X reasons to participate in a quirky Madrid alternative tour

unique madrid alternative tour

The Spanish capital city features a rich cultural scene. The artistic network created in town organizes indoor fairs and openair festivals for the general audience. What best than visiting them with a Madrid alternative tour?

If you are looking into exploring the city center through a different perspective, you might be then a quirky traveller. It’s for you that we have written this article. From now on, the information provided will focus in unique experiences that will make you visit Madrid in a completely off the beaten way.

Which activities have we curated for travellers like you?

Why should you join a Madrid alternative tour?

Firstly, let’s put emphasis on the reasons for you to join our Madrid alternative tour. We believe that knowledge is the most powerful tool for any citizen. Thanks to enriching our minds, we’ll be able to differentiate between what’s right or wrong.

For example, Cooltourspain observed in 2016 that there was a problem in the city’s tourism industry. How many walking guided visits in Madrid were offering alternative choices for international visitors? Not that many. All of them were attracting customers with regular & classic free tours.

Keep on reading, these are the reasons why you should join us:

1-. Meet a specialist on the field

visitors in the madrid alternative tour
Talking about contemporary art in La Tabacalera, Calle Embajadores

In addition, we think that it’s really important to meet someone whose abilities on the field are at expert level. Cooltourspain team members specialize in different industries. For instance, you’ll walk around Gran Vía with a professional architect or visit the street art festivals with a graffiti writer.

The tourism field has enormously changed over the past decade. It’s true that the figure of an official guide in history is required for classic guided visits, but when talking about something in particular they are not updated.

In other words, travellers demand knowledgeable hosts who could offer them an insider point of view into an specific & common interest.

2-. Support local stores

Madrid alternative tour discovering the other side
Go as local as you can. Image by Marcos García

Have you ever heard about the term ‘gentrification’? It’s a common aspect in worldwide capital cities and it affects everybody. Similarly to what happens in many other cities, real estate investors are buying traditional businesses & buildings all around the city center. What’s happening is that family enterprises are disappearing!

How could we act against that? Our alternative tour Madrid will refer to local spots where to contribute with your purchases. Whether you buy a coffee in a no-frills bar, or groceries in the municipal food market, it’s important to support the neighborhood like stores.

3-. Enrich your mind

books at El Rastro
Alejandro Malonda photographed these books at El Rastro.

Travelling off the beaten path does not only mean to have a global understanding of culture, but also about local aspects. It means going beyond limits. Asking. People who are interested in learning about something will search for the source.

Madrid Tourism Board offers updated cultural information in their offices at Plaza Mayor, Atocha Station and Barajas Airport. However, you should look for the information wherever your accommodation is in town. Ask your hosts about which quirky museum could you visit around. Is there a community spot for artists nearby?

Moreover, you should know that females between 25 and 45 years old are our most frequent type of traveller. We always inform them where to continue exploring the city after the Madrid alternative tour.

4-. Get to know the facts from madrileños (people born & raised in town)

Madrid alternative tour 2020
Regional dress for St. Isidro, Madrid’s patron saint. Credit: Jose Maria Cuellar

Meanwhile, it should be important to highlight the information received from a person who lives in town. You could connect to different websites/forums that reveal the best plans for each month. For instance, these are the sites that we wouldn’t miss:

The list of things to do in these sites is enormous! From avant-garde centers to flea markets in the 27 districts in town. Do not forget to have a look at them while planning your visit!

Which different perspective does the Madrid alternative tour offer?

As you may be aware by now, we are interested in showing you the many possibilities our city offers to alternative travellers. Likewise, our work is developed in such an offbeat way, always putting emphasis in people and cultural stuff.

Consequently, we would like to present our services. They run in a daily way, offered in English language and available to all audiences: school groups, corporate travel/ incentives or even hen parties.

6-. Learn about street art

Madrid street art wall created by Ze Carrion
Picture by Manuel Oliver. NGO Mundo Cooperante, Madrid

Street art specialists will tell you insider details about the most famous graffiti names in the city. For example, the above picture illustrates the artwork created by our friend Ze Carrion.

His social commitment drove him to paint this mural. It represents 4 children carrying water buckets in Turkana Lake (Kenya). Furthermore, you should know that César is not a politically correct artists. He draws controversial paintings in the street, either with or without permission.

If you are interested in learning more details about this local emergent talent, you should join us. During the Madrid alternative tour we also visit:

  • La Tabacalera, a former tobacco factory now used as a cultural center,
  • Esta es una Plaza. Above all, the most beautiful urban garden in town,
  • Urvanity Art festival and its walls around Lavapiés district.

7-. Listen to a local LGTBIQ activist

alternative tours in Madrid
Image taken during the International Women’s Day demonstration. Photographer: Adolfo Luján

Another reason to join our Madrid alternative tour is its emphasis on equity. For example, we believe that there should be the same number of female than male artists at urban art festivals.

In other words, we believe in social justice. That’s the reason why we launched in 2019 a feminist tour. Cooltourspain specialist, Patricia Rodriguez, is an LGBT activist who will inform you about the goals achieved by the most important female figures in Spanish history.

She will show you a new perspective with which travellers could support feminism. Is that a term used in your daily life? As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wanna see in the world”.

8-. Analyze the urban landscape during the Madrid alternative tour

architecture tours madrid
Guests enjoying the views at a rooftop in Madrid

Emilio is a local architect who runs walking tours in Madrid oriented to people interested in learning about architecture. Most importantly, he does it in a friendly way. You do not need to have previous experience on the field.

There are two guided visits scheduled. Firstly, he covers Gran Via street. You’ll explore the panoramic views from Hotel RIU Plaza de España or Circulo de Bellas Artes. Secondly, guests will discover Lavapiés corralas, markets and other relevant buildings.

After that, you have the choice to join him on a bar hopping experience. He chose his favourite local bars to try vermut, sangria and Spanish olives.

9-. Discover the benefits of visiting the city center by bike

off the beaten madrid bike tour
Bike friendly tours in Madrid at Matadero, former slaughter house

Did you know that you could contribute to climate change just because the fact of joining a Madrid alternative tour? If you join our bike guided visit in town, you’ll avoid the use of a bus or a private vehicle.

Furthermore, electric bikes are available to those who prefer to avoid uphills. Cycle and explore the city center as you have never done before. Pay attention to the most offbeat gardens, cultural centers and murals where we will take you.

Meeting point located by the entrance of Carrefour supermarket in Calle Montera, 32. From there, we will head to pick up your bikes at our partnered store.

10-. Participate in a unique experience

Watching a film & enjoying a drink with friends
Local madrileños enjoying a film at Cine X, Madrid

Last but not least reason to join us, it’s experiencing a quirky and distinctive activity. This cultural, social and artistic project was born in 2016. Last year only, we received almost 3,000 visitors.

We started it as a hobby, but the number of guests considerably increased. Consequently we partnered with specialists on each field. Unique experiences to show you the no frills and offbeat Madrid. Are you ready?

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the Madrid alternative tour

Make sure to investigate about the different choices available for alternative travellers. All the information is on the internet! However, if you prefer to participate in a guided visit, remember Cooltourspain.

It’s been more than 3 years that we started our touristic project and we are about to launch services in other cities such as:

  • Barcelona
  • Málaga
  • Valencia
  • Zaragoza

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