Searching for the best things to do in Madrid in summer? Congrats, you are in the right place!
There are not too many countries in Europe that can brag about having a capital city that can compete with Madrid’s amount of history and culture. There is evidence of Madrid’s status as a work of art in every structure, street, and nook and cranny in the city.
Table of contents
- What is the best time to go to Madrid?
- Is it worth visiting Madrid in the summer?
- 10 essential items to pack for Madrid in summer
- Best things to do in Madrid in summer
- Where to stay in Madrid in the summer
What is the best time to go to Madrid?
In fact, Madrid can be visited at any time of the year, regardless of the weather, as there is always something to do and places to visit constantly throughout the year.
The capital of Spain is a popular tourist destination all year round. However, visiting Madrid during the summer season is a unique experience. From warm weather to cultural events and music festivals, tourists can expect a lot of exciting activities and events during their stay in Madrid.
Crowds are not so intense in summer as during the school holidays most of the residents leave the city and head to the seaside.
Is it worth visiting Madrid in the summer?
Temperatures in Spain’s summer can reach up to 35-40 degrees Celsius (95-105ºF), making it one of the hottest places to visit at that time of year. Even when the temperatures are at their peak in summer, Madrid is a city that never sleeps and never stops moving forward.
Despite the heat, Madrid is a vibrant city with plenty of outdoor activities, such as strolling through the city’s beautiful parks, enjoying a relaxing picnic in El Retiro, savoring a delicious ice cream on a terrace, or visiting one of the many rooftop pools and water parks.
Days are very long so you can plan your outdoor activities for the earlier and later hours and do the indoor activities in the midday when the sun is hottest. You can also enjoy the Spanish “siesta” and take a nap after lunch.
If you visit Madrid in summer, take advantage of the fast, comfortable, safe, and affordable Madrid public transport to get around the city, with convenient air conditioning.
10 essential items to pack for Madrid in summer
If you are planning to travel to Madrid in summer, here are 10 essential items that you should consider packing:
- Light and breathable clothing: Madrid can get extremely hot in summer, with temperatures often reaching 35-40°C (95-105ºF). So, pack light and airy clothes made of cotton or linen to stay comfortable.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays with a high SPF sunscreen. You should also carry sunglasses to provide additional protection.
- Comfortable footwear: You will be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing, so it’s essential to pack comfortable shoes that will keep your feet cool and blister-free.
- A refillable water bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the day by carrying a refillable water bottle with you. You can refill it at one of the numerous public fountains, tap water in Madrid is top quality.
- Camera: Madrid is a beautiful city with plenty of photogenic spots. Don’t forget to pack a camera to capture all the wonderful moments.
- Travel adapter: If you’re traveling from outside Europe, you may need a travel adapter to charge your electronic devices.
- Light jacket or sweater: While it may be hot during the day, the temperature can drop significantly at night. So, pack a light jacket or sweater to stay warm in the evenings.
- Cap or hat: A cap or hat can be a practical and stylish way to protect yourself from the sun and add some flair to your summer look. Just make sure to choose a lightweight and breathable hat to avoid feeling overheated or uncomfortable in the sun.
- Portable fan or mist spray: If you’re sensitive to heat, you may want to carry a portable fan or mist spray to cool down when necessary.
- Swimsuit: A swimsuit is a must-pack item if your hotel has a pool. Consider bringing at least two swimsuits so you can rotate them if one is wet or if you want to switch up your style.
Remember to check the weather forecast before your trip and adjust your packing list accordingly. Have a great trip to Madrid!
Best things to do in Madrid in summer
Discover the finest ways to spend the summer in Madrid, from enjoying a relaxing picnic in the park to taking a much-needed plunge in a rooftop pool.
Due to the high temperatures, make sure to stay hydrated for outdoor activities, wear light clothes, and purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance.
Veranos de la Villa
Veranos de la Villa (Summers in the City) is an activity that is becoming more and more popular in Madrid in summer.
It is an annual series of cultural events that are organized by the City Council of Madrid to promote culture and the arts in the city during the summer months. The program offers a diverse range of events and activities, including music, dance, theater, cinema, and other artistic performances and exhibitions.
Many of the events are free or have a low admission fee, making them accessible to a wide range of people. If you are planning a trip to Madrid over the summer, you cannot miss Veranos de la Villa.
Day trip to the mountains
It’s no secret that the summer in Madrid can be rather stuffy, so if the temperatures are topping 40 degrees Celsius, why not take a day trip to the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, which lie just to the north of the city?
The mountains have lower temperatures, and many of them have beautiful natural bathing ponds that are perfect for taking a refreshing dip. Besides, there are plenty of beautiful towns and villages nestled in the mountains that are worth exploring, such as Rascafría, Cercedilla, and Manzanares el Real.
If you enjoy nature and outdoor activities, the Sierra de Guadarrama is definitely worth a visit.
Explore the Prado Museum
Until you experience the heat of Madrid in summer, you won’t know how much you value your air conditioner until you go there. Get your dose of air conditioning at one of Madrid’s major art galleries and cool down while enjoying the city’s culture and history.
The Prado Museum is one of the most important art museums in the world, and it’s a great place to escape the heat and admire some of the greatest works of art.
The gallery houses a wide collection of art from the 12th to the early 19th centuries by outstanding painters like Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Goya.
The Museum receives millions of visits every year I highly recommend getting your Skip the line-Ticket to save time and optimize your trip to Madrid. However, consider that the museum provides free admission during the day’s final couple of hours.
