I hope that December started with lots of jingle and sparkle for you!
Today I would like to show you some of the Christmas illumination and decorations in the city of Madrid, Spain.
Madrid is great to visit during Christmas time, not just because of its Christmas lights and decor. You can also get a taste of delicious pastries (like “chocolate con churros”), go shopping (near Sol, Callao or Gran Vía), explore Nativity scenes, visit the Christmas market at the Plaza Mayor or fairs at the Plaza de España, see shows or even go ice skating! The list goes on…
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol or “Gate of the Sun” is a famous square in Madrid, being a point of interest for its “kilometre zero” (where the radial roads start) and for two of its statues such as the Oso y el Madroño (“the Bear and the Strawberry Tree“) and equestrian statue of King Carlos III. It’s a Spanish tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight after each chime. I got to experience this once; which was nice, but not worth repeating if you can’t stand big crowds.
Just a few meters from the Puerta del Sol, you will find the Plaza Mayor or “Main Square.” Here you can indulge all of your senses… travel in the past by walking on the cobble stones and eat a typical “bocata de calamares” (squid sandwich). During Christmas you’ll see stalls all lined up and selling their crafts or decorations.
Cortylandia by El Corte Inglés
The Spanish department store chain, El Corte Inglés, yearly has an audiovisual projection of animated figures. This you can appreciate (lasts about 15 minutes) from the outside of the department store at calle Preciados 3, which is a few blocks away from Puerta del Sol. This year’s theme is called “Coser y Cantar,”literally means to “Sew and Sing.” However, the theme is more like an expression, meaning “a piece of cake” when something is easy to do (I think the idea was genius!). I recommend you see this spectacle at night! Check the hours (see link) just to be on the safe side. Also, the last day of the show is the 5th of January.
I love this place, not only is it refugee-friendly, but they always have interesting expositions and it’s my fave spot to chill or just do some reading. The CentroCentro Cibeles has a beautiful traditional nativity scene at the Palacios de Operaciones, which you cannot miss if you’re in Madrid. It’s displayed until the 8th of January.
Puerta de Alcalá
Just a few steps further from CentroCentro Cibeles you can behold the neo-classical monument (built in 1778) of the Puerta de Alcalá or “Alcalá Gate”, which used to be one the five gates to enter the city of Madrid. I didn’t know this before, but it’s older than the Arc de Triomphe (Paris) and the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin).
Plaza de Colón
If you’re near the Puerta de Alcalá, then you can visit the Plaza de Colón (or “Columbus Square“) by walking through the Serrano street. This square commemorates the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
What will I do for Christmas?
Since my family lives in the Caribbean, it’s important for me to plan my visit in advance. It’s already been 10 years since we celebrated Christmas together. I truly hope that next year I will be able to spent Christmas with them. *Wishing upon the starry skies…*
This year, I will spent it with my in-laws in Valladolid, which is always a delightful encounter as they’ve two little ones in the family. Last year I posted a little bit about the festivity and a special visit of my big brother (see link). Moreover, just being with this family makes me feel at home. I truly believe that you should be surrounded by your loved ones, it doesn’t matter if you’re not blood-related.
Christmas time in Madrid, is magical!!! I know it sounds so cliché, yet in this city all your senses get heightened by the Christmas lights and especially the delicious sweets. One cannot leave without having experienced the different points of interest. If you don’t feel like walking, you can even go on a special Christmas bus called Navilus (see link, only purchased online) that will drive around these special places.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂
Please tell me, what is your favourite city to celebrate Christmas, and why? I’d like to hear from you!
P.S: this week I’m going to Barcelona! I’m super excited to visit this city again, and especially before Christmas! Stay tuned, because I will most likely do a post about my visit!