Last available data shown by Madrid tourism board before the Covid-19 health crisis revealed that the Spanish capital city received 431.119 national visitors versus 386.457 foreign travellers (February 2020). According to the survey, they spent an average of 114€/person per day, including accommodation, food and a walking tour in Madrid.
On one hand, Real Madrid museum, Reina Sofia and El Prado are the most visited cultural centers in town. However, are they advertised as alternative tourism?
Similarly to what happens in many other European capital cities, travel trends are changing. Furthermore, tourists are more interested than ever in visiting countries all over the world like a local would do it.
Today’s article will show you the offbeat possibilities for all kind of travellers who are visiting Madrid. We’ll focus on:
- Worth visiting neighborhoods
- Service differentiation
- Offbeat walking tours in Madrid
What are the neighborhoods that you will discover during our walking tour Madrid?
While the majority of the people frequently walk around the same areas (Gran Vía, Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol) there are still some not that known districts that will greatly surprise you.
It is in these locations where you’ll feel a great cultural outburst and the iconic daily life of local madrileños (the name that Madrid born citizens receive).
These spots are well known because of their artistic scene, their gastronomy areas and an international community which proves the multiculturalism existing in town.
Lavapiés & Embajadores district
First worth visiting neighborhood is called Embajadores. This area was classified by Time Out Magazine as the coolest ‘barrio’ (district in Spanish language) where to live not only in Madrid, but around the world.
It has a triangle shape and it could be easily visited either on a walking tour Madrid or on your own. You decide. The three points which mark out the area of this popular district are:
- Estación de Atocha, Spain’s biggest train station
- Puerta de Toledo
- Tirso de Molina
Lavapiés is known because of its Indian, Moroccan and Senegalese restaurants. Moreover, you’ll walk through a non touristic part of the city which will allow you to feel how the Madrid culture is like.
Walking tour in Malasaña, Madrid
Malasaña occupies the second stop in our list of offbeat districts in town. It occupies the northern side of Gran Via street, from Argüelles to Bilbao metro stations.
The district is officially known as Universidad, although everybody refers to it as Malasaña. The most interesting facts about this neighborhood are its narrow streets with XIX century buildings and the little parks that you will find while walking around.
Which are the unmissable locations that we would recommend you visiting?
- Plaza del Dos de Mayo, meeting point for hundreds of young adults during the weekends.
- Museo de Historia de Madrid, just in case you wanted to see photographs of how Madrid looked like in the past centuries.
- Mercado de los Mostenses, traditional food market with many Chinese friendly stalls.
La Latina & El Rastro
Another area that we regularly visit during our walking tour in Madrid is La Latina & El Rastro. Taking into account that the biggest and most important flea market in town only opens on Sundays and bank holidays, you should plan your travel ahead of time.
El Rastro cannot be compared to any other street market in town. It’s in there where you’ll find the most bizarre stuff, bargain products and second-hand furniture to decorate your home.
La Latina is also known because of its weekend bar hopping. Hundreds of young Spaniards do visit Calle Cava Alta and Cava Baja especially on Saturdays and Sundays after lunch time. That’s to say, the beginning of anyone’s weekend.
What kind of groups join our walking tour in Madrid, Spain?
Cooltourspain has offered walking tours in Madrid since 2016. It grew from a personal project led by Javier Garcia to a company which hosts more than 3,000 visitors per year.
We are a cultural, educational and social project specialized in alternative tourism. There exists guided visits & offbeat experiences for a very diverse audience. Our group of professional freelancers have led:
- School & university groups,
- Families with kids,
- Singles & couples,
- Private tours in Madrid for VIP guests.
Things to do in Madrid with kids
Taking into consideration that Javier is a former English language educator with over 8 years of experience in the teaching field, it’s easy to understand why he focused first in the youngest ones.
His methodology and hands-on experience makes any walking tour in Madrid appealing to families with kids & teenagers. They’ll have the opportunity to spray paint their own stencils over a piece of paper or a tote bag.
Furthermore, his activities always seek for active participation. In other words, he regularly asks teenagers TIER 3 questions for them to critically think.
- Imagine you lived in town during the XIX century, what would have happened if…
- Why do you think this specific event took place? What are the consequences?
