Last updated on January 03rd, 2023
What’s not to like in Madrid Spain? The nightlife is epic, the restaurants serve exquisite cuisines, the theatres are always full of activity, and sports fans just came to the hub of international sporting events. The only nerve-wracking question is where to stay during your weekend or month long trip because of the numerous hotels available.
Madrid, Spain’s capital, is spotted with lots of exciting attractions and hotels. It is located at the centre of the Iberian Peninsula and surrounded by natural parks and mountains. If you are visiting the city for the first time, you will undoubtedly enjoy the city’s great monuments like the Plaza Mayor, a royal palace, museums like the Reina Sofia, Del Prado or Thyssen that host the best art pieces of famous Spanish painters.
Travellers looking for a bit of entertainment will love Madrid’s two large amusement parks like the new Warner Bros Park and the many international concerts held in the city.
Getting to know the city can be overwhelming given the many districts that this city hosts. A general sense of the location of each neighbourhood is important because most of them overlap while others are divided by one street.
Take Chueca, only a stone’s throw from Gran Via, is dubbed the best place to out in Madrid. Also referred to as the gay neighbourhood, it is praised for having the trendiest nightlife in the city. You will find the famed Mercado de San Anton, a three-storey food market that offers different types of delicious food and hosts a rooftop bar. The neighbourhood also boasts hip restaurants, nightclubs and stores.
Art lovers will enjoy staying at the quaint Barrio De Las Letras. It is usually referred to as the neighbourhood above Huertas and is famous for the many ancient writers who lived here- Lope de Vega, Quevedo and Cervantes, among others. You will also find many arts and crafts events here and cultural sites in the neighbourhood.
Tourists looking to get a taste of some Indian food should stay at LaVapies. Though it has that rugged feel, it is changing to the trendiest district in Madrid thanks to the diverse cuisine served here- edgy culture and hip bars. The next section shows the best place to stay based on different categories.
What’s the best area to experience the city as a local or when visiting the first time, what’s the best district for shopping or a romantic getaway, or where to stay on a budget? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Madrid Spain.
What is the Best Area to Stay in Madrid Spain?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): City Centre (Centro)
If you are visiting Madrid for the first time, you can’t miss out on the famous City Center and the most popular meeting point. It makes an excellent place for sightseeing as most of Madrid’s highways, tourist destinations and transport channels are located here. Plaza Mayor is located here and Prado Museum a ten-minute walk from the city centre. Also, most of Madrid’s popular shops are a stone’s throw away from the city, and there are lots of new and old restaurants for you to dine. If planning to stay here, you should consider the Living Cat Hostel (if not a budget) and Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via hotel located in the city’s downtown.
Where to Stay in Madrid City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Madrid
Gran Hotel Inglés • VP Plaza España Design
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Puerta del Sol • Room Mate Laura
- Best Cheap Hotels in Madrid
Artrip Hotel • Francisco I
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Madrid
SYT B&B Luxury Bed and Breakfast • Home Madrid
- Best Budget Hostels in Madrid
Sungate ONE Hostel • Ok Hostel Madrid
Best Areas to Stay in Madrid
Best places to stay in Madrid for romantic trip? Old Centre (El Madrid de los Austrias) – Barrio de La Latina
Are you looking for a suitable accommodation option for a romantic getaway? The El Madrid de Los Austrias and Barrio de La Latina neighbourhoods fit the description. El Madrid de los Austrias boasts monuments dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Take a stroll along its narrow alleys lined with austere architecture for a breathtaking view of the historic structures. Barrio de La Latina hosts Madrid’s ancient architecture and is praised for serving the best cuisine. You and your lover will enjoy walking on the small alleys nestled between old buildings that date back to the 18th century. Finish off the day’s trip at La Cava Baja, the most famous street in the neighbourhood thanks to the tiny bars that serve tapas, draft beer and wines.
Stay in Madrid’s’ hippest neighbourhood? Malasaña
Malasaña gets this title because of its rich history. Plaza de Dos de Mayo, a famous plaza in Madrid, was home to the 1802 battle between Napoleon and Madrilenos. Today, the square boasts restaurant terraces and cafes. Malasana is also remembered for the La Movida Madrilena movement that began in the late 70s and ended in the 90s and left a heavy imprint in the neighbourhood. The seedier places now have high-end vintage shops, bar, restaurants, tattoo parlours and cafes.
What’s the best neighborhood in Madrid for local experience? Chamberí – Huertas – La Latina
Chamberi, Huertas and La Latina neighbourhoods make great places for travellers looking to experience the traditional lifestyle of Spanish natives. Chamberi, for example, has a population of older residents and families. The neighbourhood is also quieter and does not have international bars and lounges that are typical of Malasana. Rather, there are bars and Spanish taverns. La Latina hosts several celebrations known throughout the city, including La Paloma party and Fiestas de San Isidro.
