Madrid’s Pride celebration, Orgullo, is so popular, it’s held a week later than most. Kicking off this week, we’ve got the highlights for what to expect this year.

By Andrew Ferren
June 30, 2015
Credit: © Chen Haitong/Xinhua Press/Corbis

With daytime temperatures already topping 100 degrees, Madrid’s Pride celebrations—known as Orgullo—promise to heat up the city even more. Running from July 1 through July 5, the sprawling multi-venue festival combines the city’s talent for throwing a great party with its reputation as one of Europe’s gay-friendliest destinations. It draws so many people from across Spain and around the world that it’s held a week later than most Pride events, to let folks party at home before heading to Madrid.

Each year organizers anticipate between one and two million revelers, making it one of Spain’s and Europe’s largest events. Set primarily in Chueca, the city’s gayborhood of record, Orgullo includes five days of concerts, performances, art exhibitions and cherished events like the famous high heel races on Calle Pelayo. On Friday, July 3, Plaza de Callao will host the crowning of Mr. Gay Pride España 2015, and later U.K. pop artist Rick Astley will perform. There is a mega parade on Saturday, July 4, and of course there are nightly parties to round out each day’s activities, including cabaret and drag shows.

This year’s event celebrates 10 years of marriage equality in Spain, and for the first time, the Rainbow flag will wave above City Hall.

Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.