7 Best Areas to Stay in Madrid: The Ultimate Guide

Planning a trip to Spain’s Capital and wondering the best area to stay in Madrid to be central and not miss anything? We’re here with all the insider tips!

There are a TON of neighborhoods (or “barrios”) in Madrid – some pretty epic and some you should absolutely not stay in. Caleb and I have been to Madrid nearly 10 times and have stayed in some, shall we say, shady places as well as some EPIC locations. We’ve made mistakes and are here to share them ALL with you so that you can pick the perfect location for your itinerary.

If we had to pick, Caleb and I think the best neighborhood is either Malasana, Sol, or La Latina. In this guide, we’ll share all 7 areas that could be a great choice to stay in Madrid. Whether you’re a foodie couple, a couple who loves art, or a couple who wants to just chill or something in between, Madrid has a neighborhood for you!

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Let’s get into it starting with a video that shows a little bit of each neighborhood on the list.

YouTube video

From the author: Caleb and I have been to Madrid almost 10 times and stayed in every single area on this list, so we know which are the best and worst! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll respond ASAP!

The “Too Long Didn’t Read” Overview of the Best Neighborhoods To Stay in Madrid

If you don’t want to read our entire Madrid travel guide, here are the 7 neighborhoods that Caleb and I recommend after exploring each firsthand, along with what each neighborhood is the best for and the main highlights of each neighborhood.

Sol/CentroSightseeing-Most functional neighborhood with main attractions close by
-Famous Gran Via
-Best view at “Mirador de la Catedral”
-Famous for churros at Chocolateria San Gines
Huertas/Barrio de Las LetrasNightlife
-Diverse bars and restaurants
-Close to Retiro Park
-Statue of Miguel de Cervantes and Plaza Santa Ana
-Famous garlic shrimp at La Casa De Abuelo
La Latina
Foodies-High number of restaurants and bars
-Authentic Spanish experience
-Self-guided tapas crawl on Calle Cava Baja
-Popup seafood tapas party at Mercado de la Cebada
Budget and Off the Beaten Path
-Cool street art and multicultural scene
-Budget-friendly stays
-Street art on Calle de Lavapies
-Bottomless wine cooking class at the Cooking Clubhouse
Luxury-Upscale residential area with designer stores
-Quieter and safer neighborhood
-National Archeological Museum and Mercado de la Paz
-Check out the weird head statue at Armada Espanol Square
Relaxation-Closest to Retiro Park and Prado Museum
-Quiet and safe
-Walk through Retiro Park
-Tapas bar hop on Calle Ibiza
Cool Cafes and Chill Nightlife
-Super central and hip
-Plaza de Espana and Mercado de San Ildefonso
-Sunset at Temple of Debod
-Brunch at Ojala with toast and iberico ham

Map of The Best Areas to Stay in Madrid

Here is a map I’ve created for you to show a visual of where all the neighborhoods are, including some of the key “tourist” things to see, to help you gauge the best area to stay in Madrid for your first visit.

Now, I’ve broken our 7 favorite areas down based on different travel preferences or things you might prefer as a couple which can help guide you where to stay as well. For example, we’re foodies and love the chill nightlife, so we prefer to stay in La Latina or Malasana because the food is one of the things we think make Madrid worth exploring!

We’ve also included the best tapas bars to eat and drink because you might think we have been body snatched if we didn’t mention food, wine, or cocktails, wouldn’t you? #priorities. 


Regardless of where you choose to stay, make sure you pay attention to the tiled street signs all over Madrid. Each tile always depicts a drawing that describes the street name. For example “Calle arenal” has a street sign with a pyramid dune as “Arenal” means sand! It’s fun to explore and not something many tourists know about! 

7 Best Areas to Stay in Madrid for The First Time Tourist:

1. Overall – Sol/Centro

If you want to make the absolute most of your Madrid itinerary and see all the “tourist” sites, then your best bet is to stay in the Sol/Centro neighborhood, one of the best neighborhoods in Madrid for sightseeing, first-timers or a weekend trip.

