Lonely Planet Writer

Is homelessness putting off Madrid tourists, or is it the traffic?

Traffic around Madrid's Gran Via.
Traffic on Madrid’s Gran Via. Image by Dimitry B. / CC BY 2.0

A conservative mayoral candidate in Madrid has argued that homelessness, graffiti and street cleanliness are putting off tourists from visiting Spain’s capital city. If elected, the Popular Party’s Esperanza Aguirre has vowed to clean up the streets and force homeless people to go into shelters in a bid to improve the city’s image to tourists. However, a local newspaper that questioned tourists on the streets of the city found that hard-to-find tourist information centres and maps, a lack of bike lanes and bad traffic were of greater concern. Madrid has long been lambasted for its bad air quality due to heavy traffic. Read more: thelocal.es