The climate of Madrid has justly been described as 'nine months of winter (invierno) and three months of hell (infierno)'. Many people can't cope with the summer heat, others love it – and the city is great fun during the fiestas.
Winter in Madrid can be very cold (in January hitting lows of 36ºF/2ºC), although there's often bright, crisp sunshine and most rain falls in autumn and spring. Spring is unpredictable – February can often be freakishly warm, while in April, rain is likely. Summer temperatures range from hot to unbearably hot (88ºF/31ºC in July), although it's a dry heat with little humidity. In July and August it doesn't really cool down at night, making partying in the street great fun, but sleeping less so. Traditionally there's a mass exodus in August. Autumn weather is usually bright and warm and it's often possible to eat and drink outside well into October.
Every season sees an arts festival, a music fest, a fiesta or a themed film season in Madrid. There is something to suit all tastes, but, to make sure you catch one you like, it's worth doing a little forward planning.
See all festivals & events in Madrid
On public holidays (fiestas), virtually all shops, banks and offices, and some bars and restaurants, are closed. There is a near-normal public transport service, though, except on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and many museums are open, with Sunday hours. When a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday many people take the day before or after the weekend off as well, in a long weekend called a puente (bridge). Many places are also closed for the whole of Easter Week. The usual official holidays are:
New Year's Day (Año Nuevo) 1 Jan.
Three Kings (Reyes Magos) 6 Jan.
Good Friday (Viernes Santo).
May (Labour) Day (Fiesta del Trabajo) 1 May.
Madrid Day (Día de la Comunidad de Madrid) 2 May.
San Isidro 15 May.
Virgen de la Paloma 15 Aug.
Discovery of America (Día de la Hispanidad) 12 Oct.
All Saints' Day (Todos los Santos) 1 Nov.
Virgen de la Almudena 9 Nov.
Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) 6 Dec.
Immaculate Conception (La Inmaculada) 8 Dec.
Christmas Day (Navidad) 25 Dec.
While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.
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