Madrid in August: Best Things to See & Do

This blog post was originally posted on July 2, 2018 and was updated on July 1, 2019.

The dog days of summer are in full swing, but Madrid still boasts plenty of fun in the sun throughout August.

From days spent lazing by the pool with a drink in hand to sultry summer nights taking in a concert at the park, Madrid in August is a must for anyone seeking that idyllic Spanish combo of leisure and sunshine.

Busy street in downtown Madrid
Gran Vía on a hot summer day. Photo credit: Clarence

At first glance, it may seem that August may not be the most ideal time of year to visit Madrid.

Take thousands of tourists pouring into the city, subtract the locals who flee for the shores to go on vacation, add in rising temperatures, and the result may not seem too great at first.

But while all those factors do come into play, it’s still very possible to enjoy Madrid in August. You just have to keep an eye out for opportunities. And if you’re still not convinced, said opportunities often come in the form of street parties, concerts in the park, and long, lazy evenings spent at a rooftop bar.

If you’ll be visiting Madrid in August, here are some great activities and events to include on your itinerary.

Weather in Madrid in August

Madrid in summer is sweltering, to say the least. Temperatures reach the 90s Fahrenheit most days (32–37 degrees Celsius) and regularly rocket past 100 (38 Celsius). Sunshine is a near constant, and rainfall is rare, with a smattering of 10 mm (1/3 inch) total for the month.

Busy city plaza with a statue of a bear eating from a strawberry tree in the foreground.
Puerta del Sol on a hot August day.

Things to Do in Madrid in August

1. Step Back to the Spanish Golden Age at Fiesta Corral Cervantes

Madrid in August is synonymous with street parties, and one of the best festivals runs all summer long.

At Fiesta Corral Cervantes, which runs from July until September, you’ll feel as if you’ve been whisked back in time to the Golden Age of Spanish music and theater. The event on Cuesta de Moyano features dozens of theatrical performances in a space reminiscent of 17th century stages.

When you’re not enjoying the shows, browse the selection of arts and crafts and enjoy all the food and wine your heart desires.

2. Celebrate Like a Local at a Neighborhood Festival

Remember how we said that Madrid in August is basically one long party? The three massive neighborhood festivals that take place throughout the month have a lot to do with that.

Yes, it’s true that plenty of locals leave Madrid in August and head for the beach. But those who stick around pull out all the stops.

Among the three parties, some things are the same across the board. You’ll find gorgeous lanterns strung up in the streets, free-flowing lemonade and scores of chulapos, or locals dressed in traditional clothing.

From there, though, each event takes on its own character, retaining a strong community spirit reflective of the barrio where it takes place.

  • The fun starts with the San Cayetano Festival in the Embajadores neighborhood.
  • Then, the residents of Lavapiés pick things up with their own celebration, the San Lorenzo Festival.
  • Finally, it’s time to celebrate La Paloma in the La Latina neighborhood.
Older couple in traditional dress from Madrid, Spain smiling as they dance together.
Locals dance the night away in traditional dress at the La Paloma Festival. Photo credit: Barcex

3. Learn Something New at a Museum

Madrid’s scorching summer temperatures mean that being out and about in the middle of the day can be tough. If you can’t stand the heat but still want to explore, grab the nearest metro or bus—public transportation in Madrid is excellent, after all—and head to one of the city’s many incredible museums.

From the world-class collection at the Prado, to lesser-known yet equally fascinating hidden gems such as the Naval Museum next door, there’s no shortage of discoveries awaiting you. Spending the day museum-hopping means you won’t need to spend nearly as much time out in the hot sun, but can still enjoy Madrid’s incredible cultural offerings.

Exterior of a large brick and stone building with people standing in line under shady umbrellas outside.
You could easily spend a whole day discovering the wonders of the Prado!

4. Enjoy the Views from a Rooftop Bar

It’s no secret that Madrid is home to dozens of glamorous rooftop bars, and summer is the best time of year to enjoy them.

After spending a day exploring (or relaxing by the pool—no judgment here!), take advantage of the comparatively cooler evenings to enjoy a drink with a view. From the popular terrace atop the Círculo de Bellas Artes building with iconic views of Gran Vía, to the more laid-back atmosphere offering views of La Latina at El Viajero, you could easily spend each night of your trip discovering a different view!

Sunset over downtown Madrid, Spain taken from a rooftop.
The stunning sunset view from the top of the Círculo de Bellas Artes building. Photo credit: Florian Wehde

5. Try Typical Summer Foods & Drinks

When visiting Madrid in August, it’s especially important to stay well-fed and hydrated as you make your way around town. Luckily, in a city with such a great gastronomic scene, that’s not too hard.

Pop into a classic local bar for a refreshing tapa such as salmorejo and wash it down with an ice-cold draft beer or tinto de verano. For dessert, nothing hits the spot quite like homemade ice cream from your neighborhood heladería!

Person's hand holding a glass of a red wine cocktail garnished with a lemon slice.
A refreshing tinto de verano is in store for these hot summer days.

6. Cool Off at the Pool—or the Beach

Sometimes you just need to spend a hot day somewhere cool and refreshing. Luckily, one of the best things to do in Madrid in summer is to simply spend the day at the pool!

Madrid is home to a number of public swimming pools, such as the Francos Rodriguez pool up in Tetuán and the Lago pool at Casa de Campo park. For an extra-special experience, head up to one of the many rooftop pools offering breathtaking city views you can enjoy while you swim and lounge.

Poolside view with deck chairs
Nothing says “summer” like a rooftop pool! Photo credit: Nathan Waters

Madrid in August FAQs

How busy is Spain in August?

August is the peak of tourist high season in Spain, especially in coastal areas. Even inland cities like Madrid tend to get quite crowded with visitors at this time of year.

Does Spain shut down in August?

Inland cities such as Madrid and Seville tend to “shut down” to an extent in August as locals take a few weeks off for vacation and head to the shore. As a result, many small businesses such as locally owned shops and restaurants will close up shop during this time.

Update Notice: This post was originally published on July 2, 2018 and was updated with new text and photos on April 9 2021.

5 Comment

  1. Fonzi says
    July 20, 2019 at 4:02 am

    I’m traveling from Los Angeles to Madrid alone. August 12-16 2019. Anyone else by chance?

    1. Devour Tours says
      July 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Sounds like an amazing trip, Fonzi! Here’s our solo traveler’s guide to Spain:

    2. Ben says
      August 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Funny, I’ll be there 8/8-8/14

  2. Honorable Abdul Karim Kamara says
    July 30, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    i will like to spend a week tour in Madrid with my wife and beautiful daughter.

    How could i book a seven days sight seeing tour from your company.

    1. Devour Tours says
      August 2, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Hi there! We don’t have any multi-day tours but if you’d like to join us for a half-day food tour one day, you can find them all here:

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