Madrid, the capital of Spain (yes, it’s not Barcelona!) is a big and charming city, with a population of 6 and a half million residents! It’s a great destination for all types of travelers, regardless if you’re interested in history, culture, gastronomy (did anybody say tapas?!), shopping, museums, art and everything else in between. Madrid has something for everyone, you just need to look!
After you have decided to organize a trip to this amazing city, the next thing you’ll need to figure out is where to stay in Madrid. And this is where I come to the rescue! Choosing the best neighborhood for your itinerary and travel style can be quite a challenge, as this city has TONS of tiny neighborhoods, each of them with a different vibe and different advantages.
Now, trust me when I say that your choice of neighborhood will highly influence your impression of this beautiful city – and you don’t want to go home with the wrong impression, am I right? And the task of choosing can be kind of overwhelming, especially if you are visiting for the first time, but I’m here to make this quest extremely easy for you!
Are you ready? Let’s go!
- If you’re in a hurry…
- 1. Sol-Gran Via (Puerta del Sol & Gran Via) – Where to stay in Madrid for the first time
- 2. Malasana
- 3. La Latina & Madrid de Los Austrias
- 4. Chueca – Where to stay in Madrid for nightlife
- 5. Barrio de Las Letras / Huertas – Where to stay in Madrid with a family
- 6. Lavapies – Where to stay in Madrid on a budget
- 7. Salamanca – Where to stay in Madrid for luxury
- Best apartments in Madrid, Spain
- BONUS 1: Where to stay in Madrid for a Real Madrid domestic or Champions League football match
- BONUS 2: Best hotels near Madrid Barajas International Airport
If you’re in a hurry…
The best district to stay in Madrid for first-time travelers is Centro. Regardless of your chosen neighbourhood in Centro district (be it Malasana, Chueca, La Latina and everything else in-between), you can rest assured that you’ll always be close to all the important attractions and activities. You’ll basically be in the center of the action!
Best hotels in Madrid, Spain in a nutshell
Which neighborhood should you choose?
First of all, here is a Madrid neighborhood map so you can easily visualize all the 7 areas I’ll be talking about in this post:
Madrid is divided into no less than 21 districts (that’s a lot!), each of them furtherly broken down into several different smaller neighborhoods (128, to be more precise), called barrio (= neighborhood). I’m not kidding when I say that the city is quite complex, but don’t panic, as there are only a few areas that are relevant for tourists, the main one being Madrid Centro.
So, in short, how can you choose the best place for you? Just follow my list of personalized recommendations depending on your interest below:
- Where to stay in Madrid for luxury: Salamanca
- Best area to stay in Madrid for budget travelers: Lavapies or Chueca
- Where to stay in Madrid for families: Barrio de Las Letras or Gran Via
- Where to stay in Madrid for nightlife: Chueca, La Latina or Malasaña
- Where to stay in Madrid for foodies: literally anywhere in Centro
SPOILER ALERT: Madrid is a dream destination for all types of pockets out there, including budget travelers and backpackers. There are SO many good hotels, it will be hard to choose!
Now that you understand a bit better about how this city is organized, let’s find out everything you need to know about the 7 best neighborhoods in Madrid.
The first 6 areas I am going to talk about are all in the Centro district, and the last one (Salamanca) is very close to it:
Madrid Centro is the heart and soul of the city (both geographically and metaphorically) and definitely the best district for tourists interested in the best sights and activities that the Spanish capital has to offer!
In case you don’t want to get bored even for one second, then you can base yourself in Centro and I’m sure you won’t regret it. This is the place where you’ll find Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, Spanish Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Paseo del Prado and many other iconic landmarks and things to see.
Centro is the right choice for all travelers interested in architecture, cool restaurants and tapas bars, cozy cafes, nightclubs and more! But this district is far from small and it’s actually divided into multiple smaller barrios, here they are below:
- Los Austrias
- Gran Via
- Puerta del Sol
- Barrio de Las Letras
- La Latina
There are more apart from my list above, but I have selected the best ones for an unforgettable trip to Madrid and I’ll be talking about each of them in detail below!
1. Sol-Gran Via (Puerta del Sol & Gran Via) – Where to stay in Madrid for the first time
Sol-Gran Vía is a vibrant neighborhood created around Gran Vía (which literally means “Great Way), the main avenue of Madrid and Puerta del Sol, probably the most important square in the city. This neighborhood can be considered to be the true centerpoint of Madrid and it’s one of the best places if you’re visiting this wonderful city for the first time, especially thanks to the amazing transportation system and closeness to other notable areas such as Malasana and Chueca.
