Discover the most enchanting things to do in Madrid in fall!
As I stepped off the plane in Madrid on a mild October morning, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In fact, I’m not sure I had any expectations at all. Madrid was meant to be a stopover before I continued my autumn trip through Spain.
Without the same level of grandiose attractions as other Spanish destinations, Madrid seemed like any other metropolitan city.
So you’ll understand why I was surprised to discover that Madrid in the fall is anything but ordinary.
The Spanish capital beckoned me down its grand tree-lined boulevards covered in blankets of golden leaves. Stunning historical landmarks basked in the warm autumn sun. Bustling outdoor cafes were filled with locals enjoying pleasant October weather, and the scent of churros con chocolate wafted irresistibly through the air.
Spain’s capital truly comes alive in autumn, with its charming cultural festivities, incredible food, and gorgeous city parks full of colorful leaves.
Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Madrid in October and November!
One of the best things to do in Madrid is to go on a Spanish food tour, especially if you’re visiting in the fall.
This is the perfect time to experience Spanish cuisine at its peak since the recipes for Spain’s most beloved dishes (like paella, churros, and cocido, mm!) were created with warmth in mind. And with a nice comfy sweater on, you can eat as much as you want!
While this tour can be more expensive than dining on your own, you won’t have to worry about falling for tourist trap paella (a crime against humanity!) or missing out on the best dishes because you didn’t understand the menu.
Booking a Spanish food tour means you get to enjoy the best seasonal dishes without any of the work, stress or planning!
What to Do in Madrid in October & November
Embrace the city’s seasonal charm by attending its best festivals and street markets before indulging in some seriously delicious local cuisine. My favorite place to try the best tapas in Madrid? One of them is Calle Ponzano, a hidden gem the locals adore!
1. Madrid’s Best Parks in Autumn
El Retiro Park and Casa de Campo are two of Madrid’s best parks, and they’re at their peak when lit up in a stunning display of autumn colors.
In the mood for a romantic afternoon? I loved getting lost in the vibrant hues of fall at Retiro Park. Stroll down tree-lined paths dotted with classical sculptures. Rent a rowboat and drift on the tranquil lake. Or explore the enchanting Crystal Palace, an architectural gem that sparkles in the autumn sunlight.
Looking for outdoor activities? Enjoy the vast greenery of Casa de Campo by hiking or cycling amidst the golden foliage. The most popular trail is “Cerros de Valdelatas,” a moderate 7-kilometer hike (~4.35 miles) that offers stunning views of the distant city skyline framed by bright yellow, red, and orange leaves.
Both parks are easily accessible by public transportation.
- Retiro Park located near the Retiro metro station
- Casa de Campo is accessible via the Lago or Alto de Extremadura metro stations.
READ NEXT: The Complete Spanish Cuisine Travel Guide
2. Madrid Performing Arts Festival
Step into a world of artistic wonder at Madrid’s performing arts festival, Festival de Otoño. Taking place each autumn, this vibrant event showcases everything from contemporary dance and classical music to avant-garde theater plays pushing the boundaries of storytelling.
Each year, you can expect experimental performances that explore new artistic expressions with a fresh lineup of talented performers and exciting acts.
The festival takes place all month long at various venues across Madrid, including renowned theaters like the historic Teatros del Canal.
Ticket prices vary depending on the event and venue, offering options for different budgets. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the rich cultural tapestry of this Autumn Festival when you visit Madrid in the fall.
3. Fall Street Markets
Explore Madrid’s lively street markets where you can get a taste of the city’s vibrant culture while hunting for unique treasures. This was one of my favorite fall activities in Madrid!
Taking place on Sundays and public holidays, El Rastro is an iconic Madrid experience. Among the narrow streets in the trendy La Latina neighborhood, you can browse a treasure trove of quirky clothing, retro vinyl records, vintage cameras, and traditional Spanish ceramics.
Madrid boasts plenty more notable street markets, such as the monthly Mercado de Motores held at the Railway Museum. For a mix of fresh produce, crafts, and fashion, the Mercado de la Cebada and Mercado de la Paz are also worth exploring.
Afterward, head to La Latina and snag the best tapas on Cava Baja, a local approved Madrid bar crawl!
4. Discover Madrid’s Hidden Gems in Fall (For free!)
Taking place each fall, Madrid Otra Mirada (Madrid Another Look) offers a fascinating glimpse into lesser-known aspects of the city’s history, architecture, and cultural heritage.
This annual initiative lets you visit historic sites, participate in thematic walks, attend lectures, and engage with local experts. Many activities are free of charge.
Some of the best things to do are:
- Discover magnificent palaces tucked away in Madrid’s streets, such as Palacio de Liria or Palacio de Cibeles, which reveal the opulence and architectural splendor of the city’s aristocratic past.
- Uncover enchanting secret gardens hidden amidst the urban landscape, like the hidden gardens of Quinta de los Molinos or the charming Parque de la Quinta de los Condes de Peralta.
