The Trendiest Neighborhoods to stay in Madrid
Madrid, like so many other cities, it’s not that big if you consider what used to be the “classic” Villa de Madrid. The expansion of the city during the 19th century transformed Madrid in an enormous metropolis, formed by what used to be little towns, surroundings, farms, industrial areas, slums and all kind of urban spaces. The amalgamation of all those areas is what we call today the city of Madrid and, at the same time, is what makes its different districts so diverse.
That’s why today we bring you the information of the trendiest neighborhoods in Madrid, so you can choose properly in which one you want to stay during your visit to the city.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Plaza del Sol is in the physical center of Madrid, very close to what is known as the zero-kilometer of all Spanish roads. It is an area with outstanding commercial and tourist activity and, consequently, has excellent public transport communications. Five minutes’ walk from many bordering areas and neighborhoods, Sol neighborhood also offers many restaurants and places to grab a bite, combining Spanish food with international franchises. A perfect option if you want to spend your staying in the heart of the city, with a transit of people, cultures and activity above normal.
Barrio de las Letras (& Huertas)
Near Puerta del Sol we find one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Madrid, El Barrio de las Letras, known because it used to be the residence of renowned literary authors such as Cervantes, Quevedo or Góngora. The small music venues, the lifelong shops, the traditional markets and, for a few years, some more fashionable fusion cuisine restaurants, make this neighborhood a perfect place to get to know the city and their most “castizos” (typical from Madrid) citizens. The architecture also stands out with its old-style houses, balconies and colors in the facades, which give life to one of the trendiest Madrid neighborhoods today. The Huertas avenue it’s the main artery of this gorgeous neighborhood.
Gran Vía Neighborhood
If Sol neighborhood is the heart of Madrid, Gran Vía is the soul. It is one of the main arteries of the city, since it crosses from Plaza de España to the Plaza de Cibeles. It is well known for its monuments, political and economic institutions and, specially, for all the famous brands who set their stores on this avenue. Gran Vía is an avenue of high commercial, cultural activity and nightlife, where you can catch some of the most popular theatre and opera plays, go shopping to fashion stores and eat in international franchises. But, above all, there are El Corte Inglés or Fnac, enormous shopping malls which thousands of passers-by visit on a daily basis. The Gran Vía area has an enormous number of hotels at your disposal, so it’s not difficult or expensive at all staying in this district. It can be quite comfortable.
Chueca is a cosmopolitan neighborhood with a high cultural appeal where you can feel the relax and open-minded atmosphere. It is the neighborhood of freedom, respect and tolerance, a model of coexistence. In Chueca you can find lots of businesses, bars, restaurants, clubs, stores and associations that are connected with the LGBT community. Chueca is also known for its wide culinary variety, its tapas bars and its small and pretty streets. But it’s internationally famous because the celebration of the World Pride in 2017 took place there. This festivity brings together people from all around the world, that come visit Madrid with the excuse of the Parade, to proudly march through the streets, have fun and fight for their rights. The Parade is one of the most popular festivities in the whole city, which has made Chueca one of the most visited areas of Madrid.
The Tribunal subway station is the epicenter of the “Hipster” world in Madrid, located mainly in the Malasaña neighborhood. It’s a place where culinary options are multiplied in all its versions, from organic food to Asian, through original Italian pizzerias and terraces to enjoy beers and tapas. The tattoos parlors, vinyl record shops and vintage clothing stores pop in almost every corner of the districts. Hairdressers offering the most modern cuts, indie-film video clubs and vegan restaurants are another type of businesses you find walking through its little streets. It’s a young and artistic neighborhood full of options for you to have a good time, finding unique culture and hanging out with the trendiest people in the whole city. Don’t forget take pictures for Instagram!
“Gato” (cat) is the nickname with which the Spaniards denominate those who, at least, have three generations of born-and-raised-in-Madrid parents. The Chamberí neighborhood is recognized for being the most “castizo” (typical from Madrid) neighborhood in the whole city. You can feel it in its cafes, small theaters, squares full of tapas bars; a district where everything is “castizo”. In every bar you can ask for a “Sol y Sombra” (mix of brandy and sweet anise) or get a “bocata de calamares” (fried squid sandwich). Check the Calle de Fuencarral, full of old bookstores, second-hand clothing stores and old cinemas, without forgetting the Plaza de Olavide, the Chamberí Market and its different food stores run by lifelong cats.
Madrid de los Austrias Neighborhood
Located between Sol and the Barrio de Las Letras, Madrid de los Austrias is the most beautiful and historic neighborhood in the downtown area. Named for being built during the reign of the dynasty known as “Los Austrias”, its curved streets and noble houses with small balconies, plus the Royal Palace in the background, make this neighborhood something unique for a 2018 European city. It’s very common finding restaurants that have been opened for more than a hundred years, some of them specialized in “cocido madrileño” (Madrid chickpea stew) like the famous restaurant La Daniela. Los Austrias is an area that should be visited by foot, walking through its narrows streets and feeling that you just come back to the 19th century. Don´t forget to visit the Teatro or Palacio Real, two of the most notable architectural works in the city.