Art from the streets, Madrid. XIX – XXI century cultural heritage and graffiti

art from the streets

Walking around Madrid city council’s 605 square kilometers will offer you the opportunity to observe how time has changed the urban landscape. Whether you are interested in classic monuments/ buildings or modern street art and graffiti, this city may interest you. The art from the streets is unique!

Today’s article will talk to you about different ways to enjoy a weekend away. According to Madrid tourism bureau, 7.6 million visitors spent their holidays in the Spanish capital city last 2019. Would you like to be one more in the list, or discover on the opposite side hidden spots and most beautiful landmarks?

Please keep on reading to discover insider information about how to spend 24 or 48 hours in the city. You shouldn’t miss the list; it was curated by Javier Garcia, a local guide and freelance tourist specialist at Cooltourspain.

Where should you walk to discover the art from the streets?

graffiti lavapies madrid
Walking around Lavapiés district

To start with, somebody who comes for the first time to the city should know that there are 21 districts within Madrid city limits. While it’s true that the majority of artworks are located within downtown areas (at least within the M30 highway inner circle), the further you go out, the more you’ll appreciate the local art from the streets.

Walking is the best option to move around the most popular areas, but if you need to travel to the suburbs/ outskirts, we’d recommend you to use any of the public transports available. Metro, bus and even the city bike service will take you from one spot to another in just minutes!

For instance, let’s see what our experienced team would highlight for a self guided visit in Madrid. You just need to be curious enough as to discover the spots that not everybody visits.

Cooltourspain’s top 5 sculptures in Madrid

Statues created by Antonio Lopez in Atocha train station
The big baby heads by Antonio López in Atocha Renfe Station.

The art from the streets does not necessarily need to be linked just to buildings and museums. What’s true is that Madrid city offers the opportunity to the public audience to enjoy the creativity of the most famous Spanish and international sculpturists from the modern times.

For example, the above image shows one of the big headed babies that Antonio Lopez created entitled ‘Day and Night’. The masterpiece features the faces of one of the most important Spanish artists’ grandbaby. They measure 3 meters high and are located right next to the AVE’s arrival gate.

Other sculptures to take into account:

  • ‘La Mano’ (the hand) by Fernando Botero @ Paseo de la Castellana
  • Julia, the first female student in a Spanish University (Calle del Pez, 42)
  • La Rana de la fortuna (The lucky frog) by dEmo aka Eladio de Mora ( Paseo de Recoletos, 37)
  • «La Sirena Varada» created by Eduardo Chillida (Puente Juan Bravo)

What’s the most famous bridge in town?

Madrid Manzanares River
Views of one of the bridges along Manzanares River

Secondly, you could spend an early morning or late afternoon with a photography session to upload new pictures in your instagram account. Whether you are interested in morden urban architecture or classic wooden/metallic bridges, then you might be interested in checking any of the following places.

We could recommend you to walk around Manzanares River, where you could move within districts in just a matter of 100 steps. There exists a friendly bike line to enjoy one of the greenest public areas in town. Moreover, this is a list of bridges that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Madrid’s Viaduct, located in Calle Bailén. Right next to Almudena Cathedral.
  • Daniel Canogar’s bridge next to Matadero @ Madrid Rio
  • Puente de Toledo, built in 1735 under Philip IV Kingdom.

Madrid’s best panoramic views

art from the streets. Panoramic view
Panoramic views of Moncloa area, Madrid’s west side

If you don’t want to spend your weekend away travelling to the country side in order to observe Madrid from the distance, you have two alternative options. What’s more, each place is located not further than 20 minutes by metro from the city center.

Firstly, we’ll point to the featured image. Gerardo, our street art tour leader, photographed it while at Faro de Moncloa, a 110 meters height ‘lighthouse’ in Avenida de la Memoria, 2. What you’ll observe on the distance is the panoramic views of the Spanish military Air Force general complex.

Next, you should dig deeper on the internet about Parque de las Siete Tetas. This 7 hills outdoors green area offers the most authentic panoramic view. It’s a local spot, so don’t expect tourists at all. Originally known as Parque del Cerro del Tio Pío, this park will also grant you the opportunity to observe Vallecas neighborhood; one of the most working class districts!

Modern art museums with art from the streets

art from the streets at museums
National Modern art museum

According to Statista, a website which offers data from almost every single industry, there were 89 museums in Madrid last 2019. Although the majority of them focus in many different artistic currents, there are a few which we would recommend you because of their art from the streets.

