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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 10 February, 2024
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.

Logistics

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.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Madrid

Madrid Region, Spain

Exterior of La Almudena Cathedral in the late afternoon.

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