Where to Stay in Madrid: Advice from a local expat and travel blogger about the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid, Spain! (Plus 27 hotel recommendations)

We created this guide in collaboration with Sam Anthony, freelance writer, photographer and blogger at Alternative Travelers. After spending a year in Madrid in 2014, the city called her back, and she lives in Madrid currently.

Disclosure: All our Where to Stay Guides, including this one, contain affiliate links. That means we earn a small commission when you click through or book a room, etc. You don’t pay anything extra. Affiliate links are one of the ways we make money from this blog (our travel-inspired adult coloring books are another way) to keep the laptops humming!

Where to Stay in Madrid, Spain: Start Here For A Quick Look At Madrid’s Best Neighborhoods


Booked your plane ticket, and asking yourself where should I stay in Madrid? If you’re in a hurry and just looking for the best area to stay in Madrid, check out this quick summary of Madrid’s best neighborhoods.

We’ve tried to give a detailed description of all the best areas to stay in Madrid in more detail later in this post, but we also wanted to provide an at-a-glance summary of our top choices, in case you just need a quick guide to finding where to stay in Madrid. So this is a summary of Madrid’s best neighborhoods — each neighborhood name is clickable and will take you to more detailed info about that section below.

Best Place to Stay in Madrid: Three Central Neighborhoods

  • Sol: Sol is the city center and main tourist hub of Madrid. If you stay in Sol, many of Madrid’s most popular attractions will be in walking distance, including the Opera, the Royal Palace and the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales. You’ll also have easy access to amazing food and shopping, as well as very easy access to public transportation. Sol is a great place to stay in Madrid if it’s your first visit, or if you want to maximize limited time.
  • Madrid de los Austrias: As the name suggests, this is the “Austrian” area of Madrid, and is filled with loads of beautiful Hapsburg-era architecture. Still very central, Madrid de los Austrias has fewer tourists than Sol, and is one of the best places to stay in Madrid if you want a central, but slightly less touristy experience. 
  • Barrio de Las Letras: Translated as “the literary quarter,” this Madrid neighborhood is filled with old traditional Spanish bars and pedestrian streets. Once home to famous Spanish writers like Cervantes, today it has a bohemian vibe and is one of the best locations to stay in Madrid if you want a mix of traditional and edgy-modern, or plan to spent a lot of time in Madrid’s Art Triangle.

Best Place to Stay in Madrid: Four Cool Neighborhoods

  • Chueca: This is a LGBTQI-friendly, up-and-coming, and foodie-focused area. Home to loads of artisanal boutiques and upscale food markets, Chueca is the best area to stay in Madrid if you want to experience an open-minded and fun neighborhood that blends life-long residents with gentrification and Pride.
  • La Latina: Another tapas and foodie-friendly neighborhood, La Latina is also one of Madrid’s oldest neighborhoods. Home to a large Sunday market, and packed full of friends enjoying life on the weekends, La Latina has a couple of streets known for tapas and lovely terraces, and is one of the best neighborhoods in Madrid for lively local living.
  • Malasaña: Generally thought of as one of the hippest neighborhoods in Madrid, Malasaña attracts a trendy mix of locals and expats, all of whom are here to enjoy the craft coffee shops, vintage shopping, and remaining classic ‘old man’ bars.  If you want trendy-cool, Malasaña might be the best area to stay in Madrid.
  • Lavapiés: Home to Plaza Lavapiés, a favorite spot for locals before a night on the town, Lavapiés is a mosaic of cultures, international shops, and restaurants. The areas’ relative affordability attracts young people and newcomers, with the whole city coming to visit during a few well-attended annual events. If you’re interested in an international vibe, Lavapiés is a great barrio to stay in Madrid.

Best Place to Stay in Madrid:  A Little Further Afield

  • Salamanca: This is Madrid’s poshest neighborhood, and is a bit further out while still being close to some museums, and well-served by the metro. If the idea of gorgeous foreign embassy buildings, upscale shopping and fancy restaurants sounds perfect, you might find Salamanca is the best location to stay in Madrid.

