The Best Areas to Stay in Madrid, Spain
The Best Areas to Stay in Madrid, Spain

Best Areas to Stay in Madrid, Spain

Where to Stay in Madrid – A Guide to the Capital of Spain

Madrid is located in the central region of Spain and is the capital of the country. This metropolis is 657 meters above sea level, which makes it one of the highest capitals of the European continent, and is an emblematic city with many attractions and entertainment options for all types of visitors.

Madrid stands out in a special way for its wide cultural offer that includes more than 60 museums, including the Triangle of Art, formed by the Prado Museum (a huge building of neoclassical architecture that exhibits works by artists such as Goya, Velázquez and El Bosco), the Reina Sofía Museum (dedicated to contemporary art) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, with an eclectic collection of art from different eras.

The nightlife is also among the main attractions of Madrid. In addition to the typical tapas with beers that you can enjoy in neighbourhoods such as La Latina, the Spanish capital has clubs and bars for all tastes and the party usually goes on well into the morning.

In terms of shopping, Madrid has the Gran Vía, it’s biggest commercial avenue that starts at Calle Alcalá and ends at the Plaza de España.

When it comes to planning your trip, you need to take into account what are the best times to visit Madrid. Although important events take place during the summer, the high temperatures (which can exceed 40ºC) are suffocating and, in the winter, the cold is almost intolerable. Therefore, spring and autumn (or fall) are the most recommended seasons to visit the capital of Spain and parks like El Retiro, with 118 hectares of green areas for picnics, running or biking, and a beautiful lake.

Madrid also has an efficient metro system that connects most of its neighbourhoods and is easy to use, even if it is your first time in the city.

Deciding where to stay in Madrid depends on your tastes, interests, and budget. If you want to stay close to most of the important monuments, Austrias, with its central location and excellent metro connections, is the place for you (See accommodation in Austrias).
On the other hand, to discover the alternative side of the city, Malasaña, the birthplace of the Movida Madrileña, is ideal (See hotels in Malasaña).

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Madrid, Spain.

The Best Areas to Stay in Madrid, Spain

1. Our Favourite Area: Malasaña – Conde Duque

Malasaña and Conde Duque are among the most iconic neighbourhoods in Madrid, as it was on these streets where the famous Movida Madrileña story was written, a countercultural movement that started in the mid-70s, after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.

La Movida sought to break the censorship and taboos that reigned in Spain through hedonism. Its main representative figures were the film director Pedro Almodóvar and bands like Mecano, Nacha Pop or Alaska and Dinarama, who used art to transgress the rules imposed by conservatives.

Both neighbourhoods are divided by Calle de San Bernardo and are located north of Gran Vía. Conde Duque stands out for being quieter and having places such as the Museo ABC, with exhibitions about drawing and illustration, as well as the Centro Cultural Conde Duque.

On the other hand, Malasaña is a neighbourhood treasured by artists, hipsters and bohemians. Its streets adorned with graffiti gather bars for all types of visitors, with musical genres ranging from rock to pop. In addition, Malasaña preserves iconic venues such Penta Bar, La Vía Lactea and Madrid Me Mata, all landmarks of the Movida Madrileña.

The San Antonio de Los Alemanes Church and the Plaza Dos de Mayo (which is surrounded by cafés with terraces and second-hand shops) are other places to visitin Malasaña.

Both Malasaña and Conde Duque are among the best areas to stay in Madrid if you want to discover the alternative side of the city. In addition, both neighbourhoods connect with the rest of the city by metro, with stations such as Noviciado and Ventura Rodríguez, among others.

Malasaña, Madrid's hipster area
Malasaña, Madrid’s hipster area
Malasaña - Best areas to stay Madrid, Spain
Malasaña – Best areas to stay Madrid, Spain
Accommodation in Malasaña - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Malasaña – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid, Spain:

  • Best area for nightlife
  • Pedestrian-friendly
  • San Antonio de los Alemanes Church
  • Hipster area
  • Plaza Dos de Mayo
  • Conde Duque Cultural Centre
  • Connected through metro
  • Museo ABC
  • Movida Madrileña

2. Austrias – Huertas (Old Town)

The districts of Austrias and Huertas are part of the Historic Centre of Madrid or Old Town and, in them, there’s a large part of the tourist attractions and monuments that every visitor has to see.

In this area, you’ll find the famous Puerta del Sol, known for being the kilometre 0 of all roads in Spain and a busy pedestrian area. In its surroundings, there is also the Casa de Correos, the seat of the Government of the Community of Madrid.

Another attraction that is located between the neighbourhoods of Austrias and Huertas is the Plaza Mayor, the heart of the Historic Centre of Madrid. This beautiful square’s access is divided into nine arches and is surrounded by many stores, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.

