Feria del Libro, Madrid (Book Fair)

Want to learn a language quickly? Get reading! Take advantage of Madrid´s 78th Feria del Libro (Book Fair) in El Retiro. With over 300 book stalls around the city, the guest country this year is the Dominican Republic, with the event´s slogan ´´A story at every step´´ (Una historia a cado paso). From the 31st May- 16th June, wander around the city´s many stalls and immerse yourself in the literary culture.

Here´s a summary of our top 4 best hidden gems around the city for literature and free activities:

  • La Casquería Antigua

Feria del libro Madrid

Love a good bargain? Here, you pay for the weight of your books, meaning that a whole kilo only comes to only 10 euros. (Nearest metro stop: Embajadores, 41)

2) Tuuulibreria

Books and culture Madrid

The only place where you can actually choose the price of your book. The idea is that everyone has access to literature. The company also sends books to developing countries. (Covarrubias 38, Bilbao)

  • La Casa Encendida or Casa del Libro

More well-known than the two previous places, you can take part in book signings, readings, and free exhibitions.

  • Ever heard of a Poetry Slam?

Poetry Slam Madrid

Try something a bit different and join this Facebook group´s poetry/ rap-style competition to challenge your poetry skills on the spot.

Keep a look out for: The lady with the typewriter outside Opera. Give her a subject and she can type up a poem for you on the spot!

Finally, don’t forget that Inhispania runs a book exchange on the second floor with plenty of novels, tourist magazines and autobiographies!

Fiestas de San Isidro

Key places: Plaza Mayor, Las Vistillas and Pradera de San Isidro

Dates: 10th – 15th May 2019

This week, Madrileños celebrate their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, so it will be a week filled with concerts, shows and other cultural activities. With locals dressed in ´chulapos´, dancing ´el Chotis´. 

Here are our top three things to take part in during the Day of San Isidro Labrador:

Pasacalles de Gigantes y Cabezudos

Labelled the quirkiest and ´most instagrammable´ event of this week, this parade consists of locals sporting giant heads characterizing the four ruling couples of Asia, Africa, Europe and America.

The parade takes place along:
Plaza de Santo Domingo, Plaza de Callao, Calle Preciados, Puerta del Sol, Calle Mayor and Plaza de la Villa on Sunday 12th (18:00pm) and Monday 13th (12:00pm)

Fireworks and Music

Parque de Retiro is the go-to place for sunbathing and offers beautiful views all year round, but on the 14th and 15th, the gardens will host a spectacular fireworks show (22:00pm) with music events from around 20:30.

Top Tip! Try out the many variations of rosquillas; tiny sugared doughnuts found in stalls down every street.

Click here to download the 2019 programme.

Semana Santa in Madrid

If you are in Madrid for Semana Santa, you could not be visiting at a better time. Semana Santa is a week that attracts people from all over the world to take part in the Easter celebrations. Whether you are religious or not, this is a spectacular week. Try going to one of the concerts held in churches around the city or simply join the crowds to watch the processions go by. The week is sure to be great fun with an amazing atmosphere. Don´t forget that seeing the processions is just as important as trying some of the local delicacies that are traditionally eaten at this time of year!

Processions

The week leading up to Easter (from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) is full of street processions and sacred music in Madrid. Religious icons are taken from different churches and paraded around the city. Those who bear the heavy weight of the statues on their shoulders take enormous pride in doing so – it is a great honour to be a part of the processions. The most famous procession is the Christ of Medina  (Cristo de Medinaceli) on Good Friday (19th April) that starts at Jesús de Medinaceli Church and passes through the main streets of Madrid.

Other famous processions throughout the week include the Yeomen of the Guard (Alabarderos), the procession of silence and Jesus of Nazaret (Jesús Nazareno ´el pobre´).  Be sure to look up which processions you would like to see throughout the week so that you don´t miss any.

There will also be concerts playing sacred music, held in churches like Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha, the Pontifical Basilica of San Miguel and the Parish Church of Santa Cruz.

On Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección, 21th April), you can go to Plaza Mayor and see the famous Tamborrada – a show with hundreds of tambourines and drums. Well worth going to see!

You´ll also be pleased to know that on Easter Sunday in Spain too, chocolate eggs (huevos de chocolate) are commonly given to friends and family as a way of wishing them a happy Easter!

Gastronomy

One of the best ways to really embrace a new culture is to try the traditional food. What better way to learn more about the culture of Madrid than to try the local delicacies that are eaten at Easter.  Some of the most famous and delicious foods include:

  • Torrija (bread soaked in milk with cinnamon which is fried and sprinkled with sugar – very similar to ´French Toast´. It can even be soaked in wine!)

  • Soldaditos de Pavía – crispy fried cod
  • Flores de Semana Santa – sweet treat fried in the shape of a flower
  • Potaje de garbanzos a la madrileña – chickpea stew with potatoes, cod, spinach and hard-boiled eggs

The time and effort that that is put into the religious celebrations throughout this special week is astonishing – there really is an incredible display of colour, food, decorations, lights, costumes and religious icons. Semana Santa in Madrid is a must! You will not be disappointed.

Festivals in Madrid

Looking for a good party or festival during your stay in Madrid? No worries because in this city you will not have a shortage of ‘fiestas’! Especially during the summer, there are a lot of festivals organized! Below you will find the 3 best festivals in the city of Madrid!

Mad Cool Festival

Mad Cool is a music festival that takes place in Madrid since 2016. Art, gastronomy and tourism come together in this festival. The type of music is rock, indie and electronic music. Since 2016, many famous artists have performed. To name a few: Bastille (2016), The Lumineers (2017), George Ezra (2017), Post Malone (2018), Snow Patrol (2018) and Dua Lipa (2018).

This festival is the dream of every rock, indie and/or electronic music fan!

The festival takes place in the summer and the dates for the next one are already released: 11, 12 and 13 of July! Be fast if you want to buy tickets because with over 230.000 visitors the festival will be sold out quickly.

Ticket Price: around €150
https://madcoolfestival.es/

A Summer Story

If you love electronical music, A Summer Story is the perfect festival for you. Summer Story was created in 2015 to unite electronic music lovers from all over the planet and now it has some of the best DJ’s in the world such as: Armin van Buuren, Oliver Heldens, Don Diablo, Tchami and Deadmau5.

In 2019 the festival dates will be the June 21st and 22nd.

Ticket Price: from €35
https://asummerstory.com/

Brunch in the Park

One of the best (smaller festivals) in Madrid is definitely Brunch in the Park. Brunch in the Park is an outdoor event very close to the city center. The advantage of Brunch in the Park is that it is organized multiple times during the summer. You can enjoy great parties under the sunshine, without having to spend the whole night out. According to Brunch in the Park, their purpose is to bring national and international artists to electronic music lovers.

A ticket for Brunch in the Park will cost you around €15 (there are several tickets available)

2018