin of August. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to see much of the capital city’s rich color on display. The locals dress in chulapos, manolas, and other local pieces and costumes. there are lots of The streets are decorated with bright colors and shapes and become even more colorful with the many food, beverage, and craft sellers. You can view an entire list of Madrid festivals here, and plan your visit accordingly.
2. Visit the Prado
Rainy days are rare during June, July, and August in Madrid, as the city sees just 1 to 3 rainy days per month on average. However, if a rainy day does occur, or you’ve simply spent too much time in the sun, the world-famous Prado is a museum that must be seen. The Prado is one of the most popular art museums in the world, featuring iconic artists, such as Caravaggio, Bosch and Francisco Goya. The museum is massive, with more than 7,600 paintings, 8,200 drawings, 4,800 prints, and thousands of other works, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Consider taking one of the many Prado tours with a local expert, so you can see the most impressive pieces with a knowledgeable guide, without eating up several days of your visit.
3. Walk Through Retiro Park
Madrid is known for being green at heart, and there are many gardens and parks to visit. However, the Retiro is located just a short distance from the Prado and used to be a royal property. It was opened to the public during the 19th century but maintains its original elegance and splendor to this day. If you’re planning on enjoying one of many private tours of beautiful Madrid, it’s wise to take one that guides you through this park. Take notice the iron and glass pavilion here as well as the oldest tree planted in 1633.
4. See a Legendary Soccer Game
Madrid is on many serious soccer fans’ bucket lists. But you don’t have to be a soccer fan to be in awe of the 81,044-seat Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The local team, Real Madrid, is the most successful football team in Europe with 11 European cups. You can enjoy a game if the team is in town, and experience the unrivaled energy of the local fans. However, if the team is away, you can also sign up for a stadium tour, during which you can see dressing rooms, visit the dugouts, and marvel at the trophy collection.
5. Shop and Eat at Mercado San Miguel
When you need a break from walking and want to enjoy some world-class cuisine, the best place to stop is Mercado San Miguel. This market serves up a variety of the best, local dishes, and you can browse the stands to find unique offerings. You can also purchase foods to take home, such as the local specialties pimenton, saffron, and cava. Take time to enjoy one of the many tapas bars also with a local brew.
6. Take in a Horse Race
When you’re looking for an exciting local activity to occupy one of your evenings in July, there’s no better place to go than the La Zarzuela Racecourse. The racecourse hosts an evening race every Thursday in July, and in addition to cheering on the horses, you can marvel at the rationalist architecture, dine in the restaurant, or enjoy a guided tour. It’s an exciting experience every week, and the atmosphere is a great way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
It may not be oceanfront, but it’s easy to see that Madrid is an ideal travel destination during the summer months. The city draws visitors outdoors for festivals, sporting events, and dining streetside, but also welcomes them out of the heat to experience some of Europe’s top museums and cultural sites. The above activities can easily be squeezed into a week or long-weekend escape to Spain’s capital city. We know you’ll have an amazing time, and please be sure to comment if you discover other activities everyone must experience when visiting Madrid in summer.