Your Guide to the Neighbourhoods of Madrid
When planning your trip to Madrid, the first thing you do after you book your ticket is probably to find accommodation and ask your good old friend Google where the best neighborhoods of Madrid are to stay.
The capital of Spain is a gorgeous city that does not lack in stylish boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Home to almost 3.2 million, Madrid is considered to be the third largest city in the EU, after Berlin and London. The capital is administratively divided into 21 districts, which are additionally subdivided into 128 areas, or barrios in Spanish. I can imagine your frustration when it comes to deciding which one is best for your trip to Madrid. So, to take that stress off your shoulders, Madrid Food Guru presents a small guide to Madrid’s best neighborhoods for you to choose from.
One of the oldest and most beautiful barrios of Madrid, it is no surprise that it is a tourist favorite. However, the atmosphere created by its many locals, its authentic food, and its gorgeous architecture will not leave you unsatisfied. La Latina is home to many tapas bars. Go bar crawling and enjoy the experiences of the local cuisine on the budget.
Some used to consider this neighborhood to be residential and quiet. This may have been true some decades ago, but to most today it is a very trendy, alternative, multicultural place and definitely worth checking out. If you like it hipster, this is your planet! It used to be the hub of the Movida movement in the late 70s in Madrid. This countercultural movement represented the rebirth of the economy in Spain and the coming out of a new Spanish identity. You can still sense the atmosphere of that time in its alternative surroundings. Madrid’s best international restaurants are located here, along with food market and hip cafes and bars. The nightlife here is much less pompous than elsewhere in the capital, making it the best place for a more relaxed night out.
By many considered the ‘Chic’ neighborhood in the capital, this district features world renowned brands like Gucci, Dior, and Chanel. It is also home to the most upscale bars, restaurants, and hotels of Madrid. If you want to have an elegant evening with your loved one, then this is the place to be. Built in 1860 by marques of Salamanca (hence the name) this part of the city presents long and classy boulevards with taller buildings, more space and light among them and an architecture style which is the classic mid-european one of the 18th century (a bit parisian style!).
Many taste gourmet secrets are well kept in Salamanca for you to discover, among with most Michelin star restaurants. Might feel a bit posh in some areas, but it definitely is worth at least one stroll in your Madrid visit.
This neighbourhood called in Reality Embajadores, is famous for its traditional fiestas and, above all, its flea market that takes place every Sunday from 9am to 2pm. Stall vendors are scattered along its streets, making it a great place to come and experience the everyday life of locals. Very crowded but also very special. If you are after a special souvenir or some vintage furniture for your home, this is golden cave. Try to go early to see the best, it is also a lovely option for the many tapas spots all around.
Proudly known as the Gay district of Madrid, Chueca is elegant, multicultural and boasts a great nightlife. The neighborhood feels like a town within a city, full of little streets and shops, and the trendiest bars and restaurants. Madrid’s youth, gay or not, head to Chueca at night to have fun and take advantage of its relaxed and chic atmosphere. This is also one of your top choices for quality shopping. If you are after some really exclusive boutique or independent garment designer. Let’s face it, Chueca IS NOT cheap. The fantabolous Anton Martin Market offers a jaw dropping rooftop restaurant (very affordable I must say) and a variety of over 10 tapas bars on the first floor.
Las Letras also known as Cortes or Huertas, is one of the most central barrios of the capital, featuring some of the best venues in the city. The area once accommodated the country’s famous literary figures, hence its name – The Literary Neighborhood. You can still find lutists working, this is a very bohemian part of the city full of charisma and character. Plaza Santa Ana, one of the most charming squares in Europe and definitely among the top 3 sights of Madrid is here. Las Letras is full of Jazz Bars, the vintage feeling of it makes the perfect frame of course. Central Jazz club is here, a legendary cornerstone of the history of Spanish Jazz.
Atocha area and the Triangulo de Oro
Home to some of the best museums of Madrid, the biggest railway station of the country, and the largest nightclub of Spain(Kapital), Atocha area is one of the most popular and highly visited barrios of the capital. Kapital, is a seven-floor club with a rooftop terrace is a must-visit destination on a nightlife scene, each floor has a different crowd and music, pretty unique. Many locals and even visitors come here to experience real nightlife like a typical Madrileño. Remember to dress smart, as you might not be let in otherwise. Reina Sofia, Prado, Caixa Forum and Thyssen Museums are all steps away from the other and to the station. This is why they call it the Golden Triangle, Triangulo de Oro. Do not miss to take a picture at the beautiful museum of Agriculture just facing the Railstation.
Did you make up your mind already? Every barrio here has its own unique character. If you can plan a longer trip to Spain’s capital, our advice would be to visit as many as you can. Avoid the tourist traps and discover what lies nearby those popular areas. We guarantee it will be much more interesting to explore the capital to its fullest.
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