Madrid Travel Tips and FAQs

Summary and Notes

Madrid's Best Central Areas

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Sol is Central and Convenient

Madrid’s Puerta del Sol (a massive public square) is the center of Madrid, and more generally, of Spain: the Kilometre Zero marker indicating the beginning of all highways and roads in Spain is located here, and you can find the plaque outside the 18th-century Real Casa de Correos building.

The square is on the location of a former city gate, and has 10 streets leading out from it, a couple of which are pedestrian streets: Calle Preciados and Calle Arenal. Calle Arenal leads to the Opera House and the Royal Palace. Between Calle Preciados and Calle Arenal, you’ll find the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, a former 16th-century royal palace which houses some rare artifacts and artwork. A 7-minute stroll down Calle Mayor will lead you to Plaza Mayor, a beautiful, picturesque square filled with great photo opportunities, and tourist-oriented restaurants (that charge the ‘tourist price’).

For a bite to eat and a story to tell, stop by Sobrino de Botín (Cuchilleros 17), the world’s oldest restaurant still in operation. 

And if you’re in Madrid on New Year’s Eve, note that Spaniards gather in this huge plaza to watch the countdown to midnight on the clock tower on the Casa de Correos building, and then quickly eat twelve grapes for luck: one grape for each bell chime at midnight to ward off evil and enjoy prosperity throughout the new year.

If you’re visiting the city for the first time, or in town for a quick Madrid city break, Sol is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid. While it’s the most touristy part of the city, it’s also in easy walking distance (or a quick metro ride) to all of the main sights, and is therefore super convenient. 

Posh Luxury

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

NH Collection Madrid Suecia – Located at the foot of Madrid’s famous Gran Via shopping street, this property is super central, and comes complete with a rooftop terrace offering jaw-dropping 360-views across the city. Situated on the doorstep of Bellas Artes Threatre and two metro stations, it’s a short walk to many attractions. Recently renovated with contemporary, neutral decor, both Ernest Hemingway and Che Guevara stayed here while in Madrid!

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Grand 4-Star

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Liabeny –  A contemporary 4-star in a central location, this hotel has an air of traditional grandness paired with pops of modern color. A short 5-minute walk to Puerta del Sol, and very close to multiple metro options, there is an on-site bar and restaurant, as well as a fitness facility and sauna. While it is on a side street, past guests recommend asking for a quiet room facing away from the street if you’re a light sleeper. Strong Wifi and friendly staff round-out a strong offering.

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Affordable Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Room Mate Mario – Part of the affordable-hip Room Mate chain of hotels,  this property offers modern, stylish and air-conditioned rooms steps from the Royal Palace. A daily buffet breakfast is served until noon (late risers rejoice!), and past guests appreciate its location on a quiet street and lack of traffic noise. Located around multiple metro lines, with Puerta del Sol less than a 10-minute walk away, this hotel scores high on location, cleanliness, and funky modern decor.

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Affordable Boutique

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Petit Palace Plaza del Carmen – A modern boutique hotel with muted decor and lovely, tranquil-looking rooms, standout features include hydromassage showers to relax after a long day of sight seeing, use of free iPads, and free bicycles to explore the city with. Rooms are air conditioned to beat the Madrid summers, and tea and coffee are served all day in the lobby to keep your caffeine buzz going. Past guests love the friendly staff and location just a short walk to Puerta del Sol, the metro and loads of bars and restaurants.

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Value-Focused 3-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Moderno — If you want a super central and comfortable hotel, and still have some money left over for all the tapas, Moderno seems like a great option. Located right at Puerta del Sol, it’s ultra convenient for the Opera, Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor, and close to multiple metro stations for explorations further afield. Past guests appreciate the value for price, daily buffet breakfast, modern bathrooms, and comfortable beds. Some reviews mention noise, so ask for a quiet room if you’re a light sleeper.

