“madrid would not be the same if we did not have this tour. our guide was excellent, Phd in art hx and answered all fo our questions. felt like we knew spain and madrid much better after this tour. . . ...Pete L., United States – See more reviews
What To Expect
This orientation walk is designed as a 3-hour introduction to visitors to Madrid during which our docent - a local scholar - will help contextual the city's landscape, architecture, cuisine and culture within the broad chronology of Spanish history.
This orientation seminar offers us the opportunity to gain an insight into the history and the urban development of Madrid, which has been the capital of Spain since the mid-sixteenth century (apart from a brief interval between 1601 and 1606).
It was Philip II who took the decision to make Madrid the capital of Spain, in 1561. Thus, the city became the administrative and political head of the Spanish Empire, one of the largest in western history, and which included enclaves and colonies in America, Asia and Africa. The intricate late-medieval fabric of the city effortlessly blends into the open spaces created during the nineteenth centuries within a short walking distance, with the Gran Via to the north, and sprawling boulevards, institutional buildings and museums to the south.
Our walk begins at Cibeles square, one of the landmarks of Madrid, which represents the architectural and urban changes brought upon by Charles III. During our seminar we will discover why the Bourbon monarch (1716-1788) is referred to as 'the best major Madrid ever had', by madrileños and historians alike.
From the Cibeles, the walk leads to the medieval core of the city, which has remained remarkably unchanged since the period of the Habsburg dynastic rule of the Spanish throne (1506-1700). The first stop in this area is the Puerta del Sol, the epicentre of Spain's highway network, and the site of the popular uprising against the French in 1808.
After a brief discussion of the main monuments in the square, we will head to the effervescent Plaza Mayor, where we can soak up the atmosphere whilst learning of the various uses and transformation of this public space.
This area is also a perfect starting point for a culinary excursion to sample a variety of the best local specialties known as 'tapas'. We can venture along the narrow medieval streets south of the square and enter the cavernous mesones on Cava Baja, built into the thick supporting walls of the Plaza Mayor.
Depending on the time and the weather, we can alternatively stop off for a typical Madrid breakfast of thick hot chocolate and fried pastry sticks at Chocolatería San Ginés, a real institution in the city.
This introductory walk is an opportunity to discuss your plans in Madrid with a native docent and ask any questions regarding timetables, local customs and transportation in the city.
Meals and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Children 13 years old and below are not permitted on this tour.
Minimum of 2 passengers per booking is required. Private walking seminars are available for solo travelers.
Tour will be operated as a guaranteed Small Group Tour with a maximum of 6 guests.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.
2 hours and 30 minutes
2 days / 1 night