Where to Stay in Madrid 🇪🇸: Guide to the Best Areas & Places to Stay

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Madrid to help you choose the perfect place to suit your travels.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels in Madrid

Madrid, the capital of Spain, mesmerizes with its scope and contrasts. This city combines modern skyscrapers and historical quarters, lively squares and cozy squares, luxurious palaces and narrow cobblestone streets. Madrid is divided into neighborhoods, each with its own unique face and atmosphere.

In this short guide, I will list the best neighborhoods in Madrid and talk about the peculiarities of each one. Depending on whether you’re vacationing with your family, as a couple, or with a group of friends, one neighborhood will prove to be much better than another.

Remember: Madrid is a very touristy city and accommodation prices can be high, especially in high season. My advice is to always book accommodation in advance to have more choices and, most importantly, to find the best deals.

Quick Guide to the Best Places to Stay in Madrid

1. Centro – Coolest Neighborhood in Madrid for First-time Visitors

👀 Ideal for first-time visitors: The lively heart of Madrid, the Centro area offers visitors a vibrant mix of historic sights, delicious food, and unique shopping. Centered around the grand Plaza Mayor, this district provides an immersive taste of iconic Spanish culture.

🏰 Main attractions nearby: Wander through the cobblestone streets to discover magnificent palaces and charming plazas tucked into the neighborhood. The immense Palacio Real stands as a stately centerpiece, its lavish decor and manicured gardens a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of royalty. Nearby, relax in the shady Plaza de Oriente or stop to admire the stately sculptures along the Paseo del Prado.

🍷 Try Spanish food: Sample authentic Spanish cuisine at the traditional tapas bars and cafés strewn throughout Centro. Hop between venues to graze on small plates of jamón, tortilla, and other local specialties, washing it down with tinto de verano. For sweet treats, dip churros into thick hot chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés, a beloved late-night spot.

🛒 Go shopping: Work up an appetite with shopping on the high-end boutiques of the Barrio de Salamanca or hunt for unique souvenirs at the shops surrounding Plaza Mayor. El Rastro flea market offers bargains galore every Sunday as Madrid’s largest open-air bazaar.

🪑 Don’t forget to rest: When your feet grow tired, replenish your energy at one of Centro’s peaceful plazas. Plaza Santa Ana attracts a lively crowd under strings of twinkling lights, while Plaza de la Villa provides a quiet oasis next to the medieval architecture of Madrid’s early days.

If you are visiting Madrid for the first time and want to be close to the main attractions, this neighborhood would be a great choice.

All hotels in Centro →

Where to stay in Centro?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

  • Room Mate Oscar – a modern designer hotel with a convenient location.
  • Vincci Capitol – a comfortable 4-star hotel across from the Capitol Theater.

Inexpensive hotels:

2. Malasaña – The Best Area to Stay in Madrid for Nightlife

💃🏻 Сolorful and vibrant: Tucked away in central Madrid, just north of the Gran Vía, lies the colorful and vibrant neighborhood of Malasaña. With its funky boutiques, hip cafés, and lively nightlife, Malasaña exudes youthful energy. This barrio is a favorite of young Madrileños and travelers looking to experience an authentic slice of the city.

🛒 Go shopping: The charming, narrow streets of Malasaña are dotted with unique shops selling handmade jewelry, vintage clothes, quirky home decor and more. Stop into La Fiambrera for whimsical gifts and kitschy Spanish pop art. El Templo del Gato satisfies cat lovers with its collection of cat-themed items. Snap up some new threads at funky fashion boutiques like Loreak Mendian and La Mona Checa.

🥞 Cuisine to suit all tastes: When hunger strikes, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Malasaña. Cozy cafés like Café Comercial and La Ida serve up strong Spanish coffee, fresh pastries, and hearty bocadillos (sandwiches). For a casual meal, belly up to the bar at lively tapas joints like Bodega La Ardosa, known for its vermouth and spicy patatas bravas. More upscale restaurants like Albur spotlight fresh, contemporary Spanish cuisine.

