San Isidro Festival in Madrid
You don't want to miss this festival!
As ChicRoom Barcelona also has holiday apartments in the beautiful city of Madrid we’re ought to be inform you about events in the Spanish capital. We now have 12 different apartments to offer you for an incredible stay. They are located in different central areas of Madrid. All the apartments have been hand selected and are guaranteed to make your stay as comfortable and luxurious as possible. With San Isidro Festival in Madrid we have the perfect excuse for you to escape your day to day routine and explore the city during one of its most exciting and popular festivals whilst staying in one of our beautiful holiday apartments.
Festivities of San Isidro Festival in Madrid
The San Isidro Festival presents the best of Madrid culture whether it is old or new. From bull fighting to street dancing, you are bound to find everything you like. Also, enjoy the concerts, plays, parades, fairs and special exhibitions – most of these you can enjoy free of charge. This festival is said to be the most significant and emblematic festival of the year for Madrid. It is a festival where the whole city gets involved and it spreads across 6 days from 10 to 15 May.
While visiting Madrid during the San Isidro Festival you will be able to fully immerse yourself in traditional Spanish culture and live like a Spaniard in one of our holiday apartments. The history behind this spectacular event is that the San Isidro Labrador was canonized on May 15th 1622 as he miraculously made water rise up in a well in order to save his son. To find out more about it, you can visit the church on Calle Toledo during the festival – which is now built over the site where the miracle took place. The church puts on a small museum exhibition and it is definitely worth a visit.
The beginning of the festivies are marked with the traditional parade of the Gigantes y cabezudos (giants and over-sized head figures) at 6.00 PM from Calle de la Sal (see map below). The traditional opening speech will follow the parade in Plaza Mayor at 8.00 PM as well as live music.
During the weekend of this festival you might join partygoers day and night. If you want to let you hair down and join in with the masses then head down to the Plaza de las Vistillas, Plaza de San Andrés and Puente de Segovia in the neighbourhood of Austrias near Plaza Mayor. These plazas have bars and pop up ‘chiringuitos’ for everyone to enjoy a big glass of mojito, beer or whatever you fancy! There is a real party atmosphere that is unmissable!
Picnic in the Pradera
There are other events during the festival where the party atmosphere fills the city. You can head to the Pradera and enjoy a picnic in San Isidro Park. The Pradera also has many food and drink stalls if you haven’t brought yours. This emblematic part of the festival on Sunday 12 May is the “Pradera de San Isidro” due to its picnicking tradition. It is the place where people gathered at the end of their pilgrimage.
If you have children they’ll love this part of San Isidro celebrations. Not only they’ll be could play outside in a vast green park but also various activities will be at their disposal.
On the night of May 15 there will be a giant firework display to celebrate the end of the festival.
If you enjoy music and don’t miss the free concerts in several spots of Madrid. You’ll be able to enjoy various music genre such as pop music, rock, electronic and world music together with more folklore styles. See the map below for the different stages. For the programme click here (only in Spanish unfortunately).
The Full Spanish Tradition
There are other traditions that are typically Spanish that you could experience. This includes the controversial Spanish sport of bullfighting; it might not be for you but you may want to experience this part of traditional Spanish culture. San Isidro is probably the biggest bullfighting festival in the world. The best fights with the most prized fighters are saved for this time. There is a bullfight every afternoon including one special event called “La Corrida Goyesca” where traditional Goyesco outfits are worn.
To experience a traditional part of Spanish culture you should book your tickets as far in advance as possible as they go really quickly. Some days you could purchase tickets for as little as 8€.
Food also plays an important part in the festivities and tradition. You should try the limonada, a drink prepared with wine, lemon, sugar and fruit (usually apples). Accompany it with rosquillas which are doughnuts that come in different shapes and sizes. You can choose among listas (“smart”, or glazed), tontas (“dumb”, or plain), de Santa Clara (covered in dry meringue) or francesas (“French”, with almonds).
Parades and Street Celebrations
There are various events and fairs set up throughout the festival. One of the highlights are the street parades with Giant and big-headed figures. There are huge figurines that walk the street and smaller people with paper mache heads. It has been a tradition since the festival began and so you shouldn’t miss it! One will take place on 11 May and will start at 12.00 PM from Plaza de la Villa. The second will be on 15 May from 10.30 AM at the crossroad of Calle del General Ricardos with Paseo del Quince de Mayo (see map below).
You might also come across locals dancing the traditional dance of “El Chotis”. This is a traditional dance originally performed by the working class.
And people of every age dance wearing their best traditional outfit.
Check out this link from 2016 to see what you might be missing.