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Madrid lights up with magic and joy during the holiday season. If you’re spending those special days in the capital of Spain, we’ll guide you through the best places and activities Madrid has to offer during Christmas. Get ready to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit and discover what to do in Madrid at this time of year. Let’s get started!

See the Christmas lights

One of the simple pleasures of Christmas in Madrid is strolling through the illuminated streets. The city’s Christmas lights are famous worldwide, and you can’t miss them. Put on a warm coat and go explore the Christmas decorations that adorn the main streets and squares of Madrid. Gran Vía and Puerta del Sol are must-visit places to enjoy this luminous experience. Want to see all the lights comfortably? Buy your ticket for the Navibús and let yourself be guided through the best-lit areas of the city.

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Christmas Markets

Like in almost every major European capital, Christmas markets are a delightful tradition in Madrid. Here, you’ll find unique gifts, festive decorations, and delicious treats. Some of the most popular Christmas markets in Madrid include:

Plaza Mayor Market

If you’re in Madrid in December, this iconic Christmas market is a must-visit. Located in the heart of Madrid, it offers a wide variety of Christmas decorations, nativity figurines, gastronomic products, and joke items to celebrate “Día de los Inocentes” on December 28.

Mercadillo del Gato

If you’re looking for unique gifts and handmade items, Mercadillo del Gato is the ideal place. Here, you’ll find jewelry, clothing, art, and much more, all crafted by locally recognized artists. The 2023 edition will be held at the Westing Palace Hotel, accessible from Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, and at Gran Vía 13.

Mercadillo navideño

Recoletos Craft Fair

A perfect excuse to bundle up and take a stroll in the chilly December weather is the Recoletos Craft Fair, located on the boulevard of the same name. In addition to enjoying a typical Madrid afternoon, you’ll find all kinds of handmade gifts and have the chance to appreciate the creativity of local artisans.

Imagine Picasso

At the Fundación Telefónica, 3 Fuencarral Street, you can immerse yourself in the incredible world of one of Spain’s most international artists, Pablo Picasso, through an immersive multimedia experience. “Imagine Picasso” is an exhibition that combines art and technology to offer a unique vision of the masterpieces of the Malaga-born artist.

Ice Skating

Want to feel like a kid again? Don’t forget to visit one of the outdoor ice skating rinks set up in Madrid during this festive season. In 2023, you can choose from:

  • Matadero de Madrid
  • Crystal Gallery of Palacio de Cibeles
  • Plaza de España
  • Javier Fernández Ice Rink in Plaza de Colón

Santa Claus Race

If you’re a Christmas enthusiast and enjoy athletic challenges, you can’t miss the charitable Santa Claus Race, taking place on December 24th. Join other runners dressed as Santa Claus or elves and race through the streets of Madrid in this fun run.

San Silvestre Vallecana

If you prefer a more athletic experience, the San Silvestre Vallecana is the traditional 10-kilometer race held on December 31st. From Avenida de Concha Espina to Calle de Candilejas in Vallecas, it covers the main areas of central Madrid in the company of thousands of runners in this exciting New Year’s Eve tradition.

San Silvestre VallecanaCarrascosa Fotógrafos SL

Musicals and Shows on Gran Vía

Gran Vía in Madrid is globally renowned for its vibrant theatrical and musical scene. During Christmas, many theaters feature special holiday-themed shows, in addition to the exciting lineup offered throughout the rest of the year. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a musical or play while you’re in the city. Here are some options you can’t afford to miss:

  • The Lion King: A city classic with over 10 years on the bill.
  • Aladdin: Directly from Broadway, Disney magic within your reach in Madrid.
  • Mamma Mia: One of the most famous musicals worldwide.
  • Gran Gala Flamenco: The incredible novelty for this holiday season, with only two performances. Enjoy the flamenco ballet show that has captivated audiences from all nations in Barcelona, only on December 24th and January 1st. Book your tickets now!

Gran Gala Flamenco Madrid

In summary, Madrid at Christmas is a magical destination that offers a wide variety of activities for tourists and locals alike. From the stunning Christmas lights to the exciting markets and sports events, there’s something for everyone. So, put on your favorite Christmas sweater and immerse yourself in the festive spirit of the Spanish capital. Happy holidays!

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