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A Guide to Carnival Madrid

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Carnival in Madrid is a five-day-long event that fills the towns streets with laughter, music, and celebration. Its a time to celebrate the joys and splendour of life before the sombre, sacrificial period of Lent.

The festivities begin with a ceremonial opening, usually featuring a Madrid celebrity. Then comes the famous parade, where street performers, musicians, and artists march by in fancy ballroom dresses and bright, flamboyant attire.

Throughout the week, numerous venues host concerts, themed parties, and family events. The Circulo de Bellas Artes hosts an annual grand ball and competition for the most elegant dresses. Meanwhile, the Plaza de la Villa erupts with lively music and satirical songs. Activities are planned throughout the week for both children and adults alike.

It all comes to a close with the famous Burial of the Sardine, a tradition depicted by Goya in the famous El entierro de la sardina. This ritual involves the burial of a fish to signal the beginning of preparations for Lent.

Locals and visitors are free to let loose and join the festivities during this beloved time in Madrid. Heres what to know if Carnival in Madrid is on your itinerary.

What to Know

The best part about Carnival is that its free to anyone! It runs from the 21st to the 26th of February each year. Each year the location may change slightly, but the festival is always in the city centre. Updated information can be found on the official website.

Carnival week is full of fun events each day. Every year, the city releases an official program. Here, you can find all the details youll need to enjoy this famous event.

Where to Stay

  • Westin Palace Hotel:The Westin is a great hotel, no matter which location you choose to book a room. Close to the Carnival fun without being surrounded by it, youll have a comfortable and beautiful place to relax after the festivities of each day.
  • Airbnb:If youre traveling to Carnival with a large group, you may want to consider an Airbnb. It will save you on the costs of booking several hotel rooms. You can find big homes that can house a dozen or more people at affordable rates.
  • Petit Palace Posada de Peine:If you want a place to get you in the middle of the action, look no further than the Petit Palace Posada de Peine. You can expect a high price for the location, but your accommodations will match the cost.
  • MAD4You Hostel:If youre just looking for a place to rest thats clean and comfortable, try this hostel. Its a gorgeous old building made to be convenient and comfortable for all kinds of guests.
  • Only YOU Boutique Hotel:A hotel on the smaller end, youll love the special boutique touches at the Only YOU hotel. Youll be close to all the best attractions, including the Carnival celebrations.

What Else to Do in Madrid

Carnival is full of enough to keep you busy for your whole trip, but if youre looking for more to do, theres no shortage of fun. For something calm to fill your time, try the Prado Art Museum or the Royal Palace. Check out our list of things to do in Madrid for more suggestions!

How to Get There

You can get around Madrid using the train links. Start at the Madrid Chamartin Station, and you can navigate just about anywhere.

Arriving at the Madrid Barajas Airport is most common for those flying into the city. From there, you can either rent a car for yourself or find a car for hire in Madrid.

If you hire a car, youll enjoy the ease of not worrying about driving after a day of partying in the streets of Madrid.

Parking may prove difficult during the busy time of Carnival, but you might find some open spots at your hotel or the nearby train stations.

Madrid also has a wonderful bus system that can save you money as you make your way to and from Carnival each day.

Visitors arriving from the UK might find it easier to come in via ferry port up in Santander or Bilbao. From there, you can take a car to the Madrid city centre from the coast.