Madrid City Guide

Neighbourhoods of Madrid

Salamanca –This area is the oldest part of New Madrid, it is a very residential area and up-market area that has now attracted sophisticated fashion stores – international and national. Calle Serrano, Calle Claudio Coello and Callejon de Jorge Juan are all packed with luxury shops and top brand boutiques. This luxurious lifestyle can also be seen in the dining options you have available here - there are several Michelin star restaurants in the neighbourhood. There are various museums too in this neighbourhood that you might be interested in including National Archaeological Museum that reopened in 2014 after rehabilitation work; it includes many objects from different periods of history including the Romans, Greeks and the Ancient Egyptians. There is also the Lázaro Galdiano Museum that keeps collections of art. As for the nightlife, there are Madrid’s most elegant nightclubs here including Gabana club and Goya, as well as fancy cocktail bars where you can treat yourself!

Malasaña – This is an ‘up and coming neighbourhood’ that is known for its artists and fashion, it isn’t very popular with tourists but that makes it feel very local and it has its own distinct vibe and it feels young and bohemian. You can reach the city centre in about 15 minutes walking from here. It Malasaña itself you have several bohemian cafes and retro, vintage and second-hand clothing shops in this area which maintains its alternative and hip atmosphere. Malasaña is a popular area and is full of lively bars and clubs that are relaxed and friendly. Nightclubs include La Via Lactea, Penta, Nasti and El Barco.

Chueca – Chueca can be found in the heart of the city just next to Gran Via. This is known as a very lively place that is normally the neighbourhood that is ‘partying’ the latest. The majority of the clubs and nightlife is located in this neighbourhood. Everyone is welcome in this trendy neighbourhood and you will sometimes get a village-like feeling. It is an open and diverse neighbourhood and is known for its gay population and so the last weekend of June, the neighbourhood is the centre of the Madrid Gay Pride. Aside from this, you have the market of San Antón which is a traditional market with takeaway foods, tapas bars and market stalls where you can purchase fresh and local produce.

Atocha – If you have any plans to visit areas outside Madrid then being in Atocha would be very convenient for you as it is home to the main railway station of Madrid and connects the capital via RENFE to the rest of the country (even France and Portugal). There are also countless streets with boutique shops, galleries and theatres as well as the famous trio of art museums and the royal botanical gardens all within walking distance. It is a safe, clean and central area to stay during your time in Madrid.

Lavapiés – this used to be a very typical neighbourhood of Madrid, now it is transformed into an exotic and cosmopolitan feel, it has been described as being a ‘melting pot of cultures and traditions’ as more than a third of the residents there are foreigners from 88 different nationalities. Due to this, you can find all sorts of cuisine here, walk around the streets and smell Thai, Indian, or traditional tapas! Tapapiés is celebrated every year and sees tapas created from 24 different cuisines, Indonesian, Morrocan, American and many more...if you’re a foodie then you should definitely check it out. Also, while in Lavapies, you should check out Santa Isabel Street for terraces filled with people and many traditional Spanish bars. The Reina Sofia, National Museum of Contemporary Art is located in this neighbourhood and showcases some of the most famous works from around the world from Picasso, Dalí, Antonio López and Tápies, among other famous artists. There are lots of bars and cafes here with a bohemian vibe and many terraces that fill up during the summer with locals and tourists enjoying the sunshine. At the south of Lavapies, you will find ‘La Casa Encendida’ which is a social and culture centre that exhibits the works of new artists. It also puts on various workshops and programs for children. You can also find the Tabacalera to the west of Lavapies, this holds various exhibitions and concerts. There are many theatres in Lavapies, there is something for everyone!

Moncloa y Arguelles –In this area, you have various attractions including Plaza de Espana, Faro de Moncloa, Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, Templo de Debod. The area itself is surrounded by green areas and it is central enough to walk everywhere. It is close to the main university in Madrid and so there are many students here which makes it have a lively and fun atmosphere with cheap bars and night clubs! Even if you are not staying in Moncloa, you might want to visit the area to go to the Faro de Moncloa observation tower which is an impressive view point 92 metres about Madrid.

Retiro/Paseo del Prado – Home to the famous Retiro park where you will find beautifully maintained gardens, fountains, open spaces and of course, the Retiro lake. You can do rent a boat and row on the lake or simply explore the huge area. The Retiro neighbourhood is a traditional and relaxed neighbourhood that is well connected with the centre of Madrid. It is also one of the most historic neighbourhoods and you will find spectacular monuments and beautiful gardens here.

Puerta del Sol y Las Cortes – the city centre and home of the famous clock at Casa de Correos which are the headquarters of the regional government of Madrid. The square also has the famous statue of the bear and the strawberry tree which is a statue that is very much loved by the locals, tourists and used as a significant meeting point. In Puerta del Sol and the surrounding streets, you can find lots of nice restaurants and bars. It is vibrant and bustling with life, there are many pedestrian streets and it you will see many street performers in the area. Plaza Mayor is very near and you should definitely go to enjoy a coffee or meal there. You should head up to the rooftop terrace of El Corte Ingles to enjoy a nice glass of wine in the sun whilst looking over the famous Puerta del Sol. Of course, because it is the centre of Madrid, you will find lots of streets that are jam packed with high street shops.

Barrio de Las Letras – This neighbourhood is in the heart of Madrid and the name translates as The Literary Quarter. This is because during the 17th century, many famous Spanish writers including Cervantes, Tirso de Molina and many more, lived here. Walking around this neighbourhood, you may see the streets marked with some classic quotes from several of the famous writers that once resided there, if you want to see this, you should take a stroll along Calle Huertas. You will also see famous statues of various writers in the Plaza de Santa Ana, the centre of this wonderful neighbourhood. Due to its nature, you will be able to easily find a bookstore as they are there in plenty! There are also a number of contemporary art galleries. The district is always lively and has many tapas bars, cafes and restaurants as well as roof top terraces on several hotels in the area where you can enjoy amazing selections of cocktails.

La Latina – This neighbourhood is located near Plaza Mayor and is one of the oldest in Madrid. It is therefore one of the historical centres of Madrid. You can take a stroll around this neighbourhood and you’ll discover many of the beautiful squares that lie within it. There is the famous Plaza de La Cebada, but it may be worth seeking out other plazas such as Plaza del Humilladero. La Latina is famous for its tapas, try out Calle Cava Baja and Calle Cava Alta for some of the most traditional tapas that you will find!


Arrival in Madrid

On arriving in Madrid you have several options to get from the airport into the city centre and to your apartment. We can arrange transport for you or you can choose to take the bus, metro or hop into a taxi. A taxi will cost around 30 euros to any central location in Madrid. If you want a cheaper way to arrive, why not take the metro. It is a 12-minute journey from the airport into Nuevos Ministerios which is located in the centre of Madrid. From Nuevos Ministerios, you can change onto a different metro line as from here, the whole city can be easily accessed. The final option is the aerobus. This is a 24-hour service that has three stops after the airport, O'Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha. Click here for more information about the aerobus. 


Please click here to see our collection of short term rentals in Madrid. 

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