The best areas of Madrid

plaza mayor madrid

Madrid area

Madrid is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe and each aera has a strong identity and a special atmosphere. The best area of Madrid to visit or to move to will depend on your lifestyle and tastes. You will have the choice between the Malasana district, the Chueca district, La Latina, Lavapies, the historic centre of Madrid, the Salamanca district, the literary district, the Retiro district or the Argüelles / Chamberi district.

Table of Contents

Malasana, the hipster aera of Madrid

Street art malasana – Hipster aera malasana

To begin this guide to Madrid’s neighbourhoods we introduce you to one of the most famous neighbourhoods for its history and atmosphere; the Malasana aera

 

The Malasana district is known as the Mecca of underground culture in Spain, along with the Lavapiés district, this area is ideal for shopping with friends or just having a drink in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

 

A true hipster district of Madrid, you will be disorientated by its atmosphere and architecture.

 

For road-trip enthusiasts, Malasaña is comparable to the Lower East Side of New York or Bethnal Green in central London. 

 

With beards and trousers rolled up, you’ll be served because it’s in the Malasana aera that the capital’s hipsters are gathered! 

 

You can order “una cerveza fría” in the Plaza de San Ildefonso or simply explore the small vintage shops that make up the colourful alleys of the famous Plaza del Dos de Mayo.

 

If you want to eat tapas in a unique place in the Malasana neighbourhood we recommend you go to the mercado de san Ildefonso located on calle san Ildefonso not far from the square of the same name.

 

Both multicultural and artistic, this neighbourhood is a real playground for Street-Art lovers…just look up to see the top of the buildings!

 

Not far from calle san Ildefonso is calle fuencarral where you will find many shops and beautiful realistic frescoes on the walls of the buildings.

 

Some graffiti artists have had fun creating trompe-l’oeil for a rendering that is as realistic as it is original. You will also find in the district of Malasana several concert halls set up in the heart of old theatres …and frankly, it’s worth the detour!

 

If you want to go out dancing or simply have a drink, you won’t be disappointed by the large number of bars that open at night. Very quiet during the day, the streets of Malasana change at nightfall. 

 

How do I get to the hipster district of Madrid?  

The Malasaña aera is easily accessible by public transport, bus or metro.

 

It is served by metro lines 5, 7 and 10. You can also get there by bus, using line 77.

 

Living in the Malasana district?

You will find beautiful apartments in the Malasana district, most of them have terraces or are duplexes. It is also one of the most expensive areas of the city and it can be quite expensive to live there. The option of a shared apartment will be more economical. Very festive we recommend this area for young couples or students. Nights can be hectic and noisy, especially on sunny days. 

 

Hotel in the Malasana district?

If you want to visit Madrid and spend a few days there, the Malasana district will be very good to live the Spanish life and enjoy the trendy bars and restaurants of the city. Not far from Madrid’s historic city centre you will be very well located to visit the city.

quartier de madrid malasan

Madrid aera – Hipster district malasana

The gay aera of Madrid: Chueca

quartier gay Madrid

Gay Quarter Madrid Chueca – Mercado de san Anton

The Chueca district, located in the heart of the city, is renowned, like its neighbour the Malasaña district, for its daily atmosphere, its tapas terraces, bars, clubs, nightlife and its link with the LGBT community.

 

Very well known for its gay nights, the Chueca district is also one of the best areas in Madrid to learn about the Spanish capital and enjoy the museums and historical buildings that the city has to offer.

 

The Chueca district is home to the great Museum of Romanticism, formerly the Palace of the Marquis of Matallana.

 

There you can find many works by Madraza, Esquivel, Goya and Alenza.

Just a few steps away from this museum is the Palacio de Longoria, one of the few modernist buildings in Madrid.

 

Its building, clad in glass and iron, now houses the headquarters of the Société Générale d’Auteurs. 

 

The aera is divided into different squares such as the Plaza de Vázquez de Milla or the Plaza del Rey.

Many young designers have decided to open their shops there for its trendy side.

 

Chueca will offer you an atmosphere of entertainment, lovers of electronic music will be able to go to the few vintage vinyl shops and exchange with other amateurs. 

 

If you want to take advantage of the Chueca district to learn more about the history of Madrid, you will find the Museum of History of Madrid!

It is located in the building of the Royal Hospice for the Poor of Fuencarral street.

Its 18th century construction stands out for its exterior, which is a perfect example of Castilian Baroque.

 

It houses the Allegory of the City of Madrid and other works by Goya. 

The Casa de las Siete Chimeneas, the current headquarters of the Ministry of Culture, is another site not to be missed during your visit to the Chueca district. 

