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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Madrid’s patron saint is celebrated on 15th May, and for a week around that date, the city hosts a whole spectrum of street parties, concerts, processions and bullfights, culminating in fireworks over the lake in Retiro Park.

The main festival is in Parque de San Isidro, beside the Manzanares River, where Isidro performed miracles during the 11th century, while other events pop up across the old town.

Many Madrilenos dress up in traditional garb called chulapo – men sport checked waistcoats and caps, while women wear lace dresses with fringed shawls and carnations in their hair. This time of year is a vivid, festive and cultured time to get to know Madrid.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: Week of 15th May
Duration: 1 week

Getting there & doing it

No tickets are required for street events; you can buy tickets for concerts from individual venues. The main daytime action takes place in the Pradera de San Isidro park – take the metro to Marques de Vadillo. There’s live music and dancing day and night in Plaza de Vistillas, Plaza de la Paja and on the main stage in Plaza Mayor, and spectacular firework displays in Retiro Park.

The rest of the action takes place in squares and on the streets, which get really packed at times – but there are plenty of bars for a break from the fun.

When to do it

The festival takes place in the week surrounding 15th May.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Gran Hotel Ingles

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

This swanky, pampering Art Deco hotel in the heart of Old Madrid has a rich history and design to die for.

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Mayerling Hotel

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Four-star fixtures at two-star prices – a budget but stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Madrid.

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Hostal Gala

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

A great budget choice – this modern-day hostel housed in an elegant, 19th-century building has chic rooms and the perfect central location.

Official star rating:

Hotel Unico Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

An intimate, expensively furnished townhouse in Madrid’s most upmarket neighbourhood, with boutiques and galleries nearby.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Madrid Region, Spain

Spain’s sunny capital offers up world-class art, super shopping, renowned tapas and late, late nights.

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