Where to stay in Madrid? It's a question I get asked nearly every day! The real answer is: it depends. Luckily, Madrid is home to some of the most charming, historic, and trendy neighborhoods in all of Spain. It's also full of amazing hotels—and of course restaurants!
The first time I visited Madrid, I have to admit I was a hopeless tourist. Having done minimal research before making the trip up from Seville, my study-abroad buddies and I booked a cheap youth hostel and wandered aimlessly through the city hoping to see something interesting. The result: an absolutely underwhelming impression of the Spanish capital.
Now after getting to know this storied city over the past three years, I can't imagine living anywhere else. Each of Madrid's 21 districts has its own style, vibe, and culture. From the hipster cafés of Malasaña to the centuries-old plazas of La Latina, there's a neighborhood for every taste and mood in Madrid.
See Also: The Ultimate Guide to Eating in Madrid
Whether you're in town for one night or 20, this guide on where to stay in Madrid can help you choose the barrio that suits you best.
Where to Stay Near Sol & Gran Vía
From the iconic Puerta del Sol square, which marks the "center of Spain," down to the bustling Gran Vía (Madrid's main avenue), downtown Madrid is always full of energy.
Many of the city's main sights are located in this neighborhood. If you stay here, you'll be within walking distance of Madrid's must-see places, from the Prado Museum to the Royal Palace.
Where to Eat: No trip to Madrid would be complete without a steaming cup of the city's traditional thick hot chocolate with crunchy churros. One of the best spots in the city to indulge in this treat is Chocolatería San Ginés, just off of Calle Mayor at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5.
For fantastic typical tapas and raciones, try Lambuzo at Calle de las Conchas, 9, which specializes in southern Spanish cuisine. And the San Miguel Market next to Plaza Mayor is a must for foodies!
Insider Tip: To experience Madrid's amazing food in one experience, try a Devour Madrid Food Tour!
Where to Drink: Museo Chicote at Gran Vía, 12 is a newly reformed icon of Madrid cocktail culture. Another classic is Café Central at Plaza del Ángel, 10, whose small stage, cozy red leather booths, and nightly live music make it a must for jazz lovers. For a rougher-around-the-edges option, head to La Venencia, a sherry bar and old haunt of Ernest Hemingway.
Where to Stay in Madrid de los Austrias & La Latina
Madrid de los Austrias, which includes the historic area of La Latina, is the oldest neighborhood in the city. Bricked streets snake in spaghetti-like fashion among centuries-old churches, sun-filled plazas, and colorful apartment buildings.
Here traditional tapas bars speckle the streets, and waves of locals and tourists alike hop from caña to caña, enjoying the unbeatable ambience along the way. La Latina makes it easy to design your own spontaneous, self-guided tapas tour!
Where to Stay: This ancient part of the city has many newly remodeled hotels and apartments that conserve the antique feel of the area.
Recommended: La Posada del Dragón is a gorgeous boutique hotel in one of Madrid's old reformed buildings. It also has a tasty tapas bar below!
Where to Eat: La Latina is one of the top neighborhoods in Madrid for tapas hopping. Tapas bars line the famous Calle Cava Baja and are thickly distributed throughout the many side streets.
This neighborhood is also home to the giant El Rastro flea market on Sunday mornings. Locals often use it as an opportunity to visit the nearby bars for afternoon tapas and drinks.
Read More: For more recommendations, check out our guide to where to eat in La Latina.
Where to Drink: Sunny Sundays are when La Latina really comes to life, as people fill Plaza de la Paja to soak in the afternoon sun and sip on gin and tonics. On Friday and Saturday nights you'll find Calle Cava Baja and the surrounding streets packed to the brim with people sipping cañas (small beers) and glasses of Spanish wine.
Where to Stay in Malasaña
Located just north of the center of Madrid, Malasaña is easily one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. It's packed with cafés, boutiques, and bars, and has a reputation as the artsy alternative area of Madrid.
Where to Stay: In Malasaña, boutique hotels mingle with hip youth hostels to make for a huge variety of accommodation options!
Recommended: CC Malasaña is a great budget hotel in the neighborhood, perfectly located for shopping, dining, and nightlife. There are kitchen facilities too, so you can enjoy market-fresh Spanish goodies one night instead of eating out!
Where to Eat: If hipster dives are your thing, then Malasaña is your barrio. From craft coffee at Toma Café (Calle Palma, 49) to brunch and cocktails at La Bicicleta (Plaza de San Ildefonso, 9) to global fusion at La Dominga (Calle Espíritu Santo, 15), there's no shortage of great places to eat at all hours of the day in Malasaña.
Where to Drink: Whether it's a glass of vermouth before lunch or a midnight cocktail, Malasaña is hopping at all hours of the day and night. For trendy cocktails, try 1862 Dry Bar at Calle Pez, 27. For low-key, midday vermouth and great tapas, go for Bodega de la Ardosa at Calle Colón, 13 or the classic Casa Camacho at Calle San Andrés, 4.
Where to Stay in Chueca
Chueca has a bit of everything, from stylish wine bars and designer shoe stores to popular gay clubs and 24-hour churches. It's also known as Madrid's gay neighborhood, which is proudly reflected in its rainbow-hued metro station. You'll find some of the city's most high-end boutiques along Calle Barquillo, along with a new revival of upscale bars and restaurants.