 

Chueca, a symbolic place for the LGBT community

Madrid’s Chueca district is a place full of history for the LGBT community, it is in this district that you will find the gay bars and clubs. You will also find cabarets where drag-queen shows are organized.

Madrid is one of the only cities in the world where the LGBT community is very well accepted and is part of the city’s identity. Madrid is the world capital of the LGBT community and every year the Gay Pride is held here, for more than a week the city is in celebration. 

 

How to get to the Chueca district?

To get there, just take the metro line 5 and get off at the Chueca stop.

 

Living in the Chueca district?

The Chueca neighborhood is a very festive and pleasant neighborhood to live in. Less noisy than the Malasana neighborhood, you will find beautiful apartments. This area of Madrid is ideal if you want large surfaces with terraces, it is also one of the most expensive in the capital.

 

Hotel in the Chueca district.

The Chueca district is the ideal place if you want to enjoy the city’s gay clubs and bars. You will find the best hotels in the city and have a very pleasant stay. 

We recommend the Iberostar Hotel for your stay in the capital. Situated on calle gran via you will be within walking distance of the bars and clubs of the city. Chueca is the ideal area in Madrid to spend a couple’s holiday and make the most of Spanish life.

 

Hotel Iberostar Gran Via website.


The Only You boutique hotel Chueca is another address where the service is of very good quality.

Website of Only You boutique hotel Chueca.

quartier de Madrid chueca

Gay aera Madrid Chueca – gay bars and clubs

The historic centre of Madrid

The historic centre of Madrid is one of the best places to sleep during a stay in the capital.

 

Here you will find the main historical monuments, the best hotels and also some very good restaurants and bars.

The historic center of Madrid offers a wide variety of things to do and see during your holiday in Madrid.

In the historic center of Madrid you will find the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, the Madrid Opera House, Plaza Mayor, La puerta del Sol and Plaza de Espana.

Located close to the Latina district it is an ideal area to start your visit to Madrid.

 

How do I get to the historic centre of Madrid?

Most of the hotels are located in the center of Madrid, so you won’t need to travel by public transport to get there.

If your hotel is far from the city centre then you can simply take the bus or metro to get to the historic centre of Madrid and start your visit.

 

The Callao, Sol or Opera metro station is ideal for getting to the part of Madrid that contains the city’s oldest monuments.

 

Hotel in the historic centre of Madrid :

There are a large number of hotels in this area of the city and you will quickly find what you are looking for.

We can recommend the Gran Melia Palacio los duques hotel located cuesta de santo domingo not far from the royal palace of Madrid.

Website of the Gran Melia hotel.

Our advice to visit the historic centre of Madrid:

Start your tour of Madrid in the Opera Square and then visit the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral. Once this visit is over you will pass through the Latina to reach the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol. If you’re hungry, take advantage of your visit to the Plaza Mayor to visit the Mercado de San Miguel.

opera madrid quartier

Historic Centre of Madrid – Madrid Opera House

The bohemian aera of Madrid: la Latina

The Latina aera is simply one of the best districts in Madrid and also the most atypical aera of Madrid. It abounds in monuments to be admired without moderation.

 

The Puerta de Toledo is one of the oldest access points of the city.

In the past it connected the capital with the province of Toledo. This triumphal arch was built in the 19th century to commemorate Spanish independence.

 

Other monuments in the neighbourhood include the Basilica of San Francesco the Great and the Church of San Pedro el Real.

 

It is also very pleasant to sit for a few moments on a terrace on the heights of the Garden of Las Vistillas.

You will be able to admire the magnificent view of the Moro Park and the Almuneda Cathedral. After tasting your patatas bravas, head for the banks of Manzanares, located right next door.

On Sundays, the people of Madrid go to the Rastro market to select the fruits and vegetables that will make up their Paella.

Several routes are recommended to enjoy them to the full.

 

Spaniards usually start in the Plaza Cascorro, the main market place, and finish by walking to the Toledo Gate.

Depending on the neighborhood, you may come across vintage furniture shops in Calle San Cayetano.

 

If you want to enjoy tapas and a drink with friends, the Latina district will be a great place to do so. Take the La Latina metro and you will find yourself in the centre of the district.

You will have the mercado de la Cabada and many restaurants and tapas bars nearby. You will discover a unique place that comes to life at the end of the day.

 

How do I get to the Latina district?

To get to La Latina district, simply take the metro line 5 and get off at the La Latina stop.

 

Living in the La Latina district?

La Latina district is one of the cheapest areas in Madrid to rent or even buy a property. This trend will allow you to live in the city centre in a pleasant part of Madrid.

 

Hotel in the Latina district :

The district of la Latina is a pleasant district of Madrid to live and spend your holidays. Very central you will be able to visit Madrid without spending your time in public transport. It’s one of the best areas of Madrid for a tourist stay. You will be just a few steps away from the puerta del sol or the Plaza Mayor.

