Where to Stay in Madrid First Time: 12 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

The best areas to stay in Madrid for first-timers are Puerta del Sol in Centro district, Los Austrias, La Latina, Huertas, Malasana, Chueca, Salamanca, Lavapies, and Retiro. These neighborhoods are central and very popular for tourist that offers a wide variety of attractions and amenites.

In this blog post, I will help you to decide where to stay in Madrid for the first time, for families, nightlife, shopping, food, budget, one night, three days, Christmas, and near the train station, as well as the safest places to stay in Madrid.

Founded in the 9th-century, the Spanish capital, Madrid is the political, economic, and cultural center of Spain. It is famous for its historical buildings, food markets, royals, renaissance and contemporary art museums, and bustling nightlife.

Madrid is a very safe city and there are no no-go zones in the city cente, but like all famous tourist destinations, you should be aware of pickpocketing and scams. You should stick to central areas, well-lit streets and avoid the area around the Atocha train station at night.

Madrid Centro, Malasaña, La Latina, Chueca, Lavapiés, Salamanca, and Retiro are some of the safest neighborhoods in Madrid because they are populated with tourists and some of them are upmarket areas.

Puerta del Sol and Gran Via are the best place to stay in Madrid for the first time due to its proximity to Madrid’s most famous attractions such as the Opera House and the Royal Palace, as well as many choices in accommodations. If you book the hotels here, you will be in the heart of the action, and within easy walking distance to restaurants, bars, and shops.

To book hotels, I recommend spend at least three days in Madrid, but 4-5 days is good amount of time to explore the city. Three days is enough to see the most famous tourist attractions, to enjoy the food, and get the sense of the local culture. If you have 5 days, you will see the city in a slower pace, more relaxing, and take a day trip to Toledo, Salamanca, Alcalá, Segovia.

 💖 Best Area for first time visitors:Puerta del Sol and Gran Via
💎 Best luxury hotel:Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel Liabeny
💰 Best budget hotel:Hotel Regina

🎬 You can check out this short video, the long video is at the end of this post:

13 Best areas to stay in Madrid for tourists

1. Puerta del Sol – Centro, where to stay in Madrid for first-timers

Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, where to stay in Madrid for first time tourists

Puerta del Sol is the best area to stay in Madrid for first-time travelers due to its super central location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to Madrid’s top tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

The area around the main square of Sol and Madrid’s main shopping street, Gran Vía is part of the Centro neighborhood, which is arguably the hot tourism hub of the city.

The Puerta del Sol square, also known as The Sun’s Gate in English, is home to the Kilometre Zero plaque, the official starting point for Spain’s 6 National Roads. It’s a convenient meeting place for Madrileños and tourists. 

On the square, you can also find the Real Casa de Correos (House of the Post Office). This is where Spaniards gather to watch the countdown of the 19th-century clock tower on New Year’s Eve.

The El Oso y El Madroño also known as the Statue of the Bear and Strawberry Tree is another well-known sight on the square. The official symbol of the city, Oso & Madroño is the work of the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santa Fe.

Other statues on the square are the statue of the Bourbon King Carlos III and the reproduction of the Mariblanca statue, with the original being on display at the Municipal Museum.

Puerta del Sol is the starting point of many streets including Calle Arenal, Calle de Alcalá, Calle Mayor, and Calle Preciados. The pedestrianized street of Preciados is one of the most important shopping hubs of the Spanish capital.

Within a short walk from the square to the west, you will see Madrid’s main square and the focal point of medieval Madrid, Plaza Mayor. The Baroque style square has 129 meters long by 94 meters wide, surrounded by three-story buildings.

Designed by Juan de Herrera and Juan Gómez de Mora, Plaza Mayor was originally called Plaza del Arrabal during the 19th-century but renamed Plaza Mayor at the end of the Spanish Civil War.

The square is home to the Equestrian statue of Philip III, Casa de la Panadería which is one of Madrid’s first bakeries dating back 1500s, and El Arco de Cuchilleros which is one of the nine entrances to the square.

There are also a number of traditional tapas restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars, making it a prime location for anyone looking to sample the truly authentic local cuisine. Each year, the traditional Christmas market is hosted here.

This is where you can find the oldest cake shop in Spain, Antigua Pastelería del Pozo, established in 1830 and still retaining some of its original furniture, and the Sobrino de Botín, founded in 1725, world’s oldest restaurant according to the Guinness Book of Records, is famous for its roasted piglet.

