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$471 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • 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
Select a date
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 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.

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, 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.

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.

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 this country.

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.
  • You're a history buff looking to expand your knowledge of the Civil War and follow the lead of an expert in his field.
  • It's your first time in Madrid and you're eager to learn about the history of this incredible city. 
  • You’re an experienced traveler and want to dive deep into the importance of this iconic historical event that shaped this nation.
  • Reina Sofia Museum
  • Lavapiés
  • Monument to the Fallen
  • Telefónica Building
  • Gran Vía
Tickets
  • You are prepaid for the tour and the entry tickets at the Reina Sofia Museum. 

Resources
  • If you are eager to learn more about Madrid before your visit, check out our online lectures at Context Learning.
Wheelchair accessibility
We understand that some of our valued guests may have mobility concerns, and we want to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout your tour. If there are any accessibility concerns that your tour guide will need to be aware of, please let our team know at the time of booking.
How much time is spent at the Reina Sofia museum? We typically spend half an hour or so in the museum to see Guernica - for a longer more in depth look at the collection we recommend our Reina Sofia tour.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.84) 105 Reviews

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Marta was wonderful. Very knowledgeable about the civil war and also about all facets of Madrid. If we return to the city, we would definitely request another tour with her.
-Too much walking for what there was to see. -The guide should know and be able to tell clients in advance how much walking there’ll be (3.6 miles, it turns out). -The guide should give accurate advice on whether a line is to be expected at the Reina Sofia museum and should be prepared to help the client buy a skip-the-line ticket on the spot if there is a long line when they arrive at the museum. -In fact, the guide told me not to buy advance tickets because there would not be many people on a Monday. He was worng. There was a long line. I then tried to buy a skip-the-line ticket on the spot but my phone wouldn’t connect (it would have connected if I’d done this at the hotel in advance) and the guide told me that the Reina Sofia doesn’t offer skip-the-line tickets. - So I didn’t get to see the Guernica, because I was unwilling to stand in line in the hot noontime sun. Afterwards, I discouvered that skip-the-line tkts ARE available for the Reina Sofia. Why wasn’t I given the correct info about this? Why didn’t he solve the problem by buying me a skip-the-ticket on HIS phone, and I could reimburse him with cash. -I should hardly need to point out that anybody who is willing to shell out 400 euros for a private tour is clearly willing to shell out extra $$ to guarantee avoiding long lines. -In addition, the content was a little simplistic; all that walking should have been accompanied by a university level narrative, full of facts, figures, and historical analysis (fraught as the topic might be).
Very, very knowledgeable guide, plus lot's of fun.