- Descend into the depths of Madrid’s underground tunnels and bunkers, such as the Chamberí Metro Station or the Civil War air-raid shelters, and learn about their historical significance.
- Visit architectural gems off the beaten path, such as the Art Nouveau-inspired Casa de las Flores or the modernist Mercado de Motores, to appreciate Madrid’s diverse architectural styles.
5. Dia de Los Muertos in Madrid
Experience one of the best things to do in Madrid in November with the vibrant celebration of Dia de Los Muertos! Celebrating Day of the Dead in Spain is a special experience, because the country adds its own unique touch, blending Spanish and Mexican traditions.
In Madrid, the festivities incorporate elements of Spanish culture, like flamenco music and dance. Art galleries and cultural centers often organize special exhibitions that showcase a mix of Mexican and Spanish holiday interpretations.
Additionally, local artisans infuse their traditional Spanish artistry into unique Dia de Los Muertos crafts, including intricately designed ceramic skulls and handcrafted papel picado (colorful paper cutouts).
Make the most of the rich cultural experience by attending lively parades, admiring beautifully adorned altars, and savoring traditional Mexican cuisine. Madrid also hosts community events and workshops where you can create your own altar, make sugar skulls, participate in face painting, and engage in storytelling sessions.
Many neighborhoods have their own parades. Some of the most popular are:
- Madrid’s Day of the Dead Parade in the city center
- La Noche de los Muertos in Lavapiés neighborhood
- Dia de Los Muertos Procession at La Latina
Dia de Los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd all across the city.
6. Celebrate Madrid’s Patron Saint
When considering what to do in Madrid in November, add this festival to the top of your list! Immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of the Fiesta de la Almudena, the annual celebration dedicated to Madrid’s patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena.
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary statue was found in the walls of Madrid’s old city during the Reconquista period. The statue became a symbol of the city’s faith and protection. In honor of this discovery, the Almudena Cathedral was built, and today, Fiesta de la Almudena commemorates its consecration.
The Virgin of Almudena is highly revered by the people of Madrid and is considered the spiritual protector and patroness of the city. The festival is a time to pay homage to the patron saint, celebrate Madrid’s heritage, and strengthen faith.
The processions, live music, traditional dances, and street parades are a spectacle to behold and offer a wonderful opportunity to learn about Madrid’s cultural heritage. Tourists are welcome to observe the public celebration, but it’s important to remain respectful of the event’s religious nature.
The celebration also has its very own treat, only eaten at this time of year. This pastry, the Corona de la Almudena, or crown of Almudena, has a sweet, fluffy texture, and is decorated with candied fruits and nuts.
The Almudena Cathedral is one of the most important monuments in Madrid. Learn more on a guided tour with a local expert.
Fiesta de la Almudena takes place annually on November 9th.
7. Spain’s National Holiday
Madrid in October is an exciting place to be. October 12th holds immense significance as Spain’s most important national holiday. The National Day of Spain, also known as Día de la Hispanidad celebrates Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas, marking a pivotal moment in history.
The purpose of this holiday is to commemorate various collective historical moments that contribute to Spain’s rich cultural and social heritage.
Madrid takes center stage during the celebrations, hosting the main event. Paseo de la Castellana becomes a focal point as throngs of people gather to witness the grand military parade, led by the King, and the ceremonial homage paid to the national flag.
It’s an exciting day of national pride and unity.
8. Fall Sightseeing in Madrid
Fall is one of the most pleasant seasons for sightseeing in Madrid, offering a lovely climate and fewer crowds.
Exploring iconic landmarks like Plaza Mayor becomes a tranquil experience in the auburn glow of late October in Madrid. Check out the Royal Palace of Madrid before taking a serene stroll amidst the fall foliage of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Fall is also an incredible time to explore Madrid’s best museums. I was captivated by The Reina Sofia‘s impressive permanent collection of 20th-century art from masters like Van Gogh. The Prado Museum, renowned for its remarkable collection, is another must-visit with works by Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Goya.
9. Architecture Week
Architecture Week in Madrid is an exciting annual event that celebrates the city’s rich architectural heritage and contemporary design. During this week-long celebration, architectural enthusiasts, professionals, and the general public come together to explore and appreciate the diverse architectural wonders that Madrid has to offer.
The event features a wide range of activities including guided tours, exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and open-house events that showcase the city’s iconic landmarks, modern architectural marvels, and innovative urban projects.
Architecture Week provides a unique opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of architecture, learn from experts in the field, and gain a deeper understanding of Madrid’s architectural identity.
Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply intrigued by the beauty of the built environment, Architecture Week in Madrid promises an inspiring and enriching experience.
10. Madrid Craft Week
Celebrate the power and beauty of human creativity with Madrid Craft Week. This annual fall festival highlights traditional craftsmanship and artistic expression in the Spanish capital.
This vibrant event brings together artisans, artists, designers, and craft enthusiasts from around the world to showcase their skills and creations.