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Budget-Friendly Guesthouse

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hostal Mayor – Easy on the wallet, the general theme of this guesthouse is “pleasantly surprised!” Offering clean, modern, air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, the location couldn’t be more central if it tried. While there’s no breakfast offered, it’s within arms reach of many cafes and restaurants. Bonus points for an elevator, a true rarity among the budget set.

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Madrid Spain - where to stay guide

Madrid Skyline (photo by Alternative Travelers)

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Madrid de los Austrias is Central and Beautiful

Moving a bit west and a bit south of Sol, you’ll stumble into Madrid de los Austrias, or “Austrian Madrid.” If you spot a building with a peaked roof in Madrid, it’s likely that it was built by the Habsburgs, the Austrian dynasty who occupied Madrid starting in the 16th century. This small area is home to Plaza Mayor and ends around the Opera metro station. More laid back than Sol, but still right in the heart of the action, Austrian Madrid retains a more traditional feel.

Plaza Mayor is considered Madrid’s main square and has seen many major events over its storied history. Expect to pay a bit more for restaurants and bars here, which might be worth the splurge just to enjoy and soak it all in. You can walk from Plaza Mayor to the Royal Palace in about 8 minutes. For a relatively inexpensive traditional ‘tapas and a caña’ (small beer), stop by the well-liked La Ideal on Calle Botoneras, a block south of Plaza Mayor.

Treat Yourself Luxury

5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques – Housed in a former 19th-century palace (and next to the Royal Palace), this place screams luxury and comfort. Stand-out features include a gorgeous rooftop pool with panoramic city views; Nespresso machines, rain showers, and bathtubs in each room; and very comfortable beds. Add to that a private garden, multiple restaurants, a cocktail bar, spa and gym facilities, and stunning interiors with unique architectural details. Great location 10-minutes walk from Puerta del Sol and 20 minutes to the Prado Museum, with a metro nearby.

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Mid-Range 4-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Petit Palace Mayor Plaza – An affordable boutique with fresh, funky and bright rooms, this hotel boasts a fantastic location right next to San Miguel market and around the corner from  Plaza Mayor. Offering free bicycles and iPads (if available), past guests comment on the friendly staff, location, comfort and value. Some upper-level floors offer nice views, so be sure to ask!  Well located within a 5 to 10-minute walk of Puerta del Sol and many other central attractions, with very convenient metro access. All round, this sounds like a great and high-value option.

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Affordable Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hostal Met Madrid – A best seller with fantastic reviews from past guests, Hostal Met offers bright and airy rooms that are small but very comfortable. The hotel went through a recent refurbishment, meaning the rooms are clean and modern, with a nice, minimalist aesthetic. At the affordable end of the scale, this place still goes the extra mile, with complimentary bottled water and chocolates on arrival, and excellent staff. Most central attractions are reachable on foot, but the metro is within easy reach, too.

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Los Austrias - where to stay in Madrid

A Street in Los Austrias, Madrid (Photo by Alternative Travelers)

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Barrio de Las Letras is Bohemian and Convenient

Directly to the southeast of Sol is Las Letras (also called ‘Huertas’ for Calle Huertas), which translates as  the Literary Quarter. Not surprisingly, the neighborhood is so-named for the tremendous literary history rooted within its now mostly pedestrian streets. Hemmingway famously hung out here, and Spanish writers Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Quevado all lived and wrote here. Las Letras is filled with old and traditional Spanish bars, flamenco tablaos, and spots to enjoy live jazz, such as Café Populart. The streets in Las Letras have a decidedly bohemian feel to them.

Las Letras is one of the best places to stay in Madrid if you plan on spending significant time in the city’s world-class museums, as Madrid’s “Art Triangle” is just a short walk away. The Art Triangle is made up of the Prado Museum, home to thousands of pre-20th century works, and holding one of the finest art collections in the world; the Reina Sofía Museum, which houses more contemporary art including works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which is a private collection with international works by Dutch, Italian and French greats like Monet and Rembrandt.