We do have to say that this area of Madrid Centro does lack a little bit of the charm that other neighborhoods have. You have the famous Gran Via in this neighborhood as well which gives it a bit more of a commercial vibe. 


  • The most functional neighborhood with basically all the main attractions within easy access and also the main Atocha train station nearby. No need to rent a car or get a metro card!
  • You also have a lot of choices to stay here from budget to luxury options due to the location.
  • Has a main metro station which makes getting around REALLY easy if you decide not to walk everywhere. 
  • This is the most central area, so you’re more likely to find people who speak perfect English, but you will find this in most neighborhoods on this list!


  • Sol lacks some of the charm of the other neighborhoods on this list 
  • We found the restaurants to be more expensive and more on the touristy side. You won’t find as many super authentic little tapas bars here.
  • Depending on the time of year that you visit Madrid, the central area could be VERY busy with tourists and higher hotel prices.
A couple stands embracing while looking at the Almudena Cathedral during sunset in Madrid, with the grand architecture and clear skies in the background

Things to do: Visit Plaza Mayor (just don’t eat at the restaurants there!), shop on Gran Via, Visit the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral, and Explore Mercado de San Miguel.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Visit the Cathedral at sunrise or sunset and route to the “Mirador de la Catedral” on Google Maps for the BEST view that somehow no one seems to know about it? Caleb and I always go here and it’s just so pretty and so romantic!!

Best Places to Eat: 

  • Chocolateria San Gines for famous churros con chocolate. But, don’t forget the porras, churros’ lesser-eaten cousins! They are thicker so they are fluffier and a little more greasy, but less crunchy than churros!
  • Inclan Brutal Bar – They have some very unique and whimsical food and really cool and creative cocktails. I had one served in a giant pistachio cup that had pistachio, soy milk, rum, chocolate, and citrus in it. It was much better than it sounds!
  • Bar La Campana – This is literally the ONLY place you should eat the famous “calamari sandwich” in Madrid. DO NOT EAT IT ANYWHERE ELSE, it’s bad. You will see a long line of drunk people here late at night 🙂
  • Casa Labra – This tavern is famous for its cod recipes. We literally waited in line before it even opened and then little Spanish Grandmas were asking the servers to fill the tupperware they brought with fried cod – it’s THAT GOOD.

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Sol: Your Feet! Madrid is super walkable and Sol is the most central neighborhood so there really is no need for renting a car or using public transport. It’s not like visiting the Spanish island of Mallorca where you really do need a car!

Where to stay in Sol: 

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite):  Hotel Liabeny – Ideally situated within the center of Madrid and walking distance to great bars and restaurants, this hotel is super clean with an excellent breakfast. It also has a gym with a sauna and did you see those big bathrooms with his and her sinks? HELLO.

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Hostal Riesco – Right by Plaza Mayor and only 10 minutes from the best museums, this hostel is clean with friendly staff and the basic rooms you need to enjoy your stay in Madrid.

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Regina – Oh la la, this hotel oozes romance and class don’t you think? It has a fabulous Mediterranean restaurant with a wine cellar for a date night in! Make sure you look at that (included!) breakfast, because it is FABULOUS.

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Sol/Centro here <<

2.For Nightlife – Huertas/Barrio de Las Letras

Named after the many famous Spanish writers who once lived in this area, Barrio de Las Letras is the best area to stay in Madrid for nightlife. It’s also still super central but has a little more charm than staying in Sol. The main street here is Las Huertas, which gives the neighborhood its alternate name. As you walk through the streets you’ll find passages and quotes from authors that used to live in the area. 


  • There are a ton of diverse bars and restaurants (just like many other neighborhoods because eating in Madrid is basically the best thing ever) 
  • Very central and close to Retiro Park if you want to spend a little more time relaxing.

Cons: Are there any cons to Barrio de Las Letras? We think not. The only possible con is that it doesn’t have any of the “main attractions” in it unless you want to throw it a bone and count the “Thyssen-Bornemisza” museum since it’s kinda on the outskirts. It might be considered in this neighborhood depending on who you ask….but just know that it’s all close by so does it really matter?

