After analyzing the experiences in town, we concluded that many of them focus on popular and touristic areas such as Plaza Mayor or Barrio de las letras. Most of these classical activities are offered by “free tour” companies. Trying to expand the possibilities offered, please find here our list of different things to experiment if you are interested in the alternative tourism in Madrid. Which areas would you expect this list to cover? Ever heard of Embajadores or Maravillas?
Reasons to practice alternative tourism in Madrid.
Whether you are a first time traveller to the capital of Spain, or you visited our city in the past, we will always try to show you the citycenter of the most populated town in the country with a different point of view. These are the values that we work on a daily basis:
- Your contribution will help local communities as different graffiti artists from Madrid collaborate with our project.
- You will not only participate in an alternative tourism in Madrid activity, but also hear the point of view of local citizens who were born to work in partnership with social, cultural and educational non-profit organizations.
- Explore Madrid through non-touristic, but gentrified areas. Did you check our street art tour in Madrid?
List of places for alternative tourism in Madrid city.
We would like to start this list with one of our street art favorites. El Keller is the graffiti workshop located at a former tobacco factory in which local artists gather all week long (specially in the afternoons) to share their knowledge about this underground movement. This is a unique spot in town because you will observe the artwork of many famous artists who have bombed the whole city with their throw-ups, paste-ups and stickers. Please note that you will be able to purchase art from emergent artists in the near future when we launch Street Art Gallery Spain.
Second to the most important on the list of activities offered as alternative tourism in Madrid is a walk around Malasaña district. Check Plaza dos de Mayo, Calle La Palma, Corredera Alta de San Pablo and Galeria de Robles, a street filled with bizarre-decorated traffic bollards. This multicultural and trendy area is full of interantional cuisine restaurants, bars and clubs such as Ocho y Medio, one of the best indie electronic music clubs in Madrid.
We would also recommend you to visit La Neomudejar and Matadero. Both places are connected to history and contemporary art. First of them is an old warehouse where the Spanish workers developed the railway system in our country. La Neo is now used as an avant garde center and let us inform you that not that many people know about its existence (even locals don’t know about it and it’s amazing). Matadero is located by the river side and offers travellers the opportunity to visit a former slaughter house turned into an artistic location: theatre, paintings, street art, clothing, music… A place we always recommend to visit during the weekendds, specially if there is any fashion design market.
Is an alternative tourism in Madrid possible by bike?
Of course it is! We actually recommend our guests to participate in our street art bike tour if they are in the city for a short period of time and they want to cover a big part, in half a day.
Our guides will take you on a private tour to sightsee the most important street art decorations in the city. Not only you will photograph the best graffiti, but you will visit two urban gardens that we consider as a must if you are in town. We are talking about Esta es una plaza, probably Madrid’s most beautiful urban garden. This public spot is possible thanks to the anonymous work of local citizens who are interested in the community’s development through different artistic performances. Solar Antonio Grilo is the other community park that you will visit with our street art lovers. It’s the work of @ElReydelaRuina what you will observe in the exterior wall of this park close to Gran Via street.
Why locals are sometimes reluctant to show you the alternative tourism in Madrid?
It’s not been the first time that we heard about the term gentrification. We can observe its consequences all around the world, from Seattle to Moscow. Consequently, locals are afraid that their neighborhoods turn into touristic circuits. After 3 years of offering our products to practice alternative tourism in Madrid, these are the reasons we have heard from madrileños:
- They don’t want platforms like Airbnb or Homestay to occupy the neighbors in the outskirts and make their rents go higher.
- After the “balconing” cases that are hitting Mallorca or Ibiza, or the heavy damages caused in Magalluf or Benidorm local citizens won’t allow this kind of tourism in their districts.
- Local communities don’t want Madrid city tour buses to stop at their places and make them part of these touristic circuits.