Some of the highlights of this neighborhood include Casa de Correos (The Royal House of the Post Office), the famous statue called “Oso y el Madroño” (which means “the bear and the strawberry tree” and it’s a symbol of the city) and the Gran Via itself, which is an important shopping core. You’ll also have plenty of food places and cafes to choose from scattered everywhere around you, so you can rest assured that you have everything you need here.
If you feel like this is the place for you, below you can find my hand-picked hotel recommendations for this neighborhood:
Luxury (US$120 and up)
- Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid – This is literally one of the best places to stay in the entire Madrid! It’s a gorgeous 5-star property that has a secret rooftop terrace with amazing views as well!
- Hotel Atlántico – If you want to stay in one of the best places in the city, make sure to book your room here! You’ll be very close to the Royal Palace and to Retiro Park as well, which is a great plus!
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$120)
- Woohoo Suites Madrid – If you’re on the search for very good Madrid central hotels that offer a very good value for the money, this one’s for you! It’s a cute and cozy guest house that has many great facilities.
- L&H Gran Vía Selection – Book your stay here if you want to be close to many bars and restaurants, as well as all the important attractions in the center!
Budget (up to US$50)
- Sungate ONE – This is one of Madrid’s best budget hotels! Staying here means you’ll be close to Retiro Park and other important landmarks in the city. Plus, the atmosphere at this hostel is so friendly and nice!
- Madrid Fashion Hostal – If you didn’t find the best budget place to stay in the city close to many tapas bars and food places, take a look at this one! It’s a super cozy guest house that comes with some unbeatable prices!
Malasaña is a great place for young travelers, especially for those interested in exploring the nightlife and countless cool tapas bars, wine bars, pubs and live music venues. But no worries, you’ll have plenty of things to do here during the day as well!
For example, you can take a walk on Calle Fuencarral or other charming cobblestone streets or admire the Plaza de Dos de Mayo together with the street art which is to be found everywhere in this neighborhood. If you get bored, you can head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque or to the ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration, why not? Plus, you’ll have TONS of restaurants to choose from, for all tastes and budgets!
Malasaña is also very close to Calle Gran Vía (550 m away), so if you’re interested in doing some shopping, you know where to go! Anyway, even if you don’t decide to base yourself here, Malasaña is totally an area that deserves to be explored by every traveler that comes to Madrid!
That being said, here are the best hotels in Malasana sorted by budget:
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- 7 Islas Hotel – This gorgeous boutique hotel is one of the most elegant and superb choices out there! One of the best things about this place is that it’s only 200m away from Gran Via as well, so it doesn’t get better than this!
- Melia Hotel Madrid Princesa – Here’s another amazing luxurious place to stay. It’s a great option for all those of you that want to stay in one of the top Madrid hotels with a pool and I’m sure you’ll want to go back to this hotel again and again!
Middle-priced (US$70 – US$150)
- Bloom Inn Madrid – This cute and colorful guest house awaits with some great amenities and facilities, especially compared to the very good prices they have! The building has a very good location, close to the most important sights in the city!
- Petit Palace Triball – Still didn’t find the right place for you? This one has an amazing location right in the heart of the neighborhood, close to countless bars and restaurants.
Budget (up to US$70)
- Hostel One Madrid – Are you traveling to the city on a tight budget? No worries, I have the perfect solution for you! This cool hostel has clean rooms and some amazing prices, perfect for backpackers and solo travelers as well!
- Hostal Adis – This one’s another great choice for budget accommodation and it’s located walking distance to restaurants, tapas bars and many other cool activities.
3. La Latina & Madrid de Los Austrias
La Latina and Madrid de Los Austrias are both equally charming, extremely walkable and they’re located very close to Gran Vía (800 m away), which makes them some great choices for all types of travelers out there that want to be in the city center. Los Austrias is actually one of the historic neighborhoods in the city and it was created around the Plaza Mayor, the most important sight around.
By the way, I have decided to combine La Latina and Los Austrias into a single recommendation as they’re kind of tiny, located right next to each other and they cater for mostly the same needs. While you’re around these areas, make sure to check out Mercado de la Cebada, the weekly Sunday flea market – Rastro market, Plaza Mayor, Sabatini Gardens and the Almudena Cathedral.