If that isn’t enough Spanish culture for you, the local nightlife boasts not only a slew of the city’s top clubs and music venues but also several Flamenco houses.

The winding streets connecting Puerta del Sol to the most famous boulevard of Madrid, Gran Via provide a charming shopping experience with both department stores and smaller shops that sells clothes, jewelry, art, toys, music, and football paraphernalia. 

Gran Via, known as the Spanish Broadway, was built between 1910 and 1929 to link the Salamanca and Argüelles neighborhoods. Home to some of the city’s first skyscrapers, Gran Via is an excellent exhibition of Madrid’s architectural development and boasts a selection of museums, theatres, and the Casino de Madrid.

Barrio Sol is also an important transport hub with access to including yellow, purple, and blue blue metro lines. Being so centrally located, Puerta del Sol square is not only the best area for first-time travelers, but also for short time visitors who has only one nightfe or three days in Madrid.

Puerta del Sol square offers plenty of accommodations options ranging from luxury 5-star hotels to budget guest houses. So, whether you are on luxury holiday, or you travel on a budget, this central neighborhood has it all!

Stay in Sol and Gran Vía if you are a first-time tourist and need a central location; you want easy access to public transportations, as well as good shopping, nightlife, dining, and museums; you prefer to travel on foot;

Best places to stay in Madrid city center:

luxury ($$$): Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Madrid, within easy walk from Gran Via Metro Station, Puerta del Sol, and 45-minute metro ride from Madrid-Barajas Airport. There is a 24-hour gym, a bar and on-site restaurant, and 24-hour front desk. All guest rooms have a private bathroom with free toiletries, and hairdryer.

mid-range ($$): Hotel Liabeny This 4-star hotel is only 200 m from Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía and Callao metro stations. You can enjoy traditional Spanish dishes and drinks at its on-site restaurant, Sensaciones, a bar and a cafeteria.

budget ($): Hotel Regina This 3-star hotel is centrally located next to the famous Puerta del Sol, within easy walk from Sevilla metro station, The Prado and Thyssen museums. You can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and wine at its Restaurant Castizo and wine cellar.

hostel ($): Toc Hostel Madrid this modern hostel is set in central Madrid, close to Puerta del Sol Square and Plaza Mayor Square. It has 24-hour reception, private rooms, and a bed in a shared dormitory.


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2. Los Austrias, where to stay in Madrid for sightseeing

 Los Austrias, best area to stay in Madrid for sightseeing

Los Austrias, also known as El Madrid de los Austrias, is the place to stay for those looking to truly experience the history of Madrid. One of the oldest areas of the city, with buildings dating back as far as the 15th century.

Barrio Los Austrias is close to one of the best sights of the city like the Royal Palace, El Teatro Real (Royal Theatre), Almudena Cathedral, Plaza Mayor, and the Descalzas Reales Monastery, a nunnery that houses a collection of 17th-century art open for public viewing.

The sprawling 18th century Royal Palace, the residence of the Spanish Royal Family, is an estate so large that the public walking tours can’t cover all of its rooms in a single tour. The Royal Palace was built by order of Philip V on a former Moorish castle.

Surrounding the Royal Palace, you can find Campo del Moro Park, which dates back to the Middle Ages, and the exquisite neoclassical-style gardens of Sabatini. They are both free to enter and have separate entrances.

If you are visiting the nearby Plaza del Conde de Barajas, or Plaza de los Pintores, on Sunday, you can take part in the Painters’ Market where 40 local independent artists show their painting.

The nightlife here is similarly cultured, built around the local opera houses, theatres, and flamenco houses. Bars offer live music for fans of jazz and blues, as well as cocktails and dining for those looking to chat about the performances they have just witnessed.

The area around Madrid’s 400-year-old central square, Plaza Mayor, is the perfect place to browse some of the oldest shops in the city and pick up traditional souvenirs, such as old coins, traditional shoes, and local delicacies. 

Once you are tired of shopping and sightseeing, head to the San Miguel Market, a food hall of over 30 stalls, featuring flavors from every part of Spain, combined with live entertainment, this is the perfect spot to unwind and recharge. You must try traditional Spanish cuisine like patatas bravas, calamari sandwiches, pimentos padrón, and sangría.

You can also check out the Calle Cava Baja, Madrid’s most famous tapas street where you can sit in one of its tapas bars to enjoy local cusines and a glass of vino. Meanwhile, Chocolatería San Gines, one of the oldest in Madrid, is the place to try chocolate and churros.

