The best local festivals of the Community of Madrid

If you want to explore the Community of Madrid in a new, exciting way, we suggest attending its local festivals. To some extent, these events are a manifestation of the history and culture of each place, presented as traditional dances, old customs and a festive atmosphere that picture what it feels like to belong to this autonomous community. The festivals of the Community of Madrid are known for welcoming foreigners with open arms, and we will go through the most significant ones so you can enjoy them if you ever visit Madrid.  

The festivals of the city of Madrid

San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid

San Isidro

San Isidro. | Shutterstock

Every 15 May, the inhabitants of Madrid gather at the park of San Isidro to celebrate the festival of the city’s patron saint. San Isidro, also known as Isidore the Laborer in English, is the patron saint of farmers. If we attend the festival, we will find massive concerts, traditional gastronomy and costumes, and chotis music and dance to celebrate one of the most important festivals of the Community of Madrid. 

Dos de Mayo, a celebration of independence

The square of Dos de Mayo

The square of Dos de Mayo. | Shutterstock

2nd May 1808. People in Madrid rise against the French soldiers, who have invaded the streets of this city and many more across Spain. Their goal is to sit José Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, on the Spanish throne. The uprising of the 2nd May 1808 was the wake-up call the country needed, and the start of both the Spanish War of Independence and the Peninsular War. Two centuries later, the neighbourhood of Malasaña commemorates this historical event, and different activities take place in the city council, bars and shops. 

The “verbena trilogy”

Decorated streets at the festival of La Paloma

Decorated streets at the festival of La Paloma. | Shutterstock

In Spain, verbena is not only a plant: it is also a type of local festival, usually held at night-time. And Madrid knows its way around verbenas. Despite many locals leaving the city for the summer, in August Madrid shines in a unique way. The streets are not as crowded as usual, and those staying for the summer merrily celebrate the “verbena trilogy”. 

Around the 7th August, the neighbourhoods of Rastro and Embajadores held the festival of San Cayetano. Three days later, on the 10th August, one of the most authentic festivals of Madrid takes place in the neighbourhood of Lavapiés: the verbena of San Lorenzo. Lastly, on the 15th August, the neighbourhood of La Latina welcomes the festival of La Paloma, full of different activities for all tastes. 

Other great local festivals in the Community of Madrid

Festival of San Sebastián de los Reyes

The festival of San Sebastián de los Reyes

The festival of San Sebastián de los Reyes. | Shutterstock

The festival of San Sebastián de los Reyes takes place from the 28th August to the 3rd September, honouring the patron saint of the city in different ways: cultural performances, religious events, pasacalle parades, and fireworks staining the sky above San Sebastián de los Reyes with beautiful colours. Its running of the bulls is considered one of the most important ones nationally, only after the traditional running of the bulls of San Fermín in Pamplona. 

Festival of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

People in Madrid save the second weekend of September for the Romería de la Virgen de Gracia, the patroness saint of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This festivity has a religious origin, but it has perfectly blended into current society and culture. It is held in the forest of La Herrería of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and the customs and traditions of the mountain area of Madrid come to the fore for a whole weekend. 

Festival of Majadahonda

During the third week of September, Majadahonda gets festive with the festival in honour of the Santísimo Cristo de los Remedios. This celebration is ideal for all tastes and ages, with different performances that are held throughout the day, as well as verbenas for the youth that are looking for a lively night. 

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