Where to Stay in Madrid – Insider Guide (2018)

Wondering where to stay in Madrid? This epic guide covers Madrid's best neighborhoods + accommodation, including top things to do by area.

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The capital and largest city in Spain, Madrid is a vibrant and energetic metropolis full of art and stunning architecture, cultural and artistic heritage, exciting restaurants, and some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe.

Grand tree-lined boulevards with flowers. Green parks scattered with elaborate fountains and tiny coffee shops. Museums packed with world-famous masterpieces.

Bustling outdoor markets and an infinite amount of bars serving cervezas and tinto veranos. 

Madrid has enough to keep anyone busy for years! Plus with 128 distinct neighborhoods, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay in Madrid due to its massive size!

Fear not, for this neighborhood guide on the best places to stay in Madrid will break up our 5 favorite neighborhoods by interest, and include the top things to do in each area.

Read on to discover which neighborhood is best for you and your travels!

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Madrid

  • Where to stay in Madrid first time – Centro
  • Where to stay in Madrid on a budget – Lavapiés
  • Best area to stay in Madrid for nightlife – Chueca
  • Coolest place to stay in Madrid – Malasaña
  • Best Neighborhood in Madrid for families – Paseo del Prado

tbb-table__image Great for your first time!Great for your first time!Centro Neighborhood

  • > Stand at the centre of the expansive Plaza Mayor
  • > Wander along Gran Via, one of the main shopping streets in Madrid
  • > Explore the maze of bushes, flowers and trees at the Jardines de Sabatini
  • > Stand at the centre of the expansive Plaza Mayor
  • > Wander along Gran Via, one of the main shopping streets in Madrid
  • > Explore the maze of bushes, flowers and trees at the Jardines de Sabatini
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tbb-table__image Great if you are on a budget!Great if you are on a budget!Lavapiés Neighborhood

  • > Grab a drink at the hip El Pavon Teatro Kamikaze
  • > Savour tapas, tortillas, croquettas and more at Café Melo’s
  • > Wander throughout the bustling Plaza Lavapies
  • > Grab a drink at the hip El Pavon Teatro Kamikaze
  • > Savour tapas, tortillas, croquettas and more at Café Melo’s
  • > Wander throughout the bustling Plaza Lavapies
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tbb-table__image Best nightlife!Best nightlife!Chueca Neighborhood

  • > See great live acts at But
  • > Dance the night away at Delirium
  • > Enjoy urbane cocktails at Macera
  • > See great live acts at But
  • > Dance the night away at Delirium
  • > Enjoy urbane cocktails at Macera
Check Top HostelCheck Top Hotel
tbb-table__image Coolest neighborhood!Coolest neighborhood!Malasaña Neighborhood

  • > Explore the historic Plaza del Dos de Mayo
  • > Taste the best tapas in the city at El Puerto de Cabreira
  • > Dine on delicious burgers at Burnout
  • > Explore the historic Plaza del Dos de Mayo
  • > Taste the best tapas in the city at El Puerto de Cabreira
  • > Dine on delicious burgers at Burnout
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tbb-table__image Perfect for families!Perfect for families!Paseo del Prado Neighborhood

  • > Cool down with a delicious cone of ice cream
  • > Stop and smell the roses at the Royal Botanical Garden
  • > Explore Spain’s naval history at the Naval Museum
  • > Cool down with a delicious cone of ice cream
  • > Stop and smell the roses at the Royal Botanical Garden
  • > Explore Spain’s naval history at the Naval Museum
Check Top HostelCheck Top Hotel

 

Where to Stay in Madrid

 

Where to Stay in Madrid

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our top recommendations for places to stay in Madrid! Make sure to check out our epic hostel guide for Madrid as well!

 

Best Hostel in Madrid: Ok Hostel Madrid

Ok Hostel Madrid is a fun and social hostel located at the heart of Lavapies, and located in one of the best areas to stay in Madrid.

