Of course, Madrid is an incredible city to visit all year round, but visiting in winter feels like stepping into a dream destination, with fairy lights adorning its historic streets and parks and the festive spirit in the air.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the popular Madrid Christmas Market, ensuring you can experience the very best of this event in the Spanish capital.
Walking through Madrid during Christmas, you’ll encounter dynamic light displays that transform iconic plazas and avenues into a fun experience.
The tempting aromas of local culinary delights, from roasted chestnuts to delicious turron, waft through the chilly air, inviting you to indulge.
Embrace the warm Spanish traditions by attending live events and immersing yourself in the unique blend of history and modernity that enchants the city’s holiday season.
Madrid Christmas Market 2023
As you step into the heart of Madrid’s Christmas Market, located in the picturesque Plaza Mayor, you’ll find over 100 wooden Christmas stalls brimming with handcrafted ornaments, festive gifts and delicious treats.
Look out for the intricate nativity scenes, known as “belénes,” that showcase Spanish artisans’ craftsmanship.
Delight your taste buds with delicious seasonal specialties like churros con chocolate, and warm up with a steaming cup of mulled wine as you meander through this vibrant market.
For a true taste of Spanish holiday cheer, don’t miss the lively street performers and musicians who fill the air with infectious energy, creating a festive atmosphere that brings the magic of Christmas in Madrid to life.
Dates and Location
Madrid Christmas Market dates: Late November to 31st December 2023.
Location: Plaza Mayor.
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 9pm. Friday, Saturday and Christmas Eve: 10am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: From November.
Ice skating: Yes, at Plaza España.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Intricate belénes displays; live music; delicious Spanish food; historic Plaza Mayor setting.
Recommended tour: See the highlights of Madrid in this city tour.
Specialities: Roasted chestnuts; turron; churros con chocolate; marzipan sweets; polvorones; warm mulled wine.
Where to stay: Pestana Plaza Mayor is a highly-rated hotel located directly on the square of the Christmas market.
Hotels near Madrid Christmas Market
I recommend staying in Madrid’s historic city centre for easy access to the Christmas market. The market is held at Plaza Mayor, the most famous square in the centre.
Staying in this area places you right in the heart of the city’s festive spirit, with everything you need within walking distance.
Pestana Plaza Mayor is an excellent choice in this area as the hotel isn’t just near the Christmas market but is located directly on Plaza Mayor. This highly-rated hotel combines modern comforts and a historic location.
Location of Madrid Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Madrid is a fantastic way to experience the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. With its lively neighbourhoods, grand architecture and thriving art scene, Madrid is a city that truly has something for everyone.
I recommend this city tour of Madrid as you get to see all the highlights of the city with a local guide for an affordable price. This is an especially great tour for first-time visitors.
On a city tour, you’ll visit Madrid’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the bustling Puerta del Sol, the stunning Royal Palace, and the impressive Almudena Cathedral.
Alternatively, consider taking this food tour to learn about the local culture through their cuisine. Food tours are increasingly popular, and having taken a few in my time as a travel blogger, I highly recommend this kind of tour.
Christmas in Madrid
Take a moment to watch the following video, which captures the essence of Madrid’s Christmas Market. Through this visual experience, you can gain a sense of the market’s atmosphere before visiting the city.
Christmas Specialties in Madrid
- Turron: A classic Spanish nougat made from almonds, honey, sugar and egg whites, available in several varieties, including soft (jijona) and hard (Alicante).
- Polvorones: Crumbly, almond-based cookies with a sweet and buttery flavour, often dusted with powdered sugar.
- Mazapán: A traditional marzipan sweet crafted from ground almonds, sugar and eggs, often shaped into festive figures.
- Rosquillas de Vino: Delicious wine-infused doughnut-like pastries, perfect for those seeking a unique dessert with a hint of local flavour.
- Escalivada: A tasty vegetarian dish featuring roasted eggplant, peppers and onions, typically drizzled with olive oil and enjoyed with crusty bread. You’ll find this in some of the more rustic and traditional restaurants.
- Chestnuts: Roasted to perfection, these warm, earthy snacks are a staple at Madrid’s Christmas markets.
Food at the Christmas Market
- Churros con Chocolate: Crispy, deep-fried dough sticks served with a thick, rich hot chocolate for dipping, perfect for a cold winter’s day. These are extremely common at all Christmas markets across Europe. You’ll know how delicious they are if you’ve tried them before!
- Crema Catalana: A creamy, indulgent dessert similar to crème brûlée, with a caramelised sugar topping and a hint of cinnamon and citrus. This is local to Barcelona but popular in Madrid too.
- Empanadillas: Savoury, bite-sized pastries filled with various ingredients such as vegetables, cheese, or meat, providing a snack that’s ideal for eating at the market.
