This blog post was originally posted on April 28, 2016, and was updated on May 24, 2017.
With the sun shining bright and the beautiful long days, Spring in Madrid is truly magical.
Parks and gardens burst with blossoming flowers. Plazas fill up with outdoor seating and Madrileños are out in force enjoying the city’s many terrace bars and cafés. To make the most of this enchanted time of year, here are some of our suggestions for what to do in Madrid in May.
Photo Credit: mi)
1. Have a picnic
With so many amazing parks to explore, why not pack a picnic and enjoy an al fresco lunch. The Parque del Buen Retiro is a local favorite but you can also spread out your picnic blanket at Templo De Debod or along Madrid Río. For picnics near the Retiro park, stock up on provisions at one of our favorite markets, Mercado de la Paz. About a 10-minute walk from the park’s Alcala Street entrance, this neighborhood market has some of the best, cured meats, cheeses and produce you’ll find anywhere. After you’ve assembled your picnic, steak out a great spot on the grass and enjoy!
Address: Mercado de la Paz, Calle de Ayala, 28
2. Fiestas de San Isidro
Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidro is celebrated on May 15th. The San Isidro festivities extend throughout the holiday weekend and include a massive street fair, concerts and bullfights. Head to the Pradera de San Isidro to try tasty tontas y listas, glazed sugar donuts and dance Chotis, Madrid’s local folk dance. In the Las Vistillas park you’ll find several days of free outdoor concerts. If you’re interested in seeing a bullfight, the Las Ventas bullring has a full schedule of events!
3. Have a drink on a terrace
There are few things madrileños love more than having a drink at one of the city’s many outdoor bars. Streets and plazas are lined with tables where you can enjoy a cold beer, a glass of wine or something to eat. Plaza Santa Ana in Barrio de las Letras is a wonderful place to experience a Madrid terraza. For lunch or dinner, choose from a number of bars and restaurants serving traditional Madrid fare and modern takes on classic dishes. Another local favorite is Plaza Conde de Barajas just behind the Mercado San Miguel. This leafy square offers a peaceful break from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Insider’s tip: Sangria is perhaps Spain’s most famous drink, but we prefer a Tinto de Verano, Madrid’s ubiquitous wine cooler made with red wine and lemon soda. When the waiter takes your order, just say “un tinto de verano por favor”!
4. Check out a market
Housed in the Railroad Museum just south of the city center, the Mercado de Motores is a monthly event featuring handcrafts, artisanal foods, antiques, live music, food trucks and more. The museum is also open so you climb on old steam engines and peer into 1940’s dining cars complete with the original serving china! The Mercado draws young and old and is a great way to spend an off-the-beaten path Madrid afternoon.
Address: Paseo de las Delicias, 61
5. Take a food tour
What better way to start your day than with our Hidden Madrid Food & Market Adventure? Experience the Literary Quarter’s many small, family-run shops and restaurants then eat you way through a local market, all led by an expert local guide who is excited to share the hidden corners of Madrid with you! In the afternoon you’ll still have time to see the sights!
Featured image Photo Credit: Delaina Haslam
As the daughter of a barbecue master and a pseudo-vegetarian, Amy’s culinary obsessions run deep. She spent time in Galicia before settling down in Madrid, where you’ll usually find her browsing the bottles of a local bodega or ogling the produce at the weekend farmer’s market.