A short walk from Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, this hostel is our top pick for where to stay in Madrid. It has an outdoor terrace, a book exchange, a small kitchen and common room.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Madrid: Europa Hotel Madrid

Charming, modern and centrally located are just a few of the reasons Europa Hotel is one of our top recommendations for where to stay in Madrid.

A short walk from the city centre, this hotel is close to shops, restaurants and bars. It has an outdoor terrace, a stylish bar and comfortable and spacious rooms.

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backpacking in Spain

Calle Gran Vía in the early evening. Photo: Max Pixel.

 

Madrid Neighborhood Guide

One of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe, Madrid is divided into 21 districts, which are further divided into 128 distinct neighbourhoods or barrios. We recommend that with each visit you try and see three or four different neighbourhoods, depending on the nature of your trip.

That means with so many neighborhoods to choose from – and plenty to see and do – in Madrid, you want to base yourself in the perfect place!

From sampling traditional Spanish foods to dancing the night away on Madrid’s busy streets to exploring its history and heritage at one of its many brilliant museums, we will help you plan your trip to Madrid with this guide that breaks down the “must-sees” by area.

Centro is the neighbourhood at the heart of Madrid. Our top pick for where to stay in Barcelona for the first time, Centro is where you’ll find a myriad of historic and cultural attractions, including Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.

North of the city centre are the lively and exciting neighbourhoods of Malasana and Chueca. Both are the best areas to stay in Madrid for nightlife. Famous for their exciting bars and wild clubs, these two districts are where you’ll find a good deal of fun after the sun goes down.

Continuing north you’ll pass through the charming and residential neighbourhoods of Chamberi and Salamanca. Filled with tree-lined streets and expansive boulevards, these neighbourhoods are perfect for shopping, relaxing and enjoying a slower pace of life.

South of the city centre are the Huertas, La Latina, Lavapies, and Paseo del Padro neighbourhoods. Some of the oldest areas of the city, these central neighbourhoods are packed with cultural activities, exquisite museums, lush parks, and bustling bars. All four are among the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid.

Still not sure where to stay in Madrid? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

 

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Madrid’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Madrid is a sprawling city that boasts a robust public transportation network – one of the best in Europe. Comprised of efficient and inexpensive buses and subways, it’s relatively easy to move throughout the city.

However, if you’re travelling to Madrid for a specific purpose, some areas might be better suited to you. Do you want to dance the night away at the city’s hottest clubs?

Maybe you want to enjoy the historic and cultural sights. Or, perhaps you want to be within walking distance of the trendiest district. All of these things are possible if you stay in the right area.

Here are the best neighbourhoods in Madrid, broken down by interest.

 

1. Centro Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Madrid First Time

Centro Madrid is the heart of the city. This downtown neighbourhood is where you’ll find grand avenues, stunning architecture, delicious restaurants, and a constant buzz of excitement and activity.

Thanks to its great location, Centro is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the city and beyond.

This colourful and vibrant neighbourhood is our top choice for one of the best places to stay in Madrid for the first time. Experience everything from expansive squares and detailed buildings to charming street performers and upscale shopping in this downtown Madrid barrio.

Centro, Madrid

Palacio Real

 

Top Things to See and Do in Centro

  • Stand at the centre of the expansive Plaza Mayor.
  • Eat, drink and people watch at the busy and bustling Mercado San Miguel.
  • Wander along Gran Via, one of the main shopping streets in Madrid.
  • Take in stunning views of the city from the terrace of the El Corte Ingles Gourmet Experience in Callao.
  • Savour delicious Spanish fare at Sobrino de Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world.
  • Wander through Puerta del Sol, the centre of the city and one of the busiest places in Madrid.
  • Take a tour of the Palacio Real and the Spanish Royal Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
  • Explore the maze of bushes, flowers and trees at the Jardines de Sabatini.
  • Snack on delectable and delicious churros and chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés.
  • Visit the Cathedral de la Almudena and stare up at the stunning and detailed square cupola.

