One of the best ways to explore Madrid is by foot. Walking tours are perfect for all travelers looking to learn more about a destination without breaking the bank. Check out our list of the best free walking tours in Madrid!
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Despite its size and large population, Madrid is extremely walkable and is a great destination to explore on foot. One of my favorite ways to learn more about a city on a budget is by doing free walking tours, usually led by locals with extensive knowledge of the area.
If you're someone looking for an inexpensive excursion, free walking tours are the perfect choice for your Madrid itinerary.
In this post, we've highlighted 3 of the best free walking tours available now in Madrid, Spain! Also, keep reading to learn the answers to the most asked questions about where to walk in Madrid, what to expect on a free walking tour, and how much to tip your tour guide.
First, let's have a look at some walking tours!
Best Walking Tours in Madrid
1. Sandemans Free Tour of Madrid
One of the most popular free walking tours in all of Madrid is Sandemans Free Tour of Madrid. During this tour, you'll see some of the most iconic landmarks in Madrid, including the Royal Palace, the Royal Opera House, and the world's oldest restaurant!
This tour operates in English and is also available in Spanish. A great feature of this tour is that it's also wheelchair accessible.
Sandemans Free Tour of Madrid is a fantastic option for those with a few hours to spare who want to learn about Madrid's history and see some of the most popular Madrid sites with a trusted guide.
Keep in mind that this tour is roughly 3 hours in length. While you won't be walking the entire time, you should still wear comfortable walking shoes and bring bottled water.
Sandemans Free Tour of Madrid starts in front of the Tourist Information Centre at Plaza Mayor. The tour runs in English at 11am and 2pm every day, and in Spanish at 11am and 4pm. Check the calendar on their website for more details and a list of tour availability.
One of the perks of free walking tours is that no two tours will be the same. Walking tours with Sandemans are led by local guides who bring an added charm and personality to the experience. Plus, you'll get to explore Madrid from a local perspective.
2. Free Walking Tours Madrid
Another great option for a walking tour of Madrid is the 2.5-hour walking tour offered by Free Walking Tours Madrid. This tour is offered daily at 11am and at 3:30pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.
The tour starts at the Plaza del Callao, and the guide will be holding a purple umbrella. Make sure to arrive roughly 15-minutes before the scheduled start time to locate your guide!
This tour is also wheelchair accessible and offered in English. Their website also shares that pets are welcome during the tour, so long as they are not aggressive or disruptive. There is a short break in the middle of the tour for participants to use the bathroom and rest their legs.
Keep in mind that there is a $3USD booking fee to reserve your spot for this tour and to ensure there are enough guides available. Also, this booking fee does not go to your tour guide, so be sure to bring extra cash to tip your guide at the end of the tour!
On this tour, you'll learn about the history and culture of Madrid, Spain. Tours will visit Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol, The Royal Palace, and more!
3. Free All-In-One Madrid Tour
Madrid's longest free walking tour on this list is the Free All-In-One Madrid Tour. It is a 4-hour long walking tour that highlights several of the major historical and cultural landmarks throughout Madrid.
The tour starts at Plaza de Isabel II, and the guide will be holding a blue sign that reads, "SUPER." This tour is available in both English and Spanish and is wheelchair accessible.
During this tour, your local guide will share extensive knowledge about Madrid's art, gastronomy, architecture, and history.
The tour operates daily in Spanish at 10:30am and in English at 11am. You can reserve your spot for free on their website.
Where can I walk in Madrid?
Madrid is highly walkable, so the short answer to this question is: almost anywhere!
Although it's best to do a free walking tour with a knowledgeable local guide, you can also walk around the city on your own with a free self-guided tour. There are several options to choose from by doing a quick search.
Self-guided walking tours are a great option if you only want to see specific landmarks or if you are pressed for time and only have an hour or two to spare.
Everything is relatively close together in Madrid, so walking is entirely doable. Some of the best spots to explore on your own include The Royal Palace of Madrid, Cathedral De La Almudena, and Plaza Mayor.
Plan for fees and timed entry
If you want to go inside or take a tour of any historical or cultural site, check ahead to see if there is an admission fee or timed entry.
What to expect on a free walking tour
If you've never been on a free walking tour before, you might not know what to expect or how to prepare. But don't worry! Free walking tours are a great way to explore a destination, meet fellow travelers, and have fun!
Usually, free walking tours meet in the same spot at the start of every tour. Most walking tours allow walk-ups, but remember to check the tour's website to see if you need to reserve a spot before the tour.
Occasionally, walking tours will end in the same spot they begin, but that is not always the case. It is a good idea to ask your guide at the beginning of the tour where the tour will end. Weather and local events might also impact the final location on a tour, so it's good to be flexible.
How to best prepare
You should also plan to bring water, a small snack, and sunglasses. Check the weather ahead of time to determine whether you need to bring rain gear, layered clothing, sunscreen, or a hat to block the sun.
With visits to so many popular sites and landmarks on free walking tours, you'll want to bring your camera or a portable charger for your smartphone. You don't want to miss out on taking that iconic photo just because your phone died or your camera ran out of storage space! Bring a backup battery and SD card, just in case.
Walking tours include a lot of--you guessed it--walking! With this in mind, plan accordingly and wear comfortable shoes. If you have extra space in your purse or backpack, I recommend bringing bandages too! Blisters happen, and what's even worse is when you get a blister in the middle of a walking tour.
Meet people and have fun!
Being in an unfamiliar city as a solo traveler can be intimidating. Doing a free walking tour is a great way to make friends you can hang out with in Madrid. Most people on free walking tours are solo travelers, so introducing yourself to other travelers during a free walking tour is a great way to socialize. Just remember to be yourself and have fun!
How much should I tip on a walking tour?
Free walking tours operate on a tips-based model. This means that while the tour itself is free, you should still tip your guide accordingly based on the quality of the tour and what you can afford.
The amount to tip will vary based on your opinion of the tour and your budget. A customary amount is $10USD per person based on a 1-hour tour. Of course, this amount might vary depending on what you can afford, how long the tour is, and its overall quality.
It is usually best to tip in the local currency of whichever city or destination you're visiting, but US dollars are also widely accepted. In Madrid, the local currency is the Euro. Make sure to check the conversion rate before tipping in the local currency to give your guide the amount intended!
All that and more upcoming features, available to you at no cost! Why not give it a try and start planning your trip today?
If you're looking for more travel resources to guide your travel plans in Madrid, we've got you covered as well. Check out this guide on some of the best Madrid landmarks to include in your itinerary and some of the best places to stay in Madrid.
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