- Put yourself into the situation that…
City tour for groups
Working with large groups of people is one of the most skillful job opportunities that any company could ever receive. It’s such a motivation for us!
Our walking tours in Madrid have been organized for groups as large as 120 employees, but you should know that there exist a ratio to follow. Cooltourspain works with a 13-15:1 proportion. In other words, there is one guide per every 13 to 15 guests.
These groups require harder efforts as to keep everybody engaged. It is our commitment that every single participant enjoys during the guided visit.
Alternative guided visit for couples
If you were thinking about a private walking tour in Madrid, you just got to the right organization. We are mastered in individualizing each of our services to our guests’ needs.
Do you require hotel pickup service? Are you willing to surprise somebody special with a unique and unforgettable present? Let us become your VIP host while in town.
For instance, you should know that private art collectors and gallery owners from all over the world contact us once a year in order to participate in an alternative contemporary art tour. They are interested in our services because our events put the focus away from ARCO and Reina Sofia Museum.
Offbeat walking tours in Madrid
Now that you know the neighborhoods that we cover during the guided visits and the kind of groups that we usually host, let us introduce you to Cooltourspain’s most popular walking tours in Madrid.
We observed the real necessity for new tours that the local tourism demanded. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, but we still rank #1 in Google when searching for alternative things to do in town.
Do not forget to visit our official Tripadvisor profile to read what other travellers think about the different services offered by a group of professional guides:
Street art & graffiti tour
The one and only street art tour in Madrid is offered daily at 11.00AM in English language. We meet by the entrance of Teatro Valle Inclán (Calle de Valencia, 1). As you can see in the picture, groups of different kinds join us to discover Lavapiés, a trendy district within the city center.
Javier offers a unique way of understanding the urban landscape by engaging the audience with questions about graffiti.
He came up with the idea after travelling to more than 32 countries. Why did other major capital cities offered an urban art tour and Madrid didn’t count with one? Mr. Garcia solved then a problem of overpopulation in the walking tours offered in the central districts.
Feminist tour Madrid
We live in a society that unfortunately has not equally treated men and women through history. That’s the reason why we launched last 2019 a feminist tour in Madrid!
Despite what some old fashioned minds may think about feminism, Cooltourspain team members clearly observes the term as the perfect opportunity to demand the same rights for all citizens. Should your gender count to receive more/less salary than the rest?
Patricia is a Venezuelan born guide whose commitment turned an idea into a walking tour in Madrid. Furthermore, she talks about those female figures who created an impact in the society over the past centuries. Have you ever heard of Clara Campoamor or Emilia Pardo Bazán?
History tour Madrid
Are you the kind of traveller who joins a free walking tour in any city you visit? If that’s the case, keep on reading! Our history tour has hosted groups of international tourists who were not only interested in street art, but also willing to learn more details about our past.
What are the locations visited during this experience?
- Plaza Mayor
- Puerta del Sol
- Plaza de la Villa
- Royal Palace and the National Opera House
Gerardo is a specialist on the field. His experience as a host for several hotels in town took our attention before hiring him for the team. Mr. Reina’s expertise and interest on the field will make that you discover our history as you wouldn’t do it on your own.
Architecture walking tour Madrid
Last but not least, let us show you the urban landscape in Madrid. You’ll be led by a local architect who will explain in a friendly, but technical way, the specific characteristics about the most famous buildings in Gran Via and Lavapiés.
If you are into photography, you’ll also have the chance to get perfect panoramic view from Madrid’s most famous rooftops. What are the most renown terraces in town?
- Circulo de Bellas Artes (Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera, 2)
- Skybar at Hotel RIU Plaza España (C/ Gran Vía, 84)
Walking around Lavapiés district with him will grant you a different idea of the architectonic style used in town during the XIX century onwards.
Cooltourspain’s opinion about the walking tour Madrid
To sum things up, we love hosting travellers from all over world. We are lucky enough to say that we made friends in places that our team hasn’t visited yet. We even collaborate with a local project called Viva Spanish, which offers Spanish classes in Madrid center.
We hope that these experiences are what you are looking for. At the end of the service you will receive in your email account a questionnaire about the activity to check if the price you paid for was worth enough.