Malasaña
Malasaña
Malasaña
Malasaña
Malasaña

🎊 Nightlife: As the sun sets, Malasaña comes alive. Locals and tourists flock to the plazas to eat, drink, and make merry. Plaza Dos de Mayo buzzes with people sipping beers and cocktails at open-air terraces. Nearby are classic Madrid cervecerías (beer halls) where you can mingle with locals over cañas (small beers) and tapas. For live music and dancing, head to clubs like Siroco and Maravillas Ale Hop.

This is one of Madrid’s most charismatic neighborhoods and is perfect if you are full of energy and love nightlife.

All hotels in Malasaña →

Where to stay in Malasaña?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

3. Retiro – The Best Neighborhood in Madrid If You Want to Combine Nature And Culture

🌳 Away from the hustle and bustle: The Retiro area is a must-see for any first-time visitor to Madrid. Located just east of the city center, it contains the sprawling Parque del Buen Retiro, a beloved green space that offers a peaceful respite from the bustling city.

🦆 There’s a lot to see: When entering the park through the Puerta de Alcalá entrance, you’ll immediately notice the striking monument to King Alfonso XII sitting regally on a horse. Ducks paddle across the serene lake, where you can also rent a rowboat for a romantic ride. Make your way to the massive glass Crystal Palace, built in 1887 to display exotic plants. Don’t miss the whimsical fountain featuring a statue of the Satan riding a hippo.

👨🏻‍🎨 Discover Spanish art: For culture lovers, the Prado Museum sits right next to the park’s northeast edge. This world-class museum houses an unbelievable collection of European art, including works by Velázquez, Goya, and other Spanish masters. You’ll want to spend at least a few hours marveling at the gallery’s many masterpieces.

🧀 Distract yourself with food: When hunger strikes, head just south of the park to the Mercado de la Reina, a delightful covered food market. Grab an empty seat at one of the counters and try some authentic tapas like prawns in garlic sauce, stuffed olives, or patatas bravas. Make sure to also sample some slices of Manchego cheese and salty jamón serrano from the specialty shops.

🍫 Local traditions: Be sure to stop at the famous chocolatier San Ginés and order a cup of thick hot chocolate with churros for dipping, a decadent local tradition.

Thus, the Retiro district in Madrid you can combine a vacation in nature and get acquainted with the culture of Spain.

All hotels in Retiro →

Where to stay in Retiro?

Luxury hotels:

  • Only YOU Hotel Atocha – a stylish boutique hotel with designer interiors and great views of Retiro Park.
  • Mandarin Oriental – a legendary premium hotel with exquisite interiors and first-class service.

Medium price range:

  • Claridge Madrid – a cozy 4-star hotel with elegant design and excellent location.
  • NH Madrid Nacional – a modern hotel with comfortable rooms and a convenient location, close to Retiro Park.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Hotel Mexico – an economical hotel with friendly staff and a convenient location, providing basic amenities for a comfortable stay.
  • Hostal Retiro – a comfortable hostel with friendly staff, within walking distance of Retiro Park.

4. Salamanca – Finding a Place to Stay in Madrid for Luxury

💎 Welcome to prestige: The vibrant Salamanca district is one of Madrid’s most upscale and fashionable neighborhoods. Located just north of the city center, Salamanca is known for its elegant shops, luxury hotels, and beautiful architecture. The area has a refined atmosphere, with ornate 19th century buildings lining the streets and stylish residents browsing boutiques and sipping coffee at outdoor cafes.

👠 Neighborhood’s heart: The heart of Salamanca is the Calle Serrano, a lively pedestrian street filled with designer boutiques like Loewe, Cartier, and Manolo Blahnik. Even if your budget doesn’t allow for shopping, window gazing along this high-end street offers a glimpse into Madrid’s world of fashion and luxury. Just off Serrano, you’ll find the Plaza de la Independencia, a gorgeous square surrounded by wrought iron balconies and colorful flowers.

👨🏻‍🎨 Discover Spanish art: Art lovers can browse the collections at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum on Paseo del Prado, home to works by renowned artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Dali. The 19th century Villahermosa Palace nearby houses the Pedralbes Fashion Museum, which traces the history of Spanish fashion with exhibits of extravagant gowns and accessories.

🥞 Cuisine to suit all tastes: When you get hungry, head to the Mercado de la Paz, an elegant gourmet food market inside a historic building. Or splurge on a meal at one of Salamanca’s Michelin-starred restaurants, like Ramon Freixa Madrid. Just be sure to dress up – this neighborhood is known for style.