- Mulled Wine: Warm, spiced wine, known as “vino caliente” in Spain, fills the air with its fragrant aroma and keeps you cosy while exploring the market.
- Raclette: A Swiss import, this gooey, melted cheese is scraped over potatoes and vegetables, making for a delicious and warming treat. It sometimes comes with bacon, so ask to have it without if you’re vegetarian.
- Gingerbread: Intricately decorated and beautifully crafted, these sweet and spiced cookies are a festive favourite found at Christmas markets across Europe.
What to Buy
- Flamenco-inspired Ornaments: Add a touch of Spanish flair to your tree with hand-painted ornaments inspired by traditional flamenco dancers and vibrant cultural motifs.
- Handcrafted Leather Goods: Browse an array of high-quality, locally made leather items, including wallets, belts and bags, showcasing the craftsmanship of Madrid’s artisans.
- Ceramics: Discover beautiful, hand-painted ceramics featuring intricate Spanish designs, perfect for adding a pop of colour to your home or as thoughtful gifts.
- Spanish Olive Oil: Sample and purchase some of the world’s finest olive oils, sourced from the abundant olive groves of Spain, ideal for cooking enthusiasts.
- Mantecados: Bring home boxes of these crumbly, traditional Spanish shortbread cookies made with lard and flavoured with anise or cinnamon. You’ll sometimes find vegetarian versions; ask before you buy.
- Flamenco Shawls: Admire and acquire these stunning, embroidered shawls, known as “mantones de Manila,” often worn by flamenco dancers and an emblem of Spanish culture. It’s a nice way to appreciate the local culture.
La Navideña Mercadillo Plaza España Christmas Market
La Navideña, also known as Mercadillo Plaza España, is another Christmas market in Madrid, this time in the bustling Plaza España, about 5 minutes from Plaza Mayor.
This market is a must-visit during the holiday season, featuring an array of festive stalls selling handcrafted gifts, unique decorations, and mouth-watering local delicacies.
The lively atmosphere, illuminated by twinkling lights, offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the joy and warmth of a traditional Spanish Christmas experience.
Plaza Espana Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: late November 2023 to early January 2024.
Opening times: 10am to 10pm.
Location: Plaza España, Madrid City Centre
Location of Plaza Espana
To make the most of your holiday travels, be sure to explore my comprehensive guide to the best Christmas markets in Spain, where you’ll find insightful tips and recommendations for planning your itinerary.
To make the most of your trip to Madrid, be sure to visit Espana, Spain’s official tourism website, which provides invaluable information and resources tailored specifically to your needs as you discover the city.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Madrid at Christmas.
- Renewable Energy: Choose accommodations, such as eco-friendly hotels, that prioritise the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. There are several sustainable hotels in Madrid you can choose from.
- Energy Efficiency: Be conscious of your energy usage while staying in Madrid; turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and opt for energy-saving modes on air conditioning and heating systems. Again, staying in a sustainable hotel can help with energy efficiency and conservation.
- Reducing Food Waste: Plan your meals at local markets and restaurants, savouring the delicious cuisine while being mindful of portion sizes to minimise leftovers and waste.
- Ethical Consumption: Support local artisans and businesses by purchasing handmade, ethically sourced gifts and products at the Christmas markets or small shops throughout the city.
- Sustainable Diets: Enjoy the diverse range of plant-based dishes and tapas available in Madrid, helping to reduce your carbon footprint while experiencing the flavours of the region.
- Sustainable Transport: Use Madrid’s extensive public transportation network, including the metro, buses and trains, or rent a bike to explore the city while reducing your environmental impact. Madrid has increasing numbers of separated bike lanes to make cycling safer for everyone.
Madrid Christmas Market starts in late November and continues until 31st December 2023.
The main Madrid Christmas Market is located in the historic Plaza Mayor, with another Christmas market taking place in Plaza España. You might also come across a few small Christmas markets and events around the city.
The Christmas markets are open from around 10am to 10pm.
Winter temperatures in Madrid can range from 3°C (37°F) to 12°C (54°F), so it’s essential to dress warmly and be prepared for chilly evenings.
While Madrid can be busy during the festive season, the city is large enough to accommodate the influx of visitors, and the bustling atmosphere adds to the overall holiday experience.
Apart from the Christmas markets, consider visiting landmarks like the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, and the Prado Museum, or attend special holiday events and concerts throughout the city.
As you wander through Madrid’s historic streets and plazas this winter, take in the city’s lively atmosphere and festive charm. Be sure to indulge in local culinary specialties and explore the rich cultural scene.
Visiting Madrid during winter provides a unique opportunity to create lasting memories and experience the city’s warmth and hospitality.
If you would like to leave a review of Madrid Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Madrid, Spain. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.