If you feel like you belong here, scroll down to find my best recommendations for hotels in both La Latina and De Los Austrias:
Luxury (US$120 and up)
- Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá – Are you looking for a modern hotel with unique facilities and amenities? This beautiful 5-star property is only 300m away from the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor and it’s the ideal place to be spoiled!
- Posada del León de Oro Boutique Hotel – Here’s another one of Madrid’s best luxury hotels. It awaits with a 4-star service, free Wi-Fi and it’s close to many public transportation options, including La Latina metro station.
Middle-priced (US$80 – US$120)
- GOOD STAY ROOMS – This is a super nice mid-range hotel that offers an excellent value for the money. Staying here means you’ll be super close to Cava Baja and Mercado de la Cebada, as well as other cool places in the city.
- Hostal Met Madrid – Here’s another great place to stay if you want to be close to Mercado de la Cebada and to plenty of theaters. Plus, the staff is super friendly and helpful!
Budget (up to US$80)
- The Hat Madrid – This budget-friendly hostel is close to the well-known Sunday flea market, Cava Baja, as well as many tapas bars and pubs. Plus, they serve a very good daily breakfast and they have free Wi-Fi as well!
- Ganivet – This is the perfect place to stay if you want to be in a super modern and clean accommodation in this beautiful neighborhood that has a traditional atmosphere! It’s super close to Mercado de la Cebada Puerta de Toledo as well!
4. Chueca – Where to stay in Madrid for nightlife
If you’re looking for the most vibrant and fun area in the center of the city, let me tell you: Chueca is the right choice for you!
Chueca is located right near Malasaña and it’s an area full of amazing food places, pubs, cafes and, of course, countless clubs. This neighborhood is also highly LGBTQ-friendly and it’s the place where Madrid’s Gay Pride takes place.
Some of the unmissable spots in this area include Plaza de Chueca, Mercado de San Antón (if you’re interested in art, fresh produce and bars) and the numerous colorful shops (especially on Calle de Hortaleza) where you can find everything your heart desires.
If you’re interested in dancing the night away during your stay in Madrid, here are the best accommodation options in Chueca that you can choose from:
Luxury (US$130 and up)
- URSO Hotel & Spa, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World – This 5-star hotel located in the heart of the neighborhood is my recommendation for all travelers that want to feel spoiled and enjoy one of the best services out there. Plus, you’ll be close to many bars and restaurants, as well as Plaza de Chueca!
- The Principal Madrid – Here’s another amazing 5-star accommodation that offers an impeccable service. Some of the top advantages of staying here include the on-site gym and superb rooms.
Middle-priced (US$70 – US$130)
- JC Rooms Chueca – If you’re on the search for some incredible hotels that offer a very good value for the money, you should check out this place, it’s super cool! If you book your room here you’ll be walking distance to many bars and tapas places, as well as Plaza de Chueca – so great!
- Petit Palace Chueca – This 3-star hotel is a great choice for all those of you looking for a modern place with great decor choices. The rooms are simple, clean and super bright!
Budget (up to US$70)
- Bastardo Hostel – Do you want to be walking distance to plenty of bars and nightlife options? No worries, I have the perfect solution for you! You can choose from private rooms and dormitory rooms here, so there’s something for all types of budget at this hostel!
- room007 Chueca Hostel – If you’re still wondering where to stay, Madrid has another great budget option for you! This cool hostel has some amazing rooms – just take a look at the pictures and you’ll understand what I mean!
5. Barrio de Las Letras / Huertas – Where to stay in Madrid with a family
Barrio de Las Letras, also known as Huertas is the literary quarter of the city and a beautiful place where many important Spanish writers lived – such as Quevado, Lope de Vega and Cervantes, just to name a few!
Here’s a cool fun fact: the street has famous quotes inscribed on them everywhere in this neighborhood, so just taking a walk around the streets will make for a pleasant experience by itself! This is also the place where you’ll find the Golden Triangle of Art, a great place to be if you’re a fan of art museums. If you feel bored, make sure to pay a visit to Plaza Santa Ana (the heart of the neighborhood) or to Calle Huertas (the main street of the area).
Another great thing about staying here is that you’ll only be a short walk away from Gran Vía (1 km / 12 minutes), so you won’t be missing out on anything that’s happening in the heart of the city!