Stay in Los Austrias if a place to stay with a lot of sightseeing; you love history, you love art and culture; you are looking for more relaxed nightlife; you want a neighborhood with a romantic ambiance; you want to stay in central but less touristy places.

Best Places to Stay in Los Austrias:

luxury ($$$): Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá – The Leading Hotels of the World This 5-star hotel is located within easy walk from famous tourist landmarks such as Madrid’s Royal Palace, the Royal Theatre, Plaza Mayor, Sabatini Gardens, and the Cathedral. You can enjoy Spanish and French cuisine and wines at its on-site restaurants.

mid-range ($$): Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid Located in Plaza Mayor, this 4-star hotel has rooftop bar, a fitness centre, 24-hour front desk, spa, and a bar. All guest rooms have a desk, a flat-screen TV, as well as private bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer.

budget ($): Francisco I Located in the heart of Madrid, close to Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, this hotel offers simple rooms with a private bathroom, TV and free Wi-Fi. The hotel can help with car hire and airport transfers.


3. La Latina, where to stay in Madrid for foodies

The historical district of La Latina originated as the merchant hub of medieval Madrid and those roots shine through to this day, with the city’s largest flea market, El Rastro, acting as the area’s main tourist draw and street markets taking over the winding roads every Sunday morning.

El Rastro is located to the south of La Latina metro station and Puerta de Toledo station, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo. Come here on Sunday to shop, stroll, and grab a bite one of the neighborhood’s old tapas bars.

You can also sample all the delicious flavors Spain at the Mercado de la Cebada, a good place for foodies where you can buy fresh local products and local cuisines. The market was once a hub of the La Latina neighbourhood.

Aside from its sprawling markets, the La Latina area is famous as the primary tapas hotspot in Madrid, especially on the Calle de la Cava Baja and Cava Alta streets.

La Latina draws crowds of tourists and locals alike to sample the breadth of Spanish cuisine on offer here, including a number of interesting items you probably won’t have seen on the menu at your local tapas bar. 

You can explore the neighborhood by strolling along its small narrow streets and large community squares. Plaza de los Carros is a great place to stop by and chill. The square was once used as a market for enslaved people but nowadays it is the place for local relax. In the square, you can find the statue of Pedro de Heredia, who founded the city.

In a corner of Plaza de la Paja, you’ll find charming small walled garden, Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona. Príncipe de Anglona’s used to stroll through this garden when he lived in the adjacent palace back in the 19th century. There is a small fountain in the center of the garden and its design is reminiscent of those found in typical Arab gardens.

If you need a break from shopping and eating, there are a number of museums and historical churches in the area. The San Isidro Museum is a great place to learn history of Madrid from prehistoric times, while Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is a beautiful, domed building, which showcases a collection of artworks from the 18th century.

You can also have look at the El Capilla del Obispo, Madrid’s most beautiful chapel, built by Francisco de Vargas in the 16th century. The chapel was originally built to house the body of San Isidro, but now serves as the memory of Bishop Don Gutierrez.

The nightlife of the area keeps up with the lively standard of the city, offering a host of clubs, bars, and taverns to keep you entertained late into the night.

La Latina is a safe neighborhood for tourist but as any tourist are , you should always practice common sense. Accommodations in La Latina consists mostly of budget options and numerous mid-range hotels. It’s also within walking distance to the attractions in Centro and Retro, making it an ideal place for budget travelers. 

Stay in La Latina if you love good food; you enjoy shopping at markets; you are interested in antiques and vintage items; you are a first-time traveler;

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in La Latina:

mid-range ($$): Posada del León de Oro Boutique Hotel This 4-star hotel is located in La Latina district, within a short stroll from Plaza Mayor and La Latina Metro Station. You can enjoy traditional regional food, wines, tapas, and buffet breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant and bar.

budget ($): L&H La Latina Selection Located in Latina neighbourhood, within easy distance from Puerta de Toledo Metro Station, Almudena Cathedral, and the Royal Palace, this accommodation offers air conditioned apartments and studios with kitchen, and a bathroom.

budget ($): Porcel Ganivet Centrally located in the heart of Madrid with easy access to El Rastro Market and the M30 road. It has 24-hour front desk, a private car parking, as well as air-conditioned rooms with laptop safes and free Wi-Fi.


4. Huertas, central location with bohemian atmosphere

Located just steps away from the city center, Huertas, also known as Barrio de las Letras is a hub of history, art, and culture. Huertas was originally farmland outside the old city center, but later home to the legendary Spanish writers, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Quevedo. This Literary Quarter is a celebration of literature and theatrical arts.

