In this blog post I have provided as much information as I could find online as well as my experiences during the 2022/23 festive season. I promise to update this post as and when additional information becomes available.
Switching on of the Christmas lights in Madrid 2023
Mark Your Calendars: This years turning on of the Christmas lights will take place on November 23 at 7pm at the newly renovated Puerta del Sol and will be on until January 6, 2024.
Places to see the Christmas lights in Madrid 2023
- Gran Bola de Navidad (Big Christmas Ornament) in front of the Metropolis building
- Experience the magic of Christmas in Madrid’s Salamanca neighborhood. It boasts beautifully decorated streets, late-night shopping, traditional Spanish cuisine, seasonal treats, and various entertainment options.
- Retiro Park in Madrid becomes a winter wonderland during the Christmas season with beautiful lights, creating a festive atmosphere.
Christmas Markets Madrid 2023
Mark your calendars for the upcoming Christmas Markets in 2023! While these events will probably run until January 5th, the official start dates are still to be announced. Stay tuned!
- La Navideña the Christmas market in Plaza España Madrid from 23 November 2023 – 7 January 2024.
- Plaza Mayor Madrid Christmas Market (Madrid´s oldest Christmas market) open from 25 November to 31 December 2023 from 10:00 to 21:00 (Sunday to Thursday) and from 10:00 to 22:00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Holidays.
- Mercadillo de Navidad El Corte Inglés returns in Nuevos Ministerios next to the Corte Inglés in calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde 79 and will be open from November 20 to January 5, 2024.
- Plaza de Colón from 25 November 2023 – 8 January 2024.
Ice Rinks Madrid Christmas 2023 (dates TBA)
- At Christmas Plaza del Cibeles (300m2) houses an ice rink where you can enjoy an afternoon of ice skating and incredible city views with the whole family from 16 December to 8 January 2024.
- The Plaza de Colón (Javier Fernandez) ice rink is one of the main Christmas attractions in Madrid. In addition to ice skating, visitors can enjoy favourites like Glühwein (mulled wine) from 25 November 2023 – 8January 2024.
- The La Navideña Plaza de España ice rink (450 m2) is one of the most popular attractions in Madrid during the Christmas season and will be running from 23 November 2023 to 7 January 2024. With its large ice rink surrounded by Christmas lights and festive music, it is the perfect place to enjoy with friends and family. They sell a variety of food and drink stalls to enjoy while watching others skate.
- The Matadero open air ice rink will be open until the 9th of January 2024 and more than 750 m2. It’s located 2 minutes walk from Legazpi metro station. You can purchase your tickets at www.entradas.com.
- Manantial de los Sueños at 5 eu / 30 minutes in the Real Botanical Garden Alfonso XIII from 4 – 10 pm (except for 30 Nov, 1, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 Dec 5 – 10pm)
- Plaza Juan Goytisolo in Madrid is a public space in front of the Reina Sofía Museum. In winter, it becomes an outdoor ice rink.
- Rosewood Villa Magna hotel in Madrid offers luxurious amenities and festive holiday decor during the Christmas season. TBC.
- Salvador Allende Park in Madrid is famous for its beautiful ice skating rink, which is one of the most popular attractions during the New Year festivities. The park has a magical atmosphere with twinkling lights and Christmas music that make the ice skating experience unforgettable.
- Parque De La Vaguada in Madrid offers a magical experience during the Christmas festivities with an outdoor ice rink, Christmas decorations, live music and food and drink stalls.
Spots & hotels around the city with beautiful Christmas decor
- Four Seasons Hotel Madrid is known for its beautiful Christmas decorations. The lobby boasts a magnificent Christmas tree, garlands, wreaths, and holiday-themed touches throughout the hotel. Guests can enjoy holiday-themed cocktails and special menus in the hotel’s restaurants.
- During the holiday season, the Mandarin Oriental Ritz hotel in Madrid is beautiful, with stunning Christmas decorations, towering trees, twinkling lights, and sparkling ornaments.
- Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid creates a warm and inviting atmosphere during the holiday season with its grand lobby adorned with a towering Christmas tree, sparkling lights, and traditional holiday decorations. Guests can enjoy hot cocoa or mulled wine in the cozy lounge area, surrounded by the beautiful decor, making the holiday season feel special and memorable.
- Riu Hotel Plaza España Madrid hotel is an emblematic place at Christmas due to its spectacular decoration. Christmas lights and decorations are present throughout the hotel, including the lobby, restaurant and rooms.
- Galleria Canalejas in Madrid is a luxury shopping center with beautiful architecture and high-end stores. During the holiday season, the mall is decorated with festive lights, garlands, and wreaths, with a stunning Christmas tree as the centerpiece.
- Hotel Regina Madrid transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, with stunning Christmas decor in the lobby and guest rooms. Festive touches include a towering Christmas tree, wreaths, garlands, and the hotel’s restaurants and bars also offer special menus and cocktails featuring seasonal flavors.
