Self-Guided Walking Tours to Explore Madrid Spain on Foot
How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. Each walk comes with a detailed tour map as well as photos and background information for the featured attractions. The app's navigation functions guide you from one attraction to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Custom Walk: Create Your Own Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Museums Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Cortes Entertainment Walk
Sightseeing Walk: Salamanca Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Buen Retiro Park Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: City Center Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Hemingway's Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Moncloa and Camberi Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Retiro Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Gran Via and Sol Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Gran Via and Sol Nightlife
Sightseeing Walk: Nightlife Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Sol Souvenir Shopping
Discovery Walk: La Latina Walking Tour
Discovery Walk: Lavapiés Walking Tour
Discovery Walk: Lavapiés Shopping Walk
Discovery Walk: El Rastro Area Antiques Hunting
Discovery Walk: Malasaña Walking Tour
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Saving Money with City Passes
To save yourself time and money visiting Madrid's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as iVenture Card, Madrid Flexi Attractions Pass, Madrid Unlimited Attractions Pass, Madrid City Pass and Madrid City Card.
A city pass combines all or multiple Madrid's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.
Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels
Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Madrid hotels that are conveniently located: Hotel Liabeny, Petit Palace Posada del Peine, Quatro Puerta del Sol.
Taking Care of Your Feet
To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Madrid, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.
Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device
Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.
For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.
Exploring City on Guided Tours
We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour typically costs from US$25 up to US$100 or more per person:
- Hop on a “hop-on hop-off” double-decker and enjoy sightseeing of Madrid from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).
- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – these usually last from 1.5 to 2.5 hours and allow you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.
- Pedal your way around Madrid on a bike tour for 3 hours visiting the most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them (for 5-20 minutes) to get rest, watch the surroundings, and learn much about the city from an informative group leader.
- Satisfy your hunger for historical knowledge and culinary delights of Madrid on a walking tour with food tasting and dinner to experience the unique flavor and culture of the Spanish capital and to soak up its nightlife atmosphere.
- If your passion for food pairs with that for fast-paced choreography, then you definitely may enjoy a night of flamenco dancing at one of the most esteemed flamenco venues in the heart of Old Madrid.
- If you take a keen interest in royal matters and history, consider taking a 3-hour sightseeing and Royal Palace tour of Madrid to explore the city's most important architectural sights and Royal Palace (Palacio Real), learn about Madrid’s Moorish origins, observe its famous Habsburg and modern-day monuments, and see what has shaped the Spanish capital into what it is today.
If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Madrid, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Toledo, Segovia or a combo of Toledo and Aranjuez. For as little as circa US$60 to US$120 you will get a chance to discover historical highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites being picked up straight from your hotel, or any other place in Madrid, and transported either by train or a comfortable air-conditioned minivan to the destination of your choice and back again. Also, you may wish to take a chauffeur-driven tour of Madrid Wine Region visiting several wineries for a chance to learn about the region's wine making traditions and to taste a dozen of local wines. This excursion will set you back around US$140.
Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip
Madrid´s Latin Quarter Tapas
10 Uniquely Madrid Foods to Try in Spanish Capital
Madrid Souvenir Shopping Guide: Top 15 Spanish Products
Top 16 Bars in Madrid
A Self-Guided Food Walk in Madrid