Winter Wonderland: How to Spend the Holidays in Madrid, Spain

If you've found yourself in beautiful Madrid for the holiday season, well, congratulations! You've landed in one of the most under-rated, but oh-so-deserving winter wonderland capitals of Europe! Sure, mulled wine in Germany strolling through Christmas markets sounds great, but we've got two words for you: chocolate + churros. Madrid is a stunning place in general, but during the holidays, there's a certain buzz, or magic in the air, that we simply cannot describe in words. On the other hand, we can however tell you where to go and what to eat! So there's that! Whether you're alone, with your sig other, or with mom and pops; Madrid has something just for you!

Photo via @pavkat

Photo via @pavkat


Ice Skating in Plaza Colón

You're never too old to throw on some skates, and make a fool of yourself! Really, though! Madrid has its own version of the iconic New York ice skating experience in beautiful, and central Plaza Colón! Come on, do it for the 'gram! Instagram that is!

Cost: 4 euros for 30 minutes on Monday through Thursday and 5 euros on the weekends

Hours: 10h - 22:30h & 10h - 21h (Sunday)

Helpful vocabulary to know:

pista de hielo (ice skating rink)

patinar (to skate)

patines (skates)

Ouch! Me he caído y me duele la muñeca (Ow! I fell down, and hurt my wrist!)


Navibús

Navibús is a big, obnoxiously jolly Christmas bus that takes you and yours all around Madrid to check out the lights that hang from the most iconic buildings and plazas! Make sure to bundle up, as it's a panoramic bus and it can get chilly in the open air! Hint: Moms love this! Earn some gold stars this Christmas season! Each trip takes around 45-50 minutes!

Cost: General: 2€
Free: niños hasta 7 años
Older than 65: 1,50€

Where does it take us exactly? Glad you asked! It leaves from Plaza Colón then calle Serrano, Puerta de Alcalá, Alcalá, Plaza de Cibeles,  Alcalá, Gran Vía,  Callao, Jacometrezo, Santo Domingo, San Bernardo, Gran Vía,  Alcalá, Plaza de Cibeles, Alcalá, Puerta de Alcalá, Velázquez, Ortega y Gasset, and end on calle Serrano where you began!

Helpful vocabulary to know:

Hace frío (It's cold!)

Mira! (Look!)

Dónde está la parada del Navibús? (Where is the Navibús bus stop?)

Ay, qué mono! (Oh! How cute!)


Chill in a Palace

Yes, you read right! Where are our history and architecture nerds! (*raises the roof like it's 1998*) There's an extremely cool and FREE event happening now until 10th of January! Two palaces are opening their doors to the public for theatrical, historical guided tours! Check out Fernán Núñez (Santa Isabel, 44) and Duques de Santoña (Huertas, 13) from the 12th of December until the 10th of January! All you need to do is send an email and reseve your spot on the tour! (5 max. per person) There's more information here!

Cost: Free.99

Dates: December 12th - January 10th

Helpful vocabulary to know:

Me aburro (I'm bored)

Qué guay! (How cool!)

En qué año? (In what year?)

No entiendo, lo repites por favor? (I don't understand, can you repeat it please?)


Pop-Up Christmas Markets:

Besides the most well-known markets in Plaza Jacinto Benavente, and the Plaza Mayor, we also recommend The Hovse, a pop-up market with over 50 stands and: word on the street is that there is also a food truck or two!

Hours: Monday through Sunday 11h to 21h

Cost: Easy Breezy Freezy!

Why go? Because we both know you haven't finished buying all your Christmas presents yet!

Helpful vocabulary to know:

Es caro! (It's expensive)

Merece la pena (It's worth it)

Es un regalo, lo puedes envolver? (It's a present, can you wrap it?)

Cuánto cuesta? (How much does it cost?)


Eat... all the foods!

When booking restaurants during the Christmas holidays, keep in mind that most companies celebrate a dinner outside the office. Many restaurants have a special Christmas menu that ranges from 22 euros to 88 euros a person! This is not what you want... why? Because those prices are based on groups of 10 or more! What we recommend is using sites such as El Tenedor and Restaurantes to book a table in advance. In the mean time, you can binge on Spanish Christmas sweets like turrón (a hard or soft sweet made from almond and of course sugar) mazapán (does it matter what it's made of, just eat it!) and for all you nostalgic for the classic fruit cake, well there's roscón de reyes (all we can say is that there is such a thing as too much). Either way, have your dentist and your trainer on speed dial come January 8th! Don't forget that January 6th is like the big Spanish Christmas celebration! It's a national holiday, and everything (even the mall, yes) will be closed!

 

How are you spending your holidays this year? Tell us all about it!


Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.