5 Years ago we decided to quit our jobs as elementary school teachers and office workers. The moment arrived for a social, cultural, and educational project in Madrid, Spain. Moved by our passion for street artworks and large murals, we created the first daily tour for graffiti and urban art enthusiasts in town. Still, our vision about the local movement hasn’t changed. At all.
You will explore the city’s best paste-ups, throw-ups and stencils with a specialist in the national contemporary art circuit. Our guests reviewed it in Tripadvisor and Facebook. They described it as an alternative way to discover the city, either walking or by bike. Cooltourspain’s experience will not only serve as a mind changer, but will also introduce you to the XXI century Spanish society. Furthermore, it will dig into people’s daily problems:
- How does mass tourism afect local communities?
- What’s the purpose for socially involved artists?
- Do Spanish laws meet the UN 2030 agenda?
- Why should young people in our country protest more often?
What is a street art tour and graffiti experience about?
Urban art refers to the different artworks developed in the streets with a purpose by someone. For instance, artists or tour graffiti leaders. Other individuals like graphic designers perform in building corners and street allies too. Their objective is getting others’ attention. As the general audience observes these artworks as simple paintings or illustrations, others will analyze the message that the artist wanted to share with the community.
In the same vein, part of the society still observes the up-to-date decade’s street art movement as vandalism. However, we will support a cultural point of view to make others understand what our guided visit is about. We would like to show you the city center, either walking or on a bicycle, throughout a different point of view. You’ll discover our neighborhoods with a madrileño.
Similarly to what happens in other European capital cities, you’ll find artworks everywhere! Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid offer their visitors the opportunity to photograph large painted faccades and metal shutters. Unique urban landscapes to walk through, wander, and get lost. Book now the grooviest activity in Spain’s largest and populated city!
Discovering Lavapiés, the most multicultural neighborhood in the city center
Embajadores district is well known among locals for its hipster spirit, its Indian restaurants and because of its street art. That’s the reason why we decided to create a tour with a graffiti perspective. Among the dozen spots and locations observed during the 2 hours walking activity, guests will observe the multidisciplinary painting techniques used by the modern art community. How has it changed from the beginning?
Thanks to Urvanity art festival, CALLE Lavapiés and the local artists’ community the number of artworks have increased. They have achieved it both illegally and with the required permissions from the governing bodies. We’ve seen those paintings through several streets, but here you’ll find the our favourite spots:
- Esto es una Plaza, Madrid’s most beautiful urban garden
- La Tabacalera, XIX century old tobacco factory
- Murals on Calle Embajadores, from the metro station towards Plaza Cascorro
Malasaña tour for graffiti followers
Next neighborhood in our list is probably Madrid’s most hipster area. There are unnumerable restaurants and bars, making the district known since La Movida Madrileña. The counter cultural movement that appeared in the city after Franco’s Dictatorship, led the way towards a change in our social relationships. For that reason, the tour for graffiti lovers features the gentrification process that took place in the area during the past 12 years.
If you walk around Tribunal metro station, you’ll find the artworks created by local artists. For example, Yipi Yipi Yeah, Basket of Nean or Sabek. In case you were interested in exploring unique food markets, community related projects and non touristic spots, you should visit:
- Solar Antonio Grilo, San Bernardo’s area most famous urban garden
- Mercado de los Mostenses, one of Madrid’s 5 legendary municipal markets
- PINTA Malasaña, where almost hundred artists paint the district’s businesses once a year
Madrid’s contemporary art circuit with a professional guide
Oppositedly to Prado Museum and Las Salesas area, Atocha and Calle Doctor Fourquet are the most famous modern art areas. While the former set of names focus on classic art, the latter ones highlight contemporary art. Did you know that we run a tour for graffiti supporters who will also let you discover a former XIX century railway warehouse turned into an avant garde center and several art galleries around the meeting point?
You’ll visit the latest post-graffiti, visual and brut art exhibitions in town. Our art historians will explain in an entertaining way the most shocking artworks. Furthermore, we love showing our interest for the emergent scene and the messages they have created after the Covid-19. Lastly, you’ll picture at a glance different designs at Tabacalera Promoción del Arte.
Join our contemporary art tour if you are travelling to Madrid, Spain next season. Other visitors from United States, Israel, France or Germany have already participated in the past years.
“Javier showed us Madrid’s emergent art scene in such an informative way. We even got tickets to Urvanity fair while in town. It was what we were looking for. Someone local, with our same interests, willing to show us his city differently. Perfecly developed service. Congratulations!”Candace White, Austin (Texas)
What are the new trends observed in 2021 during our tour of graffiti murals?
One of the most important characteristics about the artworks created in the streets is that they are completely ephemeral. As a result, our tour graffiti guides are constantly capturing new murals and other urban art performances. After leading tens of guided visits a month for the past year, they assessed what artists are currently working on. Some of them are developed in a promotional way, others just with an embellishment idea.
