San Isidro is the Patron Saint of Madrid, Spain. Known for his benevolence towards the poor and animals, he is also the patron saint of farmers. An official holiday takes place in his honor on May 15th, but thanks to his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza’s demonstrated kindness by giving food to the poor, there are many more festivities than just one the day itself.
Festivities start on the Friday before the 15th and end the following Sunday. Casa de Campo park hosts a number of fiesta concerts. This year’s festival spans from the 12th to the 16th. On May 15th, the Plaza Mayor is packed with people in traditional customs, dancing and enjoying themselves.
The bullfights are the highlight of the event. Bullfighting season lasts from March to December, but they are especially popular and take place everyday during the festival at the city’s Las Ventas bullring, the most famous bullfighting ring in Spain. Seating capacity is 25,000 and price depends on the proximity to the arena and whether or not you are in the sun or the shade. There are usually six bullfights a day, two of those being the “corridas de rejoneo” – horseback bullfighters. Remember to get tickets early as they sell out fast. You can get there at the Las Ventras stop on the metro lines and 5 or on the city bus.
Finally, remember to indulge in the tasty treats. Barquillos, thin rolled cookies, are a speciality of the festival. And don’t forget to tuck into Cocido madrileño, a chickpea based stew eaten in Madrid on special occasions.
Top hotels in Madrid, Spain
Hotel Axor Feria
Hotel Axor Feria is a three-star hotel in Madrid, Spain. This design hotel boasts excellent guest reviews thanks to its outstanding services and facilities. Hotel rooms are provided with wireless internet acces and LCD screen TV which make this Madrid hotel perfect for both leisure travelers and business travelers alike. Room rates start from €44,10/£38.5/$59
High-Tech is a four-star hotel in Madrid-Barajas airport well-connected to the city centre thanks to Madrid’s extensive public transportation. This Madrid airport hotel offers free shuttle service to and from the airport, as well as comfortably and technologically appointed rooms featuring hydro shower and free high-speed Internet access. Room rates start from €74,90/£65.3/$100.2
Abba Castilla Plaza Hotel
Located in Madrid’s business area of Paseo de la Castellana, near the Kio Towers, Abba Castilla Plaza is a modern hotel in Spain’s capital boasting comfortable rooms and outstanding services and facilities. Meeting, conference and banqueting rooms are also available through this four-star hotel. Room rates start from €75/£65,4/$100.4
Photo of a big wheel by night during San Isidro Festival in Madrid, by Christian González García.