It’s finally el verano (the summer) - ¡fantástico!

You’ve probably got a bit more tiempo libre (free time) so what a great opportunity to come and learn Spanish here with us at Hablamos in the awesome city of Madrid! One thing about summers here are that they’re quite caluroso (hot) so a lot of the city’s inhabitants go off on their vacaciones (holidays) to other parts of Spain. However, that means that it’s an absolutely perfect time to come and explore the place and check out all its amazing summer attractions without the big crowds! Madrid in summer has a lot to offer, so let’s take a look at some planazos (amazing plans) for you to do while you here on your Spanish course.

Un poco de terraceo

A very Madrileño activity is to do a spot of terraceo (going from bar to bar sitting on the outside terraces). This is a very colloquial word from Spain, so in other Spanish-speaking places it might not be understood. Use it here in Madrid though and you’ll sound like un nativo (a native speaker)! Anyway, pretty much any terraza (terrace) gets busy in Madrid in spring and summer, but if you come here in July or August then the fact that a lot of people will be on holiday means you have a much better chance of getting a table. We love to sacar provecho (take advantage) of the fact that there’re fewer people around in summer to check out the coolest bars and restaurants which, otherwise, you’d have to reservar (book) beforehand. Also, lots of hotels have a fantastic azotea (roof terrace) which are also more easily accessible in summer than in other months, so make the most of it!

Hacer un picnic en el Retiro

You can probably guess we mean you should go for a picnic from the title of this paragraph, right? El Parque del Buen Retiro or simply El Retiro is one of the most important parks in the capital, and a typical way to spend a day there is sitting with amigos (friends) on one of its many green spaces and enjoying un picnic in the sun. Originally part of the gardens of the now demolished Palacio del Buen Retiro, the park covers over 100 hectares just to the east of the city centre. It’s incredibly popular with both Madrileños and tourists, and there’s always plenty to do there with un lago (a lake) where you can go boating, two museos (museums) with various exhibitions and plenty of big árboles (trees) you can sit under to escape the midday sun. You could take your Spanish homework there to study too as the biblioteca pública (public library) opens all year and has beautiful views over the park.

Refrescarte en una piscina

If you fancy a bit more of a chilled afternoon once you’ve finished your Spanish lessons for the day, why not take yourself off to one of the many public piscinas (swimming pools) which can be found all over the city. They’re very reasonably priced at 4.50€ per day, or you can get un bono (a pass) which gets you 10 non-consecutive days access for 40€. We reckon that the best ones are at Lago in the Casa de Campo to the west of the city centre which can be accessed by metro, and also the one at Puerta de Hierro which is a bus ride from the centre. The perfect way to unwind after your classes!

Disfrutar de las verbenas

As this is Spain, there’s always una fiesta (a festival) happening somewhere, and Madrid is no exception to this. In August, there are three local verbenas (summer festivals) which take place all in and around the city centre. The day of San Cayetano is the first of these on the 7th of August in the Retiro and Embajadores neighbourhoods. To celebrate the Saint’s day, people decorate their streets and balconies with guirnaldas (garlands) and hang out mantones de manila (Manila shawls). These are typical decorative shawls that women would wear in the colonial era, and which are still used today in flamenco costumes. The festivities include conciertos (concerts), actuaciones culturales (cultural events) and actos religiosos (religious events) in and around the Plaza de Cascorro in the centre.

Only three days later, the fiestas de San Lorenzo are celebrated in the barrio de Lavapiés (Lavapiés neighbourhood). Again, the streets are filled with decorations and people taking part in all the cultural activities which mark the occasion. These festivities are followed by the biggest of them all, La Virgen de la Paloma in the La Latina area. The most important day is the 15th of August, but like with all the other verbenas, the days prior to this are filled with lots of cultural events. You’ll also get to see people dressed as chulapos y chulapas (people in traditional male and female Madrid costume) dancing un chotis madrileño (the local dance from Madrid). It’s a fascinating sight to see a group of couples in traditional dress dancing in the middle of the street in the August sun and people form large crowds to watch them!

Cine al aire libre

As we’ve mentioned on our social media accounts (hint – follow us for tips, vocab and more!), listening to Spanish is very important to improve your level and learn lots of new vocabulary and structures. What better way to do so than watching Spanish-language films in an open-air cinema! Madrid offers a number of cines al aire libre during the summer months and all of them show a variety of different movies at reasonable prices. That’ll also give you something to talk about back in your Spanish classes and you can recommend some new films to your classmates!

Ir de excursión

Whilst you’re here on your Spanish course, we’d recommend getting out of the city too and exploring some of the wonderful sights near Madrid. You can use public transport to get to pretty much all of the major towns and cities which are nearby, and we’ve written a few blogs on both transport options and some of the best places to visit, so do check them out!

And there you have just a few of the many things you can do in summer in Madrid. It’s just a matter of making the most of your free time between classes and getting out there to see what’s on offer. We can’t wait to see you here at Hablamos!