At the heart of Huertas stands the beautiful Plaza Santa Ana. Plaza de Santa Ana displays statues of some of Spain’s most celebrated playwrights and poets, while the Calle Huertas pavement is engraved with quotes from famous Spanish literary works.

You can also visit the house where Miguel de Cervantes spent much of his adult life. His final resting place can be found in the nearby Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians.

It’s here you’ll also find the Teatro Español, one of the principal theatres of Madrid and a key stop for anyone wanting to experience the highest quality Spanish theatre.

Las Letras is also within walking distance to the Madrid Golden Triangle of Art, where you can find Prado Museum, Reina Sofía Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

There are plenty of shopping opportunities because it is home to lots of bookshops, interior design stores, antique emporiums, and sprawling street markets. The Ranas Street market offers live street performances and special offers from the participating vendors, first Saturday of every month.

You may think that an area dedicated to literature wouldn’t have much of a lively nightlife, in which case you will be pleasantly surprised by the varied entertainment on offer after sundown.

True to its roots as a center of the arts, a variety of live performances can be observed, from music to dancing. Cardamomo offers a nightly flamenco performances by famous dancers from all over the world.

Huertas is home to one of the oldest bars in the city, Viva Madrid, while Magister is a micro-brewery with free tapas. The Plaza Santa Ana also has lots of beer houses that were favourite stops of Ernest Hemingway.

Huertas is a safe neighborhood and a good base in Madrid but you should you common sense and keep your valuables safe from pickpockets. You will find many people on the streets enjoying themselves both day and night. The lodgings here range from budget to 5-star hotels, and long-term apartments for literary history lovers.

Stay in Huertas if you love culture and history, and want to stay in a bohemian and convenient area; you love literature, you enjoy live performances.

Best Places to Stay in Huertas (Barrio de las Letras):

luxury ($$$): Hotel Urban this 5-star hotel is near Thyssen-Bornemisza Gallery and Puerta del Sol. It has a Michelin-starred restaurant, CEBO, the rooftop terrace, and a gastro pub Glass-Mar for tapas and cocktails. It also offers soundproofed rooms with a flat-screen TV and a DVD player.

mid-range ($$): Vincci Soho Located in the historic city centre, this hotel is set within short stroll from bars and restaurants of Plaza Santa Ana and Anton Martin Metro Station. You can try traditional cuisine or tapas at its restaurant.

budget ($): NH Madrid Nacional Located in Madrid’s famous Art Triangle, close to Atocha AVE Train Station, this hotel has air-conditioned, soundproof rooms have private bathroom comes with shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. The Tablafina Restaurant and Bar is where you can enjoy local food and drink.


5. Malasana, where to stay in Madrid for nightlife

Malasana, where to stay in Madrid for nightlife

Malasana is a trendy district, home to the Movida arts movement of the ‘80s and still retaining much of its rebellious character.  The Movida Madrileña, known as Madrid Scene in English, started in the mid-1970s after the death of dictator Francisco Franco and Spain’s return to democracy. It was full of bars, drugs, and nightlife in the 80s, but now Malasaña is one of Madrid’s hippest neighborhoods.

Malasana neighborhood is packed with craft coffee shops, vintage stores, tattoo parlors, rustic bars around the historic main Plaza de Dos de Mayo, and the pedestrianized-street Calle Fuencarral.

The nightlife here is distinct and varied, with an ever-changing calendar of public events set amongst the permanent array of niche clubs and bars with a penchant for the risqué. Here you’ll find adult-only shops, rock bars, and venues for just about every musical preference, with parties commonly spilling out onto the streets.

If you are less inclined to party, it may still be worth visiting in the daytime, to wander the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque, ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration, or appreciate the 17th-century churches that sit nestled amongst the bars. 

Local shops offer almost everything you could be looking for but are of particular interest to anyone looking for vintage goods and clothing, or fans of comics, with several comic book stores within walking distance of one another.

Malasaña is within walking distance from lively Chueca, Centro’s Gran Vía, and Plaza de España, where you can find a monument to Miguel de Cervantes, a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright.

It is also home to two city’s tallest buildings: Madrid Tower and the Edificio España, both built in the 1950s.

You can find affordable hotels and hostels in this neighborhood.

Malasaña is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for first-timers who enjoy good nightlife and want to experience Madrid’s alternative culture in the hip and bohemian neighborhood.

