This blog post was originally posted on December 17, 2013 and was updated on February 23, 2017.
On a normal day, Madrid is one of the best cities in the world for a party. So on New Year’s Eve, the biggest party night of the year, Madrid is a city of pure revelry.
On the first morning of the New Year there is no time for sleep. The cava flows all night, the party spills into the streets and the discos don’t close until the metro opens. As the sun rises on January 1st, the churros abound.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve, or nochevieja, in Madrid is a choose-your-own adventure kind of experience. From free street parties to 700€ galas, Madrid’s nochevieja has an option for everyone. Here are our top picks for how to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Madrid.
Every year tens of thousands of people pack into Madrid’s main plaza, Puerta del Sol, to ring in the New Year. Picture New York’s Times Square except instead of a huge, glittery ball there is a huge, ancient clock. The clock looks down on the plaza from the tower of the Real Casa de Correos building. It was first inaugurated by Queen Isabella II in 1866 and for decades marked the official time in Spain. While it’s no longer the authority on Spanish time, it does mark the official start of the New Year!
As the clock’s 12 chimes ring out at midnight, revelers in Sol (along with millions watching the festivities on TV) eat twelve grapes to bring them luck in each of the twelve months of the upcoming year. The chimes are quickly replaced by the pop of cava bottles opening as the fiesta continues into the countless bars and clubs of Madrid.
The Epic Celebration
If your New Year’s Eve motto is “Go big or go home” then Madrid’s top two discotecas are just what you need! At Kapital (Calle de Atocha, 125) the 50€ entrance fee gets you four mixed drinks and seven floors of New Year’s party madness. There’s a “kissing room” on the fourth floor, karaoke on the second and a house music dance party on the first.
If four drinks sounds too limiting for an all-night New Year’s Eve bash, Joy Eslava (Calle Arenal, 11) has an open bar at their nochevieja party. Be sure to get your tickets for this gran fiesta early and online, where they will cost you 75€ per person. Entrance at the door will set you back 95€.
Both parties start at 12:30. This gives fiesta–goers time to eat their grapes at Sol and stroll over to the clubs, which are within walking distance of the plaza.
The Traditional Evening
At the polar opposite end of the NYE celebration spectrum is the traditional family-centered plan of welcoming the New Year at home. In Spain, the Christmas holidays run from Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) all the way through Día de los Reyes Magos (Three King’s Day) on January 6. Spaniards typically spend these two weeks with their families.
On New Year’s Eve in Madrid most Spaniards will have a traditional dinner of seafood (such as scallops, shrimp or oysters), lamb or fish. They watch the clock strike midnight on television and eat their twelve grapes gathered around the TV. After midnight, the older generation heads to sleep while the younger family members usually go out and meet friends.
The Foodie Fiesta
New Year’s Eve in Madrid is a foodie’s paradise. Top restaurants throughout the city offer mouthwatering multi-course menus featuring delicacies from across the globe. Here are a couple of the menus we’ve got our eyes on this year:
- Las Tablas: A passion for food meets a passion for dance at Las Tablas‘s New Years Eve celebration. Guests have three menus to choose from (including a vegetarian option!), reasonable prices and a live flamenco show followed by dancing and a DJ set. Including the flamenco show, all-night party, wine and cava, the main and vegetarian menus cost 169€ and 159€, respectively. The “Tapas” menu costs 98€. See the full menus here.
Address: Plaza de España, 9
- Platea Madrid: One of the New York Times’s 52 Places To Go In 2017, this gourmet food hall‘s NYE dinner has an international twist. The food comes from the 12 restaurants of the space, which represent all the world’s continents—and several Michelin stars! After the gastronomical trip around the world, the space will come alive with performances and music. The special menu including the show and two drinks will set you back 180€. Buy tickets here.
Address: Calle Goya, 5-7
The Royal Ringing-In
To ring in the New Year like royalty head to one of Madrid’s most elegant hotels for a New Year’s Eve gala fit for a king. Don your most festive attire and dine on a menu of Spanish delicacies and spectacular wines. The Ritz’s seven-course menu and big band gala will set you back 730€ per person. See the menu here.
Address: Plaza de la Lealtad, 5
At the Westin Palace Hotel, eight of the top chefs from Madrid’s most prestigious culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu Madrid, are uniting to create an 8-course menu. It includes caviar, lobster tail and five top wines. Revelers at the Westin will dish out 515€ for dinner accompanied by a live jazz band. Five hours of dancing to tunes selected by a DJ, cava drinking and churros at 5 am will follow the dinner.
Address: Plaza de las Cortes, 7
The Bang For Your Buck
For a New Year’s Eve in Madrid that won’t break the bank, avoid restaurants’ expensive holiday menus and head instead to the extremely reasonably-priced markets. With the fresh (and cheap!) ingredients you’ll find there you can cook up an amazing meal at home or in your hostel’s kitchen.
Instead of the pricey seafood, look for fillets of hake (merluza) which is prevalent and inexpensive in Madrid markets year-round. Rabbit and pork are also great inexpensive options. Choose recipes with fruits or vegetables that are in season, such as apples, mushrooms or Brussels sprouts. Check here for a full list of what’s in season in Spain right now, or click here for some traditional and inexpensive Spanish New Year’s recipes. To explore more of Madrid’s great markets, join us on the Huertas Neighborhood Food & Market Tour. Knowledgeable guides will give you the inside scoop into what to buy and what to try at each of Madrid’s best markets, along with other insights into the city’s traditions and history.
Cooking dinner in doesn’t mean you have to miss the festivities! On the night before nochevieja Madrid does a practice run of the New Year’s countdown in Puerta del Sol. Grab your uvas and cava and head to the plaza on December 30 for the New Year’s Eve in Madrid dress rehearsal. You’ll beat the crowds and still get to eat your lucky grapes in front of Madrid’s official NYE clock!
Don’t miss out on of Madrid’s festive spirit over the holidays! Book a tour with Devour Madrid to taste the highlights of Spanish cuisine and see the best of Madrid’s holiday lights.