What’s true is that we performed an analysis over the street art trends. Later, we applied those ideas to our daily walking guided visits. Likewise, we make sure that participants who join our bike service understand these new artistic concepts. As you may understand, art could be as widely understood as people may imagine. That’s what we really like about our tours. While you may have a specific opinion, another guest may think differently.
More emphasis on socially related issues. Standing for our rights!
Firstly, we should discuss about how we are all currently facing the social problems existing in the XXI century Spanish society. In that sense, citizens are frequently observing racial and homophobic agressions around the country. In order to fight against them, our tour for graffiti lovers in Madrid has joined the artists’ cause. That means explaining to all our guests the existing injustices because of being gay/lesbian, African (to name just one culture), or an animal activist.
How do we do it? We mix our opinion in the issue with the creator’s point of view, so that we’re alligned with his/her artistic idea. It’s a fact that local, national and international artists such as Hyuro, Yksuhc Juan, Gviiie and Okuda included in their artworks a symbol, quote or any sort of analogy with any of the earlier mentioned obstacles. We’re just spokespersons who love spreading the word about socially related murals in town!
Apart from that, thanks to mass media’s interest some of these artworks created an impact into the local communities where they were painted. It’s not only a way to host a mural in a faccade, but also a way to interact with the audience, starting a conversation with them about what’s going on in their lives.
People enjoy more when participating in a live experience at the tour of graffiti
Another trend discussed after the Covid-19 in the Worldwide Forum for Tour graffiti companies is the inclussion of live experiences in the guided visits. Moreover, 75% of the projects who started in the industry at the same time than us, now offers these services. It includes the development, either on a piece of paper or over a clothing design, of a stencil with spray cans and recycled materials.
Not only does the activity include a deep explanation about modern art, but also the opportunity to paint your own graffiti. We approximately spend 10-15 minutes with this brief workshop, depending on the number of participants. It will all be developed in a legal way, using recicled spray paint and markers. Wouldn’t you like to join us?
Meeting point for the Lavapiés tour located by the entrance of Teatro Valle Inclán (Calle de Valencia, 1), whereas the guides leading the Malasaña route will greet guests by the entrance of Teatro Barceló (Calle Barceló, 11). Nearest metro stations are Lavapiés and Tribunal, both less than 2 minutes walking distance from each meeting point.
Discussing about climate change with our guests
Last but not least, artists featured in our tour of graffiti also include the global warming in their artworks. They paint large murals using natural Earth colors, such as green tones and brown pigments. Does there exist a better way to introduce kids and teenagers the topic? Our walking visit is suitable to all audiences, including children and elders.
Our tours & workshops allign with the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world. They were developed in September 2015 and emphasize a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all:
- Clean Water and Sanitation,
- Affordable and Clean Energy,
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
Who does participate in our services? What’s the tour graffiti audience?
At the beginning, it was mostly expats & foreigners who participated in our tour for graffiti lovers. Visitors who spent a few days in town, either on their own or with family/friends. However, the tourism industry suffered a huge crisis in late 2019 and we had to change our business plan. Thus we starting offering our experiences in Spanish too! It’s been over a year now that our experiences are available in several languages, including but not limiting to English and French.
Our team leaders are professional & certified guides, experienced photographers and street art artists who love sharing their time with other people who have the same interests. The audience’s age ranges between 25 and 45 years old. These “tourists” generally visit us from United States, Israel and France. They are interested in meeting someone local who could show his/her city alternatively. That’s what our project does!
68.7% of Cooltourspain’s participants are women!
It would be interesting to analyze why the majority of our tour graffiti guests are women. We think that it’s mostly because they have better organizational travelling skills. On top of that, we could add that they are more interested in cultural stuff than men and they plan alternative things to do with the family. Don’t you agree? Why would you say that we have more female than male visitors?
Apart from showing our guests the urban art that we women created in the streets, we would like you to experience the creative process too. For example, we designed an avant garde artistic workshop for bachelorette parties in Madrid. A unique way to enjoy an artsy experience with local artists. Create your own 100% cotton tote bag with colorful designs!
The tour of graffiti for elementary, high school and universities
Once we started observing the interest for our tour graffiti, we decided it was time to implement some changes to grow bigger. Consequently, we performed a keyword research targeted to educational groups and contacted few European travel agencies to offer them our bespoke services in Madrid. It worked! Before the health crisis closed our frontiers, we received at least couple of bookings per month from international schools.
In that sense, American middle school and college coordinators prepare summer camps and field trips in our city and beyond. They frequently visit Madrid during June & July and we created for them and other national and local colleges, a personalized service for the school year programme. Cooltourspain team will lead a tour in which they will use academic skills to answer the modern art related questions.
Private guided visits in Madrid
To sum up, all the mentioned tour graffiti services might be hired privately. While the public one costs from 10€ (kids) and 20€ (adults), a VIP experience might be requested from 150€ onwards. Please submit your enquiry by filling out the following form:
Our team’s opinion about the tour for graffiti
As you may have read through the paragraphs described within this article about our tour graffiti, we love what we do! Simple as that! It’s been an honour to meet, what we now consider friends, people from all around the world!