Private Walking Tour of Madrid with a Local Historian
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
Taking to the streets of central Madrid, we'll gain insight into both the history and the city's urban development. Starting with the city's Arabic underpinnings, we'll trace the trajectory of Spanish monarchy through to French occupation, Civil War, and dictatorship in the 20th century. Understanding these key events will help you get your bearings as you set out to explore the capital.
Much of our walk will focus on the medieval core of the city near Plaza Mayor, which has remained remarkably unchanged since the period of the Habsburg dynastic rule of the Spanish throne (1516-1700). We'll pay particular attention to Philip II who decided to make Madrid the capital of Spain in 1561. He paved the way for the city becoming the administrative and political head of the Spanish Empire, one of the largest in western history.
To get a better understanding of the cultural life of Madrilenos, we'll act like a local and poke our heads into the market to learn about Jamon Iberico (Spanish cured ham) and the timing of meals. We may pop into one of the most traditional and popular chocolate cafes in the city. We'll certainly stop in Puerta del Sol ("Gate of the Sun"), the large square where the uprising against the French took place in 1808. And while there, we'll see Madrid's most famous statue—a 20 ton bear eating fruit from a strawberry tree, a symbol of the city since the Middle Ages. You gotta love Madrid!
The eating of the twelve grapes
While in Puerta del Sol, look for the famous clock whose tolling bells are part of the country's New Year's celebration since the late 1800s. It is believed that if you eat one grape with each strike of the midnight bell on December 31, you'll have a year of prosperity. Puerta del Sol's New Year's celebration is broadcast live on national television, and has been every year since 1962.
Choose your date and time very carefully. Only a portion of this tour is refundable from the time of booking; within 72 hours of operation, it is fully non-refundable.