Things to do: Visit the Statue of Miguel de Cervantes (the author of Don Quixote), Dine Al Fresco at the pretty Plaza Santa Ana, wander down the Paseo Del Prado, or catch a show at the Teatro Espanol.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Eat famous garlic shrimp on the most epic food tour! We’ve done this food tour TWICE it’s just that good. Plus, it saves you an entire evening of planning what to do, , where to eat and risking not getting in anywhere because you didn’t make reservations (trust us, it happened to us SO MANY TIMES.)

The traditional façade of Casa Gonzalez in Madrid, featuring a red awning, displays a selection of wines and cheeses, with two men engaged in conversation by the storefront, reflecting the city's authentic culinary culture.

Best Places to Eat:

  • La Casa De Abuelo – while this is a smidge on the outskirts of the neighborhood, they claim to have invented the classic “Gambas al ajilo” or Spanish Garlic Shrimp. Caleb and I can personally say they are AMAZING paired with their housemade sweeter red wine. Yes, you read it right – sweet RED wine with seafood. It’s a thing and you have to do it.
  • Casa Conzalez – This is a serious hidden gem if you like wine and charcuterie. It’s a small deli but there is a bar in the back where you can have local cheese, sausage, and wine. Caleb and I LOVE this spot!
  • Salmon Guru – if cocktails are your thing, you must visit this spot! It’s been on the list of 50 best bars in the world and we had some super unique drinks there even served in DRAGONS. It’s spendy but did you read that right? DRAGON. COCKTAILS. ‘Nuff said.
  • Taberna El Sur de Huertas – This spot has a couple of locations and it’s got the literally BEST Sangria in all of Madrid – you need to order a pitcher because you will love it, we swear. Caleb and I are also obsessed with the cod scrambled eggs and order them every time we go to Madrid. I know you think it’s weird but won’t steer your taste buds wrong, I swear.

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Huertas: Just like Sol, your own two feet are the best as it’s almost as central and everything is nice and close!

Where to stay in Huertas:

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite):   Catalonia Puerta del Sol – Just 50 meters from Puerta De Sol, this hotel is central for amazing tapas restaurants! You can snag a delicious buffet breakfast and did I mention it has a bar with a rooftop terrace? Just look how cute it is!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Far Home Atocha – Located in the center of Madrid, this hospital offers both private and shared rooms and some have private bathrooms to keep the romance but save a buck. The famous Huertas street for nightlife is just 300 meters away making a fun night out easy and convenient for you guys.

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Urban – First things first: peep that rooftop swimming pool with a terrace and cocktail bar. Can you imagine how relaxing that would be in the hot Madrid Summer? Other than that goodness, this hotel has a restaurant run by Michelin-star chefs a pretty great gym, and the most beautiful rooms. I honestly want to just live in that bathtub, don’t you? Of course, the location is central and epic too!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Huertas here <<

3. For Foodies Like Us – La Latina

Oh boy oh boy, we’ve come to the best place to EAT in Madrid which is why La Latina is me and Caleb’s favorite neighborhood. We were told by a local that Madrid actually has over 15,000 restaurants and the highest number of restaurants and bars per square meter in the world and I am convinced that half of them are in La Latina. The location is also super central and just oozes charm around every food-packed corner.


  • La Latina is very central making it easy to see other sights.
  • It’s buzzing and bustling and you get an authentic Spanish experience without trying too hard.
  • There are also endless bars and tapas restaurants, especially around Madrid’s tapas street “Calle Cava Baja.”
  • Did we mention how charming this neighborhood is?


  • Most of the options here are AirBnBs which have been part of the reason why many Madrid locals can no longer afford rent in the city center. If you don’t want to be part of that problem, hotel options are not available as La Latina is a residential area.
  • The area can also be pretty loud at night, especially on weekends.
A tranquil scene of Cava Baja street in Madrid, lined with historic buildings painted in warm hues, with balconies overlooking the quiet, cobblestoned street in the early evening.

Things to do: Take a self-guided tapas crawl on the Calle de Cava Baja, Visit the Mercado de la Cebada, Saint Isidore Museum, and El Rastro Flea Market (on Sundays only!)