Eclectic Modern Luxury

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Urban – A beautiful boutique hotel with a plush-modern aesthetic (think chocolate brown and dark wood paired with stainless steel and glass), Hotel Urban offers a gorgeous (seasonal) rooftop pool, terrace, gym, hip cocktail bar, and restaurant on-site. They also have a permanent collection of beautiful and original Papua New Guinean art on site which, when paired with art deco references throughout, creates a fascinating and eclectic look. Conveniently close to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and easy metro access. Walking distance to Puerta del Sol.

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Minimalist 4-Star

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Catalonia Plaza Mayor – With muted, neutral colors throughout, the Catalonia is a modern and tastefully-designed upscale hotel with all the main conveniences: on-site gym, jacuzzi, Wifi and buffet breakfast. Past guests love the vibrant location near tapas bars and restaurants, and free finger food from 4pm to 7pm. With easy metro access, it’s a 10-minute walk or less to Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums and Puerta del Sol, and a 15-minute walk to the Atocha Train Station.

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Funky & Affordable 3-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Ibis Styles Madrid Prado – Part of the fresh, funky and affordable Ibis Styles concept, this hotel epitomizes the brand with bright rooms, funky colors and artwork, and unique themed decor (this time, each floor is themed around a different Spanish wine region). Air conditioned rooms will keep you cool in the summer, and the hotel will get you started on your day with a buffet breakfast. Three museums within walking distance (the Art Triangle), and easy access to the Metro, too.

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Madrid's Cool Neighborhoods

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Chueca is Vibrant and LGBT Friendly

Chueca is a small but vibrant neighborhood that has undergone a massive transformation from its previously ‘pretty dull’ vibe, and now floats a more festive atmosphere. It lies just north of Sol and Gran Vía. Chueca is the heart of Madrid’s gay scene and home to one of the largest Gay Pride Parades in the world. In Chueca, you’ll find shops by local designers and art spaces. Chueca is also a gastronomic hot spot, with innovative tapas bars, restaurants, and one of the city’s fancier food markets, Mercado de San Antón, complete with a rooftop cocktail bar. The neighborhood is a very social area with Plaza de Chueca serving as the center of it all.

If you’re looking for a fun and open-minded vibe, Chueca might be the best district to stay in Madrid for you!

Fresh & Unique Luxury

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Vincci The Mint — An uber-cool luxury design hotel, we’d describe the look as ‘modern retro.’ Stand-out features include a rooftop terrace with a food truck for snacks; a foodie-focused gastro bar and gorgeous bar; and generally fabulous rooms with comfy beds, great bathrooms, and coffee facilities in the rooms. Mixing jewel-tones, neutrals, pastels and patterns; clean lines with art deco — and all inside a beautiful building exterior — this is a gorgeous and unique hotel option well located for exploring the best of Madrid.

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Affordable Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

B&B Hotel Fuencarral 52 – A really beautiful and minimalist hotel, the interior uses natural materials and lots of monochrome to create a bright, airy and modern look. With comfortable beds, excellent showers and a breakfast bag delivered to your door in the morning (!), it has a bit of a “retreat” feel to it. Located in a renovated 19th-century building, past guests have commented about it being quiet, and the 24/7 coffee, tea, juice and fruit offering on the top floor. Lovely and affordable boutique option!

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Bright & Chic 3-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Room Mate Oscar – Channelling a fresh and modern Jetsons-eque futurism (but in a very cool way), this is a bright and fun 3-star boutique with a rooftop pool (seasonal) and terrace bar. This is a hip and trendy hotel in a hip and trendy neighborhood, with great staff, comfortable rooms, breakfast served until noon, and great showers to wake up to. Even if you don’t stay at this hotel, past guests say it’s worth heading up for a drink. Well located, it’s a 10-minute walk to Puerta del Sol and a 15-minute stroll to Prado Museum, or 5 minutes to the metro.

