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Madrid is a cocktail of urban and rural delights. You’ll be kept busy during the day exploring some of the finest museums, lushest parks and most exquisite monuments in Europe. Madrid even has a thriving nightlife with a mix of bars, clubs and theatres.
Madrid can be overshadowed by its coastal neighbor, Barcelona. But Madrid has just as much to offer tourists, and once you know where to stay in Madrid it can be a cheap vacation!
You don’t really need a beach every time you go on vacation and what Madrid lacks in terms of sand and sea, it certainly makes up for it by having year-round sunshine and some of the best tapas and wine tabernas in Spain.
You just need to know where to stay in Madrid. That’s why this guide written by our travel experts will help you whittle down where is best for you.
Table of Contents
Where to stay in Madrid the first time – Centro
Where to stay in Madrid on a budget – La Latina
Best area to stay in Madrid for nightlife – Chueca
Coolest place to stay in Madrid – Malasaña
Best neighborhood in Madrid for families – Retiro
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Madrid.
This cool, quaint and chic hostel is a short walk from Gran Via, Puerta del Sol and Museo del Prado. Travelers on a budget can stay in a dorm or book a private room with incredible furnishings and a private bathroom at a very reasonable rate for this central location.
Emperador Hotel Madrid offers easy access to Madrid’s main hotspots. It has a fitness centre, as well as a sauna, a rooftop terrace, an outdoor pool and even honeymoon suites. Rooms are tastefully decorated. A few moments away from Sol Metro station, it’s easy to travel further afield from here.
The recently refurbished Hotel Urban Madrid is as luxurious as you can get! There’s a Turkish steam bath, an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop terrace. The hotel features express check-in/check-out, around the clock reception and decadent, clean and comfortable rooms. They even have a babysitting service.
Short on time? One of these tours in Madrid is the best way to see the most!
The Spanish capital is divided into 21 districts, which are further broken down into 128 neighborhoods. That’s barrios, in Spanish! Weather remains warm all year round; winters are pleasant and summers are hot.
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and in fact the third-largest city in the EU. However it’s central areas are fairly compact, and if you do venture further afield the city is well-connected by the Metro system.
Each of Madrid’s barrios have their own personalities and attractions. You’ll find plenty of art, museums, churches and beautiful Spanish architecture to keep you busy and there is a tapas bar on every corner. Some are sleepier at night whilst others will keep revelers out until sunrise.
Madrid is a safe city. It is popular with all tourists ranging from budget backpackers, honeymooners and families. Whether solo or with friends, there’s a barrio perfect to suit your needs!
At the heart of Madrid is Centro, which has the highest concentration of attractions and some huge piazzas to explore. Those of you watching the vacation pennies will strike a bargain in La Latina, home to some very affordable hotels (and the best tapas in town).
Known for its LGBT community and gay nightlife Chueca is the place for you party animals, whereas Malasaña is top of the list for those seeking a hipster ‘hood with cool coffee shops and street art. Families will love the tranquility of Retiro and its sprawling park, located just east of the city.
Now let’s take a look, in greater detail, at the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid. Each has it’s own little perks and quirks so be sure to check out which is right for you!
You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to figure out that the district of Centro marks the epicenter of Madrid.
Centro can be divided down into smaller barrios, but essentially, choosing accommodation anywhere within this district puts you in the best spot for exploring the key tourist attractions of the city. Therefore it’s perfect for first-time visitors who want to see all the sights!
At the heart of Centro you’ll find the barrio of Sol, which is marked by the Puerta del Sol. Gravitating out of here, you’ll find the most famous museums and historic landmarks that Madrid has to offer.
By night enjoy a slow dinner and a bottle of Rioja in one of the many restaurants and bars that you’ll find within Centro’s boundary.
With an area size of 5.23 km² Centro is a small enough district that you can get around predominantly on foot.
An elegantly furnished hotel with boutique features at budget prices for such a coveted location. Room Mate Mario offer family facilities, such as babysitting/child services. Staff are available 24/7 and can assist you with booking tours and tickets. Lovely and modern, with a bar for an evening tipple.
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This nicely decorated, modern, 3-star hotel in the center of Madrid provides a coffee and cake bar, meeting rooms and massage services. Rooms are clean and stylish and make excellent use of light and space. Some rooms come with panoramic views, and there is the option to add breakfast.
This chic, contemporary hotel is fresh and funky with all the features you would expect from a luxury hotel. The crown jewel is the infinity swimming pool atop the roof. There is also a gym at the hotel and a top-notch restaurant. The hotel has a babysitting service.
If you’re going to Madrid, take a look at some amazing things to do in Madrid while you’re there!
La Latina is a small, lively, heart-shaped barrio located in the southern part of Madrid’s Centro. It is a maze of narrow lanes and cozy plazas filled with tapas bars and cantinas.
Traditional and contemporary elements work in harmony in La Latina to create a charming atmosphere. This is one of the oldest parts of Madrid, and it upholds a typically Spanish vibe with its postcard-pretty architecture. A touch of bohemian flair from its young inhabitants and tourists place it within the modern-day.
The area is drenched in culture with good museums to mooch around. Every Sunday, tourists and residents flock to the largest flea market in Madrid to pick up some bargains.
If you’re coming to Madrid for tapas, La Latina is in fact known as the tapas capital of Madrid! You’ll find many options on Calle Cava Baja offering different varieties. La Latina is also a hotspot for budget accommodation so you can put your savings towards pintxos, tortilla and chorizo.
