bentoninn Adventure Madrid in December: Best Things to See & Do

Madrid in December: Best Things to See & Do

Madrid in December: Best Things to See & Do post thumbnail image

From historic museums, splendid architecture, festive shopping experiences, Christmas markets, and royal culture – your bucket list must include a visit to Madrid in December.

Enjoy the season with a hefty dose of treats by layering up. We are happy that Madrid’s holiday season has officially begun!

December is a special time to visit Madrid, offering a unique blend of traditional Spanish celebrations, seasonal events, and an enchanting atmosphere that captivates locals and visitors alike. 

Also, there are beautiful Christmas lights that sparkle throughout the entire city. Additionally,  you will notice Christmas trees and lights in different colors and forms wherever you go.

Are you planning to go to Madrid in the winter? Our guide will help you to discover the best things to do in this city!

A Glimpse Of This Blog:

  • Immerse yourself in the charm of Madrid’s Christmas markets. Plaza Mayor or Paseo de Recoletos hosts a Christmas market, while other squares feature stalls selling handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and local delicacies. 
  • Madrid In December dazzles with a spectacular display of lights and decorations. Stroll down the Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayo to see amazing Christmas trees.
  • Seek out cozy cafés and restaurants serving churros with hot chocolate—a winter treat loved by locals.
  • Check out cultural events and performances happening in Madrid during this period. Visit opera houses, Teatro Real and Teatro de la Zarzuela, and see their wonderful performances.
  • Whether you’re interested in nature, culture, history, or simply finding a tranquil escape within the city, El Retiro has something to offer for every visitor.
  • Madrid’s museums provide a captivating and enlightening experience. If you have great interest you must visit Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid History Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum.
  • December offers the beginning of the winter sales season. So, take advantage of discounts in different stores, especially in bustling shopping districts like Calle Preciados Calle Serrano, El Corte Inglés, and Salamanca. 
  • Look no further if you want to practice your own ice show in Madrid. The Royal Palace and Retiro Park are two of the city’s popular destinations for outdoor rinks.
  • Vibrant and memorable is the New Year’s Eve celebration in Puerta del Sol, Madrid. In this main square, locals and tourists alike congregate to celebrate the start of a new year with passion and tradition.
  • Navibús is a bus tour company that offers a panoramic 40-minute tour of Madrid’s central streets with Christmas lights. It starts and ends at Plaza de Colón (the only bus stop is at Serrano 30).
  • December temperature in Madrid experiences a cool climate ranging from 8 to 15 degrees Celsius (46 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). It will be mild but chilly, making it ideal for strolling around and taking in the holiday decorations.

Find The 6 Best Hotels In Madrid, Spain

Things to Do in Madrid in December

Christmas Markets

Madrid’s streets come alive with the vibrant colors and aromas of Christmas markets during December. 

The Christmas markets in Madrid offer a wide variety of items, from original handicrafts to delicious Spanish cuisine.

Every year, Paseo de Recoletos, which houses the Cibeles Fountain, hosts a lovely Christmas market in December.

Explore the historic Plaza Mayor, where a bustling market offers an array of handmade crafts, festive decorations, and delectable treats. 

Furthermore, there’s the busy Plaza Mayor Christmas market, where you can buy unique seasonal products.

It’s ideal for finding some unusual presents for your loved ones this holiday season!

Beautiful Christmas lights

Beautiful Christmas Lights
Photo credit: Veebrant/Christmas lights

During the winter holidays, Madrid is full of sparkling lights. Festive lights shine in the streets throughout the city, casting an irresistible visual glow of holiday cheer.

Also, Madrid’s magnificent Christmas tree at Puerta del Sol is something you should not miss.

Locals and tourists alike gather here on New Year’s Eve to partake in the Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight, symbolizing good luck for each month of the upcoming year.

Are you in search of more Christmas light decorations? Walk to Plaza Mayor to see another huge Christmas tree.

Snack on Churros

Snack on Churros

You probably get a little chilly after a while from exploring the Christmas markets and going for a stroll to view the holiday lights. Warm up with the perfect cold-weather snack, churros con chocolate, in a cozy and inviting churrería!

However, for the best experience, have them for breakfast or for merienda (the mid-afternoon snack, usually eaten around 6 p.m.); during these times, they are more likely to be freshly fried.

Recommended read The 10 Best Restaurants In Madrid, Spain

A Cultural Extravaganza

Teatro Real

Completely involve yourself in the cultural richness of Madrid by attending live performances and events happening throughout December.

The city hosts a variety of concerts, theater productions, and dance performances that showcase the talents of local and international artists.

Two of the city’s best opera houses, Teatro Real and Teatro de la Zarzuela, host amazing performances every week.

