What to do in Madrid over winter break

@Meagan Gardner

Staying on campus this winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

We know that spending winter break away from home can be a little daunting. You’ve wrapped up your first semester of classes and you’re wondering what on earth you’re going to do with yourself for the next few weeks.

Sure, you may be a little jealous of classmates heading home to enjoy time with family and friends, and you’re probably craving a home cooked meal. But staying on campus this winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

There’s no need to waste precious time scouring the Internet for interesting ways to fill up your precious free time. Check out our list of suggestions for how to make this winter break your most memorable yet.


  1. Take a ride on the Naviluz bus

Been locked away in the library for the last few weeks? Then you’ve probably not had a chance to check out the city’s holiday lights.

The Naviluz open-top bus tour takes you on a spectacular route through the lights of Madrid’s central streets. It’s seventh heaven for the budding architects and photographers amongst you. Plus, you’re guaranteed great snaps without having to push your way through the crowds.

We recommend getting your hands on a ticket sooner rather than later though (there’s a 10% discount if you buy online). The bus tends to be a big hit with both tourists and locals. And wrap up warm – things can get a little chilly up top!


  1. Head to the mountains

You haven’t left home in a few days and you’ve broken a new record in binge-watching Netflix shows. Basically, you need to get out!

As magical as Madrid may be at this time of the year, sometimes there’s nothing better than breaking away from the city’s hustle and bustle. And with great public transportation connections to nearby towns and villages, taking a day trip couldn’t be easier.

At just an hour from Madrid, Cercedilla has something for everyone. Tucked away in the mountains, this picture-perfect Segovian town is great place for hiking enthusiasts, with several marked trails setting off from the train station itself. But be prepared for snow-covered paths in December – basic sneakers won’t cut it.

If you fancy sampling some local dishes, then head to La Maya – a Cercedilla favorite. This rustic restaurant serves up some of the best meat in town. Just remember to save room for a slice of ponche segoviano – a traditional marzipan layer cake.


  1. Check out a carol concert

Sick of being stuck indoors? If you’re studying at our Segovia campus, the winter break is a great chance to get out and explore this beautiful city.

At this time of year, you’re likely to come across a tuna on your early evening stroll. These local music groups bring the cobbled streets to life with traditional carols. You may not be able to sing along with the locals, but the magical combination of horns, guitars, and tambourines is guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

It may be a little chilly, but if you’re well wrapped up, we recommend sitting yourself down on a nearby bench with a packet of freshly roasted chestnuts and taking it all in. Because who said something so healthy couldn’t taste this good, right?

  1. Indulge in some traditional desserts

Pretty much spent up after a long semester? No need to panic. There’s plenty of fun to be had over winter break without hurting your wallet.

Why not share a roscón de reyes with friends? This twisted pastry roll, which dates back to Roman times, can be found in most local supermarkets and bakeries at this time of year. According to Spanish tradition, the person who gets the slice with the figurine baked into it, is said to have good luck for the entire year – provided they don’t choke to death that is!

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then we recommend trying turrón, a Spanish almond nougat treat. Casa Mira (Carrera de San Jerónimo, 40) has some of the best in the city.