The vibrant Spanish capital is jam-packed with cool barrios filled with fashion-forward locals, delicious cuisine, outdoor markers and refined culture.
Where to live or visit in Madrid depends on your preferences, and the majestic Spanish capital has something for everyone. With a wide range of theatres, art galleries, artisan cafes, museums and libraries, and vibrant nightlife, some of Madrid’s best neighbourhoods can be found in the centre.
The central areas like Malasaña, Gran Vía, Chueca or La Latina feature a huge variety of leisure and entertainment hotspots, like hipster hangout style cafes, discos, art galleries and bars. As you can imagine, these areas are always busy, but they make for extremely exciting places to experience.
Madrid is recognised worldwide not just for being a major European capital, but for its alluring vibe, bustling nightlife, and cosmopolitan style of living. With each neighbourhood having its own unique style and identity, it’s an exciting activity to explore them all. Without further ado, let’s give you the run-through of Madrid’s trendiest neighbourhoods:
Puerta del Sol
Although this neighbourhood is more on the commercial side, we couldn’t not include it in our list. Puerta del Sol is the city’s most focal point and is a very popular meeting point for everyone in Madrid. This famous square is where you’ll find the iconic bear statue with the strawberry tree “El Oso y el Madroño”.
The Plaza is always buzzing with tourists, buskers, and natives that come together in the heart of the city. Sol is also a significant location when it comes to transportation and shopping. All of Madrid’s most popular shops can be found around here, and are within walking distance.
The streets are lined with traditional cafes and bars, and restaurants that boast exquisite Spanish cuisine. Don’t forget that the breathtakingly beautiful Plaza Mayor is just a ten-minute walk away. For many, heading to this historic and beautiful landmark never gets old. The grandeur of it is sure to blow you away every time you tread into this square.
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
Malasaña is often likened to the Gracia of Barcelona, as it’s the most hipster/alternative part of the city. The area also has historic significance, renowned for the rebellion that took place here in 1802. The local residents upstaged an uprising against Napoleon, which is where the main square “Dos de Mayo” got its name from.
The main street Fuencarral is known for being a shoppers paradise and runs parallel to Chueca’s Calle Hortaleza north of Gran Vía. As you delve into the neighbourhood, the narrow, inviting streets of Malasaña will surprise you with trendy vintage shops, cool cafes, restaurants and experimental pop-up shops with everything from costumes to home goods.
Its main metro stop Tribunal is the second-most popular meeting spot for friends before going out at night to one of the many popular bars. The nightlife scene here has something in store for everyone, with the big commercial club Barcelo, just off of Tribunal square as well as many indie-alternative bars.
Plaza de Dos de Mayo, Malasaña
The proclaimed LGBT friendly neighbourhood, Chueca is an extremely charming area right next to Malasaña. Chueca is notorious for being one of the best places to go out in Madrid, as it’s full of chic bars, taverns, restaurants, and clubs.
Its main streets are Calles Hortaleza and Fuencarral and are considered to be the more laid-back and diverse version of Malasaña. Here you’ll see pride flags flying proudly from almost every street and corner.
During the day, many locals and tourists come flocking to Chueca to visit its outdoor terraces, upscale boutiques and chic furniture stores. An entire street dedicated to shoe stores can be found on Calle Agusto Figueroa.
When visiting Chueca, we recommend that you head to the Mercado de San Antón, which is a three-storey gourmet food market with an exquisite terrace bar on the roof.
Needless to say, Chueca proudly hosts one of the world’s largest Gay Pride Parades every year, filling the streets with colour, music and dancing.
Our next neighbourhood is a real gem of the city, the laid-back and lovely La Latina. Found nearby the Plaza Mayor, La Latina is made up of gorgeous Latin architecture and small colourful alleys, hence where it gets its name.
As you stroll around the 18th-century buildings, you’ll find heaps of streets line up with chic restaurants with outdoor terraces. It’s here, where it’s rumoured that the best Spanish omelette is served at Juana La Loca tapas and pintxos bar.
Coming to La Latina on Sunday mornings is a must if you want to catch the famous outdoor flea market, El Rastro. La Latina’s skyline is marked by the elegant dome of the basilica, amongst the areas bustling streets, and busy taverns and restaurants. La Latina is probably your best bet for a tapas crawl, with many delicacies to savour.
Moncloa & Arguelles
Also known as the university district, this area is found northwest of the city centre, and is the greatest place to live for young people and students. La Complutense, Madrid’s biggest university is found here, bordering the vibrant areas of Malasaña and Chueca.
This area is also a great spot for shopping, with many popular shops like Zara and the department store of Corte Inglés found on the main draw of Calle Princesa. This main street also leads to Gran Via, passing through Plaza de España.
What makes Moncloa & Arguelles really special are its enormous parks, Parque del Oeste and Madrid Rio Park. These parks are perfect to catch a break from the bustling city, and will engulf you in their stunning natural beauty.
Calle Princesa, Arguelles, Madrid