San Isidro Madrid

San Isidro is Madrids patron saint and every May a week of festivities are held in the city to mark the event. This is Madrids biggest fiesta with almost every professional and amatuer organization putting on a special show.

Make sure you don´t miss it

Madrid guide Spain has prepared this guide to the best of the attractions and activities on offer between the 9th and 15th May 2007. For more information on the historical origins of this event please see our guide to all Madrids fiestas.

San Isidro activities guide

A typical scene from the parades.

The 2009 San Isidro celebrations in Madrid are sure to be the biggest and best yet with the city administration having recently authorised the spending of more than 1.9 million euros on events and spectacles.

One has to remember that although 90% of events are centered on the downtown part of the city the whole region "Communidad de Madrid" is celebrating during this time with small villages having their own programme of events.

Toros de San Isidro

Perhaps the most internationally recognised celebration is that of the 30 days of "Toros" (bullfighting) celebrated in Madrids Las Ventas.

The worlds best bullfighters converge on Madrid for 30 days of events ranging from "Novatos" (Youngsters) to demonstrations of the different styles practised in South America and southern France. Events start daily at 1900 in front of capacity crowds even on weekdays. The best bullfights are normally reserved for the weekend programme. For more information see our guide to bullfighting in Madrid.

Universimad Premio de Rock

The university of Madrid will host the Madrid annual rock music awards on the 15th May. This year sees the traditional free concert and party which is "Universimad" being combined with the Rock music awards.

20,000 places are available for this free, day long event with over 20 different world bands performing open air in the Madrid university sports field. Check here for full details:

As enterance to this event is limited you will have to collect an "invitation" from either FNAC Madrid (Gran via) or the Association of Madrid university students.

Madrid Residents tip

Residents Tip: Although fiestas are fun and exciting the party tends to go on for as long as you want it to. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing so as to remain comfortable for many hours.

Festival Of Urban Culture

Takes place in the Parque Juan Carlos I near the city center on the throughout May this festival is expected to be attended by over 50,000 people.

Showing the urban culture through a variety of different media:

  • competitions (skateboard, bmx etc),
  • shows (Urban art, photography and graffiti)
  • and of course concerts (Hip hop, Djs and urban beats)
it has proved very popular in previous years. The full details can be found here:

Plaza de las Vistillas

This is the center of the historical part of San Isidro and where, on the 15th May the statue of the patron saint is paraded. Madrileños don their traditional costume and attempt to drink from the fountain.... unsuprisingly most get as far as the nearest street bar and instead join in the dancing and party atmosphere.

By night the plaza changes to a concert venue and a number of traditional Spanish songs are played by various bands and entertainers. As with everything Spanish the order of events is somewhat haphazard and people instead concentrate on the party!!!

Plaza Mayor

The traditional Plaza Mayor in the city center is turned into an open air concert venue by the addition of a stage along its southern side. A full programme of shows and music is maintained daily for the whole week of San Isidro with activities begining at 1100 and going on into the late evening / night.

A slightly more formal affir you should dress smartly and we recomend that you don´t overdo it with regards to alcohol. If you do its not a problem though as the many bars and tapas restaurants in the Plaza and surrounding it will be more than happy to take of you! Bring a smile!

Parque del buen Retiro

Madrids Retiro park plays host to a number of events and exhibitions during the week. Considering its size the scope of activities on offer is astounding.

You can find Art and cultural exhibitions in either of its two exhibition centers. There is a special programme of open air theatre for children and with most performances being of a visual nature the language barrier won´t be a problem. A number of processions pass through the park so don´t be suprised to have bands and parades shatter the parks serenity when you least expect it!

How to enjoy San Isidro!

Realistically speaking the best way to enjoy the festivities is simply to participate! You´ll find that almost every bar, cafe, restaurant and street corner has something going on be it planned or not. Don´t get too hung up on seeing this or doing that as more often than not you´ll actually miss what it is going on right in front of you.

Do as the Spanish do and go with the crowd

Missed San Isidro? Don´t worry, check out Madrids other fiestas!

A typical Paella

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