Austrias and Huertas are among the best areas to stay in Madrid due to their central location and excellent metro connections, with stations such as Sol, one of the busiest in the city.

Accommodation in this area includes hotels of all kinds, pensions, hostels and tourist apartments.

Plaza Mayor - Madrid, Spain
Plaza Mayor – Madrid, Spain
Accommodation near Puerta del Sol - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation near Puerta del Sol – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid:

  • Historic centre
  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Puerta del Sol
  • Pedestrian-friendly
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Great metro connections

3. Chueca

Chueca is known as the gay area of ​​Madrid, with a lively nightlife, restaurants, bars, stores and all kinds of LGBT-oriented businesses.

This neighbourhood has a privileged central location, north of Gran Vía and east of Malasaña. Therefore, it is a coveted accommodation option throughout the year, especially between June and July because it is during that time that Madrid’s Orgullo or Gay Pride takes place.

A part of Calle Fuencarral, one of Madrid’s most important commercial streets, runs through Chueca, with lots of boutiques and department stores that make this one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for shopping.

In addition, Fuencarral street is the headquarters of the Museum of History of Madrid, where you can learn about the history and evolution of the city.

The Mercado de San Antón is another reason to stay in Chueca. This modern space, which was a street market in the past, has food stands selling cuisine from around the world, with special attention to traditional Spanish recipes, and is the ideal place to find fresh ingredients or taste high-quality gastronomy.

Chueca is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for clubbing or shopping. The metro stations Chueca and Gran Via connect this neighbourhood with the rest of the city.

Staying in Chueca, the gay neighbourhood of Madrid
Staying in Chueca, the gay neighbourhood of Madrid
Chueca - Museo de Historia de Madrid
Chueca – Museo de Historia de Madrid
Accommodation in Chueca - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Chueca – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid, Spain:

  • Gay area
  • Calle Fuencarral
  • Mercado de San Antón
  • Best area for nightlife
  • Best area for shopping

4. Las Letras – La Latina

The neighbourhoods of Las Letras and La Latina make up one of the most lively areas of Madrid, with a nightlife full of tapas and beer for those who start the party early or to relax after office.

Attractions in this area include the Jardines de las Vistillas, an urban park with incredible views of the city, especialy during the sunset.

Another reason to stay in Las Letras and La Latina is the El Rastro street market which takes place every Sunday between Calle Embajadores and Ronda de Toledo. In this market, new and used items are offered at excellent prices, so it is common to find foreigners and locals looking for second hand clothes, jewelry, accessories, antiques and all kinds of vintage objects.

In addition, there are several metro stations throughout the neighbourhood (including La Latina station) to easily move to other districts from here.

Las Letras and La Latina are among the best areas to stay in Madrid if you want to delve into Madrid’s nightlife, enjoy excellent cuisine and go shopping.

Barrio de las Letras - Where to stay in Madrid
Barrio de las Letras – Where to stay in Madrid
Accommodation in Las Letras & La Latina - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Las Letras & La Latina – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid:

  • Great nightlife
  • Jardines de las Vistillas
  • Amazing food
  • Tapas and beers

5. Salamanca

Salamanca is one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Madrid, as it was thought by the Marquis of Salamanca (to whom it owes its name) as a residential area for the highest class of the Spanish capital and, nowadays, it is still the area where you are most likely to meet celebrities.

Within Salamanca, there are stores of important fashion houses, particularly on Calle Salamanca. Similarly, this neighbourhood also has high-end restaurants that offer the best of international cuisine.

This area is also known for its offices and companies, so it has different business-type hotels ideal for those who visit Madrid for work.

In addition, Salamanca houses the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, a neoclassical mansion that exhibits objects of great historical or artistic value, such as La Dama de Elche, a sculpture made of limestone that was created between the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The iconic Puerta de Alcalá is also just steps away from this neighbourhood.

Salamanca is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid if you want to discover the most luxurious side of the city, including the clubs and bars that Calle Serrano (located inside of the neighbourhood) has to offer. Serrano and Núñez de Balboa metro stations are within this district.

Museo Arqueológico Nacional - Salamanca, Madrid
Museo Arqueológico Nacional – Salamanca, Madrid
Accommodation in Salamanca - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Salamanca – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid:

  • Exclusive area
  • Luxury shopping
  • Business-type hotels

6. Parque del Retiro – Paseo del Prado

Parque del Retiro is the main green lung of Madrid and a reference for locals and visitors of the Spanish capital because its 125 hectares contain gardens and popular attractions such as a big pond (ideal for rowing) and the Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace of the Retiro Park is the work of the architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, who was inspired by the one in London. This building is used as an exhibition hall of the Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum.

