7 awesome things to do on New Year’s Eve in Madrid (2023)

new years eve in madrid

Looking for things to do on New Year’s Eve in Madrid? Check out these ways to welcome in the New Year in style!

New Year’s Eve is generally a family celebration in Spain where people gather at home for a special traditional meal, but for people visiting Madrid this New Year’s, there are still a tons of great options to start the year in full swing.

1. Run the San Silvestre race

The last day of the year sees one of the most populous running events, held in the Spanish capital – the 10 km San Silvestre Vallecana race.

The race is divided into two sections:

  • On one side is San Silvestre Popular, which is open to all runners over 16 years old, with 40,000+ places available. Have a look at the race course and join the race. You can even run in a disguise!
  • On the other side is San Silvestre Vallecana International, a far more select event with just 1,000 places reserved for runners with accredited 10 km times of less than 39 minutes (for men) and 45 minutes (for women). It’s regarded as a fairly easy competition since 8 out of the 10 km are slightly downhill.

2. Treat yourself with a New Year’s special menu

While most Spaniards celebrate New Year’s Eve at home, you could be one of the many visitors that decide to celebrate in Madrid with a superb a meal.

This is one of the most popular nights of the year for restaurants in Madrid – even though a number of them are closed! But a selected number of the most popular restaurants prepare a special menu for New Year’s Eve in Madrid.

You could for example go to the finest hotel in town, the Hotel Ritz to have a luxurious dinner. Alternatively, you could book a table at the cutting-edge NH Collection Madrid Gran Vía where you can enjoy some wonderful views of the city from its impressive sky bar…

Another good option is to go for dinner at boutique hotel.

With such an incredible of offer of great food and amazing wine you’ll have a once in a lifetime experience.

The only catch is that you must book well in advance!

3. Eat the 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve in Madrid

New Year’s Eve in Spain is called Nochevieja that stands for “The Old Night”. Hours before midnight on New Years Eve, tens of thousands of people gather in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol to await the chimes of the clock on the tower which dominates the Spanish capital’s central square.

Now, Spain has a very special way of doing this: everyone eats one grape for every chime the clock rings for the first 36 seconds of the year!

So, 36 seconds = 12 chimes = 12 grapes! Crazy but so very true!

The first grape, and the second, are easy… But as your cheeks get filled it will be hard not to laugh making it harder to eat all 12 grapes on time. However, if you’re brave enough and manage to eat all the 12 grapes as the last chime, you’ll have a lucky year.

Tip: Try to eat seedless grapes, or peel them before…

4. Hack the calendar and avoid the usual crowds

As you can imagine the Puerta del Sol is completely packed a few hours before midnight. Thousands of visitors and Madrileños gather here on New Year’s Eve to welcome the beginning of a new year…

But you don’t have to wait until December 31st.

Actually, if you want to see the clock in action at Puerta del Sol, you have four chances to do it. Make sure you live the experience!

Option #1. December 30th at noon

That’s right.

You can celebrate the beginning of the year at the Puerta del Sol a day in advance! It’s when they test the clock so you can hear the 12 chimes just as they will sound on the 31st.

Option #2. December 30th at midnight

The New Year’s Eve official rehearsal is almost as popular as the night of 31st, and there are many people who celebrate with joy the “fake” or “in advance” beginning of the year as if it was the real one.

In fact, it’s the day that many Madrileños prefer, since the next day they usually have dinner with family or friends. But show up early as pretty much everyone has the same idea and you may not fit in!

Option #3. December 31st at noon

It’s the best option if you’re traveling with children since there is no agglomeration. So if you hate crowds, here’s your chance!

Option #4. December 31st at midnight

It’s the Great Night.

Try to go a few hours in advance to enter the fenced area. If you go too late, it will be impossible to grab a spot.

You’ll have to stand in line at one of the entry points before a security guard lets you in. Be patient and do as locals do: people go very well prepared with portable coolers, drinks on hand, and a lot of laughs. And yes, you can enter the fenced area with your own alcohol as long as it’s not in glass bottles.

Please note that on both nights of the 30th and 31st, the Puerta del Sol will be evacuated at 21:00 and there will be security personnel controlling the capacity. So don’t try to cheat hiding inside the Christmas tree…

And avoid getting off at the Sol Metro station as from these hour onward the subway won’t stop at Sol until the following morning.

5. Head to the best parties of New Year’s Eve in Madrid

A New Year’s Eve party, or cotillón, is the perfect way to welcome the New Year. Given the following day is a national holiday, locals are often out partying until the wee hours of the morning, and there are many ways you can get in among them and celebrate Madrileño style!

Teatro Kapital, Oh My Club, Opium, Mon, Look-Legend, Sala 0, Fortuny, Graf, Gotham, Velvet, Le boutique, Platea, Teatro Barceló are some of the clubs that host special parties for New Year’s. Most of the clubs in Madrid host parties that you should definitely book in advance, so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you go.

If you plan on bar hopping with your friends just bear in mind that most places won’t be selling entry at the door and if they are, they will likely be packed if you don’t get there early!

6. Enjoy an authentic flamenco show

Spain’s legendary flamenco scene is one of the country highlights and as you might have guessed, there are many special flamenco performances on New Year’s Eve.

Madrid is a perfect place to see flamenco in the land where this dancing style was born. But, with an abundance of venues, finding the right show can be a tricky.

Here’s a list of places where you can enjoy a traditional flamenco show.

7. Eat chocolate con churros on New Year’s Eve in Madrid

Another tradition, far more practical than grape eating, is the stop for chocolate con churros on the way home.

Served hot and straight out of the the frier, churros are elongated, star-shaped pieces of deep fried dough covered in sugar. And as delicious as they are on their own, they are served with a side of velvety melted chocolate for dipping.

It’s the best hangover cure!

Oh, you can have them at any other time of the day…

Where to have the best chocolate con churros in Madrid:

  • Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5)
  • Chocolatería de la Puerta Del Sol (Calle del Correo, 4)
  • Chocolatería 1902 (Calle de San Martín, 2)
  • Churrería-Chocolatería Las Farolas (Calle Mayor, 11)
  • Maestro Churrero (Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 2)
  • Chocolat Madrid (Calle de Santa María, 30)
  • Chocolatería Valor (Calle del Postigo de San Martín, 7 and Calle del Conde de Peñalver, 43)
  • La Antigua Churrería (Calle del Conde de Peñalver, 32)

This article is part of a complete tutorial about Christmas in Madrid where you can read all the information you need to enjoy the best Christmas holidays in Madrid.

Here is a complete summary of all the guide:

1. Spend an unforgettable Christmas in Madrid
2. 10 things to do in Madrid at Christmas
3. 7 awesome things to do on New Year’s Eve in Madrid
4. How to celebrate Three Kings’ Day in Madrid
5. The best Christmas markets in Madrid
6. 10 unique Christmas present ideas from Madrid
7. My favorite 5 Spanish Christmas sweets in Madrid
8. Enjoy the Madrid Christmas lights walk

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