Free Walking Tours in Madrid

This post covers free walking tours in Madrid, including outings that cover the historic district, the best-kept secrets of the city, and even a look at the city after dark.

 

Museo del Prado, Madrid

 


OVERVIEW+SCHEDULE 

Madrid has been one of the epicenters of western art for centuries and is now home to world-class museums and culture.

While exploring this city, you will navigate through the city’s fascinating history from its foundation as a Moorish town to its modern and vibrant current state.

 

 

Take a walking tour and become a Madrileño for a day, because in the words of the great writer Calderón de la Barca: “Madrid is everyone’s homeland…”

This model of tours is pay-what-you-wish, meaning you can pay your guide what you think the tour was worth, or what you could afford after your walk is over.

 

Free Walking Tours

 

According to online reviews, most guests pay between €5 to €20 per person for a tour well done.


Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.


HISTORIC DISTRICT TOURS + ESSENTIALS 

There are several free walking tours that take you through the most historic neighborhoods in Madrid, providing a closer look at notable landmarks and explaining what life was like during medieval times.

While you can expect to learn some history on these outings, you’ll also receive tips about the best places to visit, great restaurants in the area, and more.

 

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

In addition to discovering how the capital of Spain developed into the city we see today, you can also expect to visit some of the following locations:

  • Puerta del Sol
  • Plaza Mayor
  • The Royal Palace
  • Almudena Cathedral
  • Mercado de San Miguel
  • And more!

If you want to learn more about these sites, consider one of the pay-what-you-wish tours listed below.


New Europe Tours

This is one of the most popular free tour companies in Europe, and they offer one of the most consistent schedules available for their tours which cover the historic district.

It’s also worth noting that this is currently the longest free walking tour available in Madrid at a total of 3 hours in length.

You can enjoy this outing every Thursday – Sunday at either 10 am or 11 am.

Find out more or book this tour.


Trip Tours

Discover the origins of this city, including true stories about the Austrian Kings of the past as well as legends and myths from throughout the history of Madrid.

This 2 ½ hours free walking tour is offered in English, Spanish and Italian at 11 am every day of the week except Monday.

Book this tour or learn more.


Sol Tours

Learn about the royal families of the past and how this city rose to prominence as you visit some of the most notable sites on this 2-hour free walking tour of Madrid.

This pay-what-you-wish tour is available in both English and Spanish twice a day at 11:15 am and 20:00 (8 pm).

Get more information or book this tour.


4U Madrid

Focusing primarily on the Habsburg Quarter, this company offers a free walking tour that covers the history of the city, its art, monuments, gardens, and more.

Available in both English and Spanish, this 2-hour tour is available twice a day on every day of the week except Tuesday at 11:30 am and 17:30 (5:30 pm).

Book the tour or learn more.


Additional Options

There are several other historical tours of Madrid that you might want to consider.

These options are very similar to the others we have listed and visit many of the same locations.

  • OGO Tours
  • Leaf Madrid
  • Free Walking Tours Spain
  • Strawberry Tours

You may also want to consider a self-guided exploration game instead. This service puts you in the role of someone escaping the Spanish Inquisition.

Although the self-guided game is not free, at only €15, it’s around what most people would consider tipping their guide for a pay-what-you-wish walking tour.

 


MAJESTIC MADRID 

If you’re looking to take a more unique tour of the city, there are at least a couple of options you may want to consider.

While some cover the basic history of Madrid from a different perspective, others are more focused on the culture of the city, including details about famous writers and artists from the area.

 

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá

At least one of these outings includes free food samples!

You can expect to see some of the following sites on these tours:

  • Fuente de Cibeles
  • Circle of Fine Arts
  • Puerta de Alcalá
  • The Royal Theatre
  • Plaza de la Armería
  • Monastery of the Royal Barefoot
  • And more!

For more information about locations like these, consider taking one of the pay-what-you-wish walking tours listed below.


Reverse Madrid History

Take a history tour with a twist!

While most tours of the historic district will tell the tale of Madrid from ancient to modern times, this outing covers the story of the city in reverse – from modern times back to the medieval era.

In addition to the unique take on history, you’ll also get some free candy/sweets just for taking this 2 ½ hour tour.

The tour is available every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 16:30 (4:30 pm).

Book the tour or learn more.


Best Kept Secrets

As the name implies, you’ll learn about some of the lesser-known and/or visited locations in Madrid.

This tour includes a lot of landmarks and history that aren’t typically covered by other services, including important artistic and cultural sites and even some historic religious locations.

Available in both English and Spanish, this 2 ½ hours free walking tour is offered

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 18:00 (6 pm)
  • Tuesday and Thursday at 11:15 am.

Learn more or book this tour.


Sandemans

If you’re interested in learning about the most famous artists who ever lived in Madrid, Sandemans Majestic Madrid tour is an excellent choice.

Learn about the history of Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote), Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms), and many other literary geniuses who once walked the streets of this city.

Although this tour isn’t free, it will only cost €14 for adults and €12 for students. Many travelers tip between €10-€15 after a pay-what-you-wish tour, so this is a quite fairly priced outing.

