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Madrid’s most traditional festivals

By | 2 August, 2018 | 0 comments

Madrid’s history is strongly attached to its famous festivities, known as verbenas in Spanish. We are lucky that the three most famous festivals which take place in the Spanish capital are in the month of August. The first one is San Cayetano (August 2-8) in the Rastro/Embajadores area; the second one is San Lorenzo (August 9-11) in Lavapiés and then the most important and popular one, La Paloma (August 12-15) in La Latina.

So, what is a verbena? The origins of verbenas go back many centuries when the citizens of Madrid enjoyed public holidays to party with friends and family and brought food, drink and dancing to the streets.

Fiestas de la Paloma

Streets decorated with paper lanterns, traditional costumes (chulapos), dancing (Chotis), lemonade, fresh drinks and tapas are an essential part of these popular festivals. If you are lucky enough to be in Madrid during any of these days, don’t miss out on the main activities of Madrid’s most traditional festivals.

Virgin of La Paloma

At 8.00 p.m., the procession of the Virgin of La Paloma begins, on the shoulders of its carriers going through the main streets of La Latina until it reaches Puerta del Toledo, where the fire brigade carries out a spectacular exhibition in its honour.

The verbena of La Paloma

The streets are transformed and they gather the best gastronomic creations for lovers of offal, bacon and pork products and the famous gallinejas (fried lamb tripe), all of which accompanied by a cold beer to combat the August heat. Also available everywhere are barquillos (biscuit rolls) and churros with hot chocolate, two traditional local sweet preparations. Of course, there will also be plenty of music: chart, electronic, etc.


Between the 11th and 15th of August, you can enjoy the best concerts on two different stages: Plaza de las Vistillas and Plaza de la Paja, of which we recommend:

– Saturday, August 11 at 11.00 p.m.: Instituto Mexicano del Sonido, the band that recently became famous thanks to having written the main song of the animation film Coco.

– Monday, August 13 at 11.00 p.m.: Virginia Maestro and her fantastic soul band.

– Tuesday, August 14 at 11.00 p.m.: The star performance of the whole festival. Serbian scriptwriter, filmmaker and musician Emir Kusturica and his band The Non Smoking Orchestra will perform a concert which combines alternative rock with Arab, Hindu, Russian, Greek and Italian music.

Are you ready to dance in Madrid’s most traditional verbenas? If you want to enjoy the city’s local traditions and you still haven’t chosen your accommodation, discover all of our offers.

*© Madrid City Council

Categories: Cultura Madrid, Eventos Madrid

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