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Spanish Civil War Tour in Madrid with Picasso's Guernica

Understand Madrid's decisive role in the Spanish Civil War and marvel at Picasso's Guernica
From US$478 privately
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Tour Details
3.5 hours
Product Type
  • Reina Sofia Museum
  • Lavapiés
  • Monument to the Fallen
  • Telefónica Building
  • Gran Vía
Photos & Highlights
  • Spanish Civil War tour of Madrid led by a historian
  • Gain a clear understanding of the Spanish Civil War, its timeline, and its far-reaching consequences
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Tour Description
On a hot summer’s day in 1936, a military coup trying to overthrow the government escalated into one of the most important historical events leading to the rise of fascism in Europe: The Spanish Civil War. This acute three-year conflict divided the Spanish population and territory in two—the Republicans, supported by international volunteer forces, versus the Nationalists, backed by the Fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler. Our 3.5 hour Spanish Civil War tour in Madrid, guided by an expert guide, will focus on the origins of the war, visiting sites associated with wartime events and covering daily life during the war and Nationalist Francisco Franco’s eventual Fascist dictatorship.

Spanish Civil War Tour in Madrid

We begin our tour at a cafe where we’ll introduce the Spanish Civil War's major players. Armed with this knowledge, we’ll embark on our journey through the Civil War in Madrid, starting with Franco’s Monument to the Fallen, which was constructed during his regime on the site of the city’s first skirmish. We’ll continue along Gran Vía, a commercial and entertainment artery where the Telefónica Building—one of Europe’s first skyscrapers—became the main target for bombardments. The boulevard was so heavily bombed during the war that Madrileños nicknamed it Avenue of the Shells.

Understand the Spanish Civil War

Passing through Puerta del Sol, we’ll enter the working class neighborhood of Lavapiés. Intensely bombed during the war, we will see the ruins of a Catholic school and church burnt by angry masses at the onset of the conflict; these stand as a vivid illustration of the savagery of the war. Using photos and testimonies from the period, our guide will illustrate the difficulty of daily life during the first half of a dictatorship known in Spain as Los Años de Hambre, or The Years of Hunger.
 Excellent tour with our guide who is both knowledgeable and interesting. This tour was the highlight of our trip to Madrid.

Spanish History with an Expert

The Spanish Civil War was one of the most romanticized conflicts of the 20th century, inspiring the works of an accomplished list of contemporary writers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Orson Welles, Dorothy Parker, Pablo Neruda, and Pablo Picasso. Picasso’s Guernica is one the most recognizable symbols of the horrors of war, but it served as a key piece of propaganda used to gather support for the war. In light of its influential status, we’ll end our walk at the nearby Reina Sofía Museum, where we’ll view this monumental oeuvre together to wrap up our discussion of the war’s tremendous effect on and Spain as whole.

Take Aways

This tour will help impart the scale of devastation that accompanied the rise of Franco and Fascism in Spain, as well as demonstrate the Spanish Civil War's impact on arts and culture.
Want to learn more about the vibrant culture that emerged post-Franco? Consider our Madrid Night Tour: Movida Madrileña, covering Madrid's 1970's counter-culture.

FAQ About the Spanish Civil War Tour in Madrid

Is this seminar walking intensive and/or wheelchair-accessible? 
We do cover extensive territory on this seminar, and the route includes public transport. Please contact us if you have any questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you, and are also happy to design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility concerns.
Where You'll Start
90 Reviews (4.81)

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Sean was an excellent guide. Best I have ever had on a five star guided tour. Highly recommend
Marta was a wonderful guide. As a lifetime resident of Madrid she was knowledgeable about not only the Spanish civil war but Madrid and its political evolution. Seeing Guernica in person - and understanding context - was a highlight. Great tour
We absolutely loved our time with Sean. So knowledgeable and gave such interesting insight into everything. We learned a great deal and would absolutely tour with him again!