Looking for the best time to visit Madrid? Discover the most enjoyable months for sightseeing, along with crowd levels, weather, and events!
The first thing I research when visiting a new destination is the best month or time of year to visit. When you visit can make or break your trip. Plan your trip at the wrong time and you could find a lot of closed shops because the locals have skipped town. Or, sweating through your third t-shirt of the day as you deal with the higher than expected summer heat.
Visit at the right time and you'll find the perfect mix of ideal sightseeing weather and manageable crowds.
Madrid is a city I've visited multiple times and over varying seasons and months. I have a clear winner in my book on when the best time to visit Madrid is. This post will take you through each month and what it looks like in terms of weather, crowd levels, prices, and events.
Short and sweet: The best time to visit Madrid is mid-September through October
Early/mid-fall is the best time to visit Madrid. The weather is ideal and the crowds are much lower than summer and slightly lower than spring.
Mid-October to early November is also beautiful as the leaves start to change colors.
Madrid in Fall – September through November
My personal pick for the best time to visit Madrid
I absolutely love Madrid, and most of Spain for that matter, in mid-fall. Specifically, mid-September through October. The weather is perfect for sightseeing.
Come mid-September, the summer heat has lowered to an ideal range of high 60s to low 80s (averaging in the low 70s for most of the day).
October is perfect for those that appreciate cool mornings and evenings. Lows are in the low 50s and highs in the low 70s.
October is my personal pick for the best month to visit Madrid. While some years October has brought weather warm enough to wear jeans and a t-shirt, other times it's required a sweater with a light jacket. Either way, it was ideal sightseeing weather.
November can become quite chilly with lows in the high 30s and highs in the high 60s. If you're going to visit Madrid in November, I would recommend early November as there's a chance leaves will still be on the trees in golden hues. With the cooler weather of November, there will also be fewer crowds.
Some people steer away from Madrid in fall because weather forecasts show this season brings the highest chance of rain. In reality, September only averages 6 rainy days, October 10, and November 9. While 10 rainy days in October may seem high, it's not the kind of rain that lingers.
I've visited Madrid in October four times now and only on one trip did it sprinkle for an hour here and there.
MADRID FALL EVENTS
The biggest event to watch out for in Madrid in fall is Spain’s National Day on October 12th. Also known as Columbus Day.
The city celebrates with parades, processions, and has an overall celebratory mood.
It's popular for Madrid residents to take advantage of the day off/long weekend and visit other cities around Spain. Seville for example becomes extremely crowded and the train route between Madrid and Seville is almost always sold out during this time.
Noche en Blanco is a night dedicated to the arts that makes its way to top cities around Europe (Rome, Brussels, Paris, etc.) from August to early October. Museums stay open all night, free concerts and events take place in squares throughout the city, and the party lasts all night long. In the past, this night takes place in Madrid in late September.
What to wear in Madrid in fall
The weather in Madrid changes quickly as fall progresses and can be quite different from year to year. Check the weather before you go to get an idea if this is a warm or cool year.
Madrid in September typically warrants summer wear with a sweater for evenings and mornings. Think t-shirts, dresses, skirts, etc.
Madrid in October will mean layers. Mornings and evenings can be quite cool. I typically plan on jeans and a t-shirt or a long sleeve shirt. You'll want to pack a light jacket for mornings and evenings, or days if/when it's overcast.
November is time for typical fall wear. Jeans with a light sweater, scarves, and a light to medium jacket.
Pack your umbrella as fall brings the highest chance of rain.
Spring in Madrid – March through May
The second best time to visit Madrid for good weather and springtime events
Spring in Madrid brings a similar chance of rain as fall. 8, 10, and 11 rainy days for March, April, and May. Average temperatures are low 40s to high 60s, sometimes reaching the 70s in late May.
Aim for late April and May if you plan to visit Madrid in spring. You'll have longer days and the weather is actually quite nice.
May is a popular time to visit Madrid with the beautiful weather and a calendar full of spring events, so you'll most likely see more tourists in May than you would in October (which is why I prefer October).
Madrid Spring events
Spring in Madrid is full of events. The Madrid Open brings tennis fans from far and wide and is typically scheduled from late April to early May.
San Isidro celebrates the patron saint, Saint Isidro, with whom over a hundred miracles have been attributed to. Saint Isidro was born and died in Madrid, hence the celebrations that usually take place around May 15th. The entire city hosts free events, concerts, parades, and other activities for the entire family.
Festimad is a 2 week rock/alternative music festival in mid-spring. Local, international, renowned, and up-and-coming artists perform throughout the city.
Dos De Mayo commemorates the unsuccessful revolt against French troops on May 2, 1808. Street parties are hosted in various neighborhoods around Madrid as well as Flamenco shows and concerts.
WHAT TO WEAR IN SPRING IN MADRID
Similar to fall in Madrid, it can vary between a hot spring or cold spring. Keep checking the weather forecast before you leave to see which direction its trending.
