Preparing for a trip through Madrid? There’s plenty to keep you busy!
You can spend days exploring world renowned museums, or simply relax in the famously large public squares. You’ll also find an endless number of cafes and tapas restaurants.
Deciding which attractions to see is just as hard as deciding where to stay in Madrid. While Madrid is a very walkable city, you still may want to stay closer to the destinations that you want to visit so you can see as much as possible.
If you enjoy museums or plan to check out the public plazas in the heart of the city, you’ll want to find a hotel in the Sol neighbourhood. For those who enjoy shopping at flea markets, La Latina may provide the best spot to start your trip.
Are you unsure of where to find the right hotel or which neighbourhood to stay in? Start your search for accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Madrid.
Where to stay in Madrid, Spain: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods & areas for travellers
Madrid is the capital of Spain, and contains a lot of history. It’s a city filled with historic buildings and amazing architecture set amidst modern infrastructure.
The city spreads out from a central public square called Puerta del Sol. As you leave the centre, you’ll come across a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct atmosphere.
From the trendy Lavapies neighbourhood to the art infused Sol, Madrid is a diverse city that appeals to a variety of travellers.
Whether you have 24 hours in Madrid or a week, you should think about how you want to spend your trip, and then explore the most popular districts and barrios. Some of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Madrid for travellers include:
- La Latina
Take a closer look at each area to find the perfect spot to stay during your next trip to Madrid.
✓ Best neighbourhood for art lovers and history enthusiasts
The heart of the city is where you’ll want to stay if you want to explore Old Madrid. Sol is the neighbourhood that occupies most of the Centro district, which includes some of the most popular attractions in Madrid.
Art connoisseurs will enjoy the Golden Triangle. This trifecta of world-renowned museums includes the Prado, Thyssen, and Reina Sofia Museums.
You’ll also find many large open public squares called “plazas.” The Plaza Mayor, Plaza del Oriente, and Puerta del Sol are all within walking distance if you choose Sol as your home base.
Other attractions include the Royal Palace and its nearby gardens and opera house. You can learn all about the city with guided tours at most of these destinations.
Of course, there’s still plenty of shopping and dining in this neighbourhood. Around every corner, you’ll find another café, restaurant, or a small shop.
Sol also has plenty to offer for architecture admirers. Most of the buildings throughout the neighbourhood are historic sites featuring the Spanish styles of the 18th and early-19th centuries.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Sol
Spread throughout Madrid’s unique architectural landmarks in Sol are a variety of five-star hotels, luxury bed & breakfasts, and boutique hotels. Keep in mind that prices may be a little higher compared to some of the other neighbourhoods, but you’re paying for the convenience of staying right next to the historic buildings that populate this section of the city.
Here are a few of the best hotels & places to stay in Sol:
- The Principal Madrid: Centrally located near some of the must-see sites in Madrid, this hotel offers terrace views of the downtown area. The staff is also incredibly helpful. They all speak English and can provide directions, advice, or recommendations during your stay.
- Intur Palacio San Martin: A boutique-style hotel in a building that has the look and feel of a historic site itself. It’s within walking distance of Teatro Real and Sol Metro Station, and it provides a great base of operations for your trip.
- Petit Palace Plaza Espana: Right next to several of the top theatres in the area. Fans of dance and performing arts should enjoy a stay at this clean hotel with large rooms. It’s also pet-friendly.
- Hotel Plaza Mayor: Very close to all the key destinations in Madrid. While the hotel offers limited amenities and features, it happens to be one of the more affordable options in an area full of luxury hotels.
✓ Best place for foodies and flea market shoppers
If you enjoy fine cuisine and flea market finds, La Latina is where you’ll spend most of your time in Madrid.
This charming neighbourhood also features some of the oldest buildings in the city, which makes it another great area for architecture buffs to explore.
La Latina “the Latin Quarter” is also known for its small, winding streets and alleyways. It’s a compact maze of old buildings and stone paths.
As you navigate the tiny streets, you’ll see restaurant after restaurant. The area is home to some of the best restaurants and cafes in Madrid.
You can get a little bit of everything, from churros in the morning to all types of tapas throughout the evening and night.
Besides offering the widest selection of fine food, La Latina offers the widest selection of fine goods. On Sundays, El Rastro opens. It’s a massive flea market with all types of items for sale, from trinkets to scarves.
After the market closes, most tourists and residents head to La Cava Baja. This popular street is lined with bars offering Spanish wines, draft beer, and hot food.
Where to stay: The best hotels in La Latina
One of the advantages of staying in the neighbourhood is that you’ll typically find lower priced accommodations. Unfortunately, finding a family hotel in La Latina isn’t always easy. Most of the accommodations in the area are either hostels or boutique establishments.
Here are a few of the best hotels & places to stay in La Latina:
- Posada del Leon de Oro Boutique Hotel: Located above a restaurant, this boutique hotel is just a short walk from the El Rastro flea market that opens every Sunday in the La Latina neighbourhood. It’s a small hotel that caters to your every need.
