Guided tours are an ideal way to get to know a city on your first day, before you go off and explore on your own. The tours on this page offer all sorts of specialized tours. Plus, there's a tapas walking tour that gives you a real taste of Madrid - literally!
1. Madrid Walking Tours
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and is the top ten most populous cities in Europe overall. But the historical quarter is small and easily walkable - ideal for a walking tour. In fact, much of Madrid’s historic quarter is pedestrianized, which means you have to walk to see a of the biggest sights. You’ll get to see the majority of the most important of the capital's most interesting locations in a couple of hours.
But to get the full picture, you’ll need to get a hop-on-hop-off bus or one of the other more forms of transport below.
Here are your options for a Madrid walking tour:
General Madrid Walking Tour with Royal Palace Visit
Get to know the insider's Madrid. Visit famous sights such as Puerta del Sol and the genuine Egyptian temple at the heart of the city, as well as famous areas of town like the Barrio de las Letras and Madrid de las Austrias. Learn about the city’s history and get advice from your guide on what else to see while you’re there. Then it’s over to the exquisite Royal Palace for a full tour of the official royal residence.
Read more here: Madrid Walking Tour
Madrid Rooftop Walking Tour
There’s no jumping from roof to roof, fortunately (or not): they force you to take the mundane lift up and down between each one. But you do get to see some of the best views of the Spanish capital.
Book here: Madrid Rooftop Tour
Madrid Tapas Tour at Night
Learn about Spain’s tapas tradition at a selection of bars in central Madrid. Learn about the dishes and wines and the unique culinary and social culture surrounding tapas in Spain.
Find out more: Madrid Tapas Tour
Madrid Myths and Legends
Take a quirkier look at Madrid. Even if you know the city really well already, this tour will show you a different side to the capital. Discover what lurks beneath the surface of Madrid’s famous landmarks...
Discover more... Madrid Myths and Legends
2. Alternatives to a Madrid Walking Tour
For some, a walking tour is, well, too pedestrian. For others, they can’t or don’t want to spend their vacation walking everywhere. In both cases, there are other tours of central Madrid that take in all of the same sights, but in a more unique way.
Get some exercise!
Wanna go for a run? Cover more ground in less time with a Madrid Running Tour. The tour operators stress that it’s a light jog. But there won’t be any dawdling! Good for those who miss the gym or just hate the lingering out that happens on normal walking tours.
Alternatively, check out a Madrid cycling tour for an even more efficient way of exploring central Madrid.
I’m on vacation, give me something different!
Ever ridden a Segway? There are various options for exploring Madrid by Segway. The areas open up to you remain more or less the same as on a walking tour, but it’s a lot easier - and more fun! There are some small hills in Madrid, which the motorized Segway makes easy work of.
3. Explore the Rest of Madrid
There are places in Madrid that it’s not feasible to walk to. To explore the rest of the city, a bus is your most likely option.
The hop-on-hop-off bus would be my suggestion. Pay for a one-day pass (a day is enough), start early and do the full tour. You can get off where you like, but you should still be able to see most of the sights outside of the centre in a day. To learn about what you’re saying, there’ll be an audio commentary, but for a real guide you should take one of the other bus tours below.
4. A Unique Way to Explore Madrid
For something a little different, why not try a GoCar? It's basically a little car that, due to engine size and other factors, has a scooter registration and only has to follow scooter laws (though, for safety reasons, GoCar still require you to have a driving license to use it).
This means you can drive it on the roads, but you can also drive it in places where cars aren't allowed but scooters are, and you can park it in scooter parking bays. The in-car sat-nav will suggest routes and tell you about the sights around you, but will shut up if you decide to go off and explore by yourself.
Where the GoCar fails and a real scooter wins, though, is in manoeuvrability. In which case, you'll need to get a real scooter.