Madrid Travel tips #1 – Best time of year to visit Madrid

Travel tips

by Ben Curtis


If you can stand the heat… August is still damn hot, but the city is eerily empty. There is no-one here! Most of the Madrileños are down at the beach and the city comes to a virtual standstill. Roads can be crossed in relative safety (there are hardly any cars on most of them), and the frenetic noise that usually attacks you at every turn dies down to a murmur. Many of the smaller bars and shops are shut, but most of the touristy stuff is still open, and you can always get a drink on a Terraza at night. Personally, this is now my favourite month of the year, closely followed by…


The City springs back to life! Temperatures cool down to a manageable level – like a wonderful northern European summer, and everyone is back from holiday. You can still wander the streets in a T-shirt and eat outside in the evenings, and you’ll get a feel for Madrid as it winds back up to its high-octane best.

Terrazas in June


The heat arrives with earnest in June, Terraza culture gets into full swing, and the city starts to party hard now that summer is finally here. Towards the end of the month you can experience the joy of sitting outside at midnight, beer in hand, marvelling at the fact that it is still 30º Celcius and no-one is planning on sleeping any time soon! (…see photo above)

Semana Santa/Easter Week

Similar to August, in that all the locals that can afford to leave the city for a break. This time however, a lot of Spaniards from other parts of the country come up to have a look around the capital. The result is a lot of good natured people wandering slowly around a peaceful city. The Easter processions have got nothing on Andalusia, but it’s still possible to see people wandering around in bizarre pointy hats. (Update – see comments for more on Easter!)


When Madrid has settled back to being a workaday city and Autumn means the occasional day of warm temperatures and city-wide good humour…

When NOT to visit Madrid

July – it’s way too hot and everyone is in much too much of a bad mood!

What’s your favourite time of year in Madrid?


Comment from Katie
Date: February 5, 2007, 11:31 pm

i have to agree that september is lovely, but wanted to disagree with semana santa. during the one i’ve spent in madrid nearly EVERYTHING in my neighborhood (near moncloa) was closed (most notably grocery stores and bars) and the main place things were open was the true center, and that was mobbed by english-speaking tourists! perhaps this is more disturbing for me than for the tourists, but those who come during semana santa most likely won’t see many locals. for that reason late spring and early fall are ideal to have a true madrid experience.

Comment from ben
Date: February 6, 2007, 9:54 am

Well, I suppose I did only wander around Madrid for one day last Easter, so I will take your word for it – forget Easter (we should all be in Andalucia then anyway!)

Pingback from Plaza Dos de Mayo – The Real Thing! – Notes from Madrid
Date: January 17, 2008, 1:16 pm

[...] But these days it is one of the most enjoyably authentic places to go in the city. In summer, terrazas fill the plaza with metal tables and chairs, and chances are that you will have to wait for a seat. To offset all those dobles you’ll be pouring into your gut, grab something to eat at one of the two pizzerias opposite each other on the square, the inventive Maravillas or the more traditional Sandos. [...]