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in Malasaña:

luxury ($$$): Barceló Torre de Madrid this five-star hotel is set in Plaza de España Square, right next to Plaza de España Metro Station. It has spacious rooms come with king-size beds, air conditioning, a 42-inch TV and a laptop safe.

mid-range ($$): INNSIDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Vía This 4-star hotel is housed in 19th-century building, close to Gran Vía and Callao Square. There is rooftop bar, a terrace, 24-hour front desk, a concierge service, as well as continental or buffet breakfast.

budget ($): Ibis Madrid Centro This 3-star hotel is set in Malasaña district, within easy walk from Plaza del 2 de Mayo and Bilbao Metro Station. It offers modern rooms with free high speed WiFi, wooden floors and a flat-screen satellite TV.


6. Chueca, Madrid’s premier gay barrio, vibrant nightlife

Chueca is located between Malasaña and Salamanca, immediately north of Gran Via. Chueca is Madrid’s premier gay neighborhood, that hosts the Gay Pride Festival around in mid-summer late June or early July.

As you would expect from an area famous for its LGBTQ community, the nightlife is a major draw for this area. The streets are lined with the hippest bars, restaurants, clubs, and cocktail bars, transforming into a vibrant hub of entertainment after sundown.

You can check out the legendary cocktail bar Museo Chicote or enjoy a drink on the rooftop terrace of the San Antón Market. Don’t worry if that’s not your thing though, there is still plenty to see here in the daytime as well.

The heart of the Chueca is Plaza de Chueca, Fuencarral and Hortaleza streets. Plaza de Chueca is a regular meeting spot with its own metro stop. Calle de Hortaleza is packed with shopping, dining, and nightlife. On the Calle Agusto Figueroa, you will find the San Anton Food Market with a wide array of vendors offering samples to those browsing the stalls.

If you take the ingredients you buy here to the La Cocina de San Antón restaurant, two floors above the market, their chefs will cook it for you, so you can enjoy it as fresh as possible, whilst taking in the views from their rooftop terrace.

If your trip to Madrid needs some romantic flair, the Museum of Romanticism is housed in the former palace of the Marquis of Matallana, or for a more alternative date idea, the bones of Saint Valentine rest in the San Anton church and are available for viewing by the public.

Chueca is Madrid’s official gay neighborhood with thrilling nightlife. it is typically a safe area to stay in Madrid day and night as the popular nightlife keeps the streets busy and the lights on.

Chueca is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for first-timer for young travelers enjoying vibrant nightlife and a trendy and hip neighbourhood. It is also a great base for the Pride festivities, LGBTQ-friendly accommodation and entertainment;

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in Chueca:

mid-range ($$): Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid Located in the trendy Chueca area, this 4-star boutique hotel is 20 minutes drive by car from Barajas Airport. It has soundproofed rooms with a smart TV, electronic safe, a minibar.

mid-range ($$): Vincci The Mint Located close to Chueca Metro Station, this hotel offers modern rooms with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, work desk, minibar, and a bathroom with a bath or shower, hairdryer, and free toiletries.

budget ($): B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Fuencarral 52 Located close to Chueca metro station that connect you with the rest of the city. there is a rooftop terrace, a 24-hour reception, as well as spacious, soundproofed rooms.


7. Salamanca, where to stay in Madrid for luxury

Designed in the late 19th-century as a playground for the wealthy aristocracy, Barrio de Salamanca remains one of the most luxurious residential areas of Madrid. 

This neighborhood is the safest area in Madrid. It’s also home to embassies of the United States, Canada, and Switzerland.

Madrid’s longest and most elegant avenue, Paseo de la Castellana runs through Salamanca. This street is home to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Real Madrid), the AZCA business center, and the Cuatro Torres Business skyscrapers complex.

You can find the best high-end boutiques, fine dining eateries, upscale bars, and luxury hotels around Calle de Serrano, Calle de Velázquez, and Calle de Goya, also known as Golden Mile. In fact, even those who don’t will be able to appreciate the beautifully designed shopfronts and architecture of the area.

The area also boasts a number of museums, art galleries, and exhibition halls, including the National Archaeological Museum, Columbus Plaza, the Puerta de Alcalá, the newer Robot Museum, and Madrid’s iconic bullring Las Ventas.

The Puerta de Alcalá on Plaza de la Independencia is a neo-classical arch, one of the iconic monuments in Madrid, erected in 1778 by Italian architect Francesco Sabatini. It’s a great place to take photos.

