5 BEST Christmas Markets in Madrid

Christmas is the most important time of the year for most Madrileños. The traditions mean a lot in Spain, and that becomes clear when you visit its capital city in December. Here's a guide to the best Christmas markets in Madrid. Since Madrid is a large city with millions of inhabitants, you will find several different markets in all parts of the city.

They are usually found in large plazas, but to make things a bit easier for you, we advise you to start out by visiting the following markets that are usually considered to be the best ones.

best Christmas markets in Madrid

Here are the best Christmas markets in Madrid:

1. Plaza Mayor Christmas Market

Plaza Mayor is already one of the best attractions in Madrid due to its beauty and history, but it all becomes a little better in December.

The historic square is home to the most classic Christmas market in Madrid, and you can expect there to be over a hundred different stalls - most of them selling typical Spanish and Latin American foods and snacks. The spirit of Christmas will be present in Plaza Mayor for the whole month, so it is by far the best place to go.

When you're finished in Plaza Mayor, move on to the beautiful indoor Mercado de San Miguel, right outside of the square. This market is open for the whole year and offers great food no matter what time you visit. But like any other place, they put a special effort into their products in December!

2. Callao Christmas Market

Basically a smaller version of the Plaza Mayor market. It is very similar - you can generally find the same things for the same prices. However, Callao is still highly worth visiting, as it is located right in the middle of the city.

Bordered to the south by El Corte Inglés, the most popular department store in Madrid, and to the north by the legendary avenue Gran Via, Callao is a special place, and with many street decorations and activities, it is one of the best places to go in December. Be sure to notice the large, bright artificial tree that they put up in the middle of the plaza.

3. Feria Dulces de Navidad

Not far away from the two previous markets, you should also visit Feria Dulces de Navidad. It is set up in the Ópera-area, right in front of Teatro Real. It should be easy to find the market - simply walk five minutes directly west of Puerta del Sol, the de-facto center of Madrid.

The main difference between this market and the others is that Feria Dulces de Navidad specializes in candy. You won’t find much else than that - everything is based on something sweet. The products are very tasty, and you will find everything from a glass of hot chocolate to a hard but tasty turrón.

4. Mercado de Diseño

This is the largest independent market in Madrid. However, Mercado de Diseño is not focused on food, but rather on clothing and design. The market is open for the entire year, but in December everything is focused on the theme of Christmas. Held at Matadero, the best days to visit this year will be the 21st and 22nd of December. Note that there will be a 2€ entry price to get in during those days.

5. Mercadillo del Gato

Another interesting market, Mercadillo del Gato is primarily run by young, creative people.

Like Mercado de Diseño, it is not about foods here, but more about products and items. Here you will find everything from clothes to electronics. Mercadillo del Gato is first held in the Westin Palace Hotel for the initial part of December, before moving onto the Cultural Center located on Gran Vía 13 in central Madrid during the second half of the month.

Dates and opening hours

Most Christmas markets will open at the end of November - the rest at the beginning of December. They will then proceed to run for the remainder of the month, often right until January 6th which is also a highly important day in Spain: The day of epiphany.

However, each market makes its own rules and sets its own special days, but when it comes to the open markets (such as the ones in Plaza Mayor, Callao and Ópera), you can stop by any day in December and there will be something going on.

Activities often start around 10 o'clock in the morning and not closing before late at night. Some markets might take a quick siesta and close for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but most of them will be open for the entire day.

Best Spanish foods and snacks to eat in December

Some markets are centered around food and drinks, while others are focused on items. The food markets, however, are the most popular ones, and these are the ones you can visit every single day and keep trying new things for low prices.

The best snacks to eat in Madrid in December are turrones, polvorones, mantecados, churros, tortillas, marzipans and roasted almonds. You will find these snacks at virtually every market - and supermarkets sell them too. Locals will usually be drinking hot chocolate, coffee or the special broth caldo to go with these snacks.

Turron is a sweet that dates back to the time of Caesar and before. Easy and basic ingredients accessible to Mediterranean folks for millennia: egg whites, honey, salt, almonds. It’s basic and quite delicious. My absolute favorite is Turron de Jijona, which is more of a soft nougat almond paste.

If you fancy a larger meal, Madrileños will typically eat foods such as shellfish, soups (often with Galician and Asturian ingredients) and pork-based dishes. Spain is famous for its tapas, and Madrid is no exception. Tapas are just as popular in December as in the rest of the year - certainly among tourists. But like anywhere else, December is mostly about tasty snacks, and you will find plenty of these in Madrid's Christmas markets. We wish you a nice trip when you reach the booming capital!
Kalyan Panja