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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Madrid

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Madrid each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

May 2: Fiesta de la Comunidad de Madrid (Dos de Mayo, regional holiday)

On this day in 1808, Napoleon's troops put down an uprising in Madrid. Many concerts and dance parties organised carry on late into the night, especially in the Malasaña district.

June 3–August 30: PhotoEspaña (local event)

This highlight of photography and visual arts features around 60 exhibitions, held in museums, galleries and art centres. The festival also organizes debates and discussions, making Madrid the world capital of photography every summer.

June 12: Fiesta de San Antonio (local event)

One of the most popular traditions in Madrid: young single women flock to the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, to beg Saint Anthony to provide them with a partner by throwing pins into a font and dipping in their hands. Street fairs, including many activities for children, are also held on that day.

October 12: Spanish National Day (Día de la Hispanidad, national holiday)

On this day, Spaniards commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The anniversary is celebrated each year with a military parade along the Paseo de la Castellana, attended by the Spanish royal family and drawing thousands of spectators. Festivities also include a number of cultural events (exhibitions and shows) as well as a fireworks display and dance parties.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

December 31: New Year's Eve (national holiday)

Thousands of Madrileños pack into the central Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, holding little bags of grapes, to wait for the clock on the Casa de Correos that gives Spain its official time to strike midnight. As the hour arrives, everyone clutches their handful of grapes in readiness and then eats one grape at each of the twelve chimes, to ensure good luck for the twelve months to come. Champagne flows and best wishes are exchanged all round to ring in the new year, with celebrations extending into the early hours.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Madrid

Madrid has a very dry, continental Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot, with temperatures often reaching higher than 40°C (104°F). A rainy period is usually experienced in November and December. Winters can be fairly cold with frequent frosts at night and occasional snowfall.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 3/37 10/50 37/1.5 Not the best period to go
February 4/39 12/54 35/1.4 Not the best period to go
March 6/43 16/61 26/1.0 Not the best period to go
April 7/45 17/63 47/1.9 Not the best period to go
May 11/52 21/70 52/2.0 Good period to go Good period to go
June 15/59 27/81 25/1.0 Good period to go Good period to go
July 18/64 31/88 15/0.6 Good period to go Good period to go
August 18/64 31/88 10/0.4 Good period to go Good period to go
September 15/59 26/79 28/1.1 Good period to go Good period to go
October 10/50 19/66 49/1.9 Not the best period to go
November 6/43 13/55 56/2.2 Not the best period to go
December 4/39 10/50 56/2.2 Not the best period to go
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Madrid- Barajas Adolfo Suárez International Airport

Madrid's Barajas International Airport is located about 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the city centre.

  • Four terminals:
    • Terminal 1
    • Terminal 2 (Air France)
    • Terminal 3
    • Terminal 4

Getting from the airport to Madrid and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the M-40 motorway, with a travel time of about 20 minutes.
    • Express parking, for dropping off and picking up passengers, as well as other long-term and motorcycle parking facilities are available at each terminal.
    • Several car rental companies have counters on the arrivals level at Terminal 1 and Terminal 4.
  • By commuter rail
    • From Terminal 4, Line C-1 connects the airport with the city centre. One-way fare is EUR 2.60.
  • By underground
    • Line 8 of the Madrid Metro runs from all airport terminals to central Madrid. Travel time is 10–15 minutes and a single ticket costs EUR 3.00.
  • By bus
    • Linea Exprés (line N 203) runs from Terminals 1, 2 and 4 to Atocha train station. A single ticket costs EUR 5. Buses leave every 15 to 20 minutes during the daytime (from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and every 35 minutes at night (from 11:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.)
  • By taxi
    • Taxi ranks are located outside the arrivals area at each terminal. Flat-rate fare of EUR 30 for all journeys between the airport and the city centre.

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GETTING AROUND Madrid

Getting around Madrid using public transport is easy and relatively inexpensive. The Madrid Metro and the city's many bus routes serve the entire metropolitan area non-stop.

By bus

Madrid's bus network offers dense coverage of the city and the routes are efficient, fast and convenient. Buses run every day from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. 2 lines of night buses, called búhos (owls) start running when regular service ends, from 11:45 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. A single ticket costs EUR 1.50.

By sightseeing bus

Madrid City Tour operates around the city on bright red double-decker buses, with two different sightseeing routes. Buses on the daytime routes run between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. in Summer and between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. the remainder of the year.

City Pass

The Abono Turístico tourist pass is the most inexpensive and convenient way to get around Madrid. It offers unlimited use of the buses and the Metro during its entire validity period. Passes are available for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days, starting from EUR 8.40.

By rail

The Madrid Metro is particularly efficient and serves the entire metropolitan area. A single journey within the city centre (zone A) costs EUR 1.50.

By taxi

Taxis are plentiful in Madrid. It is always easy to find one, at any time of the day or night. The initial charge is EUR 2.40, then EUR 1.25 per kilometre.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Madrid, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organise your stay.

Plaza Mayor Tourist Center

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Tourist information kiosks

AAt various locations throughout the city, Madrid's tourism authority also operates smaller kiosks offering information and recommendations for visiting Madrid and its surrounding area:

  • Paseo del Arte: Glorieta Emperador Carlos V, s/n (corner of Calle Santa Isabel, near the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia)
  • Centro: Plaza de Cibeles, 1 (Palacio de Cibeles)
  • Cibeles: Plaza Cibeles, 1 (Bulevar Paseo del Prado)
  • Faro de Moncloa: Avenida Arco de la Victoria, 2

Further information available online for visitors to Spain

The website maintained by Instituto de Turismo de España (Turespaña), Spain's official tourism institution, provides a wealth of information on Madrid.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The official currency in Spain is the Euro (EUR).

HKD 1 = EUR 0.11

EUR 1 = HKD 9.09

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Spain. For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no specific food safety risks.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Madrid.

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Administrative formalities

For stays of less than three months, travellers from the Schengen area, as well as those from the countries of the European Union not included in the area, need only be in possession of a national identity card or a passport valid for the duration of their stay.

As a general rule, all other travellers are subject to visa requirements, although citizens of some countries may enter Spain for a short stay of up to 90 days without a visa.

For further information, visit the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/en/ServiciosAlCiudadano/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Paginas/Inicio.aspx

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Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Madrid, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Spanish phrases that will make your stay in Madrid a little easier:

Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!

Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!

Good evening / Good night: Buenas noches

Good-bye: Adiós

See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!

Yes:

No: No

No, thank you: No, gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No entiendo

Could you repeat that,: ¿Puede repetir?

Please: Por favor

What time is it,: ¿Que hora es?

Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).

Airport: Aeropuerto

Train station: Estación de trenes

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: Teléfono

I'm (…): Yo soy (…).

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).

How much is it,: ¿Cuánto es?

Do you have (…)?: ¿Tiene (…) 

Where can I find (…)?: ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)? 

Where can I buy (…)?: ¿Dónde puedo comprar (…)?

I'd like (…): Quisiera (…). 

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Good to know

00 34
+ phone number
-7 : 00
of time difference with
Hong Kong
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
As is the case elsewhere in Spain, tipping is not expected in Madrid. In principle, the service charge is included in the bill. But if you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly round up the bill or leave a few extra euros on the table.