 

You will find many hotels and youth hostels. Hotels are generally cheaper than in the rest of the capital.

aera of Madrid – la Latina – metro la Latina

The multicultural district of Madrid: Lavapies

Street art Lavapiés – Aera of Madrid

The Lavapiés aera is the multicultural district of Madrid that brings together a large number of communities.

 

Known for its street art this area of Madrid is unique and unlike any other in the city.

 

The Lavapiés district is a popular district that is changing year after year and is becoming a trendy and pleasant place to live.

 

Very well known in the world of graffiti it is in this neighborhood that you will have the best street art in the city.

 

It is in this district that you will find the best cultural centres with a real offer for its inhabitants.

 

The best known example is the Tabacalera, an old tobacco factory converted into a cultural centre. Here you will find many activities to do during your stay in Madrid.

 

For more information about the Tabacalera don’t hesitate to visit their website.

To sum up, if you are visiting Madrid and are looking to see beautiful graffiti then the Lavapiés district is where you will find the best street art.

 

How do I get to the Lavapiés district?

The Lavapiés district is located south of the Plaza Mayor, you can get there by walking from the square or take the metro line 3 and get off at the Lavapiés station. You can also visit the Lavapiés district after a visit to the Reina Sofia, the district is located south of the museum a few steps away.

 

Living in the Lavapiés district?

The Lavapiés district is changing and becoming a trendy place to live. A few years ago real estate prices were very low, offering the possibility to invest and rent in the area, especially near the Lavapiés metro station. As the years go by, real estate is increasing making some areas of the Lavapiés district almost as expensive as in the Malasana district.

Living in the Lavapiés district can be very interesting, especially near the Lavapiés metro, which connects the city very well.

 

Hotel in the Lavapiés district?

The Lavapiés district is a little bit out of the historical center of the city, there are not many hotels but you will find cheap hostels, ideal if you are going to visit Madrid by backpacker.

street art lavapies

Lavapiés Madrid – Street art Lavapiés

The chic district of Madrid: Salamanca

The Salamanca aera is the most expensive district of Madrid with a very high concentration of luxury shops.

 

If you want to go shopping the Salamanca district will be ideal, you will find a large cortes Ingles and many shops like Zara or H&M.

 

The Salamanca district is one of the most modern of the city, it is interesting to visit it to discover another aspect of the city.

 

How do I get to the Salamanca district?

We advise you to take the metro or bus to get to this part of Madrid. It is quite far from the historical centre of Madrid and it will take you about 30 minutes to get there from the centre of Madrid.

Take line 4 and get off at Serrano or Velasquez station, if you want to buy furniture for your home you will find an IKEA concept store in the Salamanca district at Velasquez metro station.

 

Living in the Salamanca district?

The Salamanca district is the most expensive district in Madrid and rents can reach Parisian prices. However, it is a very pleasant neighborhood to live in with beautiful apartments. You will find many famous restaurants and many delicatessens.

 

Hotel in the district of Salamanca:

The Salamanca district is not very touristy but you will find some luxury hotels to spend your stay in Madrid.

quartier de salamanca vue du ciel

Salamanca district Madrid

The Retiro aera

Retiro aera Madrid – Retiro Park

Located to the east of Madrid’s city centre, the Retiro district is largely made up of the Retiro Park. The area behind Retiro Park is a residential area where you will find beautiful apartments.

 

How do I get to the Retiro district?

The Retiro district is located not far from the Paseo del Prado, you can walk there from the Prado Museum or the Thyssen & Bornemisza Museum. If you wish to get there by metro you will have to take line 2 and get off at Retiro station.

 

Living in the Retiro district?

The Retiro district is a pleasant area to live in and cheaper than the Salamanca district. It’s an outlying area of the city centre that offers the opportunity to relax in the Retiro garden all year round. You will find large areas at reasonable prices as well as houses with swimming pools.

Madrid's new trendy district: Chamberi

Situated in the centre of Madrid near the Plaza de Espana the Chamberi aera is one of the new trendy areas of the city.

 

There you will find many shops and delicatessens. Not very touristy, it’s an area where Madrid’s locals like to meet.

Property prices in this area are still low, but the trend indicates that prices will continue to rise in the future.

 

If you are visiting Madrid we advise you to take a trip to the Chamberi district to live at the Spanish rhythm.

 Argüelles Madrid aera

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information about Madrid’s neighborhoods, walking city tours or any other questions you may have about your stay in Madrid. To receive news from Madrid Discovery and stay up to date with all the latest Madrid news, subscribe to our newsletter now.

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