From: Thursday, November 23, 2023
To: Sunday, January 7, 2024
Madrid Christmas & New Year 2023
As Christmas trees and decorations light up streets and squares, Madrid celebrates everyone’s favourite holiday with a programme packed with cultural and leisure activities.
- Visiting Madrid for Christmas? Stay close to the Plaza Mayor Market at these top hotels. Consider the Petit Palace Chueca with great breakfast options and large balconies in most rooms.
The December Bank Holiday in Spain
- Christmas kicks off early in Madrid with the December Bank Holiday weekend featuring two national holidays on the 6th (Constitution Day) and the 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception). Known as a bridge-holiday, most Spaniards take the between-day off and party all weekend. Popular gay events include the Mad Bear Madrid Weekend.
Plaza Mayor Christmas Market
- Each year as Christmas rolls around, Madrid’s main square turns into a sprawling market featuring 104 stalls filled with nativity scene figures, musical instruments, toys and joke items.
- Organised by the Plaza Mayor Christmas Market Association, this hundred-year-old fair is one of the city’s most beloved traditions.
- The 104 stalls run by individual vendors sell Christmas favourites: figurines to make your own nativity scenes, Christmas decorations and gag gifts.
- The Plaza Mayor Christmas Market opens from 10 am to 9 pm (on Fridays, Saturdays, and holiday Eve it is open till 10 pm.)
- Enjoy the Suite life at Madrid 1915 Private Suites, for an “Exceptional” stay featuring spacious apartments, perfect for a festive escape, just steps from the markets.
Plaza de Santa Cruz Christmas Market
- If Plaza Mayor is very crowded, make your way to Plaza de Santa Cruz or Plaza del Carmen, located nearby. Take a ride on the vintage carousel that runs until the beginning of January.
- Make sure you purchase your own Belén. It’s a lovely souvenir that will always remind you of your special Christmas in Madrid.
- The nativity scene or Belén (Spanish for Bethlehem) has special significance in Spain. Each family has their own unique one. The size and complexity varies from a mere three figures to a whole town with rivers, lights and hundreds of figures.
Gigantic Light Ball
- November 23rd to January 7th 2023 The Gigantic Light Ball at the iconic Metropolis Building sees the return of one of the big hits from last Christmas: a spectacular 3D light ball with a diameter of 12 metres, weighing seven tonnes and fitted with 43,000 led lights at the intersection of Calle Alcalá and Gran Vía, just in front of the Metrópolis Building.
- The lights on the sphere enable light and sound to be programmed and synchronised to create a spectacular pixel mapping session reproduced on a loop.
- Stay on Gran Via, one of the city’s most famous streets, close to all the major attractions and just an 8 minute walk to the gay bars and clubs. The Boutique Hotel H10 offers light and airy rooms in a beautiful setting, our top recommended 4 star property in Madrid.
New Year’s Eve at the Puerta del Sol
- On the evening of December 31st, all televisions in Spain light up with the image of the Puerta del Sol. Thousands of people flock to the square to usher in the New Year and eat 12 lucky grapes to the twelve chimes of the Real Casa de Correos clock.
- New features this year include the lighting of the Real Casa de Correos, housing the Madrid City Hall in a light, fireworks and confetti show right after the New Year chimes.
Gay New Year Events
- The We Party’s New Year Festival is one of Europe’s most prominent gay celebrations featuring world-class DJs and excellent stage productions in some of the city’s top clubs. Check out the entire program.
- Stay at the Room Mate Oscar in the centre of the gay district. This hotel is hot and happening during the big gay events, including the NYE festival.
Other popular weekly parties will hold NYE events over the festive season, including:
- MARTA CARIÑO – Two floors, multiple spaces. Coffee, drinks, food, an extensive cocktail menu with DJs, live music and a lot of fun. C/Silva, 4
- LA BOITE – On Sundays: “El Club de las Domingas” club awaits, ready to make you dance to the best commercial pop music and entertain you with original and unusual shows. C/Tetuán, 27
- DLRO LIVE – Night club offering different shows every day of the week. Playing pop and commercial music so you can’t stop dancing. C/Pelayo, 59
- VUELVETE LOCA – If you love the Drag scene and pop music, you should visit this venue where you’ll be able to dance all night long. C/Hortaleza, 43
- LL BAR – Part of the scene for more than 25 years, this bar offers daily Drag shows which will not leave you unimpressed. C/Pelayo, 11
- KLUSTER – Every Saturday: for lovers of house music and techno. You’ll find an impressive stage in an old theatre, huge LED and the most avant-garde laser show. C/Covarrubias, 42
- BEARBIE – Every Friday and Saturday, pop and disco music at Chueca’s bear friendly club. Plaza Pedro Zerolo, 2
Chueca and other neighbourhoods
- If you don’t want to hit the clubs, head to Chueca, the city’s gay district, where the streets are full of NYE revellers and partygoers. The neighbourhood is one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant places in Madrid. Plaza de Chueca and Plaza de Pedro Zerolo, renamed in 2015 for the late Spanish activist who fought tirelessly for the LGBTI+ cause, are the heart of the district.
- Calle Fuencarral, Malasaña and Salesas, adjacent neighbourhoods, join forces with Chueca to offer visitors an unmissable experience.
- For example, Calle Fuencarral is well known as one of the most popular shopping areas of the city, Malasaña is the meeting point of the most modern creatives, and Salesas embodies a chic, bohemian spirit and is an elegant district of the capital.
For many in Madrid, NYE is celebrated over a long and luscious dinner. Reservations should be made well in advance. Here are some of our top recommendations in the city for everything from brunch to a light snack, the traditional to something special.
