2024 Alternative Madrid places to discover the local culture

Alternative Madrid perspectives

The Spanish capital attracts thousands of visitors every month, but do they really observe the areas considered as alternative Madrid?

Where should a visitor head in order to explore the city with a self-guided alternative walking tour?

  • La Tabacalera de Lavapiés
  • Malasaña district
  • Mercado de la Cebada
  • Parque de las siete tetas

Where would you discover the authentic and alternative Madrid?

Despite the fact that the city features amazing history and architecture, young travellers are nowadays more interested in exploring the off the beaten parts.

Consequently, these are the spots we wouldn’t miss if you are looking for an alternative Madrid guide.

1-. La Tabacalera de Lavapiés (El Prado’s opposite idea).

La Tabacalera, alternative community spot in Madrid
La Tabacalera’s underground tunnels painted by local artist Ze Carrion

This 16,000 sq. meters building probably hosts the most eclectic art in town.

The building was used in the XIX century as a tobbaco factory and it is now divided in two parts.

First one is called Tabacalera Promoción del arte, where you’ll be able to observe what did the location looked like in the past.

Did you know that more than 3,000 women worked here in the different tobacco labors?

While it features contemporary art exhibitions, the second part mostly focuses on graffiti and street art in Madrid.

2-. Malasaña district

Pinta Malasaña

For those of you who are hearing this name for the first time, you should know that Malasaña is considered by many as the most hipster, and at the same time gentrified, neighborhood in town.

Expats mix with locals, creating a very multicultural area. The district is full of bars/restaurants and vintage clothing stores.

Its streets are decorated with colorful urban artworks created by Spanish & international street art artists.

There are several places that we would recommend you to stop by:

  • Plaza Dos de Mayo (the epicenter for young people during the weekends).
  • Solar Antonio Grilo (such a beautiful urban garden).
  • Arte al Cubo festival (street art event around Plaza España).

3-. Alternative Madrid food market: Mercado La Cebada.

Cebada market Madrid
Friendly fishmonger serving fresh products at Mercado de la Cebada, Madrid

If visitors investigated about the food markets in town, they’d probably get to ‘Mercado San Miguel‘, the most famous one!

Cooltourspain is here to tell you about the alternative Madrid ones, thus we should introduce you to La Cebada.

A traditional market where you can still observe Spanish grandmas buying the groceries at locally-owned stalls.

Meet the guides that will let you discover the alternative Madrid.

Cooltourspain is a cultural, social and educational project committed with sustainable and responsible tourism.

These are part of our team members:

Emilio Orduña, exploring the urban style

Emilio Orduña linkedin
Emilio is a local architect who shows the alternative Madrid to foreign travellers

You’ve probably noticed that we are mentioning the most touristic places in town, and their opposites. Right?

In this case, you may have heard about Spanish architecture and the beauty that you will observe around the city center.

Emilio shared with our readers one of his favourite places to chill out in Madrid city, Parque de las Siete Tetas.

A seven-hills area where you’ll observe Madrid’s best panoramic view. A picture of Madrid city center from the suburbs. How to get there?

  • Parque de las Siete tetas
  • ‘Buenos Aires’ metro
  • 15′ walking distance from the station

Javier’s street art tours in Madrid since 2016

Javier Garcia picture
Eva Llorca captured an image of Javier while in the middle of a street art explanation.

Javier has explored until the moment 33 countries all around the world.

His innovative way of understanding tourism led him to the creation of this artistic project, offering urban art related services.

More than 3,000 guests have participated at any of the street art tours that he organizes in Madrid, but he wants you to check out his personal picks for alternative bar and arts bar Madrid.

  • El Brote, specialized in seasonal wild mushrooms.
  • La Malanga, Cordon Bleu’s sloppy food restaurant in Madrid.
  • Tres por Cuatro, high cuisine at a food market.

Our opinion about the alternative Madrid experiences

Discovering the Madrid alternative is an option that will offer you a different cultural insight of what the real local city life is like.

We support local businesses and we would like to share our knowledge with fellow alternative travellers visiting Madrid.

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