We all dream of seeing the museums, monuments, fountains, and other significant landmarks of the world’s cities. To really enhance your travel memories, though, you must experience the festivals. I’ve had the great fortune of attending a few Madrid summer festivals, and we’ll tell you all about them today.
Madrid Summer Festivals
- Shayne’s first experience with a Madrid verbena
- What is there to enjoy in Madrid summer festivals?
- Other festivals in Madrid throughout the year
- The August Verbenas
- La Festival de San Cayetano (August 2 – 8)
- La Festival de San Lorenzo (August 9 – 11)
- La Festival de la Virgen de La Paloma (August 12 – 15)
- What you need to know about attending Madrid summer festivals
Other Articles and Episodes Mentioned in this Episode
- 11 FUN-tastic Festivals in Madrid
- Episode 52: Angels and Demons
- Episode 118: Get Your Kicks on Route 66
Question: What would you like to know about Madrid summer festivals?
Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!
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Ryan and Shayne are both Travel Advisers with Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote and to start making magical memories.
- Contact Ryan at DisneyTravelDad.Com.
- Contact Shayne at Shayne.fun.
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Episode 134 Transcripts
Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!
Shayne: Hello and welcome to All Things Travel. We all dream of seeing the museums, monuments, fountains, and other significant landmarks of the world’s cities. But to really enhance your travel memories, though you must experience the festivals. I’ve had the great fortune of attending a few festivals in Madrid, and we’ll tell you all about them.
Ryan: So Shayne, I love Madrid. The last time I was there was January of 2020, which sounds kind of ominous, but. But seriously, that’s the last time I was in Spain right before everything. So I’ve not experienced the, the summer festivals. I was, I was only there for one week in January before moving to Barcelona.
So what was your first experience with a summer festival? In Madrid?
Shayne: This is the first time we were visiting my in-laws and we, we were just all out on the town the
Ryan: and to remind folks, your, your in-laws live in Madrid, so you’ve visited family there multiple times.
Shayne: Yeah. And on my first trip, a couple of my daughters friends went with us because they all attended a school learning Spanish. So we’re walking through the city, and I described it as walking through the city when all of a sudden a concert broke out.
Ryan: Very cool.
Shayne: It seemed like, we came out of this alley, came onto the street and it was loaded with people.
There was a stage, I mean, a huge stage at the end of it with a band playing all along the sidewalks. There was vendors set up grilling. Pouring beers and mixing drinks, and it was just this huge street party, and I just turned around and I went, What is this?
Ryan: You know, Madrid is such a beautiful European city, and you know, now that you’ve started to talk about the festivals, I’m reminded that our, our first day in Madrid, we were actually there for three Kings Day. Is that what it’s called? Three Saints Day. Three Kings Day,
Shayne: Yep, Yep.
Ryan: after Christmas.
Shayne: right, on the 12th, day after Christmas.
Ryan: Yes. And so, we were actually there for the parade as part of that.
And yeah, it was really cool. It’s, it’s a city that knows how to do festivals and so I’m excited to talk about the, these different festivals today and get people excited about visiting a place like Madrid. families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation. We work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.
Shayne: We would love to help you plan your next amazing vacation
Ryan: You can reach out to me at Ryan AT CreatingMagicVacations.com. That’s R Y A n, Creating Magic Vacations.com. So Shayne, what do you love about these Madrid festivals?
Shayne: Well, I love the party atmosphere. I love all the food and the drinks. It’s a perfect way to go try a lot of different kinds of food. On one night, that was the first time I tried grilled lamb stomach when I had
Ryan: Grilled lamb, stomach, the first time,
Shayne: The, Well, yeah. Okay. The only time I take that back, the only time my, my wife’s cousin had this sandwich that he was eating and he offered me a bite and I asked my brother-in-law, what is this?
And he says, You try it first and then I’ll tell you what it is. I don’t know if that’s a way that you should live day to day, but you know, it kind of worked out that night.
Ryan: Okay. All right.
Shayne: There are lots of concerts and music. Sometimes it’ll just, some of the clubs will set up a little club scene and they’ll just have music playing out of speakers and people that will dance.
And then one of the more fun parts, That I enjoy is the traditional attire. Some of the older millennials will dress up in traditional Madrid attire, and that’s, that’s always fun, especially when they engage in some of the dancing with, with the bands. It’s, it’s just a lot of fun to watch.
Ryan: Very cool. So what are some of the Madrid festivals that you like the most?
Shayne: You mentioned Epiphany. That’s the first one of the major festivals throughout the year there’s a Madrid Carnival,
Ryan: that one kind of kicks off festival season if you.
Shayne: Kind of ends the holiday season begins the, the, the new year and the festival season. Yeah, that’s right. There’s a, a Madrid Carnival, which coincides with our Mardi Gras
and, and, and Brazil’s Carnival.
There’s a Dos de Mayo, which is sort of like an independence day, is to celebrate an uprising in Madrid where some citizens rose up and fought against some French invade. Back on May 2nd, 18 0 8 there’s a festival of San Edro, which is in a huge city park near where my in-laws live.
