What’s Going on in Madrid over Christmas

Just before I sign off for Christmas, here’s a link to a pdf that you can download from the Madrid City Council website which lists a number of events – concerts, workshops, shows and nativity scenes – that are going on in the city until the second week of January. It is in Spanish but you should be able to make out  a lot of what is said. Consulta al Programa de las Fiestas (2.470 KB) (2004)

Related Links (2005)
Madrid Opens Ice Rink for Christmas (2005)
Children the Central Focus of Christmas in Madrid (2005)
Christmas Lights Around Madrid
Christmas Nativity Scenes and Markets in Madrid (2005)
Retiro Ice Rink Opens for Christmas (2005)

Music in the Plazas of Madrid over Christmas

Over the Christmas period the City Council of Madrid has organised a series of concerts at some of the main squares across the city.

Plaza del Conde de Barajas – 22nd December (8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza de Colón – 23rd December (8 p.m.)
Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza de Carros – 26th
December (8 p.m.)

Nueva Orleans Jazz Band 

Plaza Santa Ana – 27th December
(8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid 

Plaza del Conde de Barajas* – 28th December (8 p.m.)
Cuadro Flamenco. Talegón de Córdoba y Manuel Malena 

Plaza de Oriente – 29th December
(8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza del Conde de Barajas – 30th December (8p.m.)
Matritum Cantat

*concerts in the Plaza
del Conde de Barajas take place next to the City Council Nativity Scene

REM, Maroon 5 and Bryan Adams to kick off 2005 in Madrid


The New Year in Madrid kicks off with some great concerts. Here is a brief selection:

REM + Invited Guest
8th January | 10 p.m.
Price: 33 to 44 Euros
Venue: Palacio Vistalegre
Tickets: FNAC, Madrid Rock, Tiendas Tipo & www.ticktackticket.com

Maroon 5
Date: 20th January | 10 p.m.
Price: 22 Euros
Sala La Riviera (Paseo Virgen del Puerto s/n)
Tickets: Box office, FNAC, Madrid Rock, Tiendas Tipo & www.ticktackticket.com

Bryan Adams
Date: 28th January | 9.30 p.m.
Price: 32.20 to 55 Euros
Venue: Palacio Vistalegre
Tickets:  Servicaixa and Halcón Viajes

Van Morrison
Date 29th January | 9 p.m.
Price: 40 to 70 Euros
Venue: Palacio de Congresos (Pº
de la Castellana, 99)
Tickets: Box Office, FNAC, Madrid Rock, Tiendas Tipo and www.ticktackticket.com
(902 888 902).

Christmas fun for the Children

This Christmas the city of Madrid will be putting on an a number of shows and activities specifically targeted at children. As the events are mainly in Spanish, this article is aimed at my Spanish (or Spanish speaking) readers. You will find Alice in Wonderland (Alicia en el país de las maravillas); Garfield; Sleeping Beauty (La bella durmiente); the Snow Queen (La Reina de las Nieves); Romeo and Juliet and Los Lunnis (a popular Spanish TV programme for children).

In the Centro Cultural Conde Duque children will be able to choose from theatre, music and the cinema; whilst there are a couple of street shows in the Retiro Park related to Don Quixote. The Auditorio del Conde Duque will also project the silent films of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, complete with a piano in the auditorium.

In addition, children can see puppet shows and the ‘smallest circus in the world’

More information
Navidad para toda la familia (El Mundo)
Diversión para niños en Navidad (Esmadrid)

Nativity Scenes around Madrid


All over Madrid you will be able to see beautiful nativity scenes, in churches, palaces, the Plaza Mayor and even in stores. Some of the more well known ones can be seen on a guided tour, which takes in the nativity scenes of the Plaza Mayor, the Convento of the Carboneras, Príncipe (Royal Palace) and the Monasteries/Convents of la Encarnación, las Descalzas y Santa Isabel. These tours start from the Royal Palace (the Almudena door) on the 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 and 30 of December and cost 3.15 Euros for adults and 2.55 for children and retired people and I believe they are conducted in Spanish. You can always go to the above venues at your own convenience as they will be open all over Christmas.

My Madrid – Carolina Borgesi

Carolina_borgesi_1For the 4th instalment of ‘My Madrid‘ I have invited Carolina Borgesi, a 29 year-old architect and graduate of the University of Buenos Aires to let us know about what she likes about the city . Married to Germán González Garrido, they both founded Proyectodigital, a design and architectural illustration company and Todo360.com, which since 2002 has been dedicated to Panoramic Photography and Virtual Tours. Their Web site Madrid Virtual offers fantastic panoramic images of Madrid.

Carolina arrived in Madrid in 2002 and was enchanted by the city from day one. She lives in Antón Martín, an old neighbourhood very close to downtown Madrid .