Whether you’re in the mood for high-end shopping, architectural marvels, or five-star dining, the Salamanca district offers the best of Madrid’s arts, fashion, and cuisine in one fabulous elegant neighborhood.

All hotels in Salamanca →

Where to stay in Salamanca?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

5. Chueca – The Most Bohemian Place in Madrid

⭐Must-visit: Nestled in the heart of Madrid, the lively neighborhood of Chueca is a must-visit for first-time visitors and seasoned travelers alike. Known as the epicenter of Madrid’s gay community, Chueca exudes an infectious energy and cosmopolitan vibe. Despite its small size, this barrio packs a huge punch.

🕌 Full of attractions: Located just a 15 minute walk north of the famous Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, Chueca provides easy access to Madrid’s top cultural attractions. The neighborhood itself harbors charming plazas, trendy shops, and a thriving nightlife scene. Calle Augusto Figueroa is Chueca’s main thoroughfare, lined with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The triangular Plaza de Chueca anchors the district, where friends and families convene for drinks al fresco.

✨ Classes for all tastes: Strolling through Chueca’s atmospheric streets, you’ll find no shortage of temptations. Boutiques offer chic Spanish fashions and quirky homewares. Cozy cafés beckon with aromas of fresh coffee and baked goods. When hunger strikes, tapas bars sate cravings with bite-sized local specialties like boquerones, croquetas, and tortilla española.

🚇 Well-connected: Getting around Chueca is a breeze thanks to its compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets. The closest metro stations are Chueca and Gran Vía, making it easy to access from anywhere in the city.

The neighborhood’s central location is a great starting point for exploring Madrid, and its characteristic bohemian spirit provides an unforgettable taste of life in the Spanish capital.

All hotels in Chueca →

Where to stay in Chueca?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

  • Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via – a stylish hotel with modern design and comfortable rooms, located on Gran Via, within walking distance of Chueca.
  • Vincci The Mint – a stylish hotel with modern design, a rooftop bar and a convenient location in the heart of the city.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • 7 Islas Hotel – cozy hotel with modern design and affordable prices, within walking distance of Chueca.
  • Bastardo Hostel – stylish hostel with a bright interior and friendly atmosphere, ideal for budget travelers.
  • MuchoMadrid Apartments – budget hotel with simple and clean rooms, in a convenient location for exploring Chueca and surrounding areas.

6. Arganzuela – Quiet Vacation Away from the Tourist Crowds

👀 View from the other side: Tucked away just south of Madrid’s historic center lies the charming, up-and-coming neighborhood of Arganzuela. This riverside district offers a more local and authentic take on Madrid, away from the hordes of tourists mobbing the main attractions. Yet Arganzuela remains conveniently located, situated right alongside the famed Gran Via and just across the Manzanares River from the Parque del Retiro.

🏞 Main attraction: The neighborhood itself centers around the Madrid Rio park, an ingenious urban renewal project that transformed an old highway into a gorgeous riverside green space. Locals and tourists alike flock to the park’s gardens, fountains, and footbridges along the Manzanares River. For active travelers, the park contains miles of walking and biking paths that connect Arganzuela to other city sights.

❔ What else to see: Venturing beyond the riverside oasis, you’ll find Arganzuela has plenty more to offer. The neighborhood brims with lively plazas surrounded by cute boutiques, quirky galleries, and hip cafés. The streets come alive each Sunday for the famous El Rastro flea market, where you can peruse stalls hawking everything from antiques to handmade crafts.

🥞 Cuisine to suit all tastes: When hunger calls, Arganzuela satisfies foodies and budget travelers alike. For authentic tapas and raciones, head to standards like Juana La Loca or more modern stops like La Candelita Delicatessen. If you’re willing to splurge, ABaC offers two Michelin stars worth of haute Spanish cuisine.

🚇 Well-connected: Navigating Arganzuela couldn’t be simpler, thanks to its central location and excellent Metro access. Three different lines stop within the district, including direct connections along Line 3 to the airport and major rail stations.

Arganzuela is ideal for those seeking an authentic Madrid atmosphere and willing to forgo the conveniences of the center for a deeper exploration of the city.

