Where to Stay in Madrid: Best Areas

Where to Stay in Madrid: Best Areas

Madrid, is a fascinating place, with so much history and culture to discover. That may be the reason why it’s the preferred destination for countless travelers, they come looking for history, culture, food, shopping, museums, art, and more.

That’s right! Madrid has pretty much anything; you just need to be sure about what you want. Yet, finding the best area to stay in Madrid is no easy task, especially for first-time visitors. Is it your case? No worries, I promise to help you out here. But, first, here’s a sneak peek: anywhere in Madrid is perfect. Wherever you decide to stay in Madrid, you’ll have the best options nearby. But if you like one vibe over another, this guide will surely help make up your mind.

All set? Let’s jump in!

Check Out Our Guide For The 5 Best Cities to Visit in Spain (Part I)

The Gran Vía is a street in central Madrid. It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España.


Malasaña: The Trendy Heart

It’s amazing how it changed over the last century to become Madrid’s coolest area today. Even though it lacks renowned landmarks, it’s a short stroll from the city’s key tourist spots.

It’s a fine option to savor trendy cafes, stores, bars, and markets all in one place. And, that appeals to travelers seeking a vibrant lifestyle. Another unique feature is the lively street art, with graffiti on walls, some recognizing it as genuine art. On the flip side, the food scene keeps evolving, as new cafes and bars pop up often.  Many have adopted the idea of brunch, drawing a more active crowd, while some even welcome pets.

In sum, Malasaña suits young couples, digital nomads, first-time travelers, and returnees, making it one of the best area to stay in Madrid.

Where to Eat & Drink:

Steak Burger Fuencarral            Carbonera            1862 Dry Bar

What to See: 

Plaza Dos de Mayo      Teatro Lara      Calle Princesa      La Fiambrera Art Gallery

Malasaña is an area in the centre of Madrid, Spain. It does not correspond to any administrative division.

Chueca: The Nightlife Hub

In a nutshell, Chueca is Madrid’s vibrant LGBTQ hub, widely known for its Gay Pride events and a central choice for tourists seeking exciting nightlife.

Right in the northeast, the whole area has been renovated alongside long-time locals. This shift is evident in the improved cultural venues, like the Mercado de San Antón, now featuring an art gallery and terrace bar next to its old market stalls.

Chueca thrives day and night. It’s full of trendy bars, cafes, and shops during the day, creating a lively scene that attracts people of all ages, no matter their orientation. By night, it changes into a vibrant nightlife hub, and bars stay open until dawn. While it’s mainly an LGBTQ meeting point with gay-friendly clubs and bars, it’s ultimately a hotspot for nightlife enthusiasts of all backgrounds.

Where to Eat & Drink

Trattoria Pulcinella      Entre Santos

What to See

Casino Gran Via        Church of Santa Barbara      Madrid Wax Museum

La Latina: A Food Hotspot

It’s one of Madrid’s oldest areas and a sought-after spot for tapas, mojitos, and terraces. During the week, it resembles any other quiet place. However, as the sun sets, La Latina comes to life, with bars and restaurants teeming with travelers eager to enjoy its culinary delights.

What also adds to La Latina’s fame is its grand churches and basilicas tucked away on narrow streets. In that sense, consider adding a touch of spirituality to your journey by visiting some of them. It’s a place where time appears to stand still, offering a glimpse into the city’s deep-rooted traditions. One in particular is to explore the largest flea market, El Rastro, on Sunday mornings and then have a few beers nearby.

While La Latina sees fewer tourists than the city center and has a limited number of hotels, this is precisely what makes it a hidden gem. This is certainly one of the best hidden gems in Madrid, an area to stay where you can soak in the city’s true essence, offering an intimate, local adventure.

Where to Eat & Drink 

Taberna la Concha      Cerveceria La Mayor      Posada de la Villa

What to See

Cava Baja Gallery      Church of San Isidro      Plaza de la Paja

Lavapiés: Budget-Friendly Choice

To the east of La Latina, Lavapiés shares the El Rastro flea market and is just a brief walk from Madrid’s main museums. Once a humble neighborhood where senior residents were the majority, younger generations started moving in during the ’80s. This exciting multicultural vibe, along with affordable rent, has attracted a diverse crowd. The neighborhood offers limited rent options, mainly midrange and budget choices.

The multicultural residents contribute to a wide array of dining options, especially African and South Asian cuisine. It’s a place where Indian restaurants are as busy as Madrid taverns. The annual San Lorenzo festival fills the streets with locals and visitors, and Tapapiés, a weeklong international tapas route, is highly anticipated.

While Lavapiés may not have many famous sites, its proximity to El Retiro makes up for that. Simply put, this is the most diverse district, offering global cuisine, eclectic street art, and trendy bars, cafes, and hotels, making it the best area to stay in Madrid on a budget.

Where to Eat & Drink

Taberna Más Al Sur        Bresca         Bar Melo’s

What to See

New Apolo Theater        Mercado San Fernando

The Plaza de Lavapiés is a public square in the city of Madrid, Spain. It is located in the area of the same name, Lavapiés.

Salamanca: A Luxury District

Madrid’s most exclusive residential neighborhood and also one of the priciest. Known for high-end local and foreign fashion brands all along the famous ‘Golden Mile.’ This is the best area to stay for indulging in Michelin-starred dining, luxury shopping, and staying in the best hotels in Madrid, mainly 4 or 5-stars. While it may not be budget-friendly, the quality is superb and ideal for a special occasion.

Salamanca offers a peaceful and cozy retreat, with a wealth of nearby restaurants and bars. Plus, it ranks among the safest parts of Madrid. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy it; there are various experiences and establishments accessible to a range of budgets, ensuring an enjoyable visit.

Where to Eat & Drink

Taberna de Peñalver      Pastamore Alcalá        Ramon Freixa

What to See

Plaza de Cibeles        Puerta de Alcala        Mercado De La Paz

The Puerta de Alcalá is a Neo-classical gate in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid, Spain

Retiro: For Nature Lovers

Lots of attractions, major art museums, and some of the best hotels in Madrid, not to mention the splendid Buen Retiro Park. It’s a heaven for art lovers, as it is home to the city’s top three museums, the ‘Golden Triangle’: the Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen, and Reina Sofia.

It’s important to note that Retiro is one of the quietest areas in Madrid. Unlike its lively neighbors, it is a busy daytime district but turns quiet at night. The park, featuring lakes, botanical gardens, and walking trails, is a recurring favorite among locals and visitors, mainly on weekends.

Retiro also includes the Ibiza district, which is popular for its food scene. Likewise, this small area abounds with bakeries, cafes, and local restaurants with dishes from all over Spain, making it a tasty food spot.

Where to Eat & Drink

Ogrelo        Vinos de Bellota        Fogg Bar

What to See

Parque del Retiro        Paseo del Prado        Palacio De Cristal        Naval Museum

Retiro is a district located at the southeast of the city centre of Madrid, Spain.


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