New York, London, Edinburgh. There are certain cities known around the world as New Year’s Eve hotspots. But any European in-the-know, and certainly any Spaniard, will tell you there’s nowhere quite like Madrid in the last few days of December. If the idea of doing something a bit different for New Year appeals, why not gather some friends and book to stay in our hotel in Madrid for the big evening? Here’s are 7 reasons why the capital of Spain is the place to be for the countdown.
1) The Countdown: Puerta del Sol
In the centre of Madrid, this big square is the scene of a massive party come 31st December. Crowds pack into the area around the clock at the Real Casa de Correos, which is broadcast as the official Spanish New Year’s Eve countdown.
2) The Ritual: The Lucky Grapes
According to Spanish tradition, it is good luck to eat a grape on each of the twelve chimes up to midnight. The thousands of people who congregate in the city’s main square bring a bunch with them to swallow twelve in time to the clock’s midnight bells.
3) The Rehearsal: 30th December
Spain is possibly the only place in the world that makes a big deal of rehearsing their New Year’s Eve celebrations. In preparation for the big grape-eating, crowds fill the square on the Eve of New Year’s Eve to do a test run (it’s also a good excuse for more partying).
4) The Party: New Year’s Eve Clubbing
The Spanish sure know how to party. Don’t expect to get a wink of sleep before sunrise on 1st January, because there are too many parties and too much fun to be had. The celebrations at the clubs range from elaborate and fancy, to wild and messy parties and concerts. But whatever you decide to do, expect to dance the night away.
5) The Food: Churros and Chocolate
The Spanish Christmas season is all about sweet treats, and you’ll find churros and hot chocolate stands all over the city, but many people will queue to get theirs from one of the best known places, like San Ginés hot chocolate bar.
6) The Sights: The Illuminations and The Ice Rinks
Madrid is transformed in the winter with light displays all over the city and open air ice rinks in some of the big squares. Wander the big streets to see the works of Madrid’s most prominent designers and artists who the council asks to design the Christmas lights. Then, strap on your skates and get out on the ice at Plaza Callao or Plaza del Luna.
7) The Atmosphere: Sun and Fun
The chances of seeing the sun on New Year’s Day are obviously much higher in Spain than the UK, but whether you get the classic Spanish skies or not, you can bet the country’s capital will be full of seasonal cheer around New Year. Any excuse for a celebration, and the Spaniards are in the friendliest of moods, so why not get out there and join them?