Best time to go to Madrid

San Isidro Festival 2019

The holiday of San Isidro, one of the patrons of the city, has been celebrated in Madrid for centuries

San Isidro Festival in Madrid - Best Time
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© André Scherpenberg-Dedsharp Photography

One of the most famous national holidays occurs on May 15th—locals celebrate the day of the patron saint of the capital—Saint Isidro. For the first time, the festival took place on May 15th, 1620 in the Plaza Mayor and lasted for 8 days.

The best traditions of this holiday in Madrid have survived. Solemn events last for several days (between the 11th and 15th of May). The official opening of the festival takes place in the centre of the city on May 11th at six o'clock in the evening with a procession of giant doll heads from the Plaza Santo Domingo. The parade passes through the main streets of Madrid and finishes at Plaza de la Villa (Villa Square).

San Isidro Festival in Madrid - Best Season

During the next three days, concerts of brass bands, contemporary pop and rock performers, theatrical productions, and dance shows are held in the most emblematic places of the city (Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Oriente, the Temple of Debod, etc.). As for the dances on St. Isidro's Day, the locals perform the traditional Spanish dance chotis borrowed from the Scots.

Best time for San Isidro Festival in Madrid

On this day in the streets of Madrid, you can meet a huge number of women dressed in tight dresses flared at the knees, and men in checkered waistcoats and flat hats. Also, the ladies cover their heads with a white shawl and decorate their hair with a red carnation, and the Caballeros attach a flower to the lapel. There are special dishes for this day—small doughnuts Rosquillas.


Since the holiday is of a religious nature, the main events will be held on the field of San Isidro or as it is also called La Pradera. The celebratory mass will take place there, and after it, Catholics will go to the courtyard to fill the vessels with water from the holy spring. Afterwards, many Spaniards organize picnics on the hillsides.

Best time to see San Isidro Festival in Madrid
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