And one of the fun things they do there is have this, what’s called a cocido which I may have mentioned before. It’s the kind of the bone broth soup that, that’s just delicious. In July, there’s the Pride Festival and that, that’s one that I went to when we were there last in 2018.
My, my brother-in-law and I, I convinced him to go to the Pride Festival and we missed the parade, which, which would’ve been fun because most of the parades in Madrid end up at Plaza de Cibeles, the fountain that I love, and
Ryan: Yep. I know exactly what he was talking.
Shayne: So we missed that part, but then we went to the Chueca neighborhood where the majority of this festival takes place, and it’s north of the Port del Soul. That kind of shopping section that you, you probably visit where the, where there’s the statue of the bear reaching into the tree
Ryan: Yes. Yep.
Shayne: We made our way down to towards that. And it was just the enormity of this festival, how much of the city it, it took up with people just in the streets and celebrating. And it was kind of that same atmosphere. Not as much music and food, but lots of vendors in the street selling drinks, beer and, and a little bit of food.
Lots of fun. And then, in August, that’s when it gets into the August Verbenas, which is most of what I’ve attended while I was there.
Ryan: So is that kind of, is, is that August kind of a series of festival?
Shayne: Yeah. And then, so there’s three festivals that run from about August 2nd through August 15th. So it’s essentially two solid weeks of festivals and it’s just amazing that every night for these two weeks you can go out into the city center and there’s some sort of street party happening every single night.
Ryan: Well, I’m excited to hear about those two weeks cuz I bet that would make this a really special time to visit Madrid. Whether you’re already in Spain or whether you’re traveling to Spain. So let’s talk about that in a second. Because first I wanna know where in the world is All Things Travel.
Shayne: You may not have heard of this place. You may not be familiar with it. Chicago, Illinois,
Ryan: Oh, buddy. I am so familiar with Chicago, Illinois. I love it. I’m about, I’m about two and a half hours south of Chicago. And so if we want big city, that’s a, that’s a good that’s a good place for us to head up, whether we drive up there, whether we take the train. I love Chicago.
Shayne: And then you might remember from our episode one 18 that that is the starting point of Route 66.
Ryan: I very much do remember that, and I’m excited sometime to maybe take that drive starting in Chicago. But hey, I’ve got something, I, I’ve been to Chicago the last time I was there. I was there a few weeks ago and I, it, it occurred to me that I’ve been several times with my family. I’ve been several times with my kids and we haven’t talked about Chicago really on this Podcast. And so I think we should rectify that. Let’s do an episode about Chicago coming up soon.
Well, hey, Chicago, we are so excited you’re listening. Do me a favor, reach out to me. You can either do that on the Facebook group, the All Things Travel Facebook group, or you can reach out to me on the email that I give on this show I’ve got a little thank you gift for being featured on the show.
Shayne: and to make sure that you hear where in the world as All Things Travel next week, be sure to subscribe to the show so that you never miss any of our travel ideas, travel tips, or travel stories.
Ryan: So Shayne, would you say that August then, if somebody wanted to come and really experience Madrid in a unique way, these two weeks in August might be a good way to do it?
Shayne: On the one hand, yes, because you’ll have two solid weeks where you can tour the city, see all the sites during the day, and then at night enjoy these festivals. That will generate memories and stories that you can share for years to come. On the downside though, it, it does get hot during those days.
Although the nights are cool because it’s a higher elevation, the days do get pretty hot and August is also the time when a lot of citizens of Madrid will take their vacation. And that means that a lot of places that you might want to see might be closed for the month of August.
Ryan: Gotcha. And you know, that’s a good general tip for, for Europe anyway, is August does tend to be the time when some things that are open tend to shut down. So, you know, you may wanna, you may want to think about how that might impact your trip regardless of where you visit in Europe.
Shayne: All right. There’s three festivals that comprise these two weeks, that there’s the festival of San Cayetano, or St. Cayetano that one lasts for about August 2nd to August 8th. There’s the Festival of Sun Lorenzo, which lasts August 9th, 10th, and 11th. And then the closing one is the, it’s, it’s got an interesting name, La Festival de la Virgen de La Paloma.
Which essentially means the festival of the Virgin of the Dove. And I’ll get to why it has an interesting name when we go into more detail on that one. But first I was gonna tell you a little bit about the, the festival of San Gaetano. all three of ’em pretty much have the same thing with the street parties, the music, the
Ryan: they’re gonna feel similar.
Shayne: They’re, they’re very similar. In fact, it, it wasn’t until I had got back home that I realized that there were three different festivals, cuz I would even see calendars in some of the churches that would list the, the festivities for the two weeks.
But I didn’t work out yet that, that it was actually three different festivals going on. And so what’s funny is this one interesting thing about this Cayetano, this Saint Gaetano, that was the one that we stumbled upon to that very first year.
Ryan: Right. I remember this story. You, you talked about this on the podcast, right?