If all that shopping and wandering museums make you hungry, there are also six Michelin-starred restaurants in the area to choose from, along with a plethora of other fine dining establishments and cafes, offering an array of cuisines, from authentic local delicacies to Japanese fusion.

The nightlife of the area maintains the exclusivity and sophistication it was designed for, with the city’s top mixologists serving cocktails from some of the most prestigious clubs and bars, catering to the wealthy socialites and company executives from the nearby business districts.

Salamanca is a bit off-center but you can easily reach its attractions by metro. Velázquez, Serrano, and Ventas are the nearest metro stops to Salamanca barrios. Accommodations in Salamanca are mostly 4- and 5-star hotels but you can also find some budget hotels.

Salamanca is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for first-timers who enjoy luxury vibe with high-end shopping, Michelin meals, vibrant and upscale nightlife.

Best Places to stay in Madrid in Salamanca:

luxury ($$$): Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá – The Leading Hotels of the World Located next to Plaza de Colón and Madrid’s Hard Rock Café, in Salamanca district, this 5-star hotel has spacious bedrooms with a TV, iPod station, bathrobes and slippers. You can try meal and drink at the Aduana Restaurant and Dry Martini by Javier de las Muelas.

mid-range ($$): H10 Puerta de Alcalá this stylish 4-star hotel is set close to Principe de Vergara Metro Station, Puerta de Alcalá Gate, and Plaza Cibele. Many restaurants and tapas bars are right at your doorsteps.

budget ($): Velázquez 45 by Pillow Located in Salamanca district, this guest house is within easy walk from Velazquez and Serrano Metro Stations, and Retiro Park. There is 24-hour reception desk, car rental and luggage storage.


8. Lavapiés, where to stay in Madrid on budget

Barrio de Lavapiés, meaning “wash your feet”, is located between La Latina and Huertas, within walking distance to Retiro and Centro. It is a hip and trendy neighborhood, a good option for those who like international cuisines and a wide range of good value accommodation.

You will find the central meeting places for young Madrileños in Plaza Lavapiés, and many numerous Indian restaurants along Calle Lavapiés, also known as Curry Row by locals.

The neighborhood is home to a popular street called, Calle Argumosa, where you can find many cafes, tapas bars, and pubs.

Lavapies have stayed true to their multicultural origins throughout the centuries and the melting pot of cultures that formed this working district have left their mark on the art and atmosphere of the area. 

A hub of visual and dramatic art, the selection of exhibition centers and theatres include the Teatro Valle-Inclán, one of the base theatres of the National Drama Centre, and the La Casa Encendida cultural center, which offers a wide variety of exhibitions, performances, art installations, and workshops.

The Spanish Film Archive is also located here, a must-visit for anyone interested in the development of Spanish cinema.

Thanks to its multicultural population, the dining options available in Lavapies are varied enough that even the pickiest eaters will find something they love, with restaurants offering food from across the world. 

The Tapapiés festival takes full advantage of this smorgasbord of cultural cuisines, exhibiting live performances, catered by vendors blending their country’s traditional foods with the Spanish tradition of tapas.

It’s not just the food of these cultures that is celebrated in Lavapies however, as the thriving immigrant community brings the vibrant festivals of their home countries with them. Most notably, the Indian celebration of Holi takes over the streets at the beginning of spring, filling them with color and ushering in the season.

Lavapiés provides easy access to the Mercado de San Fernando, one of the famous markets in Centro district. It offers great food and different craft beers in cheap prices.

Lavapiés is one of the best places to stay in Madrid for first-timers who travel on a budget and want to stay near Atocha train station with good access to the public transportation.

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in Lavapiés:

mid-range ($$): Catalonia Atocha Located close to Atocha Train Station, Antón Martín Metro Station, and Lavapiés Metro Station, this hotel has air-conditioned rooms with wooden floors, a minibar, free wifi, and a safe.

budget ($): Hotel Mediodia Conveniently located to Atocha Station and the Reina Sofia Museum, this hotel has 24-hour reception, air-conditioned rooms and free wifi.

budget ($): SLEEP’N Atocha – B Corp Certified Located a 10 minute walk from lively district of Lavapies offers paid airport shuttle service and public car parking. Each room has a flat-screen TV, free high-speed WiFi, and safety deposit box.


9. Retiro, where to stay in Madrid for family

Retiro, where to stay in Madrid for family

Retiro is a family-friendly neighborhood, located close to Paseo del Prado and Av de Menéndez Pelayo. It is famous for its El Retiro Park and home to the Golden Triangle. Retiro Park is safe to visit day and evening.

