When I first moved to Madrid, I wanted to find out about the area I lived in and the nearby river. As it turned out, there were no guided tours in English at all, so I decided to write my own!
So, why not join me to discover more about Madrid’s hidden gem: The Manzanares River. Flowing from the mountains in the north, this river runs through one of the city’s newest parks, yet has some of the oldest and most fascinating stories to tell.
Audio Guided Tour
I’ve recently recorded an audio tour, available through the VoiceMap app. This is an abridged version of Tour One (see below) that runs from the Matadero to the Puente de Toledo, takes around an hour and costs just over €5. As it’s accessible on your phone, you can choose a time and date to suit your schedule. It covers the river’s history from the prehistoric wildlife to the modern park development, and includes the attempt to link Madrid with the Atlantic Ocean and the stories behind the city’s Patron Saints Isidro and Maria.
To access the tour: click here and follow the instructions: https://voicemap.me/tour/madrid/madrid-walking-tour-manzanares-river-s-story-from-prehistory-to-popular-park
In-Person Guided Tours
I also offer two in-person tours of the Manzanares River, each covers the significance of the river in the lives of Madrid’s citizens, from its practical uses to its recent transformation into one of the city’s most popular parks.
Each tour lasts around two hours and is followed by a drink and tapas at the end.
Tour One: The Early History of the River
Starting at the Matadero, a 1920s slaughterhouse and now a cultural centre, this 2.5km walking tour will explore prehistoric wildlife, Golden Age feats of engineering and the river’s links to Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidro. The tour finishes at one of Madrid’s oldest bridges, the Puente de Toledo (near Marques de Vadillo metro).
Tour Two: 500 Years of River History
Starting at Madrid’s oldest bridge, the Puente de Segovia, this tour is less than 2km in distance, but packs in around 500 years of Spanish history. Touching on Felipe II’s development of Madrid as Spain’s capital, through the Napoleonic era to the role of the river during the Civil War. The tour finishes at Puente del Rey (near Principe Pio metro).
The tours cost €110 for solo travelers, €60 per person for two (€120 for the group), €45 euros per person for three (€135 for the group), €35 euros per person for four (€140 for the group), €30 euros per person for five (€150 for the group), and €25 euros per person for six (€150 for the group). The price includes a drink and a tapas.
Larger groups can negotiate a price privately. Please contact me for more information and to book a tour.
These tours are organised in collaboration with The Making of Madrid blog and Felicity Hughes: a professional writer and editor based in Madrid. Felicity offers a number of unique tours of Madrid, check out her website for more details: https://themakingofmadrid.com
Audio guide tour reviews:
“I’ve lived next to the Matadero for 7 years now. I’ve run and cycled this park hundreds of times. This tour really made me open my eyes to see the beauty of this newly created river path. The little details and descriptions captivated me, and I’ll be seeing my running path with new eyes from now on. The tour is excellent for anyone, as her directions and pace are super clear and concise. A must for tourists and residents alike!”
Alison, Madrid, 2023
What an incredible tour! I’ve lived in Madrid for 13 years, and currently live by the Madrid Rio, and never knew how rich the history of it was. Highly recommend this tour by Clare!
Molly, Madrid, 2023
In-person tour review:
“The highly creative 500 Years of River History tour made me see the iconic Manzanares River through a new lens, and I learned about agriculture, kings, secret tunnels, washing customs, borders, and how the river more recently was transformed from a sad trickle by an ugly motorway into a lovely city park. Clare is a very poised and knowledgeable guide who clearly feels passionate about history, and I’m impressed with the research she did to create this unique experience!”
Hilary, Madrid, 2022