Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Semana Santa (Easter Week) in Madrid

Easter Week (Semana Santa) in Madrid tends to be a quiet time, as many madrileños chose to escape the city for a getaway. There are still a few things going on the city however, but you will find it much more low key than the festivities which take place in cities such as Málaga or Seville.

If you are interested in catching a traditional street procession, there will be a number going on around the centre of the city and in La Latina neighbourhood (Calle Toledo). These processions can be a bit of an eyeopener if you've never seen one before; huge altars and statues are carried along the streets of the city by people covered in long robes and tall pointed hats to the somber music of marching bands.  Here's a timetable for the processions in Spanish.

Easter processions in Madrid
There will be plenty of other things happening alongside the more traditional events. There's the Chardin and Ribera exhibitions on the Prado, an exhibition dedicated to Winston Churchill and the Cirque du Soleil will be in town. We have details of all of these and more on this blog, and if we find anything else interesting, we'll add it.

 If you're going to be here around Easter, don't forget to try torrijas. These are doughy cakes made from fried bread and dipped in sugar and cinnamon traditionally eaten around Lent and Easter. They're delicious! You will find them in the pastelerías (cake shops).

Opening times in Madrid over Easter week: Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are festivos (public holidays). Note that unlike the UK and other countries, the Monday after Easter is not a holiday.  Generally speaking on these days the larger stores around Sol, Gran Vía as well as anything geared to tourists and many eating and drinking places will be open as normal each day, even on Easter Sunday. However smaller places away from the centre and independent shops might not open; in fact we've seen in previous years that many will close from Tuesday or Wednesday onwards or even for the whole week.  Public transport too will run, but might not be as frequent. A lot of the attractions and museums in Madrid could be busier throughout the week, so expect crowds at popular attractions. 

In other popular towns such as Toledo or Segovia, we imagine on these days most places in the touristy parts will be open as usual. After all these places will be getting lots of visitors from Madrid over the holiday, so they'll want to make the most of it! We went to tiny Chinchón on the Holiday Thursday couple of years ago, and it was all open for visitors. However on these days, you will probably find places outside the touristic centre closed and looking pretty dead, just as on Sundays. If in doubt check before you go.

No comments:

Post a Comment