Unique Tours and Tapas Away from the Tourist Traps

If you’re looking for tours and tapas away from the tourist traps, then look no further! I’ve been running unique tours that show another side of Madrid for a while now. So, with mask laws lifting, it seems like the perfect time to add drinks and tapas to my itineraries. As I’ve been doing this on a casual basis on tours for residents, I wanted to extend this to private clients too. Visitors often want to pick my brains after a tour, so this seemed to make perfect sense and, as you can see in the picture above, we always have a blast!

Sampling a cheese board and a local wine from the Gredos mountains with Clare (far left), the author of Confused Heap of Facts

Tell me more!

The “tours and tapas away from the tourist traps” format is available on all tours that end up near charming local eateries. These include:

Lavapiés: Defiance in its DNA

From the foundation of Madrid up until the recent riots, this tour takes a deep dive into Lavapiés’ turbulent past and is a history of the city told not from the perspective of its kings, but from the perspective of its poorest citizens. Starting off with the Rastro, the bloody trail that led down from the city’s medieval slaughterhouse, we learn about the fate of the manolos, a tribe of Jewish conversos who were the first inhabitants of the barrio. Travelling downhill towards its modern heart, we end up in the barrio’s multi-cultural present day.

Muslim Madrid

Madrid was founded by Mohammed I of Cordoba as a line of defense against Christian invaders. While the citadel was conquered by Alfonso VI in 1083, only the ruling classes were forced to flee. Muslim citizens stayed on in a morería for centuries. Starting where the original fortress was built, we follow the fate of the city’s Islamic community from when Madrid was part of Al-Andalus up until the forced conversions of 1502.

The Making of Malasaña

Burning corpses, sex mad nuns, revolution and prostitution! Even before becoming the hipster paradise it is today, Malasaña has never been boring. On this tour you’ll find out about its roots as a pious and yet somewhat sleazy suburb, about the emergence of its native tribe of majos, about the Dos de Mayo uprisings, and about how during the 19th century the neighbourhood turned into a university city and industrial hub. Then, of course, we’ll finish up by delving into the heady post-transition days of the Movida.

Madrid, the Early Years

Covering the city’s origins as an outpost of Islam up until the end of the Hapsburg dynasty, the tour reveals how a Protestant smear campaign still colours our view of the Spanish Inquisition and exposes a conspiracy to destroy the original royal palace that implicates the first Bourbon king himself. Along the way you’ll visit some of the few surviving medieval buildings in the capital, a secret garden and the remains of the original city wall.

The Manzanares River with Clare Starkie

Find out more about Madrid’s hidden gem: The Manzanares River. Flowing from the mountains in the north, this river runs through one of the city’s newest parks, yet has some of the oldest and most fascinating stories to tell.
Starting at the Matadero, a 1920s slaughterhouse and now a cultural centre, this 2.5km walking tour will explore prehistoric wildlife, Golden Age feats of engineering and the river’s role during the Civil War. The tour finishes at one of Madrid’s oldest bridges, the Puente de Toledo (near Marques de Vadillo metro).

For this tour, your guide will be Clare, who has lived in Madrid for over 3 years after moving from England, where she was a museum curator for more than 20 years. She now teaches English to adults and researches Spanish history.


To book either email me at: [email protected] or WhatsApp me at: +34 644 387 960.

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