Staying in this area, you will be just minutes from the famous Art Triangle of Madrid at the Paseo del Prado, consisting of three museums: The Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Other points of interest such as the Botanical Garden, the Fuente de Cibeles and the Fuente de Néptuno are in the area.

Close to the Retiro Park and the Paseo del Prado there is also the Atocha Station, which is the most important train station in Madrid and connects with other places in Spain, as well as countries such as France and Portugal.

The surroundings of the Retiro Park and the Paseo del Prado are among the best areas to stay in Madrid, as they allow you to travel to other cities in Spain with their train connections and other districts with metro stations like Atocha and Retiro.

Parque del Retiro - Madrid, España
Parque del Retiro – Madrid, España
Accommodation near Parque del Retiro - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation near Parque del Retiro – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid, Spain:

  • Most important museums in Madrid
  • Great train and metro connections
  • Retiro Park

7. Chamberí

Chamberí is probably the most traditional district of Madrid, as well as a mandatory stop for those visiting the Spanish capital. This area includes neighbourhoods Almagro, Gaztambide, Arapiles, Trafalgar, Vallehermoso and Ríos Rosas, where buildings of different architectural styles such as modernist, Art Noveau and neomudéjar coexist.

Chamberí was part of the Ensanche de Madrid, specifically of the Ensanche Norte. This project, which was carried out between 1860 and 1930, dealt with the expansion of the urban space of Madrid as a response to the growth of the population in the city, in order to offer more housing areas.

Initially, this district was the residence of a large part of the aristocracy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but today, it is an area of ​​excellent gastronomic offerings, tapas and cultural events, with theatres such as the Teatro Galileo, the Teatro de la Abadía, the Quevedo Theatre and the Luchana Theatre.

One of the most interesting attractions in Chamberí is the abandoned subway station named Andén Cero. This station was closed in 1969 and, nowadays, it is a museum that makes us travel back in time to Madrid in 1910.

In the same way, the Museo Soralla, dedicated to the Valencian painter Joaquín Soralla, is also in Chamberí. This museum exhibits the main works of Soralla along with objects that he collected during his life such as sculptures and furniture.

Chamberí is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid to know the cultural scene of the city. This district connects with other neighbourhoods by metro, with stations such as Canal, San Bernardo and Guzmán El Bueno in its vicinity.

Staying in Chamberí - Madrid
Staying in Chamberí – Madrid
Andén 0 - Chamberí, Madrid
Andén 0 – Chamberí, Madrid
Accommodation in Chamberí - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Chamberí – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid:

  • Charming area
  • Andén Cero
  • Museo Soralla

8. Chamartín

Chamartín is a district located north of Madrid and includes the neighbourhoods of La Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, El Viso, Hispano-America, Castilla and Nueva España.

Although the area does not have the most central location, the Madrid-Chamartín Train Station (one of the most important in Madrid) makes moving to other neighbourhoods of this metropolis a simple task. In addition, trains leave from the station to Spanish cities such as Barcelona and Bilbao.

Chamartín has among its main attractions the Santiago Bernabeú Stadium, known throughout the world for being the home of Real Madrid, one of the main football clubs in Spain. The stadium has a capacity for more than 80000 people and makes Chamartín one of the best areas to stay in Madrid to see Real Madrid or attend other sporting events.

As far as green spaces in Chamartín are concerned, the Parque de Canal de Isabel II stands out, with more than 40 thousand square meters including a water labyrinth, a rose garden, a pond and more.

On the other hand, the Paseo de la Castellana (one of the main business avenues of Madrid) is also in Chamartín and houses buildings that are milestones of architecture such as the Kio Towers, twin leaning office complexes that are iconic landmarks.

Chamartín is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid because of its excellent metro connections and business-type hotels ideal for those visiting the Spanish capital for work, as it is one of the financial districts of the city.

Chamartín - Mejores zonas donde alojarse en Madrid
Chamartín – Mejores zonas donde alojarse en Madrid
Alojarse cerca del Estadio Santiago Bernabéu - Madrid
Alojarse cerca del Estadio Santiago Bernabéu – Madrid
Accommodation in Chamartín - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area
Accommodation in Chamartín – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Madrid:

  • Santiago Bernabeú Stadium
  • Paseo La Castellana
  • Madrid-Chamartín Train Station

Read this in other languages:

|ES| Dónde alojarse en Madrid, España

More on Madrid:

|Business Travel| Where to stay in Madrid for business

|Nightlife| Where to stay in Madrid for clubbing

|Gay Pride| Where to stay in Madrid during Gay Pride