Where to Stay: There are two sides to Chueca: the party heart of the neighborhood, close to Calle Hortaleza and Plaza Vázquez de Mella, which is packed with hostels; and the more elegant (and expensive!) area nearer to Calle Barquillo, where you'll find swanky hotels.
Recommended: The Only You Boutique Hotel is a stunning place to stay on Chueca's trendy Calle Barquillo.
Where to Eat: Bars and restaurants abound in Chueca, which offers one of the widest varieties of price points and styles of any neighborhood in the city. For one of the best market-fresh meals in Madrid, try Taberna La Carmencita at Calle Libertad, 16.
You'll find stellar tapas and vermouth at Celso y Manolo (Calle Libertad, 1). For even more choices, try the Mercado de San Antón's second-floor stalls, which offer a wide variety of tapas and international cuisines.
Where to Drink: Wine lovers will delight in the extensive list of Spanish wines available at Vinoteca Vides (Calle Libertad, 12). For classy cocktails, try Macera, where they infuse their own spirits with fresh herbs, fruits, and other flavors (Calle San Mateo, 21).
Where to Stay in Salamanca
High-end shopping is the name of the game in Madrid's ritziest neighborhood: Salamanca. This elegant district was originally planned out in the late 19th century by the Marquis of Salamanca, who wanted to create a neighborhood that matched the luxury of his newly built mansion (now the BBVA bank headquarters at Paseo de Recoletos, 10).
Where to Stay: Some of the city's nicest hotels are tucked into the tree-lined avenues of Salamanca.
Where to Eat: Michelin stars abound in Salamanca. From the two-starred Ramón Freixa (Calle Claudio Coello, 67) to the one-starred Ricardo Sanz Wellington (Calle Velázquez, 6) this is undoubtedly the place to be for haute cuisine in Madrid.
Also be sure to try StreetXO, the "street" version of Madrid's only restaurant with three Michelin stars (DiverXO) on the third floor of El Corte Inglés at Calle Serrano, 47.
Where to Drink: Platea Madrid, an enormous gourmet food hall at Calle de Goya, 5-7, is a stellar spot to pop in for drinks and tapas. Wine lovers should visit Lavinia wine shop at Calle José Ortega y Gasset, 16—the largest in the city! And for classy happy hour cocktails, try West 42nd Restaurant at Calle Lagasca, 11.
Where to Stay in Huertas/Barrio de las Letras
Madrid's Literary Quarter, known as both Barrio de las Letras and Huertas, is just off the tourist circuit while still being smack dab in the center of the city. This quaint neighborhood is packed with traditional bars and restaurants, and hosts many markets and street fairs.
Where to Stay: Perfectly located between the Paseo del Prado and Sol, Huertas is one of the most convenient neighborhoods to stay in. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, as well as quite a few guest apartments and hostels.
Recommended: The Westin Palace is a gorgeous place to stay—and breakfast under its incredible stained-glass dome is an absolute MUST!
Where to Eat: Traditional cured meats and cheeses are the specialty at Casa González (Calle León, 12). At Terramundi (Calle Lope de Vega, 32) you'll find one of our favorite menús del día, a set 3-course lunch menu for less than €15. And try L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen for Japanese/French fusion with a killer daily menú!
Top Tip: To really get to know Madrid's Literary Quarter, check out our Huertas Neighborhood Food Tour!
Where to Drink: Casa González has an excellent (and extensive!) selection of wines by the glass. Prada a Tope (Calle del Príncipe, 11) is a traditional León-style bar that serves stellar tapas with each glass of beer or wine.
Read More: Huertas Neighborhood Guide
Where to Stay in Lavapiés & Antón Martín
This up-and-coming part of the city is one of the best places to stay in terms of diversity. Here hipster coffee shops coexist with countless Pakistani and Indian restaurants, delicious Middle Eastern sweet shops, trendy new wine bars, and two excellent local markets.
Where to Stay: To truly feel a part of this unique neighborhood, rent an apartment and live like a local for a week (or more!). Lavapiés is only steps away from the city center, so you'll be perfectly located for exploring Madrid's museums, monuments, and restaurants.
Recommended: If you prefer a hotel, the recently opened Artrip Hotel is a wonderful choice!
Where to Eat: This area is home to two of Madrid's coolest markets: Antón Martín and San Fernando. Both offer the option of buying excellent fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish—or eating at the many food stalls inside.
Top Tip: Don't miss the 17 small art galleries hidden on Calle Doctor Fourquet.
Where to Drink: One of the best wine bars in Madrid, La Fisna is the perfect place to start your evening out. A generous free tapa is usually served with your first glass of wine.
FAQs on Where to Stay in Madrid
This completely depends on your interests! Every neighborhood in Madrid has its own unique charm. If you want to be right in the center, stay near Sol; to immerse yourself in history, choose La Latina; and for a trendy modern vibe, go for Malasaña or Chueca. Other great areas to stay include Salamanca, Huertas, and Lavapiés.
For the most part, yes! Most of Madrid's main sights and best neighborhoods are within easy walking distance of each other. And if you want to go a bit farther from the center, you can always take advantage of the excellent metro system.
In terms of weather, the best times of year to visit Madrid are spring and fall. Although summer can get pretty hot, it can also be fun if you want to experience local festivals. And even though winter here is a bit cold, there's nothing quite like Madrid during the holiday season.
Madrid is such a large and vibrant city that it would be easy to spend weeks exploring it. But if you don't have much time, plan for at least 2 days. This will give you enough time to hit the highlights, while 3–5 days will allow you to really dive into different neighborhoods.
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