Top 10 free things to do in Madrid over Christmas holidays
Madrid is a great place to be during the Christmas holidays, with plenty of lights, sights, and events going on all across the city to help you get into the festive spirit. And what’s more, you won’t have to dip in to your presents and night out fund to enjoy many attractions because they’re completely free. We’ve put together 10 free things to do in Madrid to keep you jolly this Christmas period.
Christmas in Madrid
If you’re planning on travelling to Madrid over this Christmas period then there are some things you need to be aware of. First is that you may find the city more expensive to travel to and stay in, unless you’re careful with your dates – you can actually get good deals on flights if you’re willing to fly on Christmas day, but the days around the big day can sometimes be much more expensive. Additionally, you’ll have to take care of other logistics before you land. This means exchanging your currency into euros before you land and pre-booking a car rental, as currency and car rental offices may have inconsistent hours over the festive period.
1, Christmas Markets
Christmas markets pop up all across Europe around Christmas and Madrid is no exception. Get into the Christmas groove by heading over to Plaza Mayor for some locally crafted gifts, food, drinks, and enough good vibes to turn even the most Scrooge-like of people into carol singing Christmas-ites. There are also other, smaller markets across the city, most notably in Plaza Espana, Santa Domingo, and Plaza de Opera.
2, See the Lights
The most notable everyday difference between Christmas and every other time of year is the bright lights that fill the city with Christmas cheer. Get your fill of good times by grabbing a loved one and going for a long evening stroll through the city. If you’re not averse to spending a little money, stop off at bars along the way and make a whole night of it.
3, Head Dowtown
Christmas is about getting out and about with the people you love, and you should jump at every opportunity to do so. Few things – and even fewer free things – are more enjoyable than sitting back and people watching as they come and go with their Christmas shopping.
4, See the Nativity
It’s always good to do something to remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas which, surprisingly, isn’t the lights or presents. Madrid is famous for the nativity scenes it puts on across the city, so make sure you get out to see one, two, or all of them! You’ll find them in Government buildings, museums, and the town hall.
5, Christmas Concerts
What better way to get in to the Christmas spirit is there than by joining in with carol singers? Christmas Concerts take place all over the city, and while you can easily find many that charge for tickets, a lot of the concerts, particularly those that take part in the church, are free. Go along and fill your heart with the sound of happiness.
6, Retiro Park
Retiro Park is a great place to visit regardless of the time of year, but head on over at Christmas and you’ll find an extra special atmosphere waiting for you. You’ll also find Christmas themed puppet shoes and musicians, which are perfect for kids and adults alike.
7, Visit the Church
Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas once more. Over the festive period, head on over to one of the city’s many religious sites, including the Cathedral or Basilica de San Francisco el Grande, and get in touch with your religious side.
8, Cortylandia Christmas Show
If you have kids then head over to the Cortylandia department store for a free 15 minute Christmas show. At the very least, it’ll give you or your partner some time to do some Christmas shopping and will act as an incentive for your kids to come along.
9, Christmas Mass
Spain is a deeply religious country, and regardless of your faith you would do well to attend one of the Christmas mass services on Christmas Eve. They start at midnight. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish – there is an English service over at a church called Our Lady of Mercy.
10, Be Happy
The most free and fun thing of all! Madrid is a great place to be in the Christmas so enjoy it. For more ideas, head over to the tourist information office and see what events are taking place during your stay. Whatever it is you get up, and at whatever cost, you’re sure to have a memorable stay.