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Where to Stay in Madrid: La Latina is Great for Tapas

A little further south of Madrid de los Austrias is La Latina, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Madrid. The area is known as a place to go out for tapas, especially on the bustling Cava Baja or Cava Alta streets. Other popular activities in La Latina include relaxing for hours at an outdoor terrace or getting lost in El Rastro, the city’s largest flea market, on Sundays. El Rastro market has been operating for hundreds of years and these days is a mixture of second-hand goods and new clothing and jewellery. It attracts both visitors and locals, and, unfortunately, a pickpocket or two, so take precautions. Make a fun a day of it and combine it with some tapas and a drink!

Affordable Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Posada Del Dragón – A 27-room boutique hotel, this place gets rave reviews for modern, clean and beautiful rooms (albeit small), an on-site restaurant with exceptional food, and bicycle rental available from the front desk. Each room is entirely unique, with some channelling a minimalist modern look, and others going for opulent, or funky pop. Not all rooms have windows, so if that’s important to you, make it known when reserving. There are a number of cafes very close by, and it’s only a 3- to 5-minute walk to Plaza Mayor and Cava Baja.

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Bargain 3-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Ganivet – While this hotel is a bit further from Plaza Mayor (maybe a 15-minute walk at a leisurely pace), it’s consistently recommended for being high value. Offering clean and modern rooms and bathrooms, a small pool, and a buffet breakfast, ‘simple and affordable’ is the theme of this place. About a 5-minute walk to the El Rastro Sunday Market, and a 5-minute walk to the metro. Many cafes and bars nearby.

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Value 3-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

HRC Hotel – Another value-focused hotel in the neighborhood, the HRC offers decently sized rooms and bathrooms and a continental breakfast. While there’s no on-site lounge or bar to unwind at, there are many to try out in the area. The Almudena Cathedral is near the hotel, and Plaza Mayor (10-min walk) and the Royal Palace (15-min walk) aren’t too far either. The El Rastro Market is a 5-minute walk if you happen to be in on a Sunday. Some 5th-floor rooms have balconies.

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Gran Via Madrid Neighborhood Guide

Madrid’s Infamous Gran Via (Photo by Alternative Travelers)

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Malasaña is Hipster Cool

Directly east of Chueca is Malasaña, where craft coffee shops, vintage stores, and tattoo parlors abound. The area is a great place to stay in Madrid that is not too touristy, although in Malasaña has become increasingly popular with international students and English teaching expats for its “cool” factor. The neighborhood is steeped in history: it’s the spot where the uprising against Napoleon too place, and was the center of the La Movida Madrileña movement in the 1980s after the fall of Franco’s dictatorship.

Classic 4-Star

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Atlántico – Shopping, dining and famous sights are all within arms reach. Well designed with double glazed windows and electric shutters for minimal street noise. Two rooftop terraces offer relaxation and wonderful views, and there’s a nice cafe and bar on site. Located on Madrid’s famous Gran Via, the metro is right outside the door, 10 minutes or less to walk to many attractions; 15-minute walk to Prado Museum.

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Budget

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hostal Abami II – With basic but clean rooms and private bathrooms, this is an affordable, no frills hotel. There is no lift, but past guests have managed to deal, considering the price. This place is all about being a good value for the money. Close to the metro and Gran Via. Walk to the Royal Palace or Plaza Mayor in 10 minutes, and the Prado Museum in about 20 minutes.

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Budget

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Ibis Madrid Centro – Offering basic but modern and clean rooms and bathrooms, it is set in more of a local environment away from the noise and nightly festivities that happen closer to the center. Still just a 15- to 20-minute stroll to the Prado Museum, Puerta del Sol and other sights. The metro is just across the way, and there are many local bars and restaurants to choose from nearby.