This Madrid tour is available in both English and Spanish daily at 14:30 (2:30 pm) starting in September.

Book the tour or get additional information.

 


TAPAS TOURS

There’s a lot of great food in Madrid, but tapas are one of the most popular dishes in all of Spain, so you can expect to find a wide variety of them at restaurants in this city.

These tasty treats are so prevalent that there are some free walking tours you can take which will help you find the best tapas in all of Madrid.

 

Tapas in the window of a Madrid restaurant

 

Most of the locations you will visit are known as tapas bars, which specialize in making several different styles of the meal.

Each of these tapas tours will allow you to decide how much food you try, as you’ll be paying for your own food along the way.


Leaf Madrid

This tour company offers a free tour which will take you to popular bars and restaurants which specialize in making a variety of different tapas.

Rather than paying one flat price upfront, you’ll pay for all the food you want to try along the way, giving you control over the cost of the tour.

Available in both English and Spanish, this 2 ½ hours free tapas tour is limited to groups of 10 or fewer and it’s offered on Thursday and Friday at 18:00 (6 pm).

Book your tour or learn more.


Unseen Footprints

If you’d rather explore the city and try some of the best food in Madrid on your own, this self-guided tapas tour is an excellent choice.

This outing includes multiple different stops at tapas bars in the city, giving you an opportunity to try several different types of this popular dish.

The best part about this option is that you don’t have to pay anything for a tour guide and you can decide how much you want to spend on the actual food as you make your way to each location.

Take this self-guided tapas tour or learn more.

 


NIGHT TOURS+PUB CRAWLS 

These are pretty much the same as a tour of the historic district, but they are offered after the sun goes down.

That said, there are some night tours that offer additional tips and tricks to help guests find their way around the city.

 

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid

 

If you’re interested in seeing what Madrid looks like either as the sun is setting or after it goes down, these are excellent sightseeing opportunities.

It’s also worth noting that the free tapas tour from Leaf Madrid starts at 6 pm, so you could easily consider this a night tour as well.

We’ll also provide a few options for pub crawls in Madrid to help you find the best sangria, beer, wine, and vermouth in the city!

Here are a few of the sites you can expect to see after dark:

  • The Royal Palace
  • Almudena Cathedral
  • Plaza de la Villa
  • Puerta del Sol
  • Plaza Mayor
  • And more!

Discover what Madrid looks like at night on one of the following free walking tours.


Sol Tours

This is the same historic district tour that we have listed above, but it should be noted that they actually offer their service after dark, and it’s one of the best free night tour options in Madrid.

Guests can take the tour every night in either English or Spanish at 20:00 (8 pm), and it’s approximately 2 hours in length, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city after dark.

Learn more about this option or book the tour now.


Madrid’s Origin

This outing provides information stretching back over 1200 years of history, and it includes stops at some of the most famous locations in the city.

Although this 2-hour tour is offered in both English and Spanish three times a day – once at 11 am, again at 16:30 (4:30 pm) – it’s also available at 19:30 (7:30 pm) every day of the week!

Find out more or book this tour.


GPS My CityEl Tigre, Madrid

If you’re looking for a free pub crawl, there is one self-guided option provided by GPS My City that you might want to consider.

This guide will use GPS to help you find your way from one bar to the next and it has a total of 18 stops.

You can download it to your smartphone using their app on either iTunes or Android.

Since you don’t have to pay for a tour guide, you can save all your money for trying out a variety of different drinks at the bars you’ll visit along the way.

Take this self-guided pub crawl or learn more.


Other Madrid Pub Crawls

Most pub crawls in this city are not free, but they do often include at least one free drink at each of the bars visited in addition to some drink specials to save you even more money.

Prices range from just €11 to €39, and these outings can last up to 6 hours depending on which one you choose.

If you want to learn more or see what’s available, please check this list of Madrid pub crawls.

 


FLAMENCO TOURS 

Madrid is home to some wonderful artistic and cultural traditions, and it’s actually the origin of a popular form of music and dance known as Flamenco.

 

Flamenco dancers and singer on a dark stage

 

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about this dance form, there is at least one free walking tour you may want to consider.

You can expect to visit some of the dance schools and Spanish bars where famous Flamenco dancers and musicians have performed throughout the years.

You’ll also visit some artisan shops which sell items such as Flamenco shoes and handmade guitars for artists who perform either the dance or the music that goes along with it.


MAD Tours

Your tour guide will also provide information about Flamenco to help you understand the artistry of it and get the most out of any show you might choose to see after this outing.

This 1 ½ hour free walking tour is only available every Saturday at 11:45 am, so it’ll be important to sign up for the service well in advance to ensure you’re included in the group.

Book this tour or learn more.


See a Flamenco Show

If you want to see this music and dancing for yourself either before or after the tour, there are several venues that offer tickets you can purchase well in advance.

Here are a few of the best Flamenco shows currently available in Madrid:

 


FREE WALKING TOURS IN OTHER CITIES

Enjoy free walking tours in other cities around the world with Free Tours by Foot and our recommended companies.

Here are just a few.

 

About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.