If you feel like you belong in this place, check out the best hotels in the literary quarter that I have selected for you, all sorted by price:
Luxury (US$120 and up)
- Gran Hotel Inglés – Here’s another one of the best luxury hotels in the city! This amazing accommodation awaits with a 5-star service, superb decor, an on-site restaurant and bar, airport shuttle and everything else you might need for the ideal stay!
- ME Madrid Reina Victoria by Meliá – This cool 4-star hotel is another one of my recommendations for all those that want a spoiled luxurious trip in the Spanish capital. It’s close to the metro station and has countless amazing attractions.
Middle-priced (US$70 – US$120)
- Hostal Alexis Madrid – This amazing 3-star guest house is an amazing choice if you want spacious, clean rooms and a great service. The staff is friendly and they even have free Wi-Fi and a very good location.
- Atocha28 – If you’re looking for a clean and comfortable place that has a clean decor, check this one out, you might like it a lot! The rooms are simple but just perfect for a good night’s sleep!
Budget (up to US$70)
- Far Home Atocha – This modern hostel located right in the heart of the neighborhood is my recommendation for all those of you traveling on a tight budget – they have all the facilities and amenities you might need!
- Mola Hostel – Here’s another one of Madrid’s best budget accommodations out there. Airport shuttle, free Wi-Fi and a very good breakfast – these are just some of the top advantages of staying here!
6. Lavapies – Where to stay in Madrid on a budget
Are you traveling to Madrid on a tight budget? No worries, this city has PLENTY of budget accommodation options, especially in Lavapiés, a charming neighborhood located right near La Latina where you can meet people from all over the world!
Lavapiés is also a great choice if you’re interested in trying as many international cuisines (Indian, Pakistani, Arab etc.) as possible or if you simply want to be in a culturally diverse place, surrounded by countless amazing tapas bars, pubs and cafes, especially on Calle Argumosa street. This neighborhood has something to offer for everyone and it has a very interesting mix of culture, being full of creatives and hipsters.
That being said, here are the best hotels in Lavapies that you can choose from:
Luxury (US$110 and up)
- Catalonia Atocha – Make sure to book a room here if you want to be close to all the important and popular attractions in the neighborhood! This 4-star accommodation awaits with beautiful rooms and a great service.
- NH Madrid Nacional – Do you want to enjoy a luxurious trip in a great location, close to countless bars and restaurants? No worries, I have the perfect one for you! The rooms are just superb and the balconies have a great view over the capital!
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$110)
- Uma House Atocha – Here’s a great choice if you want to be surrounded by countless restaurant and bar options! It’s a modern and stylish guest house that I’m sure you’ll love!
- Hotel Freedom – This cool 2-star hotel is another excellent choice for a mid-range property. If you get bored during your trip, you can always head over to a tapas bar or do some shopping!
Budget (up to US$50)
- Ok Hostel Madrid – Are you on a very tight budget but still want to be in one of the top neighborhoods for bars and ethnic places where you can try different foods? Check out this nice hostel, I’m sure you’ll like it!
- Las Musas Hostel – In case you’re on the search for a superb place close to many bars where you can drink and enjoy some fun and food places as well, then search no more, you just found one of my top recommendations out there!
These were the 6 best areas I am recommending in the city center, but I have another extra recommendation for you that’s not in the center but still very close by and it offers an amazing experience for travelers. Yep, I’m talking about Salamanca, one of the most beautiful areas in Madrid:
7. Salamanca – Where to stay in Madrid for luxury
In case you’re interested in having the ultimate fabulous, upscale experience during your stay in Madrid, there’s no better place out there than Salamanca!
Salamanca is one of the most fabulous residential neighborhoods in Madrid and the place where you’ll find world-class hotels and eateries, boutique shops, fancy cafes and everything in between. Don’t worry if you also want to explore the best attractions in the center, as you’ll only be a few stops away from them by subway (20 minutes).
While you’re here, don’t forget to take a walk on Calle de Goya, Calle de Velásquez and Calle de Serrano as well and enjoy some of the best, classy shops and restaurants that this area has to offer!
If you feel like this is the right place for you, let me show you the best hotels in Salamanca that you can choose from for the best stay:
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- Relais & Châteaux Heritage Hotel – Make sure to book a room here if you want to be walking distance to many places where you can eat and drink, as well as green spots and parks. They offer impeccable service as well!
- Hotel Villa Magna – If you want to be based in a superb, safe neighborhood, North of the center, this place is for you! The rooms are spacious and nicely decorated, just check out the pictures and you’ll see what I mean!