The primary feature of the Retiro district is Madrid’s most famous park, Parque del Retiro, which was first opened to the public in 1868. It was originally built for King Philip IV, has damaged during the War of Independence, later became a place for commoners and royals. This sprawling 125-hectare estate has more than 15,000 trees, the lungs of Madrid are a great place to relax.

Retiro Park boasts Crystal Palace that has been converted into exhibition centers, a large artificial lake with the option to hire a rowboat and spend an afternoon on the water, and a number of statues, art installations, and fountains including the monument to King Alfonso VII.

For families with young children, the Teatro de Títeres is a puppet theatre that performs shows every weekend, to keep little ones entertained in between trips to the various playgrounds.

Such a large open space makes an ideal venue for festivals, which includes the annual book fair, held early each summer, that sees publishing houses from across Spain gather to display their titles. 

Don’t despair if you can’t make it for the fair though, as the Cuesta de Moyano book market is situated nearby, with over 30 permanent stalls forming an open-air bookshop, selling books both new and secondhand.

Retiro is the perfect area to relax and unwind, with the many cafes surrounding the park offering the opportunity to sip a drink on the terrace and bask in the Spanish weather.

You will also find the Cibeles Plaza, Atocha Train Station, and  Naval Museum nearby Retiro barrios.

Retiro is one of the best areas stay in Madrid for first-timers who are couples and families looking for a relaxing over nightlife, sightseeing, and shopping.

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in Retiro:

mid-range ($$): Only YOU Hotel Atocha Located 150 m from Madrid-Atocha Train Station, this 4-star hotel offers the views of the Paseo Infanta Isabel and Calle Alfonso XII. You can have a good night sleep with soundproofed rooms with TV, safe, and a minibar.

mid-range ($$): Agumar this 4-star hotel is close to Retiro Park, and Atocha Train Station that offering a high-speed AVE service and links to Barajas Airport. The hotel’s Las Arenas restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine.

budget ($$): NH Madrid Atocha Located a 5 minute walk from Retiro Park, this hotel has soundproof rooms with air conditioning, a 40-inch TV, pillow menu, safe and minibar. Each one has a private bathroom with a rain-effect shower, toiletries and a hairdryer.


10. Argüelles, Moncloa, and Chamberi, residential areas in Madrid

Argüelles, Moncloa, and Chamberi, a residential areas in Madrid

Arguelles and Moncloa are the lovely residential and quiet neighborhoods of central Madrid, near the University City in Madrid. It’s just 10 minutes underground to go from Moncloa-Aravaca to the city center and surrounded by green areas and cultural attractions.

Its notable sight is the Templo de Debod (Debod’s Temple), an ancient Egyptian temple gifted to Spain and transported to Madrid in 1968. Templo de Debod stands as the centerpiece of a reflection pool in the Parque del Oeste (West Park) and offers a stunning place to observe the sunset.

Moncloa-Argüelles is popular with students with a number of prominent universities such as Universidad Pontífica Comillas, Universidad Politécnica, Universidad Complutense of Madrid, and Universidad Nebrija.

Unsurprisingly, the area heavily caters to international students and locals, with an array of cafes and bars, bookshops and bakeries, and, of course, a selection of clubs, pubs, and bars to keep you entertained into the evening.

Being somewhat less of a tourist hotspot, yet still, in the center of the city and within easy commute of some of the most popular attractions, Arguelles and Moncloa may be the ideal area to look for accommodation if you are on a budget but still want to stay in the heart of the city.

Stay in Moncloa if you prefer a quieter break; you want loca vibe; you want to stay in the city center on a budget; you are visiting Madrid for the first time;

Best Places to Stay in Madrid in Moncloa:

luxury ($$$): Melia Madrid Princesa Five-star hotel is set within a short walk from Plaza España, Gran Via, Oeste Park, and the beautiful Debod Temple. With the Ventura Rodríguez Metro Station nearby, you can easily explore the city.

mid-range ($$$): AC Hotel Aravaca by Marriott Located on the A-6 motorway, this 4-star hotel offers easy access to Madrid’s city center and Madrid Barajas Airport.

mid-range($$$): Plaza de España Skyline this self-catered accommodation is close to Calle Princesa. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with shower and a hairdryer.


11. Museo Del Prado and Plaza De Las Cortes, where to stay in Madrid for museums

Located to the east of Madrid Centro, the Museo Del Prado, Paseo Del Arte, and Plaza De Las Cortes area is one of the most picturesque in all of the city. Stylish, historic buildings provide a sophisticated, upper-class vibe to the area.

