Top Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

22 Dec, 2023

Top Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

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Many of our housesitters share their stories of festivals around the world. Tiera St Claire shares why she loves housesitting in Madrid at Christmas. It’s a regular gig for her to care for a cat called Kioko in Madrid at this time of year. And over the years she has found some wonderful things to experience in this wonderful Winter festival.

Here are the reasons Tiera loves housesitting in Madrid at Christmas.

Top housesitting in Madrid at Christmas!

My main reason for housesitting is my love of pets and travel. and for the last few Christmases I have cared for this beautiful creature, a cat called Kioko. He is quite the companion at this festive time.

a ginger cat called Kioko
Koko the cat is quite a character and easy to care for

And at any time of the year, Madrid is an elegant and cosmopolitan city, with excellent food, friendly people, gorgeous parks and museums. But at Christmas, she dresses up with lights and trees, colourful decorations, music and entertainment to create a beautiful and unique festive atmosphere.

Royal Palace and fountains light up for the Christmas Festival
The Royal Palace and fountains light up for the Christmas Festival

When much of Europe is dark and dreary, the weather in Madrid in December tends to be brisk with clear blue skies much of the time, making housesitting in Madrid a special treat. In fact I love housesitting for the holidays, it’s fun to be on new turf to discover new locations.

Winter can also be a rainy time, so if you are housesitting in Madrid at Christmas, you might want to take note of some indoor activities and bring an umbrella with you just in case.

Madrid’s centre is very walkable. It’s a delight to meander about, admiring the beauty of the architecture, snapping photos, savouring a cup of excellent coffee, sampling a bite of tapas and seeing art all around you – on the buildings, in the cafes and of course in the art galleries and world class museums.

looking at building decorations when housesitting in Madrid at Christmas
I love walking around and looking at the rich festival lights while housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

Stroll the Plazas While Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is the centre of town. At Christmas, you’ll find a huge, gorgeous tree in the centre, bordered by El Corte Ingles department store, the Apple Store and innumerable outdoor cafes and shops.

Note: It can be very, very crowded during the Christmas holidays.  Be very alert to pickpockets, keeping your belongings close and secure at all times.

Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor, a short walk away, is full of history and has an outdoor market at Christmas.  With more than a hundred stalls, it is especially renowned for Nativity scenes and Christmas decorations, along with toys and games.

Christmas tree in central Madrid
The Christmas tree in Puerta del Sol always offers a lovely attraction and focal point to the festivities

Plaza España

Plaza España, has great decorations and an Ice Rink. You can find a massive statue of Don Quixote and his famous sidekick Sancho Panza.  With your back to the statue, walk ahead and then turn right where you can walk toward the Temple of Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple rebuilt in a park.

From here you can see magnificent sunsets, it’s a real treat when you are housesitting in Madrid at Christmas.

The Teatro Real

Another short walk from Puerto del Sol is the Opera House – Teatro Real, housed in a beautiful building which can be toured.   In front of the Opera House, coming from Sol, there is a plaza with vendors selling food, jewellery, small leather goods, nesting dolls and much more.   At night the giant Christmas tree comes alight

Walk around Teatro Real through manicured gardens to the Palacio Real. You may find the honour guard on horseback and you can tour this palace seeing stunning art and architectural beauty.

Interior of a building in the Serrano, Madrid
Some of the interiors of the buildings in the Serrano are breath taking

The Cibeles

Cibeles is a statue in the centre of Madrid with gorgeous buildings all around.  The main thoroughfare leading to this is called Recoleletos.  This is a beautiful street that has a pedestrian walkway in the centre surrounded by manicured gardens.

At Christmas time, if you head South you can walk to the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. And then if you head North you can find artisans selling their crafts in booths set up for the occasion.

Shop ’til you drop when Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid at night lit up for Christmas
Lit up for Christmas the Plaza de Cibeles is stunning

Christmas shopping in Calle de Fuencarral

Calle de Fuencarral is up a short hill from Puerta del Sol, and is one of Madrid’s famous shopping streets.  Think of British High Streets with a Latin flair.   This is a pedestrian thoroughfare where you find trendy shops, sportswear, a candy shop, shoe stores and loads of people.

Serrano is for upscale shopping with designer stores. From Prada to Versace, Roberto Verino to Cartier, you can window shop, enjoying the Christmas decorations.

Plaza Colon is full of festive fun

Nearby is the Plaza Colon, with an Ice Rink and vendors sells local treasures.  The architecture in this area is magnificent, both the exteriors of the buildings as well as the glimpses you can catch of the interior courtyards as you walk past.