- Casino de Madrid from the grand entrance to the restaurant and bar areas, the entire building is adorned with beautiful decorations. The main lobby features a towering Christmas tree surrounded by smaller trees and wreaths. The menu also includes special holiday treats and drinks, creating a festive atmosphere.
- Rosewood Villa Magna Madrid is a luxurious hotel that transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season.
- All the Salvador Bachiller restaurants but my favourite during the festive season is the Salvador Bachiller restaurant in C. de Velázquez, 24 (below).
Beautifully decorated cafés in Madrid to vist during the festive season
- Salon des Fleurs with its eight corners each offering an unique experience where you can enjoy your favourite hot drinks and cakes.
- Restaurantes Salvador Bachiller has creatively reinvented the classic Spanish Christmas pastry, Roscon de Reyes, and is showcasing unique Christmas decorations and treats at its multiple locations throughout the city.
- Café Oriente Madrid is a popular place in the historic center of Madrid with elegant decoration and a cozy atmosphere from where, you can enjoy stunning views of the Royal Palace and Plaza de Oriente.
- The El Corte Ingles in Castellana has a beautiful atrium café decorated beautifully during Christmas.
- Lhardy is a historic restaurant in Madrid, Spain, established in 1839 by French chef Emilio Huguenin. that offers traditional Spanish cuisine with luxurious décor, including marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and ornate mirrors, creates a time-traveling ambiance.
- Bar Manero Madrid in Claudio Coello is a popular and cozy bar located in the upscale Salamanca district of Madrid. I highly recommend their vermut and patatas bravas.
- Robuchon restaurant Madrid is an elegant dining destination in the heart of the city, offering authentic French cuisine and a blend of modern and classic design in its decor.
Shows & More Madrid Christmas 2023
Matadero Christmas Madrid 2023
- Don’t miss out on the exciting Christmas event being hosted by Matadero Madrid this year! From December 22 to January 3 (closed on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1) between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., visitors of all ages can partake in a variety of activities and events throughout the day.
- This program is jam-packed with exciting workshops, games, and unique shows, as well as a variety of tempting food trucks. Additionally, this year’s event features Italy as the guest country, offering a prominent space in the programming and a chance to experience Italian culture and Christmas traditions. The evening will be filled with the sweet melodies of Italian music.
- Tickets available from December 16 at www.navidadmadrid.com and at the Matadero Ticket Office from December 23 to January 3, from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
La Carrera de Papa Noel (Santa Clause´s Race) Madrid 2023
La Carrera de Papa Noel is an annual event in Madrid on the 24th of December, where participants race through the city streets dressed as Santa Claus. The 2023 event will take runners through iconic landmarks and is open to participants of all abilities. It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate Christmas and bring people together from around the world.
Circo (circus) on Ice Madrid 2023
Circo on Ice Madrid will be held at CARPA CIRCO ALEGRÍA from 3 November to 14 January adjacent to Palacio de Hielo. You can book your tickets for Circo on Ice Madrid here.
Check out the amazing 3D Christmas ornament that’s 12 meters in diameter, weighs seven tons, and features 43,000 LED lights! This stunning ball can be found at the intersection of Alcalá and Gran Vía streets, right in front of the Metropolis Building (see the map below).
The lights of the sphere will be programmed and synchronized with sound to create a spectacular pixel maping effect
The giant ball will be there until the 6th of January 6 for all to enjoy.
Circlassica Gran Circo Mundial
El Bosque Encantado
Visit their website here. Where? Camino de Marañones, 217
28680 San Martín de Valdeiglesias.
Sueño de Navidad (The dream of Christmas) – Videomapping
For yet another year, the Madrid City Council will host the spectacular Mapping 3D. Un sueño de Navidad at Palacio Cibeles in Madrid. Watch in awe as the Palacio de Cibeles transforms into a stunning canvas for a spectacular 3D Christmas video (1o minutes liong). This enchanting display will bring the holiday spirit to life right before your very eyes. The duration is 10 minutes. Specific dates TBC.
Naturaleza Encendida at PARQUE ENRIQUE TIERNO GALVÁN
Mark Your Calendars: Naturaleza Encendida Madrid 2023/24 comes to Parque Enrique Tierno Galván from November 21st to January 21st for this year’s show. The estimated runtime for this breathtaking experience is 45 minutes.
Just a heads up – the event is taking place outdoors, so make sure you dress warmly. Madrid can get quite chilly this time of year!
Cortylandia Madrid 2023
Cortylandia, a musical show featuring animated figures, is a popular Christmas tradition in Madrid. Located on the outside of the El Corte Inglés shopping centre on Maestro Victoria street, the show runs from mid-November until January 5th. Performances last aprox 15 minutes, which during families and children can sing along to popula Christmas songs.