- Brunch, try Zafyro Café Club with an eclectic mix of options, plus lots of eye candy.
- Tapas, visit La Tape – Traditional Spanish – crowded, crazy, great beer.
- Los Chuchis – Amazing mix and even some home food Spanish style – sausages and shepherds pie – fun.
- Roostiq – Right in the heart of Chueca – close to the bars – amazing Spanish bbq.
- Lhardy – It’s a bit fancy but the best transitional Spanish food
- Cada Alberto, Goldilocks would say this is just right – not too fussy but not too tapasy either
- Restaurante Casa Benigna – Amazing Paella with a real quirky vibe.
Enjoy delicious hot chocolate, churros and other treats.
- Head to Chocolateria San Ginés for some delicious hot chocolate con churros, a must when you are in Madrid. Try their Turrón, a homemade Spanish candy bar with honey, egg whites and pine nuts or almonds.
January 5th – Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos
- Spaniards believe that Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar are responsible for bringing Christmas presents, not Santa Claus. The Cabalgata de Los Magos is celebrated each year on the evening of January 5th. A massive parade weaves through Madrid, and during that time, children hurry to catch candy thrown from the floats. The centrepieces of the parade are three elaborately decorated floats carrying the Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men).
- Parade Route (from 6.30 pm to 9pm approximately): Paseo de la Castellana (Nuevos Ministerios corner of Plaza San Juan de la Cruz) – Paseo de la Castellana – Plaza del Doctor Gregorio Marañón – Paseo de la Castellana – Glorieta de Emilio Castelar – Paseo de la Castellana – Plaza de Colón – Paseo de Recoletos – Plaza de Cibeles (End of Parade).
Madrid has several ice skating rinks built purposely for the Christmas celebrations. All open in the early morning and close typically at 10 pm.
- Galería de Cristal inside CentroCentro – the City Council located in Plaza de Cibeles.
- Pista de hielo Javier Fernández on Plaza de Azca.
- Pista de hielo Villa de Vallecas on Paseo Federico García Lorca (Villa de Vallecas Metro station).
- Pista de hielo Puente de Vallecas on Entrevías-Asamblea de Madrid Renfe station.
- Palacio de Hielo Dreams on Calle Silvano, 77 (Canillas Metro station).
Naviluz, The Christmas Bus
- This year sees the return of Naviluz, the Christmas bus, which takes passengers down some of Madrid’s most emblematic streets to show off the city’s wonderful display of Christmas lights. Starting on 26 November and ending on 6 January 2022, the bus runs numerous times a day.
- The journey lasts approximately 50 minutes and buses run every 10 minutes, from 6pm to 11pm (Sun-Thur) and 6pm to midnight (Fri-Sat and holidays).
- This year’s route is the following: Plaza Colón (next to the Gardens of Discovery) – C/ Serrano – Plaza de la Independencia – Plaza de Cibeles – C/ Alcalá – Gran Vía – C/ de los Reyes – C/ Maestro Guerrero – C/ San Leonardo – Plaza de España – C/ Gran Vía – C/ Alcalá – Plaza de Cibeles – Plaza de la Independencia – C/Alcalá – C/ Velázquez – C/ Ortega y Gasset – C/ Serrano until the corner of C/ Goya.
Recommended Hotels in Madrid
The following hotels are all are close to the city’s top attractions and gay bars
Gay Map of Madrid
Most of the gay bars in Madrid are located in Chueca, the city’s gay village and epicentre of all Spanish gay life. Hotels here fill up fast, so book well in advance, especially for key events.
Recommended Hotels in Madrid By Booking
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We have chosen hotels in Madrid that keep you close to all the shops,restaurants & bars
5 Star, Luxury
- Small Luxury Hotel Member
- Iconic Views of Gran Via
- 8-minute walk to Chueca
- Fabulous Breakfast
- Superb wellness centre and sauna, glamorous original architecture and special extras, Nespresso coffee machines.
4 Star, Readers Choice
- 4-star central location
- Superb breakfasts
- 6-minute walk to Chueca
- Modern stylish rooms
- Spacious rooms have balcony views and the rooftop bar is perfect for pre-dinner cocktails and offers sweeping city views.
Iberostar Las Letras
4 Star, Great Value
- Design Hotel in historic building
- Rooftop pool and sundeck
- 8-minute walk to Chueca
- Large fitness area
- Charming hotels with high-ceilings and extra touches, including a library and suites with private jacuzzis.
Room Mate Oscar
3 Star, Location
- Popular gay-friendly hotel
- Superb roof terrace and pool
- Located in Chueca
- Stylish retro decor with character
- One of the most popular hotels in Madrid, with professional staff and a perfect location for exploring the gay district of Chueca.
Video Of A Christmas in Madrid
A look at the lights you can expect this year.
Top Gay Neighbourhoods in Madrid
Discover the vibrant spirit of Madrid, a city that embraces diversity and offers an inclusive escape for LGBTQ+ travellers, blending rich cultural heritage, lively nightlife, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. While Chueca is the primary gay area, other neighbourhoods in Madrid also offer a range of bars and clubs with different vibes and unique experiences worth exploring.
Chueca | Madrid’s Gay Village
- Chueca is located in the centre of Madrid, just north of Gran Vía and is the heart of Madrid’s LGBTQ+ community.
- The neighbourhood offers a colourful and lively ambience with many gay bars, clubs, and shops.
- It is celebrated for its inclusivity and hosts one of Europe’s biggest Pride festivals.
- Discover the best things to see and do in Chueca.
The bustling area is perfect for those who want to be close to major attractions and gay bars and clubs.
Hip neighbourhood with vintage stores & an artistic flair, trendy bars & cafes surround Plaza del Dos de Mayo