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Costa Sights

Writing about my favourite places and towns in Spain.

30 January 2020

Street Art Tour Madrid

You may have read much about all of the buzz regarding contemporary Madrid art in a well know Madrid art gallery, but how much do you know about Madrid’s underground art scene?     

Often referred to as graffiti or urban art, Madrid is awash with exciting murals hidden in nooks and crannies just waiting to be discovered.

Often demonstrating the street life where the artists grew up, Madrid’s urban art scene transforms once undesirable urban spaces with the kind of art you might expect to see in a museum.

While you may not find anything signed by the likes of Goya, Velázquez and Picasso, you might have the good fortune to stumble upon a Jonipunto, Suso 33, Spy, Okuda, Borondo or Muelle who are all giants of urban art in Spain.

Earlier this year, Madrid was experiencing some social and political challenges that make street artists want to get out and express their opinions through their work.

One of the county’s biggest daily newspapers El Pais, claims that the amount of street art is excitingly more popular compared to what was around 10 years ago.

One of the best times to visit Madrid for street art is during April when urban artists from around the world descend on the Malasaña district of Madrid to paint their works on every available wall and shutter.

Similar to other trendy areas in Toronto, Miami and Los Angeles, Malasaña is full of student-friendly places where young people like to hang out and enjoy Madrid art.

The festival event attracts thousands of visitors from around the world who come just to watch and photograph the artists at work.

Globally trends in tourism are changing with old established trends making way for unique and alternative experiences.

CALLE Lavapiés street art tour Madrid 

When we came up with the idea of a Madrid street art tour back in 2015, the first place that popped to mind was the Lavapiés neighbourhood of the city due to its multiculturalism and bright vibrant colours.

All the guides at Cool Tour Spain focus on the following:

·   Society’s problems

·   Political corruption

·   People losing their homes

·   A lack of jobs

·   Youth unemployment

·   Gangs

·   Crime

·   Domestic abuse

Every piece of street art in Madrid has a story to tell and we not only desire to express that story but explain the greater meaning behind the art.

Even though we feel we are helping the artist by escorting people to see their works, there are some in Madrid who are against us because we are using the tours as a way to create an income. In other words, exploiting their artistic work for our monetary gain.

What these people do not know and that we would like to tell them is that we hire local artists who speak English as guides because of their knowledge of the urban art scene and their love of being able to share it with visitors.

Will street art survive and what are its consequences?

The artists who have become famous now choose to do their artwork lawfully while others will always try to seek anonymity and not paint for fame or fortune.

The street art scene has always wanted to be real and not seek permission for what it creates, but many people in Madrid are not as enamoured with some of the artwork and would like to see the perpetrators locked up and punished.

This poses a problem for many young artists fearful of paining at organised events in case they are recognised for decorating a wall shutter or train without permission.

One rule of thumb is; If you think you are bettering what was there before you painted, then we believe you should be able to do it, but if not think about it twice, as meaningless lines and tags do not equate to works of art.

Cool Tour Spain does not support vandalism or any aggressive actions that deface public or private property in Madrid. The next time you visit Madrid, why not choose to observe an exciting and alternative side to the city?  Street art tour Madrid


Like 1        Published at 14:14   Comments (0)

Discover Torrox
23 December 2019

To the east of Malaga is the underrated region of Torrox. At the foothills of the Sierra de Almijara right down to the beach front, there’s a piece of Torrox to suit everyone.

Torrox has quite a rich history to discover with the Phoenicians and Greeks being once involved with the commercial activities in the area. All that said it was the Romans who founded an important town and left much evidence of their flourishing ‘factory’. Many recent archaeological finds are still being discovered near the Torrox lighthouse. The composite areas of Torrox were once collectively named Caviclum and went on the historical map as a very prosperous Roman city.

During the Andalusi-Arabic period, Torrox was known throughout the Mediterranean for the production and sale of sugar cane. Some of these sugar cane factories dating from the 19 century are still standing but now disused.
I’d recommend visiting the Torrox Costa lighthouse and its musuem to discover more about the area and it’s intriguing past. There are a number of artefacts housed inside the museum alongside interactive displays and videos depicting life in Roman times. 

Today Torrox is a thriving area for tourists. Parallel to its long sandy beach is a wonderful seaside promenade where you will find a mixture of Spanish and international restaurants, cafes and bars. One of my favourites is the thai restaurant called Thaipas located near the lighthouse, where the owner Wippa creates culinary delights to suit your spice level.

Perhaps you crave English fish and chips smothered in vinegar whilst breathing the fresh sea air. Then you can find traditional fish and chips at the British family owned Lews restaurant. 

For those who love fish and seafood, the popular Spanish restaurant Paloma Blanca serves a renowned dish of fish baked in salt. Contrary to what you may initially think, the dish is beautifully moist and only has a slightly salty taste.  

Accommodation on Torrox Costa is reasonably competitive when booked in advance. For those wanting to stay directly on the beach - the hotel Iberostar Malaga Playa is an excellent choice. 

There’s a large number of holiday homes and apartments available to rent, however prices have been rising steadily in recent years. You will get a better deal for your money if you stay in nearby Torrox Pueblo. This pretty village has good transport links to the coast and has an assortment of shops and restaurants in its pretty square. Be aware though that the Pueblo has a lot of steps and windy streets so this may not be the best option if you have walking difficulties of limited mobility. 

If you prefer a complete getaway from it all holiday, surrounded by peaceful and tranquil surroundings then choosing to stay in the nearby campo or countryside may be the best option for you. You could choose to rent a villa, offering you complete isolation from the rest of humanity, other than when you have to pop to the supermarkets on the coast of course! 


Like 1        Published at 17:00   Comments (1)

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