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: very few people know this but the Mercado de la Cebada seafood area turns into a popup seafood tapas party on Saturdays from around noon to 2pmish. The fishmongers sell their seafood and you can get beer and wine and it’s LIVELY. Caleb and I were kinda overwhelmed when we went but in a good, fun way? You gotta try it.

Best Places to Eat: 

  • Taberna la Concha – our favorite restaurant in Madrid that makes MEAN homemade vermouth so good we always bring it back as a Spanish souvenir. They also have a unique tapas menu. Our favorite is the Thai curry fish balls.
  • Pez Tortilla – This VERY busy spot makes some of the best tortilla Espanola in Madrid and all the flavors are delicious!
  • La Perejila – another contender for one of our favorite tapas bars in Madrid! Inside is a whole vibe and it’s loud, bustling, and as frames and mirrors all over its bright green walls. Try the vermouth and sobrasada and cheese toast (spreadable sausage). Thank us later.
  • Taberna Tempranillo – this spot feels super romantic and like you’re eating tapas in a stone cellar. The wine list is EPIC and Caleb and I dream of the squid toast we had here.  

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in La Latina: You guessed it: your feet!

Where to stay in La Latina:

Mid-Budget # 1 ($$ – Our Favorite): L&H La Latina Selection – Right by the metro station, you’ll find studios and apartments here with 24-hour reception for the ultimate convenience. The rooms have AC (a must in the summer) and some have adorable balconies or terraces. You’ll also love being within a 5-minute walk of many bars and restaurants!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Mid-Budget # 2 (there are not a ton of great really budget-friendly places here):   Posada del León de Oro Boutique Hotel – Just steps from Plaza Mayor this cute hotel has air conditioning and soundproofed rooms (which you’ll love in this bustling neighborhood) as well as a delicious restaurant with traditional food and incredible wine. Check out how cute and traditional the rooms are – what a local experience!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): Living Plaza de la Paja – with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this apartment is spacious – take a look for yourself! If you’re planning to do any cooking, you’ll love the fully equipped kitchen. If not? This lovely apartment is walkable to a ton of spots!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in La Latina here <<

4. For Budget and Off the Beaten Path – Lavapies

Lavapies kinda blends in with La Latina if we’re being honest since it borders it to the East and they both share the El Rastro flea market. It’s an edgy, up-and-coming neighborhood with a ton of cool street art, a big multicultural scene, and lots of budget-friendly stays. We found that Lavapies feel more relaxed and chill. There aren’t people around every corner and you’ll find a lot of plazas with people just chilling and eating or drinking!


  • It’s still very central and has lots of really cool, international restaurants and bars!
  • This is also one of the best areas to stay on a budget as it’s typically a residential area for the lower class in Madrid

Cons: There aren’t a ton of accommodations here and not very many touristy sights in the area, however, it’s still close to most of them.

Things to do:  Check out all the street art, especially on Calle de Lavapies, Visit Mercado de San Fernando or Mercado Anton Martin, visit the Reina Sofia Museum, do a cooking class at the Cooking Clubhouse or visit some unique buildings – We loved the building that Casa de Asturias sidreria is on the bottom of. It’s really pretty and unique!

The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid under clear blue skies, with banners displaying current exhibitions, reflecting the city's rich cultural scene and modern art focus.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Do a bottomless wine cooking class at the Cooking Clubhouse. This was a highlight of our most recent trip to Madrid and saves you a night of planning what to do, eat and drink! A total hidden gem, in our opinion.

Best Places to Eat:

  • GatoGato – this is a little bit of a fancy tapas restaurant but one we talk about all the time – specifically the grilled lettuce with pistachio sauce!
  • Cafe de Ratas – A bit of a Mexican spot with mezcal cocktails, beer, and things like nachos.
  • Taberna El Sur Madrid – Yes, the same one we recommended in Huertas. This is their original location and you have to try it if you didn’t go to the one in Huertas!

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Lavapies: Like all the other areas, you can walk to most places from Lavapies!

