Madrid alternative spots. Top 6 off the beaten stops.

Madrid alternative experiences with Cooltourspain guides

Are you spending a long weekend in the Spanish capital for the first time or are you a frequent traveller tired of walking all the time over the same places? Check Madrid alternative hidden gems now!

We will suggest you and recommend through this short guide places where to stay, where to eat or where to have a drink out off the beaten path.

The Alternative scene in Madrid is very varied, and there is always something different to do:

  • Places where to meet other people if you are travelling solo
  • Not that touristy food markets
  • Local experiences and walking tours Madrid

What’s the Top 3 Madrid alternative backpacker hostels?

Spain faces (like in other countries around the world) the giant problem of gentrification, and thus we wanted to share with you the hostels where you could stay on a tight budget.

Please note that we do not have any commercial relationship with the following locations. These spots have been chosen according to their location, concept, and vibe.

2060 Newton Hostel

Madrid alternative hostels
Time to sleep and relax

Based on a prediction by Newton that the world will end in 2060, this hostel has a happy and carpe diem apocalyptic approach to enjoying your stay in Madrid.

We were surprised to find out that this hostel located in Lavapies district features a spa for its guests. Cool, isn’t it?

  • Where? Calle de la Cabeza, 11,
  • Nearest Metro station: Tirso de Molina

Its artistic concept in both the outter and inner parts are worth mentioning, as well as its rooftop bar with great views to Madrid alternative landscapes.

The Hat

junior suite room at the hat hostel
En suite private rooms

Discovering La Latina neighborhood would be an easy task if you stay at The Hat, also closely located to Plaza Mayor.

  • Close to alternative bars in Calle Cava Baja and Cava Alta.
  • Next to the Royal areas (Palace & Cathedral)
  • 5 minutes walking distance from El Rastro, the biggest and most important flea market in town.

Probably the best relationship quality-price. Large rooms & comfty beds (the most important thing for us!)

Way Hostel

Hostel close to Tirso de Molina
Hostel life is all about making new friends and connections!

Meeting people from all over the world might be the most remarkable characteristic of this budget hostel.

  • Where? Calle de los Relatores, 17
  • Nearest metro station: Tirso de Molina

Your Madrid alternative experience will kick off from Tirso de Molina square, towards Atocha station, where you will find La Neomudejar, a unique avant-garde center in town.

Is there any Madrid alternative food Market not as touristic as ‘Mercado San Miguel’?.

One of the food market stalls
Fresh & organic products might be found at ‘mercados municipales’

Your visit to Madrid would not be complete if you don’t stop at a local food market, one of those where grandma’s do their shopping list.

They’ve turned into the perfect spots where to obtain at the same time, the freshest products and gourmet dishes at an affordable price! 

You should check how Tapas, probably one of the most famous Spanish street-foods, are cooked at any of the following Madrid alternative -not to be missed- hidden gems.

Mercado de la Cebada

Local stall owner at a Madrid alternative bar
Local tips to enjoy a glass of Spanish wine with your friends.

Right behind La Latina metro station (Plaza de la Cebada s/n) you will find adorable old ladies getting every grocery they need for their home-made lunch.

La Cebada is one of those last authentic markets you can find in the city centre, and we are proud to support local businesses.

Our top recommendations:

  • Wine lovers should stop at Maracuyá.
  • Hispanic-american kitchen at La Malanga.

Mercado de los Mostenses

Asian food market
Stalls at Mercado Los Mostenses now sell Asian vegetables for this expat community in town.

One of the oldest food markets in town which has not sold its soul to gentrification.

It is located in Plaza de los Mostenses, 1, next to Gran Via street, and it’s famous for its international (mostly Asian) stalls as there exist a huge Chinese community around the area.

If you plan to visit it, do not forget to walk to Solar Antonio Grilo on Saturday mornings. Organic fruits and vegetables are sold by local farmers in a community urban garden.

Antón Martin market in the Madrid alternative food guide

Mercado Antón Martin
Local stall owner selling delicious Spanish olives

This is a two-floor food market which offers different options for all tastes. A great chance to grab a quick meal to continue observing one of the most artsy districts in town:

  • The National Film Library
  • Reina Sofia modern art museum
  • Caixa Forum, featuring Madrid’s tallest vertical garden

Madrid alternative lovers may find this spot next to Antón Martin metro station (Calle de Santa Isabel, 5).

If you feel connected to the travelling (not touristy) philosophy, we invite you to have a look at the following experiences run by local experts:

1-. Feminist tour

urban art graffiti Madrid
Discovering Spanish women key figures.

A local LGBTQ activist will passionately talk to you about the stories of amazing and brave Spanish women and what did they do for our society.

Join now if you are continuosly working within your community for an equal world, where no women are left behind.

2-. Madrid bike tour

madrid tours around Embajadores area
Madrid private bike tour at a stop in Glorieta Embajadores

It could probably be the best way to discover the city through a panoramic experience. It will take you among the following neighborhoods:

  • Malasaña, hipster & bohemian.
  • Lavapiés, full of street art and graffiti.
  • La Latina, more than just theatres, food markets and bars.

This social, cultural and educational activity will focus on showing you the Madrid alternative that tourists do not see while visiting our city.

3-. Street art tour Madrid

Madrid alternative tour
Picture taken by Oscar Guerra at the interior of La Tabacalera, Lavapiés district.

It was almost 4 years ago when we observed that there was a problem in the tourism industry in town.

It’s been since 2016 that we have hosted over 3,000 guests in our famous and 5-stars awarded street art tour in Madrid.

Cooltourspain’s opinion about Madrid alternative options

We are interested in offering travellers and locals alike a mindful experience to enjoy both the Street Art and history in town.

Cooltourspain team members focus on Madrid alternative areas by talking about people’s claims and the society’s problems.

You’ll hopefully be able to get this vibe from an amazing city called Madrid.

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