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Lavapiés is Edgy and Affordable

To the east of La Latina is the less-touristy neighborhood of Lavapiés, a veritable mishmash of international cultures. Immigrants make up the fabric of this neighborhood, and it has traditionally been one of the cheaper areas. That said, due to its alternative and underground scene, Lavapiés has become more popular in recent years as an edgy and cool neighborhood in Madrid.

Along Calle Lavapiés. you’ll find numerous Indian restaurants (a great option if you want to eat outside the window of traditional Spanish dining hours), and tucked on side streets are African and Middle Eastern shops and eateries. Plaza Lavapiés is a central meeting point for young Madrileños (people from Madrid) to congregate before heading out for a night on the town.

Cheap & Cheerful

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Artrip Hotel – Clean and artsy, and very well located for the Museum Triangle, the Reina Sofía Museum is just a 6- or 7-minute walk. Offering 24hr reception, air conditioned rooms and bathrooms that are very modern (full reno in 2011), some rooms have a balcony. Past guests said the other museums and sites like the Royal Palace are a bit of an uphill walk, but the metro is very close by, as is the train station.

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Comfortable & Convenient

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Catalonia Atocha – Large showers, modern rooms, wood floors and a daily buffet breakfast. Conveniently close to the Atocha Train Station, there’s a rooftop jacuzzi with a beautiful city view. The Reina Sofia and Prado Museums are both less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Puerta del Sol is reachable in about a 10-minute walk as well, but the hotel is situated near a metro stop.

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Budget

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

THC Latina Hostel – Clean and stylish decor, with small but modern rooms and bathrooms. A 15-minute walk to Prado Museum and about the same to Puerta del Sol. There are many cafes and tapas bars close by; 5-minute walk to the metro and very close to El Rastro Sunday market.

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Further Afield

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Where to Stay in Madrid: Salamanca is Posh and Ritzy

Finally, Salamanca is worth noting even though it is a bit off center. Salamanca is the “high class” area of the city and definitely one of the pricier areas to stay in Madrid. Located east of Chueca and north of Madrid’s main park, El Retiro, the area is still close to museums and other sights. High-end boutiques, fine dining eateries, upscale bars, and embassies line these posh streets.

The centuries old Parque del Buen Retiro literally means ‘park of a nice retreat’ and used to be a private garden for the Royal Family. It is home to a beautiful rose garden, monuments and the Crystal Palace.

4-Star Mid-Range

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

VP Jardin de Recoletos – A well-liked hotel with high standards of cleanliness and attention to detail. Kitchenette rooms are also available. According to some reviews, rooms are lovely, but not necessarily romantic. Located on a nice quiet side street, and in a great location for visiting Retiro Park. A 15-minute walk to the museum triangle and a 5-minute walk to the metro station (Retiro).

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4-Star in Historic Building

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

TÓTEM Madrid – Offering stylish air conditioned rooms, modern black marble bathrooms with large modern showers in a restored historic building. Very close to the Goya Metro Station or a 15-minute walk to the Museum Triangle. Retiro Park is about 10 minutes by foot. The hotel has a gym, cocktail bar and a restaurant on-site.

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Traditional 5-Star

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Wellington Madrid – Luxurious, tastefully decorated rooms, a courtyard pool and a gym. A bar and gourmet restaurant on site. A short 5-minute walk to Retiro Park and Retiro metro stop. If you prefer to walk, 15 minutes by foot will take you to the Prado Museum or Puerto del Sol. Past guests have really liked the Salamanca area and the bar and restaurant choices nearby.

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Stay near Retiro Park in Madrid Spain

The Crystal Palace in Retiro Park, Madrid (Photo by Alternative Travelers)

Madrid Travel Tips & FAQs

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Getting to the Center of Madrid from the Airport

If you are arriving by plane, the airport is easily reached by either commuter rail (Cercanías) from Terminal 4 or metro line 8 from all terminals. Alternatively, you can take the 24 hour express bus to the center; it costs 5 euros (pay the driver in cash) and takes you to Atocha, the main train station. A taxi to the center is a flat 30 euros, so depending on how many people are in your group this may still be an affordable and easy option.