 

Best Hostel in Centro: Sungate One

Bright and airy, this hostel is our top choice for the Centro neighbourhood. Easily accessible by public transit, this hostel is close to all Madrid’s top attractions, best shopping, and trendiest nightlife spots.

It has a full kitchen, spacious common room, a book exchange for travellers, and best of all, no bunk beds!

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Centro: Europa Hotel Madrid

Charming, modern and centrally located are just a few of the reasons Europa Hotel is our top recommendation for where to stay in Centro Madrid.

This hotel is close to shops, restaurants and bars. It has an outdoor terrace, a stylish bar and comfortable and spacious rooms.

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Best Hotel in Centro: Mayerling Hotel

The Mayerling Hotel is a great base for first-time visitors to Madrid. It is close to restaurants, bars and Madrid’s top tourist attractions.

This quaint two-star hotel has a rooftop terrace, a coffee bar, and good-sized rooms. Enjoy modern amenities and authentic Spanish charm in the heart of the city.

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2. Lavapiés Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Madrid on a Budget

Lavapies is one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in the city. An enclave for artists and creatives, this central neighbourhood is home to a myriad of international cuisines, hip street art, trendy bars and rustic cafes.

In addition to great sights and cultural attractions, Lavapies has a high concentration of good value accommodations. From cosy hostels to quaint boutique hotels, this neighbourhood is overflowing with comfortable and modern accommodation options at affordable prices.

It should be noted that some of Lavapies smaller side streets can be a little seedy at night. When picking accommodations, stick to the main streets and squares to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.

Lavapiés, Madrid

 

Top Things to See and Do in Lavapiés

  • Visit La Tabacalera de Lavapies for an off-the-beaten-path afternoon of art, culture, music and undergrounds style.
  • Hunt for treasures at El Rastro, a weekly open-air flea market that’s one of the most popular markets in Spain.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of drinks and people watching on Calle Argumosa, home to an eclectic mix of pubs and bars.
  • Sample great tapas and sip delicious cocktails at Mercado de Anton Martin.
  • Grab a drink at the hip El Pavon Teatro Kamikaze.
  • Savour tapas, tortillas, croquettas and more at Café Melo’s.
  • Admire the architecture and exquisite décor at Palacio de Fernan Nunez.
  • Enjoy a great range of local and international beers at La Buena Pinta.
  • Experience an authentic Spanish market at Mercado San Fernando.
  • Wander throughout the bustling Plaza Lavapies.
  • Try typical tapas at Bar La Mina, where the food is good and the prices are even better!

 

Best Hostel in Lavapiés: Ok Hostel Madrid

Ok Hostel Madrid is a fun and social hostel located at the heart of the city. A short walk from Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, this hotel is our top pick for where to stay in Lavapies. It has an outdoor terrace, a book exchange, a small kitchen and common room.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Lavapiés: Artrip Hotel

Airtrip Hotel is a modern and luxurious hotel – and one of our top picks for Lavapies. Its central location makes it a great base for exploring Madrid.

It has spacious rooms and minimalist décor. Guests will love relaxing in the library or grabbing a drink at the stylish bar.

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Best Hotel in Lavapiés: Hostal Rivera Atocha

Enjoy all the charm of a hotel without the high cost at Hostal Rivera Atocha. Within walking distance of Puerta del Sol and the centre of Madrid, this hostel is close to restaurants, bars and Lavapies top attractions.

Each room comes with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, and comfortable and clean beds.

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3. Chueca Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Madrid for Nightlife

For the hottest party in the city, look no further than the Chueca neighbourhood. Located east of the city centre, Chueca is home to trendy bars, lively clubs, charming pubs and funky cafes, making it one of the best neighborhoods in Madrid for nightlife.

