San Isidro

Madrid’s local holidays in memory of her patron saint.

This year it starts on May 11th with a program of: music, theater, circus, dance, and games to commemorate the patron saint of the city: San Isidro.

A parade of giant heads marks the beginning of this season's festivities, followed by the traditional speech of certain celebrities from the Palacio de Cibeles.

From the beginning the Festival will offer a huge range of activities for all ages and tastes. Even circus will be represented on the streets for several days in Lavapiés including music, acrobats, jugglers and tightrope walkers.

Once again this year the Sabatini Gardens will host a very typical event for Madrid that has become, in short, a classic during these holidays. Let´s dance. Ballroom Dancing in the Gardens of Sabatini offers the opportunity to enjoy swing, salsa, tango or waltz, in an environment that will take you the times of Hollywood movies of the 30'S, 40'S and 50'S.

Music will have different offerings within San Isidro 2011, from the most popular music held at the Vistillas from the 12th to 15th, to roots music at the Planetarium on Saturday14th, to the best rock music on Sunday at Universimad, or the independent music of Madrid at Madrid independent circuit, a series of concerts in the halls of Live Music in Madrid.

This year the Fiestas de San Isidro will take place in the new space created from the area of the Manzanares known as Madrid Río, with surprises created exclusively for this occasion that will transform this part of the city into a Madrid thought of only in dreams.



Carnival is a big party that anyone can join on the street. The city hall offers a large, fun and complete program of activities for everybody.

Parades, street performances, concerts, live music, dance and classical music, theater, folk costumes and comedy troupes, street musicians and bands lead up to the traditional burial of the sardine that heralds the end of carnival.

If you want to receive the carnival program in detail, kindly find them in our events section.


Holy Week

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday (17 to 24 April 2011), thousands of people come to Madrid to watch the different processions through the streets of Madrid come alive and to enjoy the unique atmosphere created by the respectful silence during the ceremonious beating of drums and trumpets, as well as to see hundreds of parish brothers in their colorful purple costumes or others carrying the figure of Jesus on their shoulders. It's all part of the celebration that represents the mysteries of the Salvation of Jesus of Nazareth that inhabitants feel most deeply.

Madrid intensively celebrates the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, not only in the exaltation of its devotion, but in other cultural events held parallel. While churches and basilicas schedule concerts of sacred music, the various religious guilds (Cofradías) go out on the streets to lead the marches of the figure of Jesus under a respectful and religious silence and the best restaurants and bakeries in the city add typical Easter dishes with a touch of Madrid’s tradition to their offerings.

On Easter, religious images come out from the various basilicas and churches, beautifully adorned with numerous candles, flowers and rich embroidered robes to guide the processions like the ones that pass through the Paseo del Prado, Alcalá Street or Plaza Mayor. Along their entire path they are accompanied by dozens of penitents and are carried by bearers of the various religious guilds.

As for the most important processions held on Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday, we must mention the passing of Christ of Faith and Forgiveness, and the Our Father Jesus of Health, respectively. The first comes from the Basílica Pontificia de San Miguel and the second is organized by the Brotherhood of Our Father of Health and the Virgin of Sorrows, known as Gypsies, and walks the streets near the Paseo del Prado and the Plaza de Neptuno.

Also, processions held during Easter to commemorate the Death of Christ are very popular.

Held on Holy Thursday: Among others are the well known Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder, the Virgin of Hope; and the Lonely Virgin.

Held on Holy Friday: Jesus Nazareno de Medinaceli, Mary of the Seven Sorrows and the Holy Burial.

Held on Holy Saturday: The Sorrowful Virgin and the procession of Solitude.

If you want to find the complete program of the Holy Week in Madrid, kindly check our Events section.