Madrid is one of the most magical and culturally rich places one can ever visit; the city burst with beautiful landscaping, awe inspiring classic architecture and plenty of historical places to visit - but where should you stay? Of course, the city is huge and one of the first doubts that comes to mind when planning the trip is the accommodation.
Map – Madrid’s best neighborhoods, hotels, and destinations
Every neighborhood in Madrid is unique, that’s why we have created a brief guide with five of our favorite ones to help you choose the right area to stay according to your preferences as well as the surrounding places of interest and of course, the best housing options. As a personal recommendation, you might want to rent a car in Madrid which offers the best options to make your stay in this city somewhat profitable and much more comfortable and convenient.
This is one of our favorite spots thanks to its centered location. Malasaña is famous for being one of Madrid’s party areas, and its many graffiti walls are so appealing that are treated as truly pieces of art. This neighborhood offers many options to dine and have a drink; our favorites are La Tasquita de Enfrente, one of the best restaurants not only in Malasaña but in Madrid serving the most delicious traditional food and La Ardosa, where you can have a snack and a drink surrounded by a classic atmosphere and refreshing Solera beer.
If you look for something to do, Plaza del Dos de Mayo is always a good choice. This is the most famous square in the area where you can hang out and enjoy the attractive historical architecture. The best option to stay in Malasaña is 7 Islas Hotel; designed by the firm Kikekeller, the 79 rooms at 7 Islas are enhanced with private terraces overlooking the Madrid Sky (some of them), minibar and internet connection. The hotel counts with its own art gallery and a lovely lobby bar.
The neighborhood with more history around Madrid. The architectonic beauty of Austrias goes from Catedral de la Almudena to Plaza Mayor attracting a great number of tourists who love to contemplate the Madrilenians ancestors‘captivating constructions. The restaurants in the area serve traditional food, including Taberna La Bola, founded in the XIX century and set in a quiet back street. It is considered by many to be the home of the famous cocido madrileño.
If you are in the mood for a drink we highly recommend Bar Postas; located next to Plaza Mayor, this is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy a cold beer accompanied by its acclaimed calamares (squid) and tapas de chopitos. There are many places to go and see in Austrias but one to highlight is the Palacio Real. Built in the mid 70’s by Felipe V, this Late Baroque palace is built on of granite and white stone of Colmenar and it is surrounded of majestic gardens. El Palacio Real contributes greatly to the city’s splendor and as it is barely used by the royal family, many of its 3,000 rooms can be visited.
If you choose this neighborhood, the best place to stay would be Petit Palace Plaza Mayor, this family-friendly Madrid Hotel is one of the oldest inns in Spain founded in the early seventeenth century with the intention of dedicating itself to housing for guests and foreigners who came to the Court.
The hotel currently offers its residents It has elegant rooms Free iPads on request and free Wi-Fi in all areas, as well as a flat-screen TV, minibar and hydro massage showers!
Located in the heart of the capital, La Latina shines with its medieval-origin streets. This area is the place for tapas, mojitos and stylish terraces. There are plenty of beautiful churches and basilicas that hide in its narrow streets and you can enjoy watching the children playing in any of the many squares in the area. Casa de Lucio is the place to taste the fantastic Solomillo (Sirloin) and its delicious stray eggs. Something you’ll love at Lucio’s is its Lucio’s charcoal oven and the fact that they only use olive oil to cook their meals.
As for the drink break, you have to visit La Taberna Errante where you can enjoy its distinctive ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad) accompanied by a refreshing caña (beer). This bar is a little far from the typical meeting places but if you decided to make your car rental in Madrid, this won’t be an issue.
If you are in La Latina you can’t leave without visiting Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, originally a moneastery by San Francisco de Asis and currently a neoclassical temple where you will wild fing interesting art gems by artists from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.
Posada del Dragón will give you all the comforts after a day touring the city. Set in la Cava Baja, one of busiest streets in the neighborhood, this is a 4-star boutique hotel restored 19th-century posada with cozy rooms either looking out over it or the pretty internal patio. All rooms have extremely comfortable beds and bold, brassy color schemes plus designer everything! There is also a terrific bar-restaurant downstairs.
Las Letras is one of the most charming and attractive places in Madrid and it host the most important museums in Madrid. The neighborhood is famous for being home of great writers of the Spanish literature Golden Age such as Cervantes and Quevedo and its name is a tribute to them. This locality is full of things to see, shops to visit and bars to eat including Calle Huertas, which literary appointments inscribed on the asphalt, is its main artery and it is home to tapas bars and nightclubs.
If you like grilled food, you have to eat al Bistronómika, 99% of our offer comes from the sea which are cooked under a careful technique: a maximum of 10 minutes exposed to the heat of the coal on which the pieces are turned every few minutes to achieve a uniform cooking. La Dolores is one of the most classic taverns in Madrid serving fresh rods since the 1920s. Its specialties: smoked, anchovies and mojama (Tunna) so if you are in the mood for a drink, here’s the place to be.
One of the places you definitely have to visit once in Las Letras is Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, part of Madrid’s Triangle of Art, next to the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía. Deceased Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza’s private collections lays here, considered one of the most important in the world.
The Luxurious hotel Me Madrid Reina Victoria will welcome you while in this magnificent neighborhood, an emblematic 19th century building located in the historic Santa Ana square. The hotel offers elegant rooms have plasma TV, hydromassage shower,and the Radio Me roof top restaurant, one of its most charming corners.
This is one of Madrid’s most traditional and multicultural neighborhoods. A melting pot of cultures and traditions that thank to its cheaper rentals compared to other neighborhoods, it attracts many young people who live with citizens of up to 88 different nationalities. There is a world festival celebrated in Lavapiés called San Lorenzo festivities, which are celebrated in the month of August and attract many Madrileños as well as tourists. If your passion is eating, you must pay a visit to Nubel, presenting a la carte Mediterranean food and delightful cocktails by the hands of the acclaimed Joel Jamal that has added to the usual cocktail menu a dozen own creations.
Keeping the cocktail wave, a great spot to enjoy one is La Gatoteca, a peculiar bar where you can enjoy a delicious drink while you pet some adorable kitties. This is not just any bar, it is the official headquarters of the NGO Abriga, which helps stray cats and abandoned puppies find a new home. One place we recommend to visit is the Museo Reina Sofía, a Spanish museum portraying 20th century art as well as contemporary art. Museo Reina Sofía is located on the border between Lavapiés and Atocha, it is considered one of the most significant contemporary art museums in Spain.
The great jewel of the Reina Sofía is, without a doubt, the 'Guernica', by Picasso. A perfect place to stay while visiting Lavapiés is Hola Rooms, with a seventeenth century – XVIII architecture and Nordic-designed rooms featuring private bathroom, as well as Wi-Fi, 32-inch televisions and daily maid service.
There are many awe-inspiring places and landscapes to see in Madrid, so take your time, do your research, a plan your trip ahead to make the most of it!
Cover photo attribution: FouPic [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Useful Travel Resources for Madrid
Madrid Map – Plan your trip around Madrid with this handy map
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing rental car prices
Skyscanner.net – Our favorite place to book cheap airline flights
Expedia.com – Book affordable accommodation or bundle flights and hotels in Madrid.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Madrid
Suggested Reading: The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway