Why participating in an unusual tour in Madrid might be your best alterantive option

Unusual tour in Madrid to discover the city alternatively

Spain is one of the top 5 countries in number of international visitors worldwide. In this sense, the number of tourists have increased in 17% in 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. If we focused only in the Spanish capital city, the increasement is of 21,6%, with close to 2 million visitors from January to April. Therefore it’s just logic that everyday more and more people look for alternative things to do. The offer for an Unusual Tour in Madrid is one of their best options. 

When Cooltourspain began its activities 8 years ago, it was evident that visitors wanted to see the other side of the city. They enjoyed visiting palaces and the cities’ squares, as well as traditional restaurants and fine wine. However, they also wanted to understand the local culture, getting to know its neighbors and seeing the most authentic side of Madrid.  

We have diverse services for anyone looking for unique experiences. That’s why you’ll find enclosed some ideas for discovering the other sides of the city. 

Which are the best artistic options for an unusual tour in Madrid? 

Nowadays the art world has become more democratic. You may find infinite possibilities to feed your artistic soul, from small towns to big cities. Despite that fact, the problem sometimes comes on where and how choosing the best options. Luckily for you, an unsual tour in Madrid may help you. 

It hosts two of the best museums in the world. Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofía have the two best collections of Spanish art in the world. They’re just 300 meters apart. Between them, you’ll find the magnificent Museo Thyssen. We would never tell anyone not to visit this museums, but, being so famous they can also be overcrowded. Still, it could make the art experience unpleasant.

Our proposal is the result of years of experience within the street art and graffiti communities. Madrid has also one of the most active alternative contemporary art scenes. FYI, we have ideas for different sensibilities and interests. 

A small galleries tour to discover the newest proposals 

Artist studio visit in Madrid
Studio visit at Zapadores ciudad del arte

The team is continuously doing the necessary research to find the best exhibitions around the independant and alternative galleries. As you could imagine, the art shows change every few months, doing this a real unusual tour in Madrid. Whether you request a public or a private experience, you will see your favourite type of modern art. Thus, Cooltourspain will deliver what you ask for.

Most of these galleries are locally owned. Many of them hold strong bonds to the street art and graffiti industries. Local and international artists perform there. You could find exhibitions which focus in the emergent artists from Spain and any part of the world. Moreover, even the option of purcharing some artworks for your private collection.

The alternative art galleries tour may take place in different areas. Moreover, a specialist guide will show you the best hidden cafes, restaurants and shops. Thanks to his/her suggestions, you’ll continue discovering the most authentic Madrid.

The biggest private street art collection in Madrid

It could sound strange or funny at the same time, but you can even do an unusual tour in Madrid by visiting an immense private art collection. It’s located in a XIX century building at the fanciest part of the city.  

Fundación Maria Cristina Masaveu (Calle de Alcalá Galiano, 6) receives it’s name to the daughter of an Asturian industrial and banking mogul, and thanks to the daughter of a Swedish diplomat. It was her father who began an impressive private collection at the beggining of last century. Being the only heiress of the family empire, she established the Foundation in 2006.

It’s one of our favorite spaces. The project covers street art and graffiti. It offers the option to see art masters such as:

  • Keith Haring or Banksy,
  • Local talent like el Rey de la Ruina or Sabek,
  • Original artworks from the true Madrid pioneer, El Muelle
  • International talent like the New York based Queen Andrea.

Would you be up for an Unusual Tour in Madrid at a former railway warehouse?

With the transformation of the cities and the deindustrialization of them, old factories had their faith doomed. Many of them disappeared within the last century, but next to Atocha train station there is still a unique warehouse. The building is perfect for our unusual tour in Madrid.

La Neomudejar is an avant-garde artistic center located in Calle Antonio Nebrija s/n. Everything about this place is interesting and worth the visit. It’s located in a former industrial building from the from the XIX century. Its name refers to an architectural style, a local combination of European and Arab influences. The place was originally used as the MZA railway warehouse.