You may still need your winter coat in early March, or you could be find a sweater will suffice. Overall, you'll be best wearing layers as the day can really warm up when the sun is shining.
May typically brings beautiful weather and will start to feel like summer come late May. Have a light jacket on you for the cool mornings and evenings. You should be comfortable wearing t-shirts, shorts, and dresses.
Similar to fall, be sure to pack an umbrella.
Madrid in Winter – December through February
The best time to go to Madrid for low hotel rates and slightly fewer crowds than spring and fall
There are a lot of cities in Europe that see a considerable dip in hotel prices and crowds in winter. While this is true for Madrid, it isn't as drastic as you would think.
Personally, I didn't think the crowd levels or prices warranted dealing with the cloudy, short days and cold weather.
The weather was also very dreary and to me, Spain is a place best enjoyed when the sun is shining.
If shorter days, temperatures in the 30s to low 50s, and a medium chance of cloudy skies doesn't sound too bad, then you'll be rewarded with lower hotel rates and slights fewer crowds. Just be sure to avoid mid-December through the first week of January as the holiday seasons brings crowds and high prices.
EVENTS IN MADRID IN WINTER
Madrid typically holds its annual food festival, Gastrofestival, in January. Last year, 2022, it was in May and 2023 dates have yet to be released. Check out the official Gastrofestival website for upcoming dates.
The holiday seasons in Madrid brings crowds, Christmas lights and markets, and higher than average hotel prices. NYE is also fun as Spaniards know how to celebrate.
What to wear in Madrid in winter
If you're visiting from the midwest, Madrid winter weather won't seem too bad. Otherwise, it does get pretty chilly.
I usually bring a winter coat (mid-thigh length) as I would rather be too hot than too cold. At minimum, you'll want a medium warmth coat. Bring gloves and scarves as well.
Summer in Madrid – June through August
NOT the best time to visit Madrid as this is the most crowded (and hot) time of year
If you can help it, avoid Madrid in summer at all costs. Especially July and August. Not only is it extremely hot (the strength of the sun makes it feel hotter than the temperature actually reads), but the crowds are miserable.
Similar to Italy, many locals skip town this time of year, most notably in August. This leaves the city with a less authentic and more touristy feel.
July and August are the driest months of the year and bring temperatures in the 90s. Don't be surprised if the coffee shop you planned to visit or boutique closing store is closed in the afternoon. It's common shops to close during the hottest part of the afternoon for workers to take a siesta.
Save your indoor activities for the afternoon and do your outdoor sightseeing early in the morning.
I highly recommend trying for June if you must visit in summer as the temperatures will be much better than the rest of summer.
MADRID SUMMER EVENTS
Madrid hosts one of the largest gay pride festivals in the world. It often brings as much as 1.5 to 2 million visitors to the city and takes place between mid-June and early July. Google the dates for Orgullo Madrid to find the event dates to either attend or avoid.
MadCool is a two to three day music festival, usually in early July, bringing top names from around the globe. Ava Max, Mumford and Sons, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are included in the 2023 lineup.
In late August, San Sebastian de Los Reyes (just outside of Madrid) hosts its annual bull run. As expected this brings visitors to the city. I highly recommend researching what this event entails to determine if this is something you want to support or not.
What to wear in summer in Madrid
Dress as cool and light as possible. The sun is strong this time of year and can make it feel warmer than the temperature actually reads.
Shorts, dresses, sandals, hats, and sunscreen are a must in summer.
Summary of the best time to visit Madrid
I hope this post helps you decide the best time to Madrid, Spain for your upcoming trip. In summary, my favorite time to go to Madrid is mid-September through October.
Fall in Madrid offers the ideal mix of great sightseeing weather and lower crowds than spring and summer.
In general, try to avoid summer which lacks an authentic feel since many locals leave and all the tourists arrive. It's also very hot this time of year and many shops are either closed the entire month in August or shut their doors during the afternoon when the heat is at its worst.
Outside of the holiday season, winter in Madrid is a great to score a deal. Though, in my personal opinion, I didn't think the crowds were low enough to warrant the cloudy weather, short days, and the absence of patio dining. I would have rather paid a little bit more and dealt with a few more tourists in exchange for beautiful weather and a lively atmosphere.
Spring is the second best time to visit Madrid with it's gorgeous weather, but is more crowded than fall with a calendar full of events.
**MADRID HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS**
- NH Collection Madrid Palacio de Tepa
- Four Seasons Hotel Madrid
- NH Collection Madrid Gran Vía
- JW Marriott Madrid (I always book Marriott properties via Marriott to earn the most points and for loyalty perks).
- Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid
- Thompson Madrid, a Hyatt brand
- Room Mate Alba - I stayed here last time and loved it!
- CoolRooms Palacio de Atocha
- Círculo Gran Vía, Autograph Collection (Autograph Collection is a favorite of mine. I always book Marriott properties via Marriott to earn the most points and for loyalty perks).
- Hotel Preciados
- Hotel Regina Madrid