It is the epicentre of Madrid’s LGBTQ community and a magnet for Madrileños of all ages. Chueca is colourful and exciting and known for its fun atmosphere both day and night.

Cheuca is also a great destination for those who like to shop. Lining the small and narrow streets are everything from independent shops to upscale boutiques and big brand name stores.

Chueca, Madrid

image source: Flickr

 

Top Things to See and Do in Chueca

  • Sip sophisticated cocktails and enjoy the view from the rooftop bar at Mercado San Anton.
  • Sample sweet treats at Mama Framboise.
  • Dance the night away at Delirium.
  • See great live acts at But.
  • Dine on modern Spanish fare at DSTAGE.
  • Drink exotic cocktails at Del Diego Cocktail Bar.
  • Dance, drink, and laugh the night away at Black and White, a large and lively club known for it’s fun and raucous drag show.
  • Explore the bustling Calle de Hortaleza, a hotbed of shopping, dining and nightlife options.
  • Eat great (and cheap) tapas and enjoy a few cold beers at El Tigre.
  • Enjoy urbane cocktails at Macera.
  • Be thoroughly entertained and listen to great music at Toni 2 Piano Bar.
  • Drink hip cocktail at the stylish Bodega Angel Sierra.
  • Dance until dawn (and even beyond) at the Thundercat Club.

 

Best Hostel in Chueca: Room007 Chueca Hostel

This hostel is our top choice for where to stay in Chueca. Located at the heart of this fabulous and fashionable neighbourhood, this hostel is within walking distance of the hottest bars and trendiest nightclubs. It has an attic lounge, open terrace, and large self-service kitchen.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Chueca: Hotel Sardinero Madrid

This hotel seamlessly blends historic charm and modern cool – which is why it’s one of our top choices for where to stay in Chueca.

It’s a four-star hotel with spacious rooms, modern décor, and a fitness centre for guests. Madrid’s best shopping and hottest bars are just steps from its doorstep.

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Best Hotel in Chueca: B&B Hotel Fuencarral 52

Centrally located and charmingly cool are just two of the reasons we love this hotel. It has a great rooftop terrace, comfortable beds, and guests can enjoy breakfast every day. A short walk to the city centre, B&B Hotel Fuencarral 52 is located right in the heart of Madrid’s entertainment district.

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4. Malasaña Neighborhood – Coolest Place to Stay in Madrid

Malasana is a neighbourhood with a rich and diverse history. In the mid-20th-century, it was the centre of the counterculture democracy movement that Movida Madrilena helped usher in following the death of dictator Franco. It was a little rough around the edges then, but it’s now best known for its bar hopping and bad boy reputation.

Today, Malasana is by far the coolest neighbourhood in Madrid. Revamped and rejuvenated in recent decades, it is now packed with cool boutiques, rustic bars, vintage shops, and hipster hideaways. It is the place to hang out both day and night.

Malasaña, Madrid

 

Top Things to See and Do in Malasaña

  • Delight your senses by dining at La Musa, a great restaurant that serves up awesome Spanish fusion fare.
  • Explore the historic Plaza del Dos de Mayo.
  • Sip on an afternoon vermouth at Bodega la Ardosa, one of the best and oldest bars in the city.
  • See great works of art at the ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration.
  • Enjoy good beer and a great atmosphere at La Via Láctea, a rock’n’roll bar with pool tables and great people watching.
  • Take the Urban Safari tour with the Madrid Street Art Project and see amazing murals and works of art by Spanish street artists.
  • Browse the collections at the Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque.
  • Taste the best tapas in the city at El Puerto de Cabreira.
  • Dine on delicious burgers at Burnout.
  • Sample craft beers from around the world at LOS GRIFOS Craft Beers.

 

Best Hostel in Malasaña: Mad4Your Hostel

Mad4You Hostel is our best recommendation for where to stay in Malasana. Built in a typical 15th-century Madrileño house, this hostel has a shared kitchen, cosy bar, and an on-site laundry service.

