The festive season kicks off in Madrid this weekend with the opening of its traditional Christmas market, which once again fills the Plaza Mayor with numerous stalls.
Running until the end of the year, this Mercado de Navidad is a key part of the Spanish capital’s Christmas, and gives both locals and visitors the chance to peruse the wide range of products on sale.
These include traditional figures and adornments for the belen (nativity scene), which is seen in many Spanish homes at this time of year.
There’s also the opportunity to buy different kinds of decorations, lights and ornaments as well as Christmas trees. What’s more, there are stalls selling essential items for parties while others are ideal for finding original gifts suitable for all ages and tastes.
A new feature for this year is the Solidarity Stall. This space will be occupied on different dates by a variety of NGOs with the aim of raising awareness about their work and ongoing projects.
Among the organisations taking part are: the Red Cross, Unicef, UNHCR and others that help victims of domestic abuse, disadvantaged children and people at risk of social exclusion.
Madrid has had a Christmas market since the 17th century although both the products available and the location have changed various times down the years. The current version is organised by the Asociación del Mercado Tradicional Navideño de la Plaza Mayor.
When: 24 November-31 December. Mon-Thu 10am-9pm; Fri-Sun and days before holidays 10am-10pm
Where: Plaza Major