Middle-priced (US$100 – US$150)
- VP El Madroño – This awesome place offers a great value for the money and it looks just great! It’s close to Chamberí as well and you can reach the center via public transportation in less than 20 minutes!
- H10 Puerta de Alcalá – Book your room here if you want to be in a superb accommodation that offers an amazing view over the capital from the terrace! Plus, the rooms are sparkling clean and very nicely decorated.
Budget (up to US$100)
- Abba Madrid – Are you on a tight budget but still want to enjoy one of the most upscale neighborhoods here? No worries, I have the ideal solution for you as well! This is actually a 4-star hotel that has some amazing budget-friendly rooms as well!
- NH Madrid Principe de Vergara – Here’s another beautiful 4-star hotel where you can choose some very affordable rooms. They also have free Wi-Fi, an on-site gym and other cool perks as well.
Best apartments in Madrid, Spain
If you’re the type of traveler that wants to enjoy a homey atmosphere during your travels, maybe booking an apartment instead of a hotel room might be the best choice for you! An apartment is also an excellent solution if you want to save some money (they’re SO cheap in Madrid) and if you’re a bigger group that wants to stay together, such as a family, for example.
Luckily for you, Madrid has tons of amazing Airbnbs that you can choose from and below I have made a selection of the top 6 ones I could find in Centro, all sorted by budget. Here they are:
Luxury (US$70 and up)
- The best luxury you can dream in Madrid Center – Of course it’s possible to enjoy a luxurious experience in an apartment, just take a look at this place! By the way, it’s right in the heart of the capital, so it doesn’t get better than this!
- Gran Via Plaza Colon – Parking ask – Here’s another excellent option for an upscale experience very close to Gran Via. The decor is simply superb, just check out the pictures!
Middle-priced (US$40 – US$70)
- Estudio de 49m2, edificio de artistas en Gran Via – This one’s a great place that has a good value for the money and it offers 21-century level facilities and amenities. The location is super good as well!
- Nuevo Estudio/ cabaña-madera junto a la Gran Via – In case you didn’t find the perfect mid-range apartment for you yet, check out this one located super close to Gran Via, I’m sure you’ll like everything about it!
Budget (up to US$40)
- Habitacion 3 Céntrica Luminosa – This private room has some incredible rates and it’s located in a nice apartment right in the heart of the capital!
- Habitación doble – centro – Madrid – In case you’re on a veerrry tight budget, I have another excellent private room for you in the center, for some unbelievable rates!
BONUS 1: Where to stay in Madrid for a Real Madrid domestic or Champions League football match
If you’re traveling to Madrid to see a football match, no worries, I have some great accommodation options for you as well! Real Madrid is the city’s main football team and Santiago Bernabéu is the team’s stadium. If you want to stay as close to it as possible, below you can find my choice of the 3 best hotels and 3 apartments (one per each type of budget):
BONUS 2: Best hotels near Madrid Barajas International Airport
Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD) is the main airport of the city and the place where you’ll most probably land if you’re arriving to this city by plane. The airport is located only 16 km away from the city center, but it will take you more than 35 minutes via public transportation to get there.
If you have a very early or very late flight, a wise idea would be to book a hotel located as close to the airport as possible. This way you can save some precious time and sleep and you won’t have to stress a lot about your transfer to the city! If you decided to do so, here are the best airport hotels in Madrid to choose from (one for each type of budget):
Yay, you have reached the end of my complete guide on Madrid accommodation! I hope you found this article useful and maybe you already found the ideal place for your stay, who knows?
In this post I have told you everything you need to know about the 7 best neighborhoods in Madrid, together with my hand-picked hotel recommendations in each of them. I also gave you some recommendations for cool apartments, airport hotels and hotels near the stadium, so you’ll find the right hotel for you here regardless of your preferences and interests!
Are you heading to Madrid soon? Do you have any questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll gladly help! Ah, and by the way, if you need more inspiration for your travels, here you can find all our posts about Spain!
- 5 Neighborhoods to Stay in Barcelona (And Best Hotels Recommendations)
- Barcelona Passes – Which One is Worth the Money and Which One is a Rip-Off?
- 9 Best Day Trips from Barcelona (With Prices and Tips on Transportation)
- Barcelona’s 5 Attractions with the Longest Lines and Top Secrets on Avoiding Them
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