Visiting Madrid in spring is such a perfect time to experience the city. It’s quite warm to spend an entire day out enjoying sightseeing, and yet it is not too hot for you to constantly look for the nearest shade. According to most tourists, spring is an ideal time to visit Madrid. You could choose any period between the beginning of April and until the beginning of June and you will love it outdoors. Since Madrid has a lot of places to visit, as well as some amazing parks in the central area, most notable being the Retiro Park, there will be plenty of things for you to do during your visit.
If you love spending time outside and you love literature, then Madrid Book Fair is a perfect event for you. It is traditionally held in the Retiro Park and this year it is organized for the 76th time. This is one of the most popular events organized in the park during spring as it brings out the literature to the people, to the place where a lot of locals and tourists spend their days anyway. The event in a way overtakes the spotlight, so the park is not the main focus anymore. Instead, all the attention is aimed at the booths presenting hundreds and thousands of books. This way, the main purpose of the book fair as an event that nurtures the importance of books and literature is accomplished.
Madrid Book Fair is a place to explore books and enjoy cultural events accompanying the fair
About the Madrid Book Fair
The first ever book fair in Madrid was held back in 1933 as a part of the Cervantine Week events. It was held at the Paseo de Recoletos with booths placed along the avenue. The writers of the period also participated in this event that was created in celebration of literature.
In that time, it was a modest event, organized on a local level, but the tendency to grow was present from the early days. The next year, the phrase “National and Hispano-American” was added to the name of the fair. This immediately meant the fair is going to expand its influence and the selection of books offered at the fair was going to expand significantly. Two more fairs took place, before the outbreak of the Civil War, which was later followed by the World War II.
The fair was reinstated in 1944 when the booths were once again placed in the Paseo de Recoletos. That year the fair was renamed to the National Book Fair. It was not until 1967 that the fair was moved to the Retiro Park, where it still is held to this day. The main reason why this location was chosen was the fact that the fair kept attracting more and more visitors. Booksellers and publishers, as well as the readers, from the country and from abroad all wanted to participate, and the Paseo de Recoletos was simply not large enough to accept all of them. This way, a small local event turned into a large-scale book fair, attracting visitors from many different countries which meant that the new location was needed. It was decided to move the festival to the Retiro Park. Since 1982 the fair is known under the name the Book Fair of Madrid and it was the year when a new tradition was established. Each year, one of the members of the royal family opens the fair by taking a walk between the booths on the first morning of the fair.
76th Madrid Book Fair
This year’s Madrid Book Fair will be held from the 26th of May to the 11th of June. Each year there is a guest country, so the year 2017 is no exception. The guest country this year will be Portugal. Here are some basic information you need to know if you decide to visit the fair:
Location: Pº del Duque de Fernán Núñez
Jardines del Buen Retiro
Get there by metro: Príncipe de Vergara (Lines 2 and 9), Retiro (L2) or Ibiza (L9)
Get there by bus: Lines 2,20,26,28,63,152,C1,C2,N6 y N8 (C/ Menéndez Pelayo)
Lines 1,9,15,51,52,74,146,N2,N3,N5 y N7 (Puerta de Alcalá)
Get there by car: Parking available in the following streets
C/ Velázquez, 16
C/ Doctor Castelo, 10
C/ Montalbán, 6
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: +34 915338836
To keep up with the upcoming itinerary and other information related to the fair, it is best to follow the official announcements on the website or social media channels.
This year the fair is organized for the 76th time and it is expected to feature more than 360 booths with over 400 exhibitors. Booksellers, distributors, and publishers from the entire country, as well as some from abroad, will attend the fair, which means that this is a great opportunity to look for rare books and editions that are not widely available in the stores during the rest of the year.
Events and activities during the fair
During the fair, there is a special discount available on certain books, which is an excellent opportunity to purchase some books at special prices. This period is also a great time to meet the writers in person and even get signed copies of their works. In fact, book signings are scheduled for each day, so every day you could meet one of the greatest names in the contemporary Spanish literature. The entire list of book signings, as well as other activities organized during the fair, will be announced in the days before the fair starts so you can plan your visit accordingly.
Besides writers, each fair also features other artists, including graphic designers, illustrators or musicians. It is a true cultural event that brings together people from the cultural life of Spain, making the fair an excellent opportunity to really enjoy. Occasionally, you will see live performances, concerts and other events organized. Even though the literature is the main focus of the event, there is still place to learn more about local art, including music, dance, and theater. This is the main reason why the fair has become such an influential event in the cultural life of the city.
Workshops are also organized, especially those for kids, which is a great chance to engage the little ones and get them interested in literature. Through this event, the goal of bonding family is also achieved this way, as this becomes an event for the entire family. While kids enjoy spending time outdoors, watching the performances organized for them and participating in craft workshops, the parents get the time to browse their favorite books as they walk along the park.
The official map of how the booths are placed is usually available in advance. So if you have a specific publisher or author you want to find, without the need to spend much time going through booths, you can do that by checking the map. The organizer will also be announcing the schedule for all the activities that are planned, including workshops, public readings, etc.
Where to stay during the Madrid Book Fair?
For all of those staying in the center of Madrid, this event is perfect if you want to spend an afternoon or an evening out. When you rent an apartment in the center of Madrid, these kinds of events are a great chance to meet the locals and truly enjoy the city. This is why it is recommended to look for accommodation in the center, instead of focusing on neighborhoods of Madrid that are far away and require more time to navigate around.
The Retiro Park is also a place where you will find a couple of notable Madrid landmarks including the Monument to Alfonso XII, the Paseo de la Argentina as well as the Crystal Palace. The festival is a unique blend that mixes together the culture and literature in a way that you get a multicultural event, popular by locals as well as by tourists.
When you stay in the city center, not only are you close to the Retiro Park, but you will also be near other most remarkable landmarks in Madrid which are all worth visiting. Regardless if your stay is short-term, or you are on a long-term stay in Madrid, make sure you check out all the events and landmarks that are available to you in the central area. Madrid is a metropolitan city and as such it strives to provide rich cultural life and diversity so that everyone can enjoy their visit.