Things do in Madrid in the New Year

As Spain’s capital and the country’s largest city, Madrid enjoys a booming tourist trade across the year. The third largest city in the E.U., this popular holiday destination is a favourite for everyone from families and students, to hen parties and couples. A bustling party city, Madrid is the perfect option for New Year’s Eve celebrations, as hundreds of tourists flock to the area for December 31st. Offering everything from parties and club nights, to fine dining and cultural attractions, whatever your tastes, there is something to suit everyone.

Madrid

Madrid

Spain celebrates the start of the New Year with a unique tradition: the consumption of 12 grapes in time to the 12 chimes of midnight. This tradition dates back to the early 1900s, when a surplus grape crop prompted the industry to find creative ways of increasing grape sales. They introduced the ritual of eating grapes to bring in the new year in good luck; a tradition that is still practised today. Many parties, hotels and events will provide grapes for the countdown, while vendors sell them at street festivals.

If you wish to take part in this tradition, then the Puerta del Sol is the place to be. After a late dinner, crowds gather in Madrid’s most famous square at midnight to hear the 12 chimes before heading off to parties or bars. Millions of Spaniards watch the countdown on TV, while hundreds of others brave the cold to see it in person. There is always a large crowd, so if you want to get a good view, you must arrive early. The Retiro Park offers an alternative to the central square, with a fireworks display backed by music.

While the midnight chimes signify the end of the holiday for most countries, teens and adults in Madrid do not begin their celebrations until 12am. A majority of the bars and discothèques in the area will re-open at 1am, giving the staff a chance to celebrate with their families before heading to work. Large clubs and more intimate bars offer food and drink for a fixed price, while there is entertainment to suit all tastes, with everything from club nights to traditional flamenco exhibitions on the menu.

As well as offering a comfortable bed after a night on the town, a number of the city’s most prolific hotels also offer their own New Year’s Eve celebrations. With everything from pre-activity drinks, to four course meals and entertainment available, these events are ticket-only and often sell-out quickly. It is worth checking availability for any meals with your hotel when you book, as well as asking for information on any events or parties within walking distance from your room.

A sweet end to the old year, a traditional end-of-night celebration for Madrid’s residents is a visit to the Chocolateria San Gines. Established in 1894, this hidden gem is famous for its sweet, crispy sticks of fried dough served with chocolate sauce, also known as Chocolate Con Churros.

Photo:✿м∂гy ~ © [Off]

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