Pick up your rental car at Madrid airport and drive towards Spain´s capital. Madrid is one of Europe’s liveliest and most elegant cities, boasting beautiful boulevards, vast parks, bustling plazas and numerous historic churches and palaces. It is also home to the legendary ‘golden triangle’ of art galleries, which house some of the world’s most treasured masterpieces.
In Madrid all the historical sights and attractions are not to far apart, by foot you can cover the most of it. This makes the decision easier when choosing which part of Madrid to stay in. Below you will find more information on the most popular neighborhoods of Madrid.
Centro here you find the historical and medieval heart of Madrid. Narrow streets, beautiful architecture of the bygone era. Plaza Mayor is the main square and this area boosts lots of tiny tapas bars, food markets and also upmarket restaurants. Great to stroll around, but due to the narrow streets, not easy to drive with your car.
La Latina lies south of Centro and is home to some attractive architecture. You can relax in the shade on Plaza de la Paja and find that perfect souvenir on Sunday at the El Rastro Flea Market. La Musa Latina is your perfect place to start the night with drinks and tapas. Centro and Retiro are only 10 min. walk.
Lavapiés if you come to Madrid for the art museums, this is the perfect spot for you. You will notice that the eateries here are not so much Spanish, but a lovely mix of food of the world. The many immigrants that reside in this upcoming neighbourhood brought along their traditional food.
Huertas/Barrio de las Letras is home to art galleries and creative shops. Famous Spanish writers use to live here and the atmosphere is bohemian. Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quijotee, died in 1616 on Calle Cervantes 2. You can see the memorial plaque above the door of this house. Plaza Santa Ana is the place to be for drinks and great food. If you want to experience some good old and authentic Flamenco Dancing, then Cardamomo is the place to visit. Viva Madrid is the oldest bar of the city (1856) and Magister a bar with a microbrewery. Both perfect starting points for a night out in Madrid.
Retiro This district spins around the Retiro Park which is the largest urban park in Madrid. The lakes, botanical gardens, and numerous walking trails attract a lot of people, especially during the weekend. As this area hosts a lot of offices, it is quiet at night.
Salamanca End 1800’s Madrid needed to expand. Big avenues, like Gran Via, and mansions were built for the aristocrats of Madrid. Still today this posh area exhales grandeur, designer shops on the Golden Mile and many galleries with contemporary art. From here rather take the metro to the above areas as they are further away.
Chueca, this hip and happening neighbourhood in Madrid is the heart of Madrid’s LGBTQ community and home to the annual Madrid Pride. This festival used to take place each year end of June. Chueca is a magnet for Madrileños of all ages, gay and straight, and is known for its fun atmosphere and range of great restaurants, cocktail bars and clubs. Relive Hollywood glamour in the legendary cocktail bar Museo Chicote or enjoy a drink on the rooftop terrace of the popular San Antón Market.
Malasaña, one of the most beautiful, colourful and trendiest neighbourhoods in Madrid with lots of graffiti. Here you will enjoy a wonderful mixture of the young hip crowd living side by side with older residents of this neighbourhood. During the day, there are small boutiques to explore and a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Most of them are located around the main Plaza de Dos de Mayo and Calle Fuencarral. At night you can choose from a wide variety of cocktail bars and nightclubs, some have live music. Malasaña is within easy walking distance of Centro.