Despite this, it doesn’t have a stuffy feel, like many such neighborhoods exhibit. A friendly, welcoming atmosphere is present throughout, with locals ready to help you embrace their culture. 

The name Paseo del Arte comes from the incredible collection of major art museums located in the district.

Founded in 1819 and designed by Juan de Villanueva, Museo del Prado is Madrid’s most famous museum that has 8,600 paintings and over 700 sculptures dating back to the 16th to 19th centuries. It is the works of Spanish painters such as Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez, among others.

Meanwhile, the Reina Sofia Museum provides countless exhibits and works of contemporary art of famous Spanish artists Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró.

Adjacent to the Prado museum, in Madrid’s Art Walk, lies Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, which displays European paintings from the Middle Ages to the late 20th century.

These institutions alone can keep art fans entertained for days at a time. Then you have other locations, like the Plaza De Las Cortes, displaying incredible monuments and fabulous architecture, guaranteed to wow anyone interested in those sorts of things.

For those not interested in art, you have other options too. For starters, there is El Retiro Park. With wide-open green spaces, gardens, lakes, monuments, and more, it is ideal for relaxing and getting away from the city environment for a break.

Facilities and amenities in the area like restaurants and shops are all quite pricey, which probably won’t come as a surprise. However, they help to complete an experience that is all about style, class, and luxury.

You will find big brand international franchise hotels, and few B&B, and mostly no hostels here. Stylish boutique hotels are abundant in the neighborhood, allowing you to immerse yourself in the experience of the area throughout your stay.

Stay In Museo Del Prado If you are looking where to stay in Madrid for museums, you are a fan of art, you prefer high-end, classy environments, you like beautiful parks.

Best places to stay near Prado Museum:

luxury ($$$): NH Collection Madrid Paseo del Prado this 5-star hotel is located on Paseo del Prado Boulevard 5 minute walk from both Prado Museum and Thyssen Museum. You can try tapas at Estado Puro Tapas Restaurant, and admire the views of Neptune Fountains.

mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Hotel, Madrid Prado centrally located in the heart of the Art Triangle, in ftont of the Prado Museum, it has spacious guest rooms with a flat-screen TV and Nespresso coffee machine.

budget ($): Hostal Central Palace Madrid this guest house is located opposite the famous Prado Museum. There are several restaurants and tapas bars in the neighborhoods.


13. Around Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD)

The main airport in Madrid is MAD-Madrid Barajas International Airport, 16km away from the city center. If you have a late arrival and early departure, you can choose to stay near the airport. Here some of the best places to stay in Madrid International Airport:

luxury ($$$): täCH Madrid Airport This 4-star hotel is only 2km from Madrid Barajas Airport, it provides rooms with wooden flooring, flat-screen TVs, and private bathrooms with toiletries and a hairdryer. The hotel offers a free airport shuttle bus. The Barajas Metro Station nearby offers easy access to Madrid’s city center.

mid-range ($$): Clement Barajas This hotel offers stylish, air-conditioned rooms and à la carte restaurant. All guest romms come with satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, wooden floors, safes, work desks, and modern bathrooms.

budget ($): Hostal Viky This family-run guest house is just 5 minutes drive from Madrid International Airport. It has modern rooms with air conditioning and flat-screen satellite TV and a free 24-hour airport shuttle.

Where should I stay in Madrid for the first time?

Puerta del Sol is the best area to stay in Madrid for first-timers because it is the center of the city. If you stay here you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to Madrid’s top sights, as well as restaurants, bars, and shops.

Which part of Madrid is the best to stay in?

Puerta del Sol in Centro district, Los Austrias, La Latina, Huertas, Malasana, Chueca, Salamanca, Lavapies, and Retiro are some of the best areas to stay in Madrid because they are popular and safe places for tourist.

See Also:

The second-largest city in the European Union, home to the Royal Palace, the Royal Theatre, world-famous football club Real Madrid, and the headquarters of the UN World Tourism Organisation.

Overall, Puerta del Sol and Gran Via is the best area to stay in Madrid for first-time tourists due to its prime location. If you stay here you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to Madrid’s top sights, as well as many shopping, dining, and nightlife venues.

That said, finding the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid for the duration of your trip can really make your stay perfect. Hopefully this article has helped you to do just that and narrowed down where to stay in Madrid, to get the most out of your trip to the Spanish capital.

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