It is a short walk from the city and is close to all of Malasana’s best bars and attractions.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Malasaña: Espahotel Gran Via

Espahotel Gran Via is perfectly situated for exploring the city. It’s close to Malasana, Centro, and well connected to the rest of the city.

Charming and comfortable, this three-star hotel has a coffee bar, a lounge bar, and an on-site tour and ticket desk. Surrounded by bars and restaurants, this hotel is situated at the centre of the action.

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Best Hotel in Malasaña: Ibis Madrid Centro

This great two-star hotel has a range of modern amenities. From massage services to free wifi, it has everything you need for a great stay.

It is conveniently located in Malasana and it’s close to hip bars, trendy restaurants, and cultural and historic tourist attractions. Enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant or relax in the lounge bar at this delightful Madrid hotel.

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5. Paseo del Prado – Where to Stay in Madrid for Families

Paseo del Prado is an elegant and picturesque neighbourhood in the centre of Madrid. Located east of Centro, this neighbourhood is well connected via public transit and is a great base for exploring the city.

Paseo del Prado is one of the best neighborhoods in Madrid for families. Here, you’ll find a great number of attractions, from the city’s famous art museums to the lush and expansive El Retiro Park. This downtown neighbourhood is packed with activities that the whole family will love.

Paseo del Prado, Madrid

El Retiro Park

 

Top Things to See and Do in Paseo del Prado

  • See works of art by Velasquez, Goya, El Greco and more at the Prado National Museum. Visit after work when admission is free.
  • Enjoy fresh and delicious pasta and pizza at Oven Atocha.
  • Climb to the top of Palacio de Cibeles and enjoy an amazing view over Madrid.
  • Run, jump, laugh and play in Retiro Park, the green beating heart of Madrid.
  • Cool down with a delicious cone of ice cream.
  • Browse an extensive collection of 20th-century modern art at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
  • Stop and smell the roses at the Royal Botanical Garden.
  • Enjoy a snack at the bustling and busy Museo del Jamon.
  • See nearly 1,000 pieces of art from the 13th- through 20th-century at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza.
  • Explore Spain’s naval history at the Naval Museum.
  • Visit the Palacio de Cristal, located deep in the heart of El Retiro Park.

 

Best Hostel in Paseo del Prado: Le Pepa Chic Bed & Breakfast

This charming downtown hostel is a great choice for families visiting Madrid. It is close to museums, galleries, El Retiro Park, and a great number of family-friendly restaurants. Each room has a private bathroom, free wifi, and a flat-screen TV.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Paseo del Prado: Hostal Bruna Madrid

A short walk from Madrid’s Museum Triangle, Hostal Bruna Madrid is our number one recommendation for where to stay in Paseo del Prado.

Well connected throughout the city, this hostel is close to restaurants, parks, and top tourist attractions. It has modern rooms, comfortable beds, and rooms specially designed for families.

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Best Hotel in Paseo del Prado: Hostal Residencia Fernandez

Comfortable and homey, this is one of our top accommodation recommendations for Paseo del Prado. Just a two-minute walk from Reina Sofia, this hostel is close to shops, museums, restaurants, and parks.

Each room has a flat-screen TV and comfortable beds, and guests can enjoy relaxing on the delightful terrace.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Madrid

Madrid is a sprawling metropolis teeming with a buzzing atmosphere. There is so much to do in Madrid surrounding its art, architecture, cultural events, cozy cafés, and awesome restaurants and nightlife.

We created this neighborhood guide to help you choose where to stay in Madrid based on your travel interests, whether you’re visiting Madrid with family, friends, or on a solo trip!

If you’re still unsure where to stay in Madrid, we recommend Ok Hostel Madrid for our top hostel pick, and our top hotel pick is Europa Hotel Madrid!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

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Wondering where to stay in Madrid? This epic guide covers Madrid's best neighborhoods + accommodation, including top things to do by area.

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