Where to stay in Lavapies:

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite): Apartamento en Pleno Centro – This apartment is super cozy and beautifully decorated with modern, warm wooden accents. Nearby you’ll find the main train station, Reina Sofia Museum, Plaza Mayor, and Mercado San Miguel. So basically, it’s central while being decently budget-friendly!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Apartamento Tres Peces – Madrid Centro – This small but cozy aparthotel is in a central area that is well connected by the metro and public transport and within 15 15-minute walk to most attractions. It also has a fully equipped kitchen if you’re looking to cook. 

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): limehome Madrid Calle Ave María – Just look at the natural light and brightness of this cute aparthotel! This stay is super clean with easy, online check-in. Some of the units also have a balcony or terrace for nice mornings with a cup of coffee overlooking the city of Madrid!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Lavapies here <<

5. For Luxury – Salamanca

If you’re feeling bougie, Salamanca is the place for you. Salamanca is Madrid’s most upscale residential area and when Caleb and I walked through it we saw lots of designer stores like Versace, Prada, and Hugo Boss along the “Golden Mile” which is known internationally for its fashion and runs around the streets Ortega y Gasset and Serrano (yes, like the ham. Weird, we know.)

The buildings are all white or have some red brick accents with beautiful architectural features and it all feels quite rich. This makes sense because it used to be the area where Madrid’s aristocracy lived!


  • Lots of amazing shopping and upscale restaurants if that is what you’re into. 
  • It’s also quieter than some of the more downtown neighborhoods which can have a more relaxing and romantic feel.
  • It’s also closer to Retiro than other neighborhoods.
  • Finally, it’s one of the safest neighborhoods in Madrid!


  • It’s more of a “daytime” neighborhood as the nightlife isn’t all that awesome.
  • It’s also one of the most expensive areas and not as walkable as some of the more central neighborhoods.

Things to do: Visit the National Archeological Museum, Visit the Mercado de la Paz, check out the National Library of Spain, and shop till you drop!

A monumental sculpture of a white, fragmented head stands against a clear blue sky in Madrid, offering an example of modern art in an urban public space.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Check out the weird head statue at the Armada Espanol Square. It’s cool but creepy. If you want to do something normal? Just shop!

Best Places to Eat:

  • La Tasqueria – this is for adventurous eater couples like Caleb and me. This chic spot specializes in offal like kidney and tongue.
  • La Taberna de Penalver – if you want to eat some darn good Paella without traveling to Valencia, go here!
  • Restaurante Los Montes De Galicia – This sexy spot (did I just call a restaurant sexy? You can judge me.) focuses on seafood from the Galician region of Spain. It’s spendy but a great date night spot!

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Salamanca: You can walk to some attractions but you may want to grab a metro card to make getting around easier as Salamanca is a little out of the city center!

Where to stay in Salamanca:

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite): Boutike Cibeles – okay hello look at the view on the terrace here! You can spend all night on the terrace with a glass of wine. This spot is right by Retiro Park and has a shared terrace with those epic city views, and a buffet breakfast every day. Did we mention the 24-hour reception so your stay is a total breeze?

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Honestly…there isn’t any we can recommend. 😅 Choose somewhere else to stay!

Luxury ($$$): Wellington Hotel & Spa Madrid – want to just zen out? Jump into that beautiful outdoor swimming pool or relax in the spa. And, did you see his and her spacious bathrooms? The rooms here are soundproofed, air-conditioned, and beautifully decorated with marble and even come with slippers and robes – we think that’s the sign of a fancy hotel, don’t you? You also have a few restaurants, a coffee shop, a cigar lounge a library, and even an English Bar on site! What else could you want? 

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Salamanca here <<

6. For Relaxation – Retiro 

If you’re a couple who prefers a more chill vacation and you’re not trying to be close to the best nightlife and bars but still want to be central, Retiro is the place for you. It’s one of the safest and quietest neighborhoods in Madrid and covers Calle Ibiza which is a hot spot where locals go for food!


  • It’s the closest to Retiro Park (since it’s in it) and houses the famous Prado Museum.
  • It’s quiet and safe and is home to some of the grandest hotels in Madrid.
  • You’re also close to Calle Ibiza if you want to get tapas with the locals.


