New Year’s Eve in Madrid: More than just popping the cava

Allison, a College Break Trip Consultant, spent two years of college living in Madrid. She’s a total expert on the city and gave us some insider tips and tricks to making the most of New Year’s Eve. 

There is a tradition, when the clock strikes Midnight, you have to shove (yes, shove) 12 grapes in your mouth. With each chime, you eat a grape. These grapes are called Las doce uvas de la suerte  (12 grapes of luck). It is believed by partaking in this tradition, you are guaranteed a year of prosperity and ward away any evils that happen to be lurking. This is also a tradition in many other former Spanish colonies, but originated at Madrid.

The entire city (yes I’m pretty sure all 3 million) gather at Puerto del Sol, which is a huge plaza at mile zero in Madrid. Picture Times Square in New York. At midnight, everyone begins eating their grapes in unison.

The key to partaking in the eating of the grapes is buying grapes early. I’m talking at least a day. If you wait until noon on New Year’s Eve there will be none left and you’ll have to resort to olives or something.

After midnight is when the Spaniards think about going out. If you want to get into a club, plan a couple weeks in advance. You can purchase tickets online ranging from 40-80 Euros, which gets you entrance, and will generally include one or two drinks. The clubs normally don’t get full until around three, so if you do plan on going, get there around 1 or 2 to beat the line!

Some popular New Year’s clubs:

  • BUT, 40 Euros
  • Teatro Barcelo (Pacha Madrid), 35 Euros, two drinks
  • Joy Eslava,  75 Euros
  • Kapital, 64 Euros


If you’re not a club person, have no fear! It’s fun to just walk around the city, observe the people on the streets, and see the city at night. Bars are a good place to go as well. They may be a little crowded, but if you go early enough they will be free (or only a five euro cover).


Any questions for Allison? Leave them in the comments!