Fiestas de San Isidro, when the chulapos and chulapas rule


Madrid is getting to celebrate one of its most famous festivities: the Fiesta de San Isidro! Over the course of several days, the city is bursting with joy and colour in honour of its patron saint for everybody to enjoy all that this special celebration has to offer.

Want to know more about the Fiestas de San Isidro?

San Isidro is a religious festivity celebrated in honour of the patron saint of Madrid, held on 15 May and lasting for several days. The occasion sees various activities and events organised that see the city take on a spectacular life that you simply cannot miss out on!

Visiting Madrid during these festivities is a great opportunity to enjoy everything the city has to offer. It is the perfect time to find out all about Madrid's culture and tradition in a completely unique way. What better than getting to know a city during its most characteristic festivities? What are you waiting for?

What to do during the Fiestas de San Isidro: traditions

The San Isidro festivities are bursting with personality. Ready to hear all about the most typical things you will see when you visit Madrid for the occasion? Then read on!

  • Madrid's chulapos. Did you know that Madrid locals don a typical costume for San Isidro? The chulapos! Women put on a Manila shawl, headscarf and polka dot dress. While men wear a waistcoat, parpusa (chulapo cap), safo (scarf tied around the neck) and a carnation on the lapel.

    Now you are ready and wearing your chulapo, it's time to dance, right? The chotis is the traditional dance that you will see festivity-goers participating in. It is danced in couples, looking into your partner's eyes and sees the chulapa dance around the chulapo.
  • Typical food for San Isidro. The most typical sweet during these festivities are doughnuts, but they are by no means all the same. They come "listas", with a layer of sugar and lemon on top and "tontas", which are more simpler. Santa Clara doughnuts come with meringue and French doughnuts come with chopped almonds. At the Pradera de San Isidro, you can find doughnuts in a thousand flavours including coffee, orange or strawberry. Sound tempting?

    There's also good news for fans of offal... now is the perfect time to sample entresijos and gallinejas! These are a traditional Madrid dish made from lamb intestines, fried in their own fat. They are not often available, making the Fiestas de San Isidro the perfect time to try them.
  • Concerts and dancing. For years now, regional homes have paid homage to the saint with dances from all over Spain. Get ready to be impressed! What's more, Plaza Mayor, the Vistillas and the Pradera are the best places to go at night. And lately, new settings have been opened up, including Madrid Río, allowing everybody to enjoy traditional and modern music played at the concerts and festivals. The atmosphere is both lively and welcoming.

If you're thinking of doing a little sightseeing and discovering Madrid, make sure not to miss the essentials of the Spanish capital. You won't regret reading up about everything that this city has to offer!

How to travel to Madrid by train with Renfe

We're pretty sure we've convinced you by now, and you're in luck! Madrid is one of Spain's best connected cities, meaning you can find the best routes wherever you are. Remember... enjoy San Isidro and do so in a comfortable, fast and sustainable way by taking a Renfe train. You won't regret it!