Have you ever wondered what are the stories hidden in the neighborhoods that our street art walking tour covers? We’d like to offer you a small guide that will show you Madrid’s off the beaten areas.
Let’s explore together the following districts, whether you join any of our services or not:
- Conde Duque
- La Latina
- Embajadores/ Lavapiés
1-. Malasaña, a place of wonders!
Malasaña is famous for its iconic bars and a lively nightlife. Some of these spots date back all the way to the 80’s, becoming places where people of all nationalities gathered, specially young party monsters who were active part of “La Movida” (Madrid’s scene).
La Movida was a countercultural movement which took place in different Spanish cities, being Madrid the most famous and notorious one.
Famous figures within the artistic and cultural industries were:
- Pedro Almodovar, most famous Spanish film director.
- Miguel Trillo, international photographer.
- Alaska, well-known female singer.
Which stories about Malasaña do we share during the street art walking tour?
Malasaña hasn’t always received the name which identifies this area. The area was popularly known as “Barrio de Maravillas”, which English translation would be “Neighborhood of Wonders”.
This name comes from the Virgin of Wonders. So, why do we call it Malasaña then?
We name it because of a brave Spanish young woman whose name was Manuela Malasaña. She was a seamstress who lived in the area during the Independence War (XIX century).
She died during the Risings of ‘Dos de Mayo’, fighting against the French invasion and defending her home.
What will you see during this experience?
Cooltourspain’s guests will be able to photograph really cool street art and graffiti. You’ll observe different artistic creations performed during the street Art Festival “Pinta Malasaña”, as well as other illustrations anonymously painted.
Some of the artists that you may check around Plaza dos de Mayo are:
- YKSUHC, from graffiti to street art.
- Nean, decorating the city with tile figures
- Mark Zimmerman, one of our team members
Which bars are worth checking out?
- Ojalá, modern cuisine in Calle de San Andrés, 1
- Tupperware, famous night club in Corredera Alta de San Pablo, 26
- Madrid Me Mata, 70’s & 80’s music in Corredera Alta de San Pablo, 31
2-. La Latina, an area with a woman’s name.
Our most famous street art walking tour ends here, and there is something that we would like to share with you about the area.
What do these historical streets hide?
A lot of people think that the name “La Latina”, (the latin girl) is a homage to latinoamerican women, but this is not quite accurate.
Beatriz Galindo, a.k.a. La Latina was an expertise scholar in Latin language.
She was born in the XV century and managed to break all gender rules in the time. Salamanca’s university even hired her. Did you know that there used to be a hospital founded by her quite close to La Latina metro station?
Which graffiti walls will you discover in our street art walking tour?
Walking around La Latina will always be a great idea for graffiti and street art lovers.
- Jana and JS’ collaboration located in Travesía del Almendro.
- Calle de las Aguas, Madrid based artists (Sabek, JM Yes & Koctel).
- Gvill3, emergent local talent in Calle San Isidro Labrador.
3 other locations/spots that we’d recommend our visitors.
La Latina is one of those areas in town with a wide range of things to do in Madrid. Let’s explore the alternative stuff:
- El Rastro, Madrid’s most famous flea market. Every Sunday morning.
- Mercado de la Cebada, one of the oldest food markets in town.
- Casa Lucio, best huevos rotos in La Latina (eggs w/ fries & ham)
3-. Street art walking tour around Conde Duque headquarters.
Most of our guests will not be familiar with the area, but let’s give you further information about the street art walking tour around Conde Duque.
What’s the history behind Conde Duque?
The Military headquarters known as Conde Duque date back to the XVIII century. The location is nowadays occupied by a very important cultural centre.
Conde Duque is now Madrid’s Contemporary Art Museum and it also features a historical Library. Visitors will find interesting its cultural agenda as outdoor movie screenings, open-air flea markets and artsty exhibitions are organized all year long.
Which murals will you see during this street art walking tour?
You’ll be able to check during our route together the early pieces of now internationally acclaimed Spanish street art artists:
- Boa Mistura‘s walls around Museo ABC.
- Raul Muñoz aka Cassasola at Solar Antonio Grilo (Calle Antonio Grilo)
- Gonzalo Borondo, Spanish well-known urban artist next to Mercado Los Mostenses
Offbeat things to do in Madrid around Conde Duque.
- Visit the current edition of Arte al Cubo festival, an urban art event next to Plaza de España (Google: Cines Renoir Princesa)
- Eat at the best classic Chinese restaurant in town called Winnie. Calle San Leonardo, 3
- Photograph a former XIX century Brewery’s chimney from Calle Quiñones.
4-. Embajadores / Lavapiés. More than just the coolest neigborhood to live in the world
Lavapiés is considered to be one of the most multicultural districts around the city center and recently turned into a gentrified area (as defined by some neighbors).
Alternative travellers will find that the district features hidden gems!
How did Lavapies look like centuries ago?
The panoramic view of a historical district in town has significantly changed:
- What used to be in the past a school called Escuelas Pias, is now home to UNED, the Spanish Open University.
- Calderón Theatre (Calle de Atocha, 18) currently occupies the building which was formerly used as a convent.
- Reina Sofia Museum was occupied by Saint Charles Hospital.
What will you observe during the Lavapies street art walking tour?
The experience takes two hours to be completed and we usually spend the time talking about the graffiti history and street art techniques.
What are the areas that we cover? Calle Argumosa, Calle Doctor Fourquet, Miguel Servet and Embajadores.
- Contemporary art galleries around Calle Valencia.
- A social & community center called La Tabacalera (Madrid’s graffiti mecca)
- A bank of time entitled La Canica, where you can exchange your skills for other people’s expertise.
Recommended places where to eat and drink in Lavapies
- Hola Coffee (Calle Doctor Fourquet, 33). 2013 world champion Baristas. Enough said if you are a coffee lover.
- Dakar (Calle del Amparo, 61). Best Senegalese restaurant in the area
- Amor Voodoo (Calle de Lavapiés, 56). After-work and early drinks at night.
Cooltourspain opinion about the street art walking tour industry
It was in 2016 when we became the first project offering daily street art services in English language, but since then several Israeli companies have copied the business idea offering free tours to guests.
We believe that the free walking tours industry is harming projects like ours and we demand the city council to act.
Shouldn’t they pay taxes for what they offer?
On the other hand, we believe that a free street art walking tour model is possible. Who would benefit from that? Social groups at risk or local NGO/associations.