Madrid Fashion Week doesn’t have the buzz and hype of the world’s most famous fashion shows, we know. Paris, Milan, London and New York are in a league of their own in terms of the designers, celebrities, and styles that come with them. But we’re not all about the glamour. It’s a factor of course, but what if you want to grab a seat beside the runway but also enjoy a full-on vacation while you’re at it?
Heading to Madrid in January or July (the show has two editions) is more of an all-around experience than a trip to Milan. What you might miss in celebrity-sightings will be made up for by the long list of activities that Spain’s capital city provides. And the show is no slouch either. World famous Spanish designers like Custo Barcelona and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada have a tendency to show their best on their home turf. There’s something special about seeing a native designer go all out for their country’s biggest show.
So if you can shake your attraction to the hype and flashing lights, we’re here to show you why Madrid Fashion Week deserves your attention.
Let’s start with some basics. Madrid is almost three time the size of the Milan and although size isn’t everything, it certainly means a lot when you’re looking for fun things to do on vacation in a large city. We’re assuming that you elected to get on the plane so that you could see more than the latest fashions (New York could have checked that box) and although Milan is not without its wonders, exploring Madrid, whether it’s checking out The Plaza Mayor, strolling through Buen Retiro Park, or watching a flamenco show while eating some late-night tapas, is likely to fascinate.
Madrid also claims the benefits that come with being a capital city. While Milan has a reputation for being one of Italy’s most multicultural cities, Madrid offers a bit more. There are excellent food options — both from other regions of Spain and from around the world. You also get the general bustle and buzz of activity that comes with capital cities.
For specific activities and some potential itinerary aid, we highly recommend our 48-hour Madrid Guide. It’ll give you some structure when you hit the ground.
(Read more: The Best Spanish Foods and Where to Find Them)
We understand that Milan takes the cake in this category. Of course it does. It’s the Milan Fashion Show. We’re just making sure you don’t push aside Madrid as a lower level show that’s only for the locals. As we said before, this is when Spanish designers go all out. Lines that the whole world pays attention to will make their debuts and you might just be there to catch a concept the rest of the world won’t see for a while.
Again, it can’t compete with the elite, but Madrid Fashion Week packs its own special punch.
Madrid is full of cool places to stay and we know it just wouldn’t feel right to go to fashion shows and then head home to some cookie cutter chain hotel. Here are a few of our top picks for places to stay in Madrid.
Relais and Chateaux Hotel Orfila
If you’re looking to make up for the five-star factor you might have missed in Milan, Orfila will help. This luxury hotel in the Salamanca neighborhood feels palatial and will match your best outfit as far as attention to detail goes. We are especially fond of the outdoor cafe area. It feels like your own private garden in the heart of the city.
Open Hostel Madrid
If you’re looking for something on the other end of the price range so you can spend more on clothes, Open Hostel is an excellent low-cost alternative. Located in the city’s center, it puts you in an excellent position to hit the streets to explore and go grab food when you’re not caught up in the shows.
Apartment South of Downtown
This two-bedroom apartment in the Acacias neighborhood is perfect if you’re traveling to Madrid with a few friends. With two singles beds, one double and a sofa, you’ll have enough room for two or three of your fashion-crazy friends. The floor-to-ceiling windows bring plenty of light into the living room area and give whoever sleeps on the sofa a nice view of the surrounding neighborhood.
For the widest selection of accommodations options in Madrid, be sure to check out our Madrid rooms map