Gabi, an enthusiastic traveler, advises – “If you plan to see a performance, be sure to visit the official websites to view the schedule and find out which operas will be on during your visit. Also, since the major shows sell out quickly, you should purchase your tickets in advance.”

Visit Museums

Prado Museum

Madrid with its rich tapestry of art and history, becomes an even more enticing destination.

If you’re interested in Spanish art and history, they’re well worth a visit and provide an enjoyable break from the cold of December. 

Admire the impressive art collections at the Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the renowned Prado Museum.

Or if you have a greater interest in history, you should visit the Madrid History Museum and the National Archaeological Museum.

As the winter chill sets in, the cultural scene in Madrid comes alive, offering visitors a chance to engage themselves in the artistic treasures housed within these hallowed halls.

Walking Around El Retiro

El Retiro

There’s nowhere better to relax, recharge, and take in the fresh air than El Retiro when the energy of Madrid gets too much to handle.

The expansive 292-acre green space offers a tranquil, revitalizing respite from the hustle and bustle of the city with its beautiful fountains, romantic pathways lined with trees, and sunny outdoor cafés.

Claire, a local girl advises  – “I always go to Retiro Park when I need a break from the bustle of the city center because it’s one of my favorite places in Madrid!”

Recommended Read 13 Amazing Free Things To Do In Madrid, Spain

Christmas Shopping in Madrid

El Corte Inglés

If you enjoy the festive atmosphere and are looking for unique gifts or good deals, December can be an excellent time for shopping in Madrid. However, find post-holiday deals in shopping districts, like Calle Preciados and Calle Serrano, if you’re visiting later in December. 

Also, December is a great time to shop at El Corte Inglés and other well-known malls for a variety of products.

Are you trying to find a more luxury store? Move on to Salamanca. This part of the city is well-known for its expensive and exclusive stores!

Recommended Read The 7 Best Places For Shopping in Madrid, Spain

Ice Skating

Ice Skating in Royal Palace
Photo Credit: Madrid Metropolitan/Ice Skating

Ice skating is one of the most amazing things you can do in Madrid during December!

Lace-up your skates and hit the ice in Madrid’s seasonal ice rinks. The city boasts outdoor rinks in iconic locations like Retiro Park and the Royal Palace. Skating against the backdrop of historic landmarks adds an extra layer of magic to the experience.

New Year’s Eve Madrid in Puerta del Sol

New Year's Eve Madrid in Puerta del Sol
Photo Credit: Sky Barcino/ New Year’s Eve Madrid in Puerta del Sol

Madrid celebrates the New Year with plenty of fireworks and public events.

Join the lively crowd in Puerta del Sol to ring in the New Year. The tradition of eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight is a must, symbolizing good luck for each month of the coming year. The square becomes a focal point for celebrations, complete with fireworks and a joyous atmosphere.

Don’t worry if you can’t find time to buy some delicious white grapes from the store. On December 31st, people frequently sell little boxes of grapes in the central plaza.

Ride The Christmas Bus

Ride The Christmas Bus - Navibus
Photo Credit: Hostal Persal/ Navibus

In the winter, the (slightly kitschy) Navibus is an option if you’re visiting Madrid. The Christmas bus tours explore the city in December, stopping at some of the best places to see the holiday lights.

In addition to offering the best view, the open-air top is also where it can get chilly. An hour is all that the tour takes.

With its yearly display changes, this is a popular tourist and local attraction in Madrid. The bus leaves from Calle Serrano and runs from December 1st through January 6th.

Weather in Madrid in December

Madrid in December weather

December in Madrid is much colder than other parts of Spain and experiences a significant decrease in temperature. I There is a chance that the days will get sunny and warm up to 15 degrees. Moreover, the temperature drops to about 5 degrees at night.

Nevertheless, compared to many other European locations at this time of year, the weather in Madrid in December is generally pleasant and mild. Even though it’s not as common as it is in the warmer months, sunshine is still quite prevalent.

FAQ

Is December a good time to visit Madrid?

In comparison to some parts of northern Europe, winter in Madrid offers a dry climate, lower prices, and fewer tourists than summer, which makes it the perfect destination for a short winter European break.

Does it snow in Madrid in December?

Yes, there is snowfall in Madrid in December. Snow falls in late December, which is a winter month.

Is Madrid good for Christmas?

Yes, the city never fails to create a magical Christmas atmosphere. Madrid is beautifully decorated for the holiday season, and there are festive events, Christmas markets, and winter sales to enjoy.

Is Madrid or Barcelona better in winter?

Madrid and Barcelona are simply too different. Therefore, it is a fact that you should visit both Madrid and Barcelona!

How should I dress in Madrid in December?

Even though Madrid experiences milder winter temperatures than many other European cities, most residents will still dress appropriately. This means warm, comfortable shoes, boots, winter coats, thick scarves, hats, and gloves.

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