First of them, is La Neomudejar. This avant garden center is located next to Atocha train station (Calle Antonio Nebrija), and it features all forms of brut art, from visuals to graffiti. If you haven’t checked it yet, we’d definitely recommend you to do it! You might have never seen anything like that before!

Next spot you should check is Reina Sofia, the Spanish National Modern art museum. It was built over a former hospital and it opened in 1990. What you should know about it is that there are over 20,000 works from the late nineteenth century to the present, but just 5% of them are exhibited. Among others, you will find:

  • Salvador Dalí
  • Joan Miró
  • Francis Bacon
  • Pablo Picasso

How’s the art from the streets itself?

art from the streets, Madrid
Snap taken in Lavapiés district

Last but not least, we’d recommend you to wander around the city and get lost. You do not necessarily need to have a specific downtown target; walking with no direction will grant you with the opportunity to observe how life in Madrid is like.

The art from the streets could be present in any corner. Moreover, we would definitely suggest you to check Liah’s blog. This British expat has elaborated a website in which only the no frills bars are featured. What else could you ask for a real Madrid experience?

Graffiti and urban art from the streets

Animated fish painted by MAZ
Wall art created by MAZ next to LAP Bar Café

Checking Madrid’s best urban art is another experience that you could participate in, either on your own or as part of a group. The fact is that the city center features amazing walls created by local, national and international artists.

They paint them both on a commissioned way and illegally, keeping the graffiti element that characterizes this kind of artworks. Emergent talents use spray cans, regular wet paint and even stickers/paste-ups. What’s the most remarkable illustration that you have seen while walking around?

Here is some information that you should know before you plan a trip to the Spanish capital city. Are you ready to write them down in your notes or pinpoint them in your google maps?

Madrid street art festivals

Artwork by Manolo Mesa
Artwork created by Spanish artist, Manolo Mesa
  • Urvanity Art: this modern art fair usually takes place during February’s last week(end), where dozens of international art galleries arrive to Madrid’s art week in order to exhibit the latest trends. It’s held at COAM (Calle Fuencarral). The festival’s wall project arranges wall spots for artists around the city center.
  • CALLE Lavapies: the most multicultural & hipster district in town celebrates each year’s edition around the month of May-June. Last edition counted with 50 artistic representatives who painted on top of businesses’ metal shutters and windows.
  • PINTA Malasaña: it’s a similar project to CALLE, although the festival is located at Universidad district. One of the longest standing and probably the festival which receives the highest number of visitors. This outdoor event usually takes place at the end of April.

Art from the streets: tags & throw ups

guided visit to discover tags & throw ups
Two participants during Madrid graffiti tour

Participating in a graffiti tour could be the next option for urban art lovers. Javier is Cooltourspain’s CEO and has been leading alternative tours in Madrid for 4 years now. He started it as a hobby, but due to hard work and an unstoppable SEO strategy, Mr. Garcia positioned his brand on Google’s first positions.

It’s during the walking guided visit that guests will discuss about the community’s internal details. When do writers paint? How long would it take them to elaborate a throw up? Do they act alone or in groups? These kind of questions will be the tour’s guidelines.

The price of this quirky tour starts at 20€ for adults (10€ for kids). It takes approximately 2 hours to be completed, and it’s a fun way to discover the areas that travellers wouldn’t probably visit on their own.

Which spots shouldn’t you miss?

Art from the streets in Calle Doctor Fourquet
Panoramic views at Esta es una Plaza

If you are looking for non-touristy spots in town, you might be lucky today! The experiences that we will suggest you in this article are considered among the top things to do in Madrid related to art from the streets.

These are the costless weekend’s recommendations and plans for visitors who came to our city. Will you spend just a weekend in town? There’s time enough. Check this out!

  • Esta es una Plaza: a unique urban garden located in Calle Doctor Fourquet. The park opens on sunny days and visitors will have the opportunity to photograph artworks created by Roa (BE), Blu (IT) and many other national artists. Do not miss the contemporary art galleries located at the same street.
  • La Tabacalera: this is a former tobacco factory from the XIX century which turned into a self-sustained cultural center in 2012. Since then, local artists & emergent talents investigate, create and share moments with people who have the same interests. It is located in Calle Embajadores, 53.

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the art from the streets

Just because the fact of walking in Madrid, you will immerse in a unique experience. This article summarizes a list of things to do in town if you are interested in observing the alternative parts, but we will always recommend you to talk to local people and discover new stuff.

We will also suggest you to participate in our graffiti tour to discover the art from the streets. However, if you are a good reader you will find quite a lot of information in our website. Keep surfing the net!

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