  • It’s very much a “daytime” neighborhood where the working class goes during the day but the night is very quiet.
  • It’s also a little further away from the city center than other neighborhoods so you may need a metro card if you don’t love walking.

Things to do: Visit Retiro Park and the Neptune fountain, visit the Prado Museum, walk the Paseo Del Prado, Take a bicycle tour through Retiro, Visit the Madrid Botanical Garden, Tapas bar hop on Calle Ibiza.

Rowboats float gently on the calm waters of the large pond in Madrid's Retiro Park, with the ornate Monument to Alfonso XII and visitors in the background under a clear sky.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Go on this guided tour of the Prado museum so you can skip the line AND it comes with lunch at the oldest running restaurant in the world (which is VERY HARD to get into otherwise!)

Best Places to Eat:

  • Restaurants Ogrelo – Here you’ll find delicious Galician Seafood with a menu that changes regularly depending on the latest catch.
  • Taberna & Media – A super cozy and warm, brick-lined spot with classic Spanish tapas with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
  • Taberna Laredo – Want Spanish tapas with a little creative flair? Come here and munch on eggplant with fried artichokes or creamy sardines and tomatoes with Burrata cheese.

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Retiro: If you don’t mind walking, you can use your feet (it’s about 30 minutes to the main Plaza Mayor) or you can grab a metro card.

Where to stay in Retiro:

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite): NH Collection Madrid Paseo del Prado – We are obsessed with the view of the Neptune Fountain at this beautiful spot with simple but cozy rooms right on the famous Paseo Del Prado. If you want to work out, there’s also a gym with city views or a restaurant if you just prefer to eat! The marble bathrooms have a rain shower, bathrooms, and slippers – oh la la! Romantic!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Hostal Bruña Paseo del Prado – These rooms are super simple but just what you need with a central location that is walkable to some awesome tapas bars as well as a 24-hour reception.

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Palacio del Retiro, Autograph Collection – They claim to give you celebrity treatment so do we need to say more? Right outside Retiro Park, this hotel features a super stylish bar as well as a gym and a sauna. The bathrooms are huge and spacious with 2 sinks which Caleb and I always get excited about!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Retiro here <<

7. For Cool Cafes and Chill Nightlife: Malasana 

Malasana is our runner-up for the best neighborhood in Madrid! It just has such a lively, fun, and hip vibe and it always seems to be busy. It’s totally one of the coolest neighborhoods in Madrid! We saw lots of buildings with pink and orange facades and flowery terraces giving the whole place a very “boho” vibe. There are tons of bars and cafes to check out and a main central square on the Calle De Espiritu Santo with lots of people just chilling with a beer, wine, or coffee. We always spend quite a bit of time in Malasana when we visit Madrid due to its central location, fun vibe, excellent number of coffee shops, and chill bars and restaurants!


  • It’s super central as it’s just north of the main road in Madrid, the Gran Via.
  • It’s within a short walking distance to basically everywhere you want to go.
  • Malasana is super hip and trendy and you will never run out of places to eat and drink (alcohol or no alcohol!) 


  • Malasana is definitely a place to be at night (which is a pro for us!) but it can get pretty dang busy and loud at night. If you’re team “quiet and romantic vacation” then this might not be the spot for you.
  • There also aren’t any “main touristy” sights in Malasana but you’re so close to them that we don’t really think that’s a con. We’re not that harsh.
A picturesque street in Madrid with orange and yellow facades, balconies adorned with plants, and cars parked alongside, exuding the warmth of a sunny Spanish day.

Things to do: Visit Plaza de Espana, Check out Mercado de San Ildefonso, Get delish coffee (we love Wolfox Coffee and Cafe Angelica) Museum of Contemporary Art, Visit the Temple of Debod Egyptian Temple, Shop at the many vintage/thrift shops or many locally-owned boutiques.

But, if you do just one thing, make it this: Catch the sunset at the Temple of Debod. It’s beautiful, romantic and one of our favorite places to check it out. 


