International & national travellers get to Spain every year. The Spanish capital is one of the most visited places in the country. It has it all, gastronomy, history, architecture, night plans… Furthermore, we observe that visitors are interested in observing the city differently. Thus, what’s the best alternative tour offered in Madrid?
There are different possibilities. For instance you could visit Vegan tapas bars, avant-garde cultural centers or enjoy the most beautiful panoramic views in the outskirts. Still undecided on what to do in town?
Here you have original & offbeat things to do if you spend less than 48 hours in Madrid. Don’t miss them!
- Street art tour in Lavapies
- Alternative tour Malasaña
- Feminist guided visit
- Urban landscapes in Madrid by bike
- Architecture walking route
What’s the cultural situation like?
First of all, let’s put emphasis on the current cultural situation Madrid lives in. According to official channels, the city council spent in culture (data up to November 2019) 154.177.324€ out of a total budget of 220.359.307€.
Taking this data in account, it seems as if this interesting amount of money could be spent in museums, cultural centers and activities for both adults and young people.
One of those budgets goes directly towards Madrid Art Week. It takes place during the last week of February, beginning of March.
1-. Street art tour in Lavapies
First and most popular service! Our guided visit hosted almost 3,000 visitors last year. School groups, individuals/couples and friends usually join us during the week.
The service runs Monday to Sunday, at 11.00AM. Moreover, the experience is led by a local graffiti writer/photographer/guide who will explain you in English language everything about what urban art is.
Meeting point located by the entrance of Teatro Valle Inclán (Calle de Valencia, 1). Nearest metro station is Lavapiés.
How could you describe Lavapies district?
According to a 2016 analysis of Lavapiés through its Linguistic Landscape and the Press there were 44,793 international citizens officially registered in the district. That could proof how multicultural the neighborhood is.
From the XVIII century onwards the district’s setting has changed. For example, it started as a popular neighborhood, turned into degraded and it’s now gentrified. What does gentrification exactly mean?
It’s the process by which artists, young families and hipsters alike take over a turndown area. In addition, gentrification turns the city’s landscape. Street art is also used as a social tool. Artists use urban art to talk about the society’s problems.
Lavapies is such a unique area. Above all, we support the local community, recommending our guests several spots where to purchase emergent art. We’ll even show you great places to eat!
Is it possible to find offbeat things to do in Madrid under 48 hours?
Yes, of course! If you are visiting our city for just two days, or a long bank holiday, there are plenty of things to do! If you are that kind of traveller who loves planning ahead of time, why don’t you check the list of off the beaten path experiences? Otherwise, just ask around in bars or places with local people.
Just to mention a few of them, these are great local websites where to check what to do in town:
- Clubbing Spain, the most relevant electronic music agenda. Check what’s going on, either at night or by day time.
- Guía del ocio, the biggest guide for things to do in Madrid: theatre, cinema, dance, concerts, art, restaurants…
- Madrid no Frills, exploring the parts of the city no one else do.
2-. Alternative tour Madrid in Malasaña district
Another experience that you could join will take you around Malasaña district. It’s one of the most trendy neighborhoods in town. A lot of our guests book their accommodation in the area. However, they don’t know where to go.
That’s the reason why we started this alternative tour in Madrid. The high demand made us analyze the situation. From that time on, we walk around the area to show you:
- Pioneers in Madrid graffiti scene, circa 1980
- Pinta Malasaña, Madrid’s most famous urban art festival.
- Art Galleries and urban gardens,
- More street art festivals. For instance, Urvanity & Arte al Cubo.
How could we describe Malasaña to our audience?
It is a hippie district which bubbles with life at any time of the day, or night. Young Spaniards and expatriates have created a very active community.
According the El Salto, a local newspaper, there was a bar/pub/restaurant per every 50 inhabitants last 2018. Similarly to what happens in Lavapiés district, we should analyze the situation. How harmed are elders because of that situation?
What are the places that we would recommend you visiting on a self-guided visit around the disctrict?
- Plaza del Dos de Mayo. Meeting point for hundreds of people during the weekends. Although drinking is not allowed in the streets, Spaniards hang in the square til late at night.
- Visit Conde Duque, Madrid city council’s contemporary art museum.
- Walk over Calle Fuencarral and check their fast fashion stores.
10 Non touristy things to do in Madrid
If you are interested in checking Madrid alternatively on your own, these are the highlights you shouldn’t miss:
- Parque de las Siete Tetas, best panoramic views in the suburbs,
- La Neomudejar, an avant-garde museum in Atocha,
- Esta es una Plaza, unique urban garden in Lavapiés district
- Faro de Moncloa’s lighthouse, off beat landscape
- Casa de Campo Park, Madrid’s biggest green area
- Mercado de la Cebada, a traditional food market in La Latina
- Ponzano, the hippiest gastronomic street in town
- Calle Doctor Fourquet, full of modern art galleries, next to Reina Sofia museum
- El Capricho Park, close to the airport. Beautiful for its nature & art
- Chueca, the friendliest LGBTIQ district in Madrid city
3-. Feminist guided visit with a local activist
Patricia is a Venezuelan born activist who currently collaborates with Cooltourspain. She does not only lead our street art tours in Madrid, but she also runs the feminist guided visits.
She is an expert on the field. Her commitment with which she speaks is the highlight of our services. Mrs. Rodriguez will explain you about the life and death of famous female Spaniards, who also contributed to the society with hard efforts.
This alternative tour Madrid will stop at several locations too. They are directly related with the LGBTQ community and the equal rights.
4-. Discover the urban landscapes in Madrid by bike
Other alternative things to do in Madrid will take you around Chueca, Plaza de España, La Latina and Embajadores neighborhoods. You’ll enjoy an urban city bike tour of approximately 2.5-3.00 hours.
You’ll certainly discover the city center with another point of view. Our bicycle daily commuters will show you urban gardens, street art festivals, contemporary art galleries and important buildings for the offbeat history in town, such as La Tabacalera.
Meeting point located by the entrance of Carrefour supermarket in Calle Montera, 32. Then, 1 minute walk to pick up your electric bikes.
5-. Architecture walking route
Last but not least, we’d like to introduce you to Emilio. He is a local architect who loves Madrid and its urban landscapes. We decided to include his guided visit to our alternative tour Madrid because of his specialization.
There are no other tours like his in town! Mr. Orduñez will talk to you in a very tech-friendly way about architecture, the most famous buildings in Gran Via and Lavapies areas. Where does the architour stop by?
- Circulo de Bellas Artes terrace,
- Skybar at Hotel RIU Plaza España,
- Museo de la imprenta municipal,
Our opinion about the alternative tours in Madrid
In conclusion, we would like to show you that Madrid never sleeps. There actually exists a term in Spanish language which says ‘De Madrid al cielo” (From Madrid to Heaven).
Don’t forget to contact us via whatsapp +34638399784 for more details. See you soon!
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