Madrid is one of the best places to spend the summer. The city comes alive with all manner of parties, festivals and fairs outdoors to suit all tastes and moods so get out there and make the most of the action. Here are some of our top picks for things to do during the summertime in Madrid.
June is arguably one of the best months of the year in Madrid. It marks the start of the summer and everyone is in high spirits. The sun is always shining and the weather is lovely and warm, without being too hot.
Book fair in Retiro Park
When and where: May 31 to June 16, Retiro Park
Even if you’re not a diehard bookworm, Madrid’s annual Feria del Libro is a fun daytime event in the sun and you might even pick up something to read that piques your interest. Running for close to 80 years, the annual event brings together authors, publishers and bookseller from Spain and the rest of the world. Taking over part of Madrid’s pretty Retiro Park, you’ll find hundreds of stands offering everything from cookbooks to novellas to more obscure literature as well as signings and readings.
When and where: June 2019 dates TBC, selected theaters across the city
If you want to see the real deal then this is one of the world’s most reputed flamenco festivals. Held at various venues across the city, the event showcases young and veteran flamenco dancers twirling, clapping and stomping their feet, dresses aflutter, accompanied by passionate singers, guitar and percussion players from Spain and the rest of the world. You’ll be so inspired that you’ll come away from it wanting to learn to flamenco dance yourself.
The summer fun kicks into high gear in July as Veranos de la Villa gets underway featuring all kinds of outdoor events and performances, not forgetting Madrid Pride, one of the highlights of the summer calendar.
When and where: June 20 to July 31, Jardín Botánico de la Complutense
The Noches del Botánico festival celebrates music from all over the world in the very verdant and picturesque setting of Madrid’s Jardín Botánico de la Complutense. Covering all genres from rock to flamenco, there’s music to suit all tastes, including performances from headline acts Hall & Oates, Ben Harper and Jane Birkin. There’s also a band of food trucks serving up tasty gourmet offerings and plenty of space and time for lying around in the sunshine.
When and where: June 28 to July 7, Chueca neighborhood and main streets of the city
June is Pride Month worldwide and Madrid sure knows how to celebrate Pride. This year’s celebrations that kick off on June 28 will be no exception with a week of street parties, art, concerts and music in celebration of openness and the LGBT spirit, culminating in the grand parade on July 6. The Chueca neighborhood is the event’s epicenter with rainbow flags galore and stages on every corner with all manner of glamorous performances. Don’t leave home without your glitter.
While the city’s locals usually clear out in August and head for the beach, there’s still plenty going on in the city during the month, including the famous neighborhood festivals.
Hit up a Verbena
When and where: August 2 to August 15, Embajadores, Lavapiés and La Paloma neighborhoods
These three back-to-back summer fiestas are the perfect excuse to dress up and party with the locals and get a taste of true Spanish culture and traditions. Restaurants set up outdoor stalls and the streets are filled with colorful bunting. The festivities start with the San Cayetano Festival, which runs from August 2 to 8 in the Embajadores barrio then the residents of Lavapiés take the party reins with the San Lorenzo Festival from August 9 to 11, followed by La Paloma in the La Latina neighborhood from August 12 to 15.
Cinema and theater in the open air
When and where: Screenings and dates TBC. Check respective pages for more info.
Who wants to sit at home watching Netflix on a warm summer’s night? Madrid has plenty of open-air movie and theater screenings for your viewing pleasure. Cultural center La Casa Encendida has a great rooftop terrace and holds open-air movie screenings during the summer months. You can also check out what’s on in the park at Fescinal’s Cine de verano de La Bombilla. If you prefer to watch some live acting, Madrid’s La Fundación Olivar de Castillejo is a beautiful outdoor summer spot that hosts various theater and cultural events.
And when it gets too hot in the city…
Escape the stifling heat and hit up the Aquopolis water park on the outskirts of Madrid. You’re never too old to enjoy water slides but if the heights and drops intimidate you, you can just float around in one of the park’s giant swimming pools. To get there, you can take the Cercanías commuter train from Madrid to San Fernando de Henares in about 30 minutes.
Got any other recommendations for things to do this summer in Madrid? Share them with our readers in the comments section below.