This simple, tasteful and comfortable 3-star hotel makes an excellent base in La Latina. It’s close to all the amenities in the area including tapas bars, nightlife, shopping and tourist attractions. There is a concierge, 24-hour reception and free Wi-Fi. The multi-lingual staff are very helpful!
These swanky, bright and bold studio apartments will make you want to move to Madrid pronto! With Wi-Fi, a comfy lounge and a fully equipped kitchen you have all you need to enjoy a restful vacation in the core of Madrid’s tapas district. And it won’t break the bank!
This 4-star hotel provides affordable luxury in compact, contemporary bedrooms. There is a 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, Wi-F and even bicycle rental. The on-site restaurant provides Spanish-inspired dishes, which can be served on the terrace. The best rooms come with a private balcony!
Chueca is located to the east of Sol and Gran Via, sandwiched between the southern half of Salamanca to the east and Malasaña to the west.
As well as being one of Madrid’s hippest neighborhoods, Chueca is the best spot in Madrid for a good night out. Known for its gay nightlife in particular, there are heaps of night clubs, drag shows and lively bars to keep you on your feet until dawn and beyond!
But there’s even more to Chueca than partying. During the day, holidaymakers can go shopping in independent shops and high-end boutiques. There are trendy cafes and bakeries to help you revelers recover from your big night out! The emphasis is definitely on the nightlife though.
A mere stone’s throw from the bars and clubs of Chueca, this 3-star hotel lets guests easily explore the best of the local nightlife. Rooms are simple and modern with private bathrooms and flat-screen televisions. A buffet breakfast is available each morning, tuck in before the hangover hits!
This zingy hotel features some of the best interiors in town in a style reminiscent of the Bauhaus movement. There’s a sundeck with a pool and bar atop the hotel, perfect for cooling down after a day’s sightseeing and topping up your suntan. Suites include a free-standing bathtub.
Rooms at the Only YOU Boutique Hotel Madrid provide a stylish bedroom to unwind, complete with luxury toiletries, an iPod docking station, flat-screen television and a minibar. The onsite restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and supper. The hotel is adorned with classy art and retro furniture.
West of Chueca and north of Sol – Gran Via is the barrio of Malasaña, the coolest little corner of town!
Malasaña was the center of the Movida Madrileña, a political movement that stemmed after the death of dictator Francisco Franco and during Spain’s return to democracy.
Malasaña has come along way since the 1980s when it was known for shady bars, sketchy nightlife and a hotbed for drugs. Nowadays, Malasaña is made up of street art, laid-back bars, traditional tapas taverns, bountiful bookshops and boutiques brimming with vintage treasures.
To the south of Malasaña you’ll find a cluster of chic theaters – Teatro Lara, Teatro Rialto and Teatro EDP Gran Via to name a few!
This vibrant spot is home to younger Spaniards and expats and has mellow vibes day and night.
Set in the heart of Malasaña, Mad4You Hostel is situated near Noviciado Metro Station, and just a few steps from nearby restaurants and bars. The reception desk is open 24 hours and a buffet breakfast is served every morning. Bicycle rental is available. Private rooms come with en suite bathrooms.
7 Islas Hotel is a beautiful, artistic hip hotel in the heart of this trendy little barrio! The hotel has a coffee bar, tour desk a 24-hour reception and 24-hour room service. Rooms are spacious and have lovely en suite bathrooms and mini-bars. Breakfast options are available.
These 4-star, air-conditioned apartments feature their own terrace so you can start your day with coffee or conclude it with a glass of wine and enjoy peering down at the city streets. The rooms are luxuriously furnished, multi-lingual staff are available and there is a restaurant onsite.
The neighborhood of Retiro is located to the east of Centro. The western half of Retiro is dominated by Madrid’s most famous park, Parque de El Retiro. East of the park, is the neighborhood itself which is authentic, charming and peaceful.
Much of your time in Retiro will be spent exploring the park and its many attractions, including art galleries, fountains, monuments and gardens. In northern Retiro you’ll find the barrio of Ibiza, not to be confused with the party island! Ibiza is packed with family-friendly restaurants.
By night, Retiro is one of the quieter parts of central Madrid, making it a great location for families visiting Madrid. If the walk to and from Centro is too much, Retiro is well-served by Madrid’s Metro.
This hotel is aptly named – it has 8 bedrooms available! It’s found at the south end of the park and includes all the essentials for your stay in Madrid. All rooms feature a private bathroom and complimentary Wi-Fi. A tour desk is there to help you. Breakfast options available.
La Llave offer spacious, homely apartments for those of you who would prefer to have a little bit of space whilst on holiday and perhaps cook your own meals. Some of the apartments have a balcony or terrace too, so you can have a little sunshine with your morning coffee!
This stylish accommodation option features a seasonal swimming pool and a children’s play area, making it a hit for parents with young children! All rooms have an en suite bathroom attached, a TV, desk and free Wi-Fi. The hotel is located among the many delicious eateries of Ibiza, Retiro.
Madrid is a city that will surpass your expectations. Its rich history is preserved through the architecture, but it’s a thoroughly modern, artistic and chill city where anyone will feel at home. And the food is out of this world!
To recap our neighborhood guide, Malasaña is our top choice for where to stay in Madrid. With plenty of tapas options, museums, piazzas and laid-back nightlife there is something to keep everyone content in Malasaña.
Our top pick for the best hotel in Madrid is the 7 Islas Hotel. Combining an excellent location in Malasaña, tasteful design features and friendly staff, you won’t find a better place to stay in Madrid!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!