Nestor and Fran opened it as a museum in 2013 with the intention of being avant-garde in every aspect. It has held urban art exhibitions, performances, parkour, sound art or new media/visual art. La Neo is unique not only because of the kind of art showcased, but also because of its philosophy. It positions itself in favor of an art committed to society, with social values ​​and justice.

Unusual Tour in Madrid to it’s most authentic neighborhoods 

As any other big city around the world, the Spanish capital city is a mix of diversity. Through the years Cooltourspain has tailored its unusual tour in Madrid around the most unique neighborhoods in town.

Visitors always highlight a huge advantage about Madrid. That’s to say, its proximity to the most interesting areas. Similarly to what happens in cities such as Paris or London, you’ll require the use of public transportation in order to get from one area to another. However, you can walk within the citycenter area, without hesitation.

Proximity will allow you covering more than one area within the same day. Please note that the following paragraphs will showcase some of the most vibrant, bohemian and alternative districts:

 Lavapiés, Madrid’s beating heart 

Discussing with guests on the unusual tour in Madrid
Guided visit around Lavapies district

There exists a multicultural area which is currently fighting to control the growing prices and the consequences of gentrification. Lavapiés has one of the most unique combinations of street art, and it serves as our original unusual tour in Madrid. For instance, you will find an important annual festival, some longstanding legal pieces and an active graffiti writers’ scene. All of them talking about the problems and the reality of the area. 

The most accepted theory for Lavapies’ origins dates back to the XV century. By that time, it was the outtern parts of the city walls. Supposedly, the first neighbors were poor immigrants from other regions and workers from the slaughterhouse. There were also Jewish residents, who were later expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. As time passed by, different factories started manufacturing within the area, keeping it as a workers’ neighborhood up to the XXI century. 

You will also find around Embajadores area one of the most interesting gastronomic scenes in the world. The place is full of traditional Spanish restaurants, Senegalese spots, Latin American cuisine sloppy food venues…

An unusual tour in Madrid’s most famous quarter 

Guest in front of a street art wall
Malasaña counts with many painted walls

Since the 80’s Malasaña neighborhood has been THE artistic pole in town. The next decade was a complicated one, but with the new centuries’ arrival, the area regain it’s most interesting characteristics, offering one of the best unusual tour in Madrid.

Located next to the city center, this neighborhood has attracted from musicians to plastic artists to filmmakers. Taking apart the lady that gives name to the area, Manuela Malasaña, the most famous neighbor is Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish film maker winner of an Oscar.

The guides that work this route for Cooltourspain offer the visitors a broad view of the area explaining the most important elements like street art, businesses, bars and nightlife without forgetting of the social component that makes visiting Malasaña a unforgettable experience.

The other side of the historical center of Madrid

The historical tour in any city is the most common product, many of them working as a supposedly free tour, a scheme that can be consider harmful to the guides and in over massification of certain areas. An Unsual Tour in Madrid that shows you the hidden side of the historical quarter is also your best option if you want to visit this area on a sustainable way.

Most of the historical tours are focused only on showing you the nice and bright side of the city you’re visiting, but that can leave an incomplete picture of the same. Every town and every society has its lights and shades, and knowing both sides will give you a more rewarding experience.

The center of Madrid is filled with testaments of the dictatorship, the nasty actions of ETA, the Basque Nationalist Army, the Inquisition or the dark side of the Spanish Crown. Choosing a service that shows you this aspects as well as the nicest features or the funniest anecdotes will change your downtown experience.

Our opinion for your Unusual Tour in Madrid

Being one of the biggest cities in Europe and one of the most visited, the capital of Spain offers from the biggest and most mainstream experiences to some of the best hidden gems in the continent. One of the most attractive things is that you can find unique experiences right in the center of the city.

Cooltourspain encourages everyone that visits Madrid to take the chance to discover it’s other side, a extremely safe city that even in the most alternative areas receives you with open arms and gives you one of the best experiences possible.

If you are looking for this, our Unusual Tour in Madrid options are definitely your best option. 

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