Spain is a beautiful and historic country with so much to see that it’s usually impossible to squeeze all into one trip. Most travelers start their journey in the large capital city of Madrid because this is where most international flights come into. Madrid is a popular city in Spain, wonderfully situated in the middle of the country, making it the perfect launching point to travel north, south, east, or west from here. But before you venture out, make sure to spend a few days in Madrid and stay in one of these great neighborhoods.

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Malasaña Cityscape of Malasaña district in Madrid
Cityscape of Malasaña district in Madrid

Malasaña

Why Stay Here: Nightlife and trendy restaurants.

Top Hotels: 7 Islas Hotel | Dear Hotel Madrid

Madrid is a city known for its nightlife, and to be in the center of all the action, consider staying in Malasaña. This popular neighborhood has lots of bars and is a favorite spot among young adults. Al fresco dining is also plentiful here to enjoy Madrid’s pleasant weather. During the day, you can check out the Plaza Dos de Mayo, the main square in the area, and learn about its history. Malasaña has undergone a lot of changes in recent years and is a particularly trendy place to stay right now with lots of new restaurant openings and interesting street art.

La Latina Typical dishes with various tapas, Madrid
Typical dishes with various tapas, Madrid

La Latina

Why Stay Here: Amazing tapas and a hipster vibe.

Top Hotels: Ganivet Hotel | Posada del Dragon

For nightlife and some of the most amazing food you’ll ever taste, stay in the La Latina neighborhood of Madrid. Calle Cava Baja is the place to go for tapas in this neighborhood and exploring Madrid with your taste buds. La Latina has a hipster, bohemian vibe that travelers from all over the world gravitate to. The bars and restaurants are packed with people here, while other things to do are the Rastro Market on Sunday mornings and simply wandering down the narrow streets.

Centro/Sol-Gran Vía Museo Reina Sofia museum in Madrid
Museo Reina Sofia museum in Madrid

Centro/Sol-Gran Vía

Why Stay Here: Convenient location to tourist attractions and easy access to local events.

Top Hotel: Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques – The Leading Hotels of the World

If you want to be in the most central and convenient location for sightseeing in Madrid and transportation, the Sol-Gran Vía and Centro neighborhoods are your best bet. This is around the famous Puerta del Sol and by all the iconic landmarks. When you stay here, you’ll have very easy access to shopping and local events. This is a big touristy area so expect to be surrounded more by tourists than locals.

Chamberí Outside a bar in Chamberí, Madrid
Outside a bar in Chamberí, Madrid

Chamberí

Why Stay Here: Calm residential area that’s still close to top attractions.

Top Hotels: One Shot Fortuny 07 | The Pavilions Madrid

For a good location but less busy vibe than the neighborhoods described so far, book a hotel in Chamberí. This is a residential area that is also home to numerous businesses and bit off the beaten path for tourists. However, it is still conveniently located to the center of town. People who stay here love the great cuisine served at traditional taverns and restaurants, as well as the theaters and art exhibitions.

Chueca Rainbow flag on Madrid balcony
Rainbow flag on Madrid balcony

Chueca

Why Stay Here: LGBT culture and boutique shops.

Top Hotels: Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid | B&B Hotel Madrid Fuencarral 52

Chueca is home to much of Madrid’s LGBT community, and it has a fun vibe that welcomes anybody and everybody. This is where LGBT pride festivities take place each year. This Madrid neighborhood is north of Gran Vía, so it’s also in the heart of Madrid and in a very convenient sightseeing location. When you stay in Chueca, you can spend your days browsing the boutique shops, checking out smaller museums, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife scene. The Plaza de Chueca has a metro stop and is a common meeting place.

Lavapiés Lavapiés district in Madrid
Lavapiés district in Madrid

Lavapiés

Why Stay Here: A diverse community and international eateries.

Top Hotels: OK Hostel Madrid | Artrip Hotel

The Lavapiés district of Madrid is home to much of the city’s diverse immigrant community, so the whole area has an international vibe that sets it apart from the rest of the city. Come here to take a break from tapas and enjoy a variety of international cuisine instead. This is a neighborhood that has gone through gentrification and has an interesting mix of long-standing locals and young newcomers today.

Salamanca Old luxury residential buildings with balconies in Serrano Street in Salamanca district in Madrid
Old luxury residential buildings with balconies in Serrano Street in Salamanca district in Madrid

Salamanca

Why Stay Here: Upscale residential neighborhood that’s great for shopping.

Top Hotels: Capital Corporate Apartments Ayala | Artiem Madrid

Although Salamanca is the name of its own city in Spain, there is also a neighborhood called Salamanca in Madrid. This is a residential part of the city that it upscale and known for its shopping. You can find a wide variety of shops here but considerably fewer hotels than in other parts of town that are more touristy. Instead, this is a place where you can be among local families and get an authentic view of local life. You’ll get a relaxing and laid-back vacation experience in a very chic and fashionable atmosphere.

Retiro Parterre garden in Buen Retiro Park
Parterre garden in Buen Retiro Park

Retiro

Why Stay Here: Peaceful and family-friendly area near the park.

Top Hotels: Only YOU Hotel Atocha | Petit Palace Savoy Alfonso XII Plus

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape that’s family-friendly in Madrid, stay in the Retiro neighborhood. It is by the city’s famous Retiro Park, which is an awesome green space for exercise, recreation, and relaxing. The Retiro neighborhood is just east of the park and is known for being quiet and residential. This is an area to be to live like the locals and frequent non-touristy eateries in the area. However, it is quiet in the evenings and not an area with much of a nightlife scene.

Las Letras Street in traditional quarter of Las Letras in Madrid
Street in traditional quarter of Las Letras in Madrid

Las Letras

Why Stay Here: A historic area and close to art attractions.

Top Hotels: Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via | Catalonia Gran Via

Las Letras is known as the literary quarter in Madrid and is charming and historic. Many famous literary masters lived in this part of Madrid over the past centuries, including Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. As with the other neighborhoods in Madrid, Las Letras is in no short supply of bars and restaurants. People also come to Las Letras for the art because several big-name museums are close to each other nearby.

Huertas Modern architecture on Calle de Las Huertas
Modern architecture on Calle de Las Huertas

Huertas

Why Stay Here: Bohemian vibe with independent shops and a mix of accommodations.

Top Hotels: Hotel Persal | Catalonia Atocha

The Huertas area is right by Las Letras and named for the main street that runs through it. Huertas is a small neighborhood north of Lavapiés. It has a diverse and bohemian vibe and lots of al fresco spots for dining and drinking. You can visit numerous art galleries and independently owned shops when you stay in this area. Meanwhile, it’s very possible to walk to Plaza del Sol from here. You’ll find a nice mix of budget-friendly hotels and high-end hotels here.

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