Best neighborhood in Madrid for shopping? Salamanca – Gran Via area – Chueca
If you are looking to go for a shopping spree, Salamanca, Gran Via and Chueca neighbourhoods make great places to visit. You will find famous Spanish brands and high-street fashion here. Gran Via area, for example, is home to El Corte Ingles, a traditional Spanish store that houses famed labels like Dior, Chanel and Carolina Herrera. You can also take advantage of mega sale days where you buy fashionable brands at affordable prices.
Where to stay in Madrid on a budget? Lavapiés – Chueca
Traditionally, Lavapies has been known as the least wealthy neighbourhood in Madrid. As a result, it has attracted a relatively young population looking for affordable places to stay while balancing the existing immigrant community. Chueca makes another great place for you to stay when travelling on a budget. It was once marginalised but has grown to host the most fashionable shops and restaurants. Room007 Chueca Hostel, for example, makes the best low-cost accommodation in the city. It is located at the heart of Chueca, near the buzzing streets of Gran Via.
The 5 Best Areas in Madrid for Tourists (First Time Visit)
Madrid is a vast sprawling city with a huge amount of attractions, from fascinating museums to grand plazas, shopping districts and a thriving café culture. Choosing what to see and do during a break to Spain’s capital can be tough, so here’s a list of its five most charming neighbourhoods, each loved by visitors and locals alike.
1. City Centre / Centro (Puerta del Sol square and Gran Via area)
Puerta del Sol square is only a stone’s throw from the renowned Plaza Mayor. It hosts three famed symbols of Madrid- the El Oso el Madrono, Real Casa de Correos and Kilometer Zero.
The latter is located in front of Real Casa de Correos and is the point from which distances are calculated in Madrid. Real Casa de Correos houses the famous clock used as a memorial for the celebration of eating the twelve grapes on New Year’s Eve. El Oso y el Madrono is erected at the entrance of Calle Alcala and represents the coat of arms.
- Best Hotel (Great Value): Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid
- Best Cheap Hotels: B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Fuencarral 52 • Ibis Madrid Centro
2. Old Centre (El Madrid de los Austrias) – Barrio de La Latina
Discover the hidden treasures of La Latina squares. It is home to several plazas, including the Plaza de la Paja, Plaza de Puerta Cerrada and Plaza del Humilladera, among others. Finish off the day’s trip by relaxing at El Viajero restaurant, which is known for its rooftop terraza.
The Mediterranean foods and barbecued meats served at this eatery are definitely worth a try, not to mention the delicious pasta. Picky eaters will love El Viajero’s hormone-free beef.
- Best Hotel: Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value : Hostal Central Palace Madrid (Guest House) • Hostal Mayor (Guest House)
The neighbourhood is full of life and boasts a rich history exemplified by its unique architecture and attractions. The famous Plaza del Dos de Mayo is located at the heart of this city.
Malasana also boasts an exciting nightlife thanks to the affordable rock bars and cafes. For your shopping, head to Fuencarral Street, which hosts several hip stores. You will find a range of clothing, including sheath dresses, punk patches, and those from renowned fashion brands.
- Best Hotel: 7 Islas Hotel
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Woohoo Suites • L&H Gran Vía Selection (Aparthotel)
4. Barrio de Las Letras
Apart from hosting famous writers, the neighbourhood is a great hang-out place spotted with several restaurants that have outdoor seating areas, perfect for enjoying a beer or glass of wine. Tourists throng to this neighbourhood to view monuments of famous people like Federico Garcia, Calderon de la Barca and Teatro Espanol.
Barrio de Las Letras is also a hot spot for Madrid’s old restaurants and taverns known for serving Spanish dishes and tapas. They include Cerveceria Cervantes, Casa Alberto and El Lacon.
- Best Hotel: Catalonia Las Cortes
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Hostal Alexis Madrid (Guest House) • Casual Madrid del Teatro
It is the perfect place to go for a night out thanks to the great restaurants and different types of bars in the area. There are lots of places to discover too. The Calle Leon, for example, has old-school delicatessens, fun bars and boutiques.
You will also find Castellana, the largest boulevard in Madrid, as you walk down Huertas street. The area hosts numerous museums, and you get to enjoy lots of sightseeing activities.
- Best Hotel: CoolRooms Atocha
- Best Cheap/Mid-Range Hotels: Casual Madrid del Teatro • Hotel Mediodia
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