Throughout the week, visitors can immerse themselves in a variety of craft-related activities, including workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, and markets. From traditional crafts such as ceramics, textiles, and woodworking to contemporary designs and innovative techniques.
Madrid Craft Week provides a platform for artisans to share their knowledge, preserve cultural heritage, and inspire a new generation of makers.
11. Indulge in Classic Fall Dishes
Cooler temperatures mean heartier meals, and I’ve never been one to complain about that!
Fall in Madrid is a great time to try some of the nation’s traditional dishes and stews that are usually too hot and heavy for a summertime meal. To sample a variety of amazing Spanish food, head to San Miguel Market, the most famous market in Madrid.
Make sure you try some of these delicious dishes and snacks:
- Cocido Madrileño: a hearty chickpea-based stew with various meats, vegetables, and spices, perfect for the cooler weather
- Cochinillo or Cordero Asado: succulent and tender pig or lamb with a crispy, golden-brown exterior, smoky flavor, and sweet roasted meat juices.
- Chestnuts: chestnuts are abundant during this season, often roasted and sold on the streets, making a nice, warm treat for when you’re in between sights.
- Churros with Hot Chocolate: satisfy your sweet tooth with this classic treat of crispy, fried dough dipped in warm, velvety chocolate.
PS: If you’re looking for affordable accommodations nearby, check out any of these hostels in Madrid like The Hat hostel with its stylish decor and killer rooftop, or the unique concept hostel 2060 The Newton.
#1 MISTAKE TO AVOID
It’s no secret that my favorite way to enjoy, Spain’s incredible food culture is through a food tour. However, booking a tour without doing careful research would be a huge mistake!
So many travelers book food tours in Spain, not realizing that they can’t count on paella to be on every menu. But it can be so time-consuming to sort through the dozens of different tour offerings!
That’s why I created this Ultimate Madrid Tapas Tour Guide based on my own experiences to help you find a tour perfectly suited to your interests! You can choose between wine-focused tours, cooking classes, or even book a combined flamenco and tapas experience.
Bonus: Segovia Day Trip
Did you know there are dozens of stunning royal palaces in Spain? If you have time for a day trip, prioritize an excursion to Segovia where you can explore the Alcázar that inspired the design of Cinderella’s castle.
A fall day trip to Segovia promises fascinating history and natural beauty, with its iconic Roman aqueduct, majestic Alcázar, and a serene countryside adorned with vibrant autumn colors. Wander through the enchanting medieval streets, savor the city’s renowned cochinillo (roast suckling pig) cuisine, and climb the Alcázar’s towers for breathtaking panoramic views that capture the essence of Segovia during a vibrant, picturesque season.
What is Madrid Like in Fall?
If you’re visiting Madrid in October, rest assured that autumn offers a delightful escape from the scorching summer heat, making it the best time of the year to visit the city. With an average temperature ranging from mid-60 to low 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s the perfect time to explore this charming European city.
As the summer crowds disperse, the fall season welcomes visitors with its pleasant weather and sunny days. Take advantage of lower hotel prices without the peak season rush.
Fall in Madrid provides an ideal balance of pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and more affordable accommodations, making it a wise choice for a memorable visit.
What Should I Wear in Madrid in October?
Visiting Madrid in the fall is a great time to enjoy mild temperatures and pleasant weather. While the city stays warm through early October, it’s advisable to pack a light jacket or sweater for the cooler evenings.
During the day, you can comfortably wear light and breathable clothing such as jeans, shirts, and light layers. It’s a good idea to bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city’s streets and attractions.
As the season progresses through the center of Spain, you may want to have a few warmer items, like a scarf or a light coat, to stay cozy as temperatures gradually cool down.
Where to Go After?
It’s easy to get around Spain! After you’ve explored Madrid, check out all the best Seville Instagram spots, or spend a day in Cordoba discovering breathtaking Andalusian landmarks. Only 2 hours away by train, Barcelona also makes a great next stop where you can trace the footsteps of renowned architect Antoni Gaudi and drink all the Spanish Cava your heart desires!
No matter what you do, any trip to Spain is guaranteed to leave you with incredible memories and a burning desire to return!
Is October a good time to go to Madrid?
October is an excellent time to visit Madrid since the temperature is pleasant, and there are tons of charming festivals and celebrations, but none of the summer crowds. Plus, you’ll find affordable deals on everything like flights and hotels.
How many days in Madrid is ideal?
The ideal number of days to spend in Madrid is about three, but if you want to include a day trip, plan for four. This will give you enough time to explore the city’s famous art museums and markets, wander neighborhoods like Malasana and Lavapie, and eat plenty of yummy Spanish tapas.
Is Madrid better in fall or spring?
While Madrid in fall is truly magical, those who want the best chance of avoiding rain should opt for spring. October-December are the city’s wettest months. (However, I didn’t see a drop of rain when I was there for a few days in October!)
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