Visit the water park
Aquopolis, located on the outskirts of Madrid, is Europe’s biggest water park. It is fully enjoyable for people of all ages and it is an ideal location for spending a warm day hanging out with your friends and family.
A water park is a great place for kids to have fun and stay cool during the hot summer months in Madrid. You can choose to do nothing but lounge about in the water or live a little dangerously by going down the exciting water slides and coasters.
The attractions are divided depending on their wow factor and adrenaline rush, being “High Excitement” the attractions ideal to get the adrenaline pumping, and “Moderate” and “Children´s” are perfect for all the family.
You can take bus 627 departing from Moncloa Station, which will take you to the Aquopolis entrance in Villanueva de la Cañada in approximately 35 minutes.
It goes without saying that one of the top things to do in Madrid in summer is to visit the Aquopolis and escape the scorching heat.
Participate in the local “fiestas”
There are several open-air festivities that take place in Madrid in summer which are an important part of Madrid’s history and traditions.
During these celebrations, locals dress up, eateries set up outdoor kiosks, and the streets are decked with colorful bunting. The program of events typically includes children’s games and competitions, music performances, and religious processions.
The most important celebration, La Paloma, takes place around the 15th of August and provides an excellent opportunity to see the vibrant local culture of Madrid.
Outing for a picnic in the park
The well-known El Retiro Park in Madrid is always popular among residents of the city, but it is more so during the summer months when all of the trees offer much-needed shade and coolness. Anyway, don´t forget fresh water and sunscreen on the hottest days.
El Retiro Park is the perfect spot for a picnic on a laid-back Sunday afternoon. There are plenty of different areas for picnics in El Retiro Park. Do not pass up the opportunity to spend a fun-filled day on the water rowing a rented boat on the lake at the park.
Celebrate the gay pride
In recent years Madrid has become one of the best destinations for the LGBTIQ+ collective. The city, and the Chueca district in particular, is especially busy in July due to the Madrid Gay Pride week which starts on 28 June (International Pride Day).
The Gay Pride Week in summer in Madrid is known for its lively and inclusive atmosphere and attracts people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations.
The main event of the festival is the famous Madrid Pride Parade, where thousands of people from all over the world meet to celebrate diversity, equality, and human rights. The city as a whole becomes even more brilliant and colorful as a result of the various concerts that are held.
It is considered one of the most important events for the LGBTQ+ community in Spain and around the world. Remember to book in advance a room in one of the most popular gay-friendly hotels in Madrid.
Visit a rooftop bar with a pool
Summer is the perfect season to enjoy the warm weather, the sun, and the outdoors. And what better way to make the most of the summer in Madrid than by visiting the best rooftops in the city?
Rooftop bars are one of the trendiest places to be during the summer season, and they offer the perfect combination of refreshing drinks, great views, and a relaxing atmosphere.
Rooftop bars with a pool take the summer experience in Madrid to the next level. Not only can you enjoy the spectacular views and cool breeze from above, but you can also take a dip in the refreshing water of the pool. The pool provides a perfect escape from the heat, allowing you to cool off while sipping on a refreshing cocktail or mocktail.
Rooftop bars are also great places to enjoy the sunset and the night sky. As the sun sets, the city lights start to twinkle, creating a magical atmosphere that is hard to beat. Many rooftop bars also have live music and DJs that create a fun and lively vibe, making them perfect for a night out in Madrid.
Go to an outdoor summer cinema
Madrid is a city that offers a lot of activities during the summer, but one of the most popular and traditional ones is the outdoor summer cinemas that pop up throughout the city during the summer months thanks to the Veranos de la Villa program I have previously mentioned. They offer a unique and enjoyable experience for locals and visitors alike.
These summer cinemas in Madrid typically show classic movies and contemporary blockbusters. They are often set up in public parks, gardens, and other outdoor spaces that allow viewers to enjoy the movie under the stars while feeling the cool breeze of the summer evening.
People usually bring food and drinks to enjoy during the movie, making it a fun and social activity for groups of friends and families.
Watch a flamenco show
One of the best ways to experience the local culture and the summer in Madrid is by watching a flamenco show.
Flamenco is an incredibly passionate and emotive form of art based on the various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, and it is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of Spanish culture.
The combination of the guitar, singing, and dancing creates a unique and mesmerizing atmosphere. The performers showcase their skills and emotions through their movements and expressions, creating a captivating and authentic experience. They are dressed in traditional costumes that are unique to the region.
The warm summer nights provide the perfect backdrop for passionate and fiery performances, creating an unforgettable experience. In conclusion, watching a flamenco show is one of the best things to do in Madrid in the summer.
Where to stay in Madrid in the summer
Summer is a popular time to visit Madrid, and tourists are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation options.
The city center is a great place to stay, especially if you want to be close to the main attractions. The Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and the Royal Palace are all within walking distance. This area is also well connected to other parts of the city by public transport. You can find a range of accommodation options here, from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
If you prefer a quieter and more residential area, the exclusive Salamanca district is an excellent choice. Located to the east of the city center, this area is known for its upscale boutiques and elegant buildings. It is perfect for families as it is also home to the beautiful El Retiro Park, where you can escape the heat and enjoy a picnic or a stroll around the lake.
If you’re planning to attend a Real Madrid game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, it’s a good idea to stay in the vicinity to make your experience more comfortable and convenient. And if you are spending only a few hours in the city, you could want to stay at a hotel close to the Madrid International Airport.
In conclusion, Madrid offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, there is something for everyone. Just make sure to book in advance, especially during the peak summer season.