Nativity Scene (Belén)
The Nativity Scene in the Palacio de Cibeles is created by the unique figures by the Belenista master: José Luis Mayo Lebrija. With over 200 handcrafted figures, each of which boasts lifelike expressions, postures, and clothing movements, this scene is truly breathtaking.
Autobús de la Navidad – Tour de Luces
Capture the best views and images of Madrid’s enchanting Christmas atmosphere on the top floor of the Christmas Bus for a duration of 40 minutes. Book your tickets at Navidad en Madrid from 7.20€ (places are limited). Departures daily from 18:00 to 22:00.
The tour departs from the tourist bus stop on Calle Alfonso XII nº 52, behind the Royal Botanical Garden. Be punctual as the bus cannot wait for you. If you’re late, you can board the following bus, but you may have to sit on the lower floor with less visibility.
This year the Christmas bus operates from November 24 to January 4 (with the exception of December 24th and December 31st).
Indulge in Churros and Chocolate during the Festive Season in Spain
- Founded in 1890, San Gines is a café located in the heart of Madrid that is famous for its churros and hot chocolate (chocolate caliente) opened until the early hours of the morning.
- Valor is a well known brand in Spain that have been manufacturing chocolate since 1881. They have dedicated more than 130 years to making good quality chocolate. You can visit their Chocolate Museum to learn about where the cocoa they use comes from, and how their chocolate making process has evolved through the centuries. You can also enjoy their products in one of their chocolate shops.
If you have ever visited Spain during Christmas, you would have seen turrón sold almost everywhere. Turrón is a southern European nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg whites with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into rectangular bars. Torronsvicens takes it to another level with their mojito or cheesecake flavours, not to mention the beautiful decor in their stores! Definitely worth a visit. Oh and I don´t forget to sample a few flavours while you are there.
Theme Parks Madrid Christmas 2023
- The Manantial de los Sueños El Origen de Navidad – the most incredible Christmas event suitable for the whole family is coming to Madrid…! Where? Alfonso XIII Royal Botanical Garden Real Jardin Botánico Alfonso XIII (Ciudad Universitaria de Madrid). Purchase your entry tickets for both shows, scheduled to run from November 1st, 2023 to January 6th, 2024.
- Warner Park Madrid is a popular theme park that transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. Visitors can enjoy holiday-themed shows, a spectacular light show, and other exciting attractions suitable for all ages, making it a unique and memorable way to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.
- Navidalia Getafe will be repeated this year after its success last year, and this year there will be a series of improvements and new features. This park will open on November 18, 2023 and close on January 6, 2024. The park boasts a real ice skating rink. Where? Recinto Ferial in Avenida de las Ciudades 41, Getafe Madrid.
- Christmas in Torrejón de Ardoz is one of the coolest family plans during Christmas in the Spanish capital. Its Mágicas Navidades & Parque de la Navidad will take place from November 30, 2023 to January 7, 2024. Last year more than a million people visited! Family Day will be celebrated on December 12, 13, 19 and 20 with free entry to the park and special discounts on experiences.
Christmas Shopping Madrid 2023
- Primark in Gran Vía offers a wide selection of gifts for all tastes and budgets. From clothing and accessories to home goods and Christmas decorations, it’s the perfect place to do your Christmas shopping. All this at affordable prices for any budget.
- Experience the Extraordinary Christmas Decor at Las Rozas Village. Las Rozas Village is renowned for their stunning Christmas decorations, which are sure to dazzle and delight. If you’re looking for luxury items at a discounted price, this is the perfect shopping destination. Treat yourself to some amazing deals on high-end brands such as Ted Baker and Burberry.
- Zara Home Plaza España in Madrid is one of the a popular spot to buy decorations, gifts and home items during the Christmas season.
- Living in London has the most adorable British products to decorate your home during the festive season.
- Madrid offers a wide range of shops and boutiques, from luxury brands to handmade crafts. The city is beautifully decorated with twinkling lights and colorful decorations, creating a festive atmosphere. El Corte Inglés, a famous department store, is a must-visit for Chritmas shoppers.
- Madrid is home to many shopping districts, but some of my personal favourites are calle de Serrano/Salamanca barrio. This area is known for its luxury high-end stores, making it a shopping paradise. Plan your visit during the “rebajas” sales which take place twice a year. For the best deals, go right after Reyes Magos on the 6th of January.
Where to find the Reyes Magos
Embark on a scenic train ride to meet the Three Kings while enjoying stunning views of Casa de Campo, Monte del Pilar, and Pinar de las Rozas. The ride includes fun activities like games, face painting, and workshops led by Santa’s helpers. Dates TBA.
Go sledding in the snow in Cercedilla Madrid
Explore the beautiful Sierra de Guadarrama in Cercedilla, a municipality in the northwest of the Community of Madrid. Despite being over 50 kilometers from Madrid center, the stunning snowy landscape during colder months is worth the journey.
Here are a few options where to stay in Madrid during Christmas
I recently wrote a post about our visit to the Christmas market in Edinburgh which you can read it here.