July is a fantastic time to visit Spain. Nearly every week in Madrid, there are hundreds of people taking to the streets for a fiesta. Here are some of the ones to look out for…

13th July

One of the most exciting fiestas in Madrid this summer will be the Vallecas Naval Battle. Every summer, the Vallecas district in south-east Madrid celebrates its patron saint, la Virgen del Carmen, with a naval battle.

Organised by the Cofradia Marinera de Vellecas (Vellecas Naval Brotherhood), the only one in Spain not to be based at a sea port, the battle is really just an excuse for a good old-fashioned water fight.

The action commences at 5pm sharp and the 5000-strong crowd egg each other on, shouting “Agua, agua, queremos agua!” (“Water, water, we want water!”) Given the naval theme, participants dress up as pirates, sailors and buccaneers, taking any opportunity to soak their friends, neighbours and complete strangers using buckets, hoses and watering cans.

At 9pm the battle comes to a close, people change clothes and the party continues late into the night in Plaza del Nica.

16-23 July

The Chamberi neighbourhood north of Madrid city centre comes alive for a week around 16 July, to celebrate their patron saint, la Virgen del Carmen.

The action revolves around Plaza Chamber, which hosts the opening ceremony, open-air parties and children’s shows. There’s more fun at the fairground at the junction of Calle San Francisco and Calle Pablo Iglesias, where there are rollercoasters, coconut shies, fishing games, helter skelters and children’s rides, as well as games and sports for children in the mornings and live music at night.

27th July

Once a year, Madrid’s Iglesia de la Encarnación brings out an ancient relic containing the blood of a doctor, San Pantaleón, martyred in the 4th century AD. Spectators come to watch the congealed blood liquefy in front of their eyes.

The relic originates from Pope Paul V, who bequeathed it to the Viceroy of Naples in the 7th century. It found its way to the church through the Viceroy’s daughter, who served as a nun in the then-convent.

For those of you who are not frightened by the sight of blood, it is worth witnessing this fascinating phenomenon. Once fully liquefied, the relic is paraded through the church to the exclamations of the locals.

Summertime is a popular time in Madrid for tourists so my advice would be to get booking your Madrid accommodation sooner rather than later. There are some great Madrid apartments available for rent all over the city.