Shayne: I think, I think so. This is the one night where well actually there’s two funny stories with this. The first time we went, we’re walking through the street and Tele-Madrid was there interviewing people about the festival. And I just happened to get an interview
and I was on the Madrid television station that night
Ryan: So you were actually on the TV
Shayne: I was on TV speaking in very poor Spanish
Ryan: and they’re like, Who’s this guy? Why
Shayne: and, and I went back about a year ago to find the video where I’d saved it and sometime between when I did this interview, very short interview, by the way, when I did the interview and a couple of years ago, they had purged a lot of the older videos, so now I cannot find any copies of
Ryan: man, they destroyed. They destroyed the evidence.
That would’ve been great to throw up on the Facebook group for sure.
Shayne: And then the other interesting thing is back from episode 52 where I talked about going into the church and speaking with the priest, when he was telling us the history of this festival, that was when we were leaving. And I noticed that my brother-in-law had on the ACDC concert shirt with all a little demons all over it, which is pretty funny. the second festival, the San Lorenzo. This is to honor Saint Lorenzo who was a Spanish saint killed during a fire during the Roman Catholic persecution of the Catholic church. and then there are also festivals that honor the same saint in August, in Chile and in Italy. Kind of similar festivals. And then to me, what seems like the big one is the Virgin of the Dove Festival.
Ryan: of the Dove
Shayne: Now, this is similar to the festival in Morella that I mentioned a few weeks ago when we were talking about our travel wishlists so back in 1787, some nuns found this painting of the Virgin Mary that they’d put up in a church for a while. A few years later, someone bought the painting from the church and put it up in their home. this home was located on Calle de Paloma or Dove Street, which is where it gets the name “The Virgin of the Dove.”
while this painting was in this person’s house, or begin to circulate stories that people would come see the painting. Pray around the painting to the painting, and a lot of people would get healed of things. There was some miracles that were occurring. So so similar to the painting from the Morella Festival, they started this tradition of carrying the painting through the streets.
from one church to another. And that began this, this festival. the second time we went to Spain, we went to this festival and we took the bus to the city center. And there’s, there’s four main arches. The, the big part. And you, you probably saw one near Cibeles when you were. one of them starts at this arch and there’s a firehouse right next to this arch, and the firemen run the beginning of this and from the arch the fireman release hundreds of doves from the windows of
Ryan: Okay. Oh.
Shayne: and then it begins, and it might have been, I can’t remember the exact timing, if they released the, the doves before the parade, but then you can join the parade as it progresses up.
Calle De Toledo, Toledo Avenue, as it progresses up the street and there’s little bands behind it, and all the people in the traditional dress are following along and you can follow this possession up as they take the painting from there to this church. And then all along the way too, all the alleys along this main street and then some of the other streets off this, there’s just a party on every street.
There’s people lined up selling food and drinks, there’s carnival games. Just all kinds of fun things going on at this festival for these, for these two weeks.
Ryan: Very cool. So if somebody was interested in going to Madrid and seeing some or all of these festivals during this time or, or just in general, you know, thinking of street festivals like this, what advice would you give them for how to work this into their, their travel plans?
Shayne: I would stay at a centralized location that they kind of cover. Three different neighborhoods, but they’re all pretty close together. So if you stayed in the, the La Latina area or anywhere along anywhere around Laure, I would stay somewhere around there. And that way you were within walking distance of everything. the night that we went to the arch to see the release of the doves and watch the professional, we tried to take the bus in, but we had to stop at a certain point because there was just so many people, the buses couldn’t get in and ended up having to walk quite ways anyway, so if you’re staying in a centralized location, you can walk between all of these parties and have pretty good access to
Ryan: A and Madrid in particular, but most European cities are very, very walk.
So stay in the city center. Anything else?
Shayne: Keep in mind that these are street parties, so if you are on one of these streets, they tend to run into the night. And like I said, there’s music blaring from speakers. There’s stages with live bands in some of the areas. So, you know, if you’re gonna be staying in one of those areas, you might as well plan on being late
Ryan: Right. so, if this is your scene, go and embrace it. If this is not your scene, maybe this is not the right time to come visit.
Shayne: if you don’t wanna experience these festivals, then August really isn’t a good time to go because it is hot. you’re gonna have a mix of a few things being closed for the holiday, for the vacation month, as well as extra tourists there vacationing in the summer.
Ryan: Gotcha. Well, hey, as we wrap up today, Shayne, when is your next experience with a Madrid?
Shayne: You know, I don’t know really. I know it’s about time to go visit the in-laws again, but next year our plans are gonna be more in the uk, so I’m not really sure right now when it’ll be probably, we probably need to go at least the summer, the next summer, 2024,
Shayne: Well, whether you wanna attend one of these festivals or go to Disney World or wherever you want to travel, we would love to help you plan your next amazing vacation.
Ryan: You can reach out to me at Ryan at Creating Magic Vacations. That’s R Y A N, at creating magic vacations.com.
Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation. We work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.