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Crystal Palace in autumn, in El Retiro Park, Madrid

What to do in Madrid in autumn 2021


At any time of year, Madrid is a vibrant city where there is always a good concert or exhibition to see. Autumn is also a great time for a stroll in famous parks like El Retiro, to go shopping in the Rastro flea market, take a trip to a nearby village, or explore some of the local wineries. This season is full of things to do, with all safety measures in place. Here, we suggest a few. 

  • Boating pond in Retiro Park, Madrid

    Be delighted by the colours in the parks

    El Retiro Park turns a hundred shades of gold from September to December, to the delight of anyone visiting its 118 hectares. You can go for a boat ride, have a picnic in the shade of the lovely Crystal Palace, or see works of art like the fountains or the monument to Alfonso XII, with its hidden viewing point. El Retiro and Paseo del Prado form part of the “Landscape of Light”, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To celebrate it, from 29 to 31 October the Festival of Light will feature over 20 art installations.As well as El Retiro, there are other parks in the city that are especially charming in autumn. For example, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Campo del Moro (take a look from the recently opened viewing point of La Cornisa, next to the Royal Palace), El Capricho, and more.

  • The Masterpiece or The Mysteries of the Horizon, 1955. René Magritte. Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles

    Fall in love with art and music

    This season, several of the city’s museums are hosting exciting temporary exhibitions. One of the most anticipated is The Magritte Machine (at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum), on one of the greatest masters of Surrealism. Another interesting show is “#InGoya” (at the Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa), an immersive experience with over 1000 images from Goya’s pictures.If you’d like to enjoy the colours of autumn as well as works of art, some museums have lovely gardens tucked away. For example, the gardens of the Sorolla Museum and the Cerralbo Museum are charming.  If you’re a fan of big theatrical productions, this season Madrid is home to some of the best musicals on the international scene: The Lion King (Teatro Lope de Vega), Ghost (Teatro EDP Gran Vía), Grease (Nuevo Teatro Alcalá), Kinky Boots (Espacio Ibercaja Delicias), The Pillars of the Earth (Teatro Calderón), Tina Turner (Teatro Coliseum), We Will Rock You (Gran Teatro CaixaBank Príncipe Pío), and The Full Monty (Teatro Rialto).

  • Images of the Rastro market in Madrid

    Discover the real Madrid

    What could be more typical of Madrid than spending the whole day at the Rastro street market? This autumn, this iconic Sunday event will also host activities on Saturdays: culinary tours to enjoy authentic Madrid dishes, shopping tours to see the city’s traditional shops, markets selling antiques and art objects, and family activities near the Puerta de Toledo. Plus, to see all the delights of the city in an unusual way, there is a new edition of the Programme of Unusual Madrid Tours. Choose your favourite.

  • Photos of Restaurante Botín

    Hundred-year-old restaurants and wine tourism

    As the weather cools down, we start to fancy hot, tasty dishes like the ones you’ll find at the Historic Restaurants and Taverns of Madrid, including Restaurante Botín, the world’s oldest restaurant.And after the wine harvest season, it’s the time to sample delicious wines or take a wine tour –there are over 50 wineries in the region– and sign up for unusual activities, such as an evening tasting wine under the stars.  

  • Plaza Cervantes square in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid

    Take a fun day trip

    Although the city of Madrid has plenty to do and see, if you’re here for more than a few days, you can take advantage of the mild autumn weather for an excursion:-Visit Alcalá de Henares to see its famous University, dating back to 1499, or in October, enjoy the legendary Cervantine Market (as this town was the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote).-The Felipe II Tourist Train will take you to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. It has one of the most beautiful monasteries in Spain, and taking a walk around the woods of La Herrería in autumn and climbing up to the viewing point of La Silla de Felipe II is an amazing experience.  -The Strawberry Train goes to Aranjuez, where there is an imposing Royal Palace with magical gardens.-One of the most fabulous autumn landscapes near Madrid can be seen at Hayedo de Montejo beech forest, in Sierra del Rincón: an endless vista of trees, practically untouched by human activity, where you can breathe fresh air and visit pretty little villages like La Hiruela. In the northern mountain ranges of the region, the Finnish forest of Rascafría will seem to transport you to Scandinavia in the blink of an eye. And another beautiful village near Madrid is Patones de Arriba, with slate cottages and narrow stone-paved streets in a unique rural setting.

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