From the church to rebellion; from bandits to traders. As the capital of Spain, Madrid has always been a city of contrasts, attracting many newcomers throughout its complex history. And they have always found a home just outside the ancient city walls, in what is still one of the most vibrant and most multicultural neighbourhoods of Madrid. Join me, another newcomer, as we take in the rich culture and history of of Lavapiés. Along the way, you'll hear about the stories, characters and architecture that have helped define the spirit of Madrid.
Plaza Mayor; Plaza Puerta Cerrada; Church of San Isidro; The Rastro; Escuelas Pías; Mercado de San Fernando; Tabacalera; Plaza Lavapiés; Cine Doré
Leave Puerta del Sol, walking up Calle Mayor (to the left of the bakery La Mallorquina) and take the first entrance on the left, just opposite Calle Coloreros. Closest metro, Sol. From the metro, take the exit for Calle Mayor.
Places to stop along the way:
Church of San Isidro, The Rastro Market, El Pavón Cafe, Church of San Cayetano and San Millán, Mercado de San Fernando, La Tabacalera Art Gallery, La Falda Bar/ Restaurant, Juan Raro Bar/ Restaurant, Más Corazon Terrace Bar
Best time to walk:
This tour is best taken earlier in the day, around 11am, especially if you want to avoid the crowds from the Sunday Rastro market. It is also a good time to gain access to churches, shops and bars, whilst avoiding the heat in the afternoon.
The Mercado de San Fernando is open between 9am and 9pm on most days, apart from Sunday, when it closes at 5pm. It also closes between 2 - 5pm on Mondays, and at 5pm on Saturdays during August.
Please be aware that during the month of August, smaller shops and bars may be closed whilst their owners take holidays. This shouldn't affect any of the places mentioned, however.
During the day, especially, this is a safe and well-monitored neighbourhood. It is also home to a number of people. But please take all normal precautions to ensure personal belongings are kept out of easy reach of pickpockets.