El Corte Inglés is a beautiful department store with gorgeous dressed windows at Christmas, reminiscent of Selfridges or Bloomingdales. From makeup and perfume to shoes, clothes, athletic wear and housewares, you can find almost anything you are looking for here.

There is a café on the top floor and a quality supermarket on the ground floor.  There are many of them throughout Madrid, all dressed up for Christmas, and two outlet stores for bargains.

This housesitter in Madrid is a bargain shopper

Speaking of bargains, Madrid has finally caught on to second hand shopping.  Humana is a chain of second hand stores. There are quite a number of them in various districts which you can find on google or apple maps.

For the top deals, wait until after Three Kings Day, 6 January.  All over Madrid you will find the word Rebajas and that means reductions on all prices, often 70% off. This is the real shopping thrill for me when housesitting in Madrid at Christmas.

Enjoying Art While Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

  • The Palacio Real – on a recent visit to the Royal Palace, the Palacio Real, I took some snaps of the beautiful rooms and art. Worth a stop if you are housesitting in Madrid at Christmas or any time of year for that matter.
  • The Prado – Near Retiro Park,  is a world class museum with old masters galore.  Plan to spend a   good part of the day. Free admission the last 2 hours of the day + Sundays and Holidays
  • Reina Sofia – near Atocha Train Station is one of my favourites.  You can see Picasso’s famous Guernica here.  It is set in an old mansion and the building itself is lovely with gardens in the centre. Free admission Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Joaquin Sorolla is one of my very favourite painters.  His house was made into a museum and is incredibly lovely and filled with light – from and sky and his art. Free admission Saturdays 14:00 – 18:00 and Sundays.
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum – Fantastic museum with European art from 13th to 20th centuries and wonderful special exhibitions.  It is located between Prado and Reina Sofia along the street going between Cibeles and Atocha Station. This is a particularly lovely street to walk down as you can walk through a park like setting between the two sides of the street. Free admission on Mondays.
  • Museum of Madrid – on Fuencaral St.  Excellent art and history.  There is a painting there of a painting my grandmother had who she claimed is out ancestor! Free admission year round.

Another tip when you are housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

Where to buy gifts – All of these museums have excellent gift shops and they are full of fun options, many affordable for the thrifty traveller in the festive season.

Transport while Housesitting in Madrid at Christmas

The Metro

Use the Metro in Madrid. It really is excellent: clean, efficient, reasonably prices and easy to understand.  It also has Wi-fi when you are in the stations and on the trains.

Another useful resource for getting around is the official website for Madrid in English is:

BIO  -Tiera St Claire

I am a long term housesitter, petsitter and traveller. I have been travelling the world by offering my services as a house and petsitter. My love of travel now goes deep and I record all that I see to share with anyone who is interested.

VISIT – My YouTube channel, BeingTiera TV. It has slideshows from photos I have taken whilst Housesitting in Madrid (and elsewhere).  I’ve arranged playlists by: Destinations, Art, Beauty, Architecture, Pet Sitting and The Camino Santiago. I’m happy to respond to any questions you may have.  Please feel free to get in touch.

Want to become a housesitter?

If you want to get started as a housesitter consider joining a housesitting platform. You can begin close to home to get some pet and home care experience, finding new and local petsit assignments to get some early experience, and then ask the petowners to give you reviews and references after you have cared for their pets.

Then by joining a housesitting platform you can access opportunities and assignments further afield to being to enjoy the advantages of housesitting and affordable travel.

Need housesitters?

If you are going away for the holidays and your home will be empty then you need to find housesitters. Housesitters will stay in your home and will look after you property and pets.

The most important factor is they will keep your property safe because it appears occupied. Empty properties are vulnerable especially in the holidays.

Join a housesitting website to check online listings 

The reason online networks like HouseSit Match exist is to facilitate matches between home and pet owners and checked sitters who can help you care for your pets and property when you can’t.

These networks are easy to join. Simply register online, create a profile and then create an advert which describes your dates for the assignment. Detail routines for your pets and what is required. The network will then share your assignment advert with the registered sitters and then they apply.

Click here to Join as a trusted house sitter

Further reading about housesitting and housesitters

At Housesit we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We believe they can help you get started as a housesitter. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters and housesitting in Madrid at Christmas and further afield useful.

How to travel on a budget – A house sitter’s tips

Budget travel guide Budapest – Housesitting

London calling – London house sitting

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Top 10 tips for cat sitting

Top dog sitting tips for beginners


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