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Madrid in Winter: Skiing and outdoor markets

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Skiing at Valdesqui, north of Madrid
Skiing at Valdesqui, north of Madrid. Photo: Esteban Trigos

By Cynthia Kane in Madrid—

The holidays in Madrid kicked off some of the best winter activities in the city. The Christmas markets may now be a sweet memory, but you won’t have to venture far from the center of our (usually) temperate and sunny locale to enjoy some other winter activities, including skiing and outdoor markets.

Skiing at Valdesqui

Some folks don’t realize this, but Madrid offers winter sports. Hop on a bus to Puerto de Cotos or to Puerto de Navacerrada and about 75 km later you’ll be able to hit the slopes of the Valdesqui ski area. Valdesqui offers 21 km of slopes, along with facilities that offer equipment rentals, instruction and restaurants.

Day passes run €37 for adults, with reduced rates for children and half-days. For more information on hours, directions, pricing, and real-time information on which slopes are open (with Webcams!) go to Valdesqui’s official Web site (in Spanish).

Outdoor Markets

Winter in Madrid wouldn’t be as fun without the city’s markets. With over 500 markets in town, some indoor others outdoor, you’re never at a loss for a memorable shopping experience.

The most popular outdoor markets are in the Plaza Mayor, Plaza de España, Plaza de Isabel II, Plaza Santa Ana and Vázquez de Mella. In most of the markets you’ll find items ranging from winter clothes, leather goods, perfumes, lotions and jewelry.

At Christmas time, the Plaza Mayor market offered more ornaments, figures for the belén (nativity scene), and many wigs and things for Spain’s version of April Fools day, Día de Los Santos Inocentes (December 28). Keep it in mind for next year.

About the author

Cynthia Kane

About the author: Cynthia Blair Kane is a freelance writer and editor who splits her time between New York and Madrid. She is the Madrid city guide writer for Blackbook Magazine, and recently co authored Take a Hike: The Best 50 Routes in the Community of Madrid.

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