- Mayerling Hotel: A small hotel in the heart of Madrid with single and double rooms. You get a free breakfast, and you’re within walking distance of the Plaza Mayor. From there, you can check out all the top attractions in Madrid.
- Petit Palace Plaza Mayor: A boutique-style hotel with clean rooms and friendly staff. You’re also right above a 24-hour supermarket and around the corner from Plaza Mayor. Just keep in mind that the rooms are a little small.
- Hotel Ganivet: A popular hotel with many amenities. The hotel also offers a large parking area for those with rental vehicles. The hotel is in the centre of the La Latina neighbourhood and around the corner from a variety of theatres.
✓ Best place for a multicultural experience and trendy nightlife
For those who want a more adventurous trip to Madrid, you should consider staying in Lavapies. This is one of the most diverse neighbourhoods, as it’s also home to the biggest population of immigrants in the city.
With a variety of cultures living together in one area, the Lavapies neighbourhood provides all types of cuisine. It’s also home to some wonderful Indian restaurants.
Lavapies is one of the edgier neighbourhoods in Madrid. While it’s been known as a high-crime area for many years, it’s starting to become a popular destination for the younger crowd.
In recent years, it’s started to attract hipsters, students, and foreign travellers, especially at night. If you’re seeking a vibrant nightlife scene, you’ll be in the right neighbourhood.
You’re also still within walking distance of all the best sites in Madrid. Lavapies is just south of the Sol neighbourhood. You can spend the day visiting the museums and plazas and the evening exploring the bars of Lavapies.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Lavapies
Lavapies is a diverse neighbourhood with an equally diverse selection of hotels to choose from. You can stay in a charming hotel with a rooftop restaurant and a view of the city or enjoy modern accommodations at an upscale luxury hotel. There are also budget options for travellers who would rather save their money for shopping.
Here are a few of the best hotels & places to stay in Lavapies:
- Artrip Hotel: A recently renovated boutique hotel. The modern rooms are relatively cramped, but you’ll probably spend most of your time exploring the vibrant Lavapies neighbourhood. You’re also just a stone’s throw from Lavapies Metro Station.
- Catalonia Atocha: A highly-rated hotel with a hot tub on the roof! You also get a great view of the city and can easily walk to any of the popular landmarks in Madrid. In fact, you are just a short walk from world-famous museums and some of the most visited markets.
- Casual Madrid del Teatro: Often described as a quirky hotel, this location matches the charm of the Lavapies neighbourhood. It is right next to the Reina Victoria Theatre and just 500 yards from Calle de Carretas shopping street.
- Hotel Paseo Del Arte: A luxury hotel with convenient access to the Golden Triangle of Art and Atocha Metro Station. The hotel also has its own bar and restaurant, along with a long list of amenities to help you feel at home.
✓ Best place for eclectic shoppers and music lovers
Malasana is another trendy neighbourhood. It was a big part of the counterculture movement in the 1980s, which came a decade or two after most Western countries had already experienced their moment of free love and recreational drug use.
The neighbourhood still includes some reminders of the more provocative era, such as graffiti on some of the buildings and a hipper vibe compared to some of the older neighbourhoods.
Today the neighbourhood attracts fans of music, beer, and shopping. It’s become a family-friendly neighbourhood during the day and one of the best spots for alternative music in the evening.
The area is full of bars that offer inexpensive beer and alt-rock music. It is a vibrant area and a popular destination for students from the local universities.
It’s also a great place to go shopping during the day. You can find vendors selling vintage clothing, name brand clothes, and bohemian dresses.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Malasana
Unless you plan to stay in a hotel with shared bathrooms, you may pay a premium price for a hotel in Malasana. This trendy neighbourhood has a lot of four-star and five-star hotels that cater to those who prefer luxury travel. You’ll also find some quaint boutique hotels with convenient access to the nearest metro station.
Here are a few of the best hotels & places to stay in Malasana:
- Hotel Atlantico: Arguably the most popular hotel in the area. It’s a beautiful hotel inside a historic building that offers wonderful views of the city from the rooms. The top floor features a patio that is open to guests, while the ground floor provides quick access to several metro stations.
- 7 Islas Hotel: A top-rated hotel with 24-hour room service. Like most of the hotels near downtown Madrid, it’s a boutique operation with friendly staff. They can help you with just about everything, including providing helpful directions or even booking restaurant reservations. The hotel is a short stroll from Gran Via Station Metro Station and several great shopping areas.
- Petit Palace Triball: A boutique-style hotel with free coffee and pastries in the morning. It’s in the heart of the Malasana neighbourhood and within walking distance of Sol Metro Station. It’s also just a few hundred yards from four different shopping streets with designer and internationally popular brands, such as H&M, Nike, and Zara.
- Best Western Hotel Los Condes: A quality hotel with great prices. Downstairs you’ll find a bar and cafe. When you step outside, you’re within walking distance to several of the most popular theatres in the area, including Rialto Theatre and Arlequin Theatre. Most rooms also offer a great view of Madrid.