You shouldn’t miss out on the August holidays in Madrid if you’re going to be in the city during the month ahead!
During the month of August, Spaniards will decorate the streets of the city, hold large parades, and worship their saints and virgins: San Cayetano, San Lorenzo, and La Paloma.
These festivities take place during the first two weeks of August.
WHAT ARE VERBENAS?
These open-air outdoor street festivals are known locally as “verbenas.”
In Spanish-speaking cultures, a verbena is an agricultural show, small amusement park, or dance party- especially one held at night. Verbenas are an old tradition and usually take place after dark during the summer.
In the United States, you might think of these as a fair or street festival.
Some parts of Spain, such as Barcelona, host “permanent” verbenas known locally as la revetlla in Catalan. These are rooted less in tradition than the verbenas that occur only a few days each year.
You’ll have no trouble finding the streets preparing for the festivities in the respective neighborhoods of Madrid leading up to the festivals. The streets will be decorated with flags, garlands, and lights! In the evening, you’ll find concerts, music, and street performers.
Traditional Spanish foods are sold everywhere during these street festivals. You’ll have no trouble finding beer, sangria, chocolate, churros, marzipan, or whatever kind of Spanish food you are searching for.
These festivals make August one of the most lively times to travel to Madrid!
FESTIVAL OF SAN CAYETANO
The festival of San Cayetano is held on August 7th in the El Rastro and Embajadores area.
This was the first summer fiesta I attended in Madrid! 😄
FESTIVAL OF SAN LORENZO
The festival of San Lorenzo is held on August 10th in Lavapiés.
While the other festivals adhere closely to the Madrileño tradition, the San Lorenzo festival reflects more of the young, alternative, and multicultural nature of Lavapiés.
In general, this festival is geared toward the 20-something-year-old crowd and is less child-friendly compared to the others.
FESTIVAL OF LA PALOMA
The festival of La Paloma wraps up the verbenas and is held on August 15th in La Latina!
This festival is mostly celebrated around Plaza de la Paja, Calle Toledo, and Plaza de las Visitillas. You will also find celebrations around the church of La Virgen de la Paloma.
This festival is held in honor of the Virgin de la Paloma (Virgin of the Dove). 🐦
PHOTOS FROM LA VERBENA DE SAN CAYETANO
My friend, a fellow American expat living in Spain, invited me to join him at the San Cayetano verbena in Madrid. I’m so grateful I accepted the invitation otherwise I would have missed out on Madrid’s best traditional street festival!
The streets were full of people singing, dancing, drinking, and hanging out with friends. There were also parades, chotis dancing (traditional dances), and Chulapos (people wearing traditional Madrid dress) during the day.
VIDEOS FROM THE VERBENA
This year’s fiestas are right around the corner. Are you planning on going? 🥳