September is a brilliant time to visit Madrid, Spain, with travel prices winding down from the busy summer season and daytime highs rivaling those of hot August days. It still feels like summer in this historic metropolis during the beginning of September, only with fewer tourists and more authentic flair. The first month of autumn also features a host of cultural celebrations that only shoulder-season travelers have the opportunity to see.
Madrid Weather in September
Madrid weather runs on the warm side year-round, which means September is usually hot, but not as blistering as the height of summer can be.
- Average high: 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius)
September brings an average of six days of rain, so visitors can expect sunshine most of the time.
What to Pack
For hot days, as are common toward the beginning of the month, travelers will want to pack lightweight attire. Think: short-sleeved tees, shorts, breezy button-downs, and swim gear, even. Jeans and other long pants may feel a bit too heavy in the daytime, but are a staple for evening outings. You may also want to bring a lightweight jacket or sweater for chilly nights.
Be sure to bring along comfortable sandals that are designed for walking or airy boat shoes. Heels are notoriously difficult to walk in on Madrid's cobblestone streets, so if you want a little bit of a lift, consider something with a platform rather than a stiletto-style heel. A bag with a zipper that wraps around the body is best to avoid theft. Madrid is generally a safe city, but petty crimes against tourists aren't unprecedented.
If you plan to visit Madrid's famous churches and cathedrals, pack conservative attire such as longer skirts and modest tops. Otherwise, it's possible to be turned away for your clothes alone.
September Events in Madrid
September is the start of the fall arts season, which features an abundance of events centered around music, film, dance, and more.
- DCODE Festival: This annual music festival draws concertgoers to the Complutense University campus from morning to night for one or two days every September. Performers include Spanish and international stars in pop, rock, and indie genres. 2020's event has been postponed to September 10 and 11, 2021.
- Veranos de la Villa: You can typically catch the tail end of this summer-long festival in early September, but in 2020, it ends on August 30. It comprises concerts, flamenco shows, dance and performance art, and circus performances.
- Cibeles de Cine: Movie buffs are destined to love this annual film festival, a celebration of classics and newer films including 90 titles (many of which are shown with subtitles). Not knowing Spanish is not usually much of an issue. The 2020 event has been canceled.
- Horse Racing: Sundays from mid-June through September feature horse races at the Zarzuela Racecourse in Madrid.
September Travel Tips
- Madrid is best visited in the shoulder season, after the summer crowd has gone home but before the holiday chaos has kicked in.
- In 2019, the U.S. Department of State elevated Spain to a Level 2 Travel Advisory, meaning to "exercise increased caution," due to terrorism. While terrorists can target tourists, the biggest safety risk to travelers is pickpocketing. Take as little of value with you as possible and secure your wallet, passport, and any other valuables in a bag for that purpose (or in front pockets, at least). Crossbody bags and money belts with zippers are a good bet.
- September still beckons residual summer crowds, so be sure to make hotel, flight, museum, and restaurant reservations as early as possible.
- Spaniards tend to eat late compared to U.S. standards. They have lunch around 2:30 p.m. and dinner never much before 9 p.m., with the famous siesta hour in between. It's best not to turn up at a restaurant expecting dinner at 7 p.m. or to arrive at a nightclub before 1 a.m.
To learn more about the city during other parts of the year, check out the best time to visit Madrid.