Madrid has a lot to offer the tourists that visit the city during the winter months. It often overlooked as a winter and Christmas holiday hotspots to New York or London. It could also be that it's missing a beach, which many tourists to Spain seek and therefore divert naturally to Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga or the party hotspots like Majorca or Ibiza. Despite all this, wrap up warm and read on to discover why Madrid is the most beautiful European city to visit in winter.
Madrid is Europe’s highest capital city, the winter days are dry but bright and sunny, this gives the Madrileños the perfect opportunity to sit out at street terraces throughout the winter months and the skies are a bright blue colour. The weather is a great chance to continue the winter drinks and break!
Where to stay?
Without a doubt the best area to stay in Madrid on your travels in winter, summer or anytime of the year is Gran Via.
Located near the iconic Puerta del Sol square which is the “center of Spain” down to the bustling Gran Via (Madrid’s main street) - you will be in the centre of everything. Many of the city’s main sights are located within walking distance in this area, from the Prado Museum to the Royal Palace. Filled with luxury hotels and airbnbs - you are not short of any options.
What to do?
Retiro Park is beautiful in winter and the ideal place for a romantic, cosy walk or spend an activity packed day with the family by rowing boat on the lake.
Another option is the Casa de Campo park, it is home to Madrid’s zoo, a theme park and a cable car, as well as a lake surrounded by restaurants – a good option for a lunch.
Every December, Madrid lays on a special NaviBus (‘Christmas bus’) that takes passengers on a festive tour of the city’s incredible Christmas lights. A great evening out sitting up cosy on a top decker bus - a unique experience and one not be missed. All tickets to this must be booked in advance.
Madrid is close to the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range and the ski resort of Puerta de Navacerrada. A great option for a day trip or spend the night in the mountains and hit the slopes early the next day. A hidden gem of Spain and Europe!
If that's not all enough, shop at Madrid’s best Christmas market located in Plaza Mayor. Here you can find stalls selling everything from nativity characters and baubles to wigs and funny glasses.
What to eat?
Wherever you go in Spain you will find tapas bars everywhere. Madrid is no different although they make it a bit easier for you as all the best ones are located in one area; Cava Baja, Madrid’s ‘tapas street’. Whats better that given their demand, you will most likely have to queue, the winter cold makes the queuing more bearable that the summer heat!
Madrid is known for "Cave bars" - the names is derived from the location of these great bars being located in restaurant basements - a design which was popular in 1950s and has stayed on in the 2000s. The location makes them the perfect cosy place to enjoy a late-night drink during the winter days. Check out the 1862 Dry Bar or La Musa Latina.
If there's ever a time to indulge in some guilty free sweet tooth treats then its the winter when no one has a beach on their minds! Make sure to try the comforting taste of freshly made churros dipped in a cup of thick, glossy hot chocolate. There are churros shops all over the city, but the most famous is Chocolatería San Ginés, open 24 hours a day to satisfy every late night churros craving.