All hotels in Arganzuela →

Where to stay in Arganzuela?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

7. Chamartin – Perfect Area in Madrid for Experiencing Both Parts of the City

🇪🇸 Spanish culture: Chamartin district is a quiet yet conveniently located neighborhood perfect for tourists looking to experience authentic Spanish culture. Despite being just a short metro ride away from the bustling city center and main attractions like the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor, Chamartin retains a relaxed local vibe.

🚂 The heart of the neighborhood: The heart of the district is the Chamartin train station, which offers direct connections to the airport and other major Spanish cities. Radiating out from the transit hub you’ll find tranquil residential streets lined with small shops, traditional tapas bars, and neighborhood plazas where locals gather to chat and enjoy some sun. The area has plenty of inexpensive pensións and hostels, making it a budget-friendly base for your Madrid adventures.

❔ What else to see: While not home to major tourist sites, Chamartin does have several cultural highlights worth visiting. Parque de Berlín is a sprawling green space with fountains, sculptures and even a traditional Japanese garden. Enjoy concerts at the Teatro Auditorio on Avenida de Brasil, or visit the striking white Agustín Lara building designed by architect Richard Rogers.

🚇 Well-connected by metro: The efficient metro system makes getting around Chamartin a breeze. Three metro lines serve the area, with stations like Pinar de Chamartin, Colombia, and Prosperidad connecting you to the rest of Madrid in minutes.

With its small town feel yet close proximity to Madrid’s top sites, Chamartin is an ideal home base for experiencing both sides of the city.

All hotels in Chamartin →

Where to stay in Chamartin?

Luxury hotels:

  • Hotel Puerta América – a unique hotel with modern design by various world architects, offering luxury accommodation.
  • Eurostars Madrid Tower – a luxury hotel with panoramic views of the city and high level of service, ideal for business and leisure travelers.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

8. Tetuan – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Madrid on a Budget

⚔ District history: Known locally as Barrio de Tetuán, this district gets its name from the Battle of Tetuan between Spain and Morocco in 1860. Today, it retains much of its traditional Spanish character while also becoming a diverse, multicultural hub.

🏪 There’s a lot to see: Tetuan is best known for the Plaza de la Remonta, a lively square lined with restaurants and bars that comes alive at night. Around the plaza, guests can browse the many shops selling Spanish wines, embutidos (cured meats), and other local specialties. The Mercado de Maravillas is Madrid’s largest municipal food market, where you can pick up fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and more.

🚇 Well-connected: To the southwest is the happening Malasaña neighborhood and the famed Gran Via shopping boulevard, while the Paseo de la Castellana business district and the museums of the Paseo del Prado are just to the southeast. Excellent metro connections make it easy to zip over to the Parque del Retiro, the Royal Palace, or restaurants in the La Latina tapas district.

🤑 Low-cost accommodation: Accommodations in Tetuan run from mid-range hotels to budget-friendly hostels and Airbnbs, providing good value compared to pricier options in the city center.

If you want convenience to Madrid’s top sights along with an authentic Spanish neighborhood feel, Tetuan is an ideal home base.

All hotels in Tetuan →

Where to stay in Tetuan?

Medium price range:

  • 4C Bravo Murillo – a cozy hotel with a homely atmosphere and affordable prices.
  • Aparthotel G3 Galeon – a modern aparthotel with spacious rooms at a reasonable price.
  • H10 Tribeca – a stylish city center hotel with good value for money.

Inexpensive hotels:

9. Chamberi – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Madrid for Families

🏡 Perfect home base: Nestled northwest of the city center, the Chamberí district is one of Madrid’s most fascinating and convenient neighborhoods for tourists. With its elegant historic buildings, quaint plazas, and abundance of attractions, Chamberí makes an ideal home base for those visiting Madrid for the first time.

⛲ Keeping the atmosphere: Despite being just a short metro ride from popular sites like the Prado Museum and Puerta del Sol, Chamberí has a peaceful, local vibe. The neighborhood is centered around the Glorieta de Bilbao, a scenic circular plaza with a charming fountain. Surrounding the plaza you’ll find beautiful 19th century apartment buildings decorated with ornate balconies.

👨🏻‍🎨 Discover Spanish art: For art lovers, Chamberí is home to the Sorolla Museum showcasing the works of painter Joaquin Sorolla. The San Antón Market is a must-visit destination, with gourmet food stalls and lively tapas bars inside a historic church.

Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi
Chamberi

🚶🏻‍♀️ One of the most convenient: Chamberí is also one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas of Madrid. Tree-lined sidewalks and scenic parks like the Parque Santander make strolling a pleasure. Since the neighborhood is compact, it’s easy to navigate the sights on foot. The excellent metro connections also make it a convenient home base.

With its authentic vibe and wealth of sights, the Chamberí district is the perfect introduction to Madrid.

All hotels in Chambers →

Where to stay in Chamberi?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

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10. Barrio de las Letras – Apartments in Madrid with a Rich Literary History

📖 Writers’ house: Translating to “Neighborhood of the Letters,” this iconic district owes its name to the many prolific writers and poets who once called it home, including Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Luis Vélez de Guevara.

✒ Сultural legacy: This lively area allows you to fully immerse yourself in Madrid’s rich cultural heritage. The neighborhood’s labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and historic architecture perfectly captures the essence of Madrid. For literature lovers, the sights related to Cervantes are a highlight, including his former residence on Calle Cervantes.

🏪 Full of surprises: Eclectic boutiques, quirky cafés, tapas bars, and street art give the district an authentic vibe. Plazas provide perfect spots to sit and people-watch, soaking in the atmosphere. Don’t miss the Mercado de Antón Martín, where you can sample an array of tantalizing local delicacies.

🚇 Well-connected: When your feet need a break, hop on the metro at the Antón Martín station in the heart of the barrio. This allows easy access to other must-see Madrid attractions. Or simply unwind at one of the charming outdoor cafes on the Plaza de Santa Ana, once the stomping ground of writers and intellectuals.

From its rich literary history to its vibrant energy, the Barrio de Las Letras offers visitors a quintessential Madrid experience.

All hotels in the Literary Quarter →

Where to stay in Barrio de las Letras?

Luxury hotels:

  • CoolRooms Palacio de Atocha – a luxury hotel in a historic building with a great location near the train station.
  • Gran Hotel Inglés – an elegant hotel with a high level of service in the heart of Madrid.
  • Room Mate Alba – a stylish designer hotel with modern rooms and proximity to museums.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Hostal Lisboa – a simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities for budget travelers.
  • Room Mate Alicia – a stylish and inexpensive downtown hotel with a minimalist design.
  • Apartamentos Huertas – apartments with a kitchen at an affordable price in the heart of Madrid.

Best Areas in Madrid on a Map

FAQs about Madrid

What is the most fun Madrid neighborhood?

The most fun neighborhood in Madrid for many is Malasaña. It has a hip, lively atmosphere with cool boutiques, vintage shops, and plenty of bars and nightlife. The area has a young, artsy vibe.

Is Madrid a walkable city?

Madrid is generally quite walkable, especially in central neighborhoods like Malasaña, La Latina, and Sol. The city center is compact and has lots of pedestrian zones. Public transportation like the metro is also good for getting around.

Where is the main centre of Madrid?

The main center of Madrid is Puerta del Sol, a large plaza and public transportation hub. Many major sights like the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor are nearby, making it a great base. The Gran Via shopping street starts here too.

What is the safest area to stay in Madrid?

One of the safest areas for visitors is the Barrio de Salamanca. It has upscale shops and restaurants, and landmarks like the Prado Museum nearby. As a wealthy district, it is very well-policed. Most central neighborhoods are relatively safe though.

What part of Madrid has the best nightlife?

For nightlife, La Latina and Malasaña are vibrant nighttime hot spots. Both have lively tapas bars that turn into late night revelry. Chueca also has a renowned LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. Kapital club is a famous mega-club open until the morning.

Areas to avoid in madrid?

Areas to perhaps avoid include the neighborhoods of Lavapiés after dark, which has higher crime rates, and the area around the Atocha train station, which can be seedy. Use common sense like avoiding deserted streets at night.

How many days to stay in madrid?

Most people find 3 full days is ideal to see the highlights of Madrid. This allows time to visit top attractions like the Prado Museum and Royal Palace, experience the food and nightlife, and take a day trip to Toledo. With 5-7 days you could also see Segovia, El Escorial, and more of the region.