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Where to Stay In Madrid: Guide to Madrid Neighborhoods (with Map!)
Where to Stay In Madrid: Guide to Madrid Neighborhoods (with Map!)

Madrid is one of the most cultured cities on earth. A world-renowned hotbed for art, cuisine, architecture and nightlife, it has topped traveler’s bucket lists for centuries. As if that wasn’t enough reason to hop on the next plane to Spain, Madrid is now set to host the 2019 UEFA Champions League Finals.

However, heading to Madrid isn’t as simple as booking a hotel and hoping for the best. It’s important to understand that each neighborhood has its own vibe, and finding the area that best suits your personality will greatly enhance your traveling experience. For instance, Sol-Gran Via is the attraction-heavy heart of the city, while Lavapiés is a revitalized international hub. Meanwhile, La Latina and Chueco boast incredible bars and clubs, while Chamberí offers a bit of calm in an otherwise frenetic city.

Here are five Madrid neighborhoods that might meet your travel style.

Map of Madrid Neighborhoods

1. Sol-Gran Via

If you’re a first-time visitor wondering where to stay in Madrid, you’ll want to hit Sol-Gran Via, the most famous area in the city. Anchored by the iconic Puerta del Sol city square and populated by many of the city’s biggest attractions, it’s a hot spot for tourists and locals alike.

madrid neighborhoods sol gran via

Meet up with friends at the iconic Oso y el Madroño, or Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, and explore the cultural heart of the city. The world-renowned Prado Museum showcases works by El Greco, Hieronymus Bosch, Goya and Velázquez, while the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum features 700 years of European art. Nearby, the gorgeous Círculo de Bellas Artes features exhibitions, theatre productions, classes and lectures.

where to stay in madrid

The Bear and the Strawberry Tree, Photo by Víctor Nuño

Everywhere you turn, you’ll find cafes and restaurants offering the finest of Spanish cuisine, including tapas, raciones and hot chocolate with churros. Meanwhile, a trip to San Miguel Market will allow you to taste a number of local favorites, and the area’s ample shopping district has everything from big name stores to quirky shops. As for the nightlife, live music fills the air every evening, as musicians take the stage in the area’s numerous cafes, bars and jazz clubs.

where to stay in madrid

San Miguel Market, Photo by Iso Brown.

 

2. La Latina

If centrally located Sol-Gran Via is the place to go for everything, La Latina is the neighborhood to go for two things: exquisite food and drinks.

where to stay in madrid

Photo by Flickr user borisindublin.

Located in the oldest section of Madrid, La Latina’s narrow, brick-lined streets are dotted with traditional tapas bars and colorful cocktail lounges, which makes it easy to hop from place to place. Many of these establishments are located in ancient buildings, but even new constructions are designed to fit in with the neighborhood’s old-world beauty and charm.

madrid neighborhoods

Photo by Amos Bühler

While La Latina is certainly pulsing after dark with night clubs like Shoko, it’s also well worth visiting during daylight hours. Photography buffs and architecture lovers will appreciate the neighborhood’s stunning churches and basilicas, which can be found on almost every main avenue and sidestreet, and the open-air El Rastro flea market provides a wonderful opportunity to mix with the locals every Sunday morning. On sunny Sunday afternoons, Plaza de la Paja fills with gin and tonic lovers, as the surrounding bars pour glass after glass of the refreshing cocktail.

El Rastro Market where to stay in madrid

El Rastro Market, photo by Flickr user Mikeric

3. Chueca

The Chueca quarter is known for its fashion, fun and open-minded worldview. The center of Madrid’s LGBT community, it is home to avante-garde clothing shops, friendly eateries and bars and a diverse number of dance clubs.

chueca madrid neighborhoods

Photo by Mikel Ortega

The busiest areas are Fuencarral Street, Hortaleza Street and the Plaza de Chueca square, which is serviced by its own Metro train stop. Head to the Mercado de San Antón to enjoy its all-in-one art gallery, bar and street market. For a more immersive art experience, go to the Romanticism Museum, which has more than 1,600 paintings, furniture pieces and dishware from Spain’s 19th-century Romantic period. Meanwhile, the rooftop of the Principal Madrid hotel allows you to view gorgeous sunsets over Gran Via.

madrid neighborhoods chueca

Photo by Flickr user Way Farer

To enjoy the biggest party of the year, be sure to visit the Chueco neighborhood during the summer months. Each year, Madrid’s colorful and joyous Gay Pride Festival is held sometime in June or July.

 neighborhoods in madrid

Photo by Ted Eytan

4. Lavapiés

Lavapiés is another wonderful neighborhood for those wondering where to stay in Madrid. This thriving neighborhood is one of the city’s best comeback stories. Locals used to look down on this formerly rough-and-tumble barrio, but it is now a bustling multicultural hotspot and home to almost 90 different nationalities.

If you want to travel the world in one day, come here. In addition to traditional Spanish taverns, you can find Caribbean markets, Indian restaurants, Scandinavian-style cafes and much more. It’s also the neighborhood in Madrid with the most graffiti, and walking around these colorful streets gives tons to look at. Those looking to explore the neighborhood’s nightlife will find a throbbing social tapestry of venues to choose from along the Calle Argumosa, including tiny bars, underground dance parties and a glorious mix of international performances. August visitors can take in the Lavapiés version of Madrid’s famous San Lorenzo festival, which features concerts, dances and great eats, and October’s Tapas festival is heaven for those who love small plates and craft beers.

places to stay in madrid

Graffiti in Lavapiés . Photo by Flickr user r2hox

Lavapiés is also home to the remarkable Reina Sofia Museum, which, along with Sol-Gran Via’s Prado Museum and Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, helps make up Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” The museum possesses one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world, including works by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso’s anti-fascism masterpiece, “Guernica.”

where to stay in madrid

Photo by Flickr user Librarygroover

 

5. Chamberí

Of all Madrid neighborhoods, Chamberí may be the most serene. This aristocratic neighborhood is far removed from the tourist attractions of Sol-Gran Via. Instead of overcrowded streets, there are wide avenues populated with stately homes with grand architecture. The neighborhood also houses some of Madrid’s best tapas bars.

The Andén Cero-Estación de Chamberí, also known as the Estación Fantasma de Chamberí, is a must-visit. This former Line 1 metro station was shut down in 1969 and converted into a subway museum, allowing visitors to travel back to 1919 and see the construction of Madrid’s very first tube line. Another must-see is the jaw-droppingly beautiful Hospital de Maude.

madrid neighborhoods

Photo by Lucía Ponce

 

 


Explore Madrid’s coolest neighborhoods and see one of the most exciting sporting events of the year! Travel to Madrid with Bucket List Events for the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final for tickets, exclusive access, city tours, and hotel reservations.