EVERYONE and their dog (like, for real) will watch the sunset from the main lookout. Just walk a few meters down the walking path for equally stunning views with WAY fewer people.

Best Places to Eat:

  • Ojala – this is hands down our most favorite brunch spot and we’ve been almost 10 times. You MUST get the toast with tomato and Iberico ham. If your taste buds haven’t fallen off your head from all the deliciousness in Spain, they will now. Make sure you check out the quirky beach bar with REAL SAND in the basement.
  • Aqui Santona – a super tiny hidden gem focusing on different toasts with delicious toppings like cod, anchovies, and tuna with beer and wine!
  • Bodega Ardosa – A very famous bar that opened in 1892 and specializes in excellent house vermouth. It’s super busy inside and you have to go under the bar counter to use the bathroom – it’s an experience that’s for sure!
  • Casa Camacho – Known for its “yayos” which is vermouth mixed with gin and Sprite, this SUPER busy little tavern is standing room only and such a blast!
  • El Minibar – This is one of our favorite little tapas bars in Madrid. The menu is super creative but really delish. You have to try the grilled goat cheese with tomato jam. It’s not traditional but man, oh man, it’ll knock your taste buds off your face.

Best Way to Get Around If You Stay in Malasana: Your Feet! You’re super central so no need to take the metro!

Where to stay in Malasana:

Mid-Budget ($$ – Our Favorite): Espahotel Gran Vía – Right next to Plaza Espana and just 800 meters from Puerta Del Sol you’ll find this lovely stay with clean and simple rooms and lovely ensuite bathrooms. The location could not be better as it’s right on the Gran Via and comes with soundproofed rooms so the central location will be ideal and not something that keeps you awake all night!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Budget ($): Hostal Abel Victoriano – These rooms are simple but elegant with colorful prints and paintings and clean, private bathrooms. Some rooms have balconies to overlook the vibrant streets of Malasana. You can find English-speaking staff 24 hours a day at the reception! 

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

Luxury ($$$): 
Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá – in an ideal location right in between the palace, the Royal Theatre, and the cathedral, this luxurious stay just screams class. You’ll love the spacious and elegantly decorated rooms with heated bathroom floors. Did we mention it has its own private garden to wander through and check out the ROOFTOP pool with city views? Hello, romance!

>> Click here to check prices, photos, reviews and availability <<

>>Or, check out all the accommodations in Malasana here <<

A bustling street corner in Madrid with diverse architecture, from traditional to modern, with people walking by shops and colorful facades, showcasing the vibrant city life.

FAQ About the Best Areas in Madrid

Where Is The Best Part of Madrid to Stay In?

We think that the best place to stay in Madrid is Sol if you want to be closest to the main sights, Malasana if you want fun, laid-back nightlife, or La Latina if you want to be by the best food.

Where Not to Stay in Madrid?

In terms of safety, you should avoid staying in Carabanchel, Puente de Vallecas, Usera, and Canada Real. We also suggest avoiding staying in Chamberi as it’s not very central. However, you should visit Calle Ponzano in Chamberi for a local tapas bar experience!

What is the Nicest Area in Madrid?

The nicest and most upscale neighborhood in Madrid is Salamanca. However, it is a little less central than some other neighborhoods but it sure is ritzy!

Let’s’ Wrap This Up: Best Area to Stay in Madrid for First Time

Ooff! We got there friends! If you’re still reading you deserve a gold star and a BIG glass of Tempranillo or vermouth 😏. As you can see there are so many options for areas to stay in Madrid and the best one for you as a couple really depends on what you want to experience the most of in Madrid and how many days you plan to stay! However, you’re pretty safe to pick Sol, La Latina, or Malasana if you want to make the most of your visit or it’s your first time in the Spanish capital! 

Where to stay is important but the next step on planning your trip is figuring out what to do! We can help! Check out our ultimate guide to the hidden gems in Madrid or our list of romantic things to do in Madrid!

So, what barrio do you think you’ll be staying in?

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A couple stands embracing while looking at the Almudena Cathedral during sunset in Madrid, with the grand architecture and clear skies in the background

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