Favourite Bar/café: Chocolatería San Ginés and the Teatro Español Café in the Plaza Santa Ana.
Favourite Dish(es): Gazpacho and Paella.
Favourite Tapas: Pincho de tortilla and Patatas Bravas.
Favourite Restaurant: Viva Chapata in Ave María street (delicious home-made sandwiches made out of “chapata” bread!) and Restaurante Madrid 1 in Carrera de San Jerónimo next to Plaza Canalejas.
Favourite Shop: FNAC (imposible to get out of there!) and IKEA.
Best time of year: Every season has it´s charm. Spring and fall have the best Arco_de_cuchilleros weather to take long walks through the magic streets of the medieval Madrid or visit the Retiro Park. In winter, especially in December, is beautiful to visit the traditional Christmas fair in Plaza Mayor, drink a hot chocolate in Chocolatería San Ginés and enjoy the Christmas decoration all over the city streets.

Read more

Madrid Card offers Reduced Rates for Christmas

I saw in the online newspaper ABC that Madrid Card has just released a special Madrid Card Navidad (Christmas) that only costs 20 Euros. The Madrid Card offers, amongst other things:

● Entry to over 40 museums (like the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofía)
Unlimited travel (Bus, Metro & Suburban Trains)
● Guided Tour of Hapsburg Madrid and
● Discounts in bars, restaurants and shows

These cards can either be bought online or at hotels and tourist offices. Here are the prices as displayed on the Madrid Card site:

The 1 day card: 28€.
The 2 day card: 42€ – 4€ discount when you buy it on the website.
The 3 day card: 55€. 5€ discount when you buy it on the website.

Though I’m not sure how ABC do their maths, it might be worth doing yours beforehand to see if it is worth the expense.
*Update* – El Mundo newspaper points out that the 20 Euro rate is for a 2-day pass.

December Photos of Madrid

Last Saturday I got an email from an ERASMUS student, Juraj, who is spending the year studying in Madrid. The email included a selection of photos that he took last Friday and Saturday and was in response to an article I wrote asking for people to send in some photos to me. I liked the photos so much, as they really captured Madrid at Christmas, that I have created a photo album of them. Please take a look at them by clicking on the link in the left-hand side bar (photo album) or clicking below.


The Royal Palace (Palacio Real)

Picture of Royal Palace, Madrid (Courtesy of madridvirtual.com

The palace was built between 1738 and 1764. It has a central interior courtyard, whilst another courtyard – the Plaza de Armas on the south side – acts as the principal entrance to the palace. This courtyard looks out on to the Almudena Cathedral. The Palace occupies 13 hectares, has 870 windows, 240 balconies and 44 staircases.

Madrid’s Royal Palace of  is considered by many to be one of the finest palaces in Europe. It is not the official residence of the King of Spain, that is the Zarzuela Palace outside Madrid, though official banquets and other important state events do take place here. As Napoleon remarked to his brother who he made king of Spain, “You will be better lodged here than I am myself”.

The Royal Palace, is built on the site of the old Alcázar which was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve 1734. King Felipe V decided to build a palace for his Borbon dynasty. The Italian Filippo Juvara was selected to design the new palace and his plans were to create a grand palace along the lines of France’s Versailles, though at a different location in Madrid. Felipe V rejected this and on the death of Juvara his pupil, Juan Bautista Sachetti, took on the scaled down project at the location of the original Alcázar.

Read more

Madrid’s Mayor Switches on Christmas Lights

Plaza_mayor_lights_2 A couple of days ago the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, switched on the Christmas lights around the centre of MAdrid, starting with the Plaza de Colón, then c/ Alcalá and Mayor, before finishing in the Plaza Mayor. This year a number of artists have been invited to come up with their own designs for the different barrios of Madrid, which has resulted in 80 streets and squares being lit up with over 2 million lightbulbs! The lights will continue until 6th January.

Ice Rink comes to the Retiro Park

Within the next couple of weeks the City Council of Madrid will install an ice rink in Retiro Park – the first time that they have ever done this in the park. In an area where roller skating is practiced, the council will create a huge rink, complete changing rooms, people to help you skate and facilities to rent out boots. The ice rink will be set up in December and run through until January and it is anticipated that you will be able to listen to live music in the area surrounding the rink.

360° Virtual Tours of Madrid

Palacio Real, from Madrid virtual.com

I came across a pretty cool website today, which offers visitors 360° virtual tours of some of Madrid’s most famous landmarks. Madrid Virtual have taken images of landmarks as famous as Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, Teatro Real, Plaza de Callao, the Almudena Cathedral and Puerto de Sol many more. You simply select the location you want and pan around or zoom in/out of an image.

The website was set up by 2 architects/photograhers/technofiles who share a passion for Madrid and who, long term, intend to take 360° tours of 171 locations that they have idenitifed. Their website can be viewed in both Spanish and English and it is possible to buy stunning images of the city in both CD-Rom or poster form.

Woody Allen and the New Orleans Jazz Band play Madrid at Christmas


On the 26th December Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band will be playing at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos in the Campo de las Naciones exhibition (a previous summer show had to be postponed and Woody Allen promised he would return soon). The tickets for the show will go on sale at all branches of the Caixa Catalunya bank or by telephone on 902 10 12 12. You can also buy tickets through Telentrada.com – if I’m correct you can buy with a Credit Card and pick up the tickets through a machine at the venue (though, you’d better check beforehand).

Metro: Campo de las Naciones (line 8)