If you want to start your Madrid trip a little more relaxed, consider a pre-paid, private transfer from the airport to your hotel or private residence. Book on Viator for $70US per car, seats up to 6 people.

Find Out More!

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Madrid’s Public Transportation

You’ll actually be hard-pressed not to stay near a metro station in the center! Madrid’s public transportation system is great – clean, cheap, and easy to use. You’ll probably only ever travel a couple of metro stops and there are ticket machines at every station. There is a large network of city buses as well, but it’s unlikely that tourists will use them as the metro goes to all the popular tourist locations.

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So…Where Should You Stay in Madrid?

Whenever I have friends and family visiting, I first ask what they’re most interested in doing during their visit, and then make my recommendation from there. After all, Madrid is a very safe city, and you can’t go wrong staying anywhere in the center. Further, a fantastic transportation system means it’s easy to get around, no matter where you stay in Madrid.

  • If you’re taking a Madrid weekend or a Madrid city break, Sol is certainly the most central place to stay in Madrid.
  • For people who want to be very centrally located, but don’t think Sol is for them, I’d recommend Las Letras as the best place to stay in Madrid: it is a beautiful area within walking distance of everything people usually want to see for a short stay.
  • If you want an upscale and elegant experience, Salamanca is the poshest area of Madrid. However, you can also find beautiful luxury hotels in Sol and Madrid de los Austrias.
  • If you want a cool or bohemian place to stay in Madrid, Las Letras, Chueca , Malasaña and La Latina are all great Madrid neighborhoods.
  • If you’re looking for a LGBT-friendly scene, Chueca is the Madrid neighborhood with the most pride!
  • For budget travelers and those into more alternative scenes, I recommend Lavapiés or Malasaña – they’re a bit away from the more touristy and expensive areas (and a bit is relative, you can still walk to Sol in 20 to 30 minutes from these areas) and have their own unique vibes.

Enjoy your stay in Madrid! 

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Where to Stay in Madrid: A Note from Sam, our Madrid Expert

When I first moved to Madrid, I had come from the hectic and fast-paced New York City. Madrid taught me to slow down and savor each moment, and I quickly settled into the laid-back rhythm of the city, relishing sitting in sunny plazas enjoying a café con leche and walking the charming streets. I had come to Madrid as a recent college graduate, and taught English through the popular conversation assistant program through the Spanish government. When my year in Madrid was up, I left, never imagining I’d live here again.

Fortunately, Madrid wasn’t done with me yet! A few years later, I’ve found my way back, and currently live in Madrid as a freelance editor and writer while my partner, Veren, teaches English. Together we run Alternative Travelers, a blog dedicated to sustainable slow travel and plant-based eating on a budget.  

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More of Our City Guides

A Note About The Hotel Suggestions In This Madrid Neighbourhood Guide

Our series of neighborhood guides all started with our Prague Guide. After publishing the guide without hotel recommendations, we started getting email after email from readers asking for specific hotel ideas in each neighborhood. We know all too well from personal experience that where you stay in a city can make or break your experience, so we set out to help our readers find the best hotel options in the best neighborhoods (and we’re currently trying to build a guide for every major city in Europe).

The problem with this, of course, is that we can’t stay in all these hotels. We hire local experts to write about the different neighborhoods in each city, but our experts mostly live in apartments, not hotels.

Realizing readers still want help choosing hotels in each neighborhood, we started doing in-depth research into the different hotel options in each neighborhood. Is it in a good area that appears to be both safe and fun? Will it be convenient to enjoy the city from this hotel? Does it get excellent reviews from past guests? Would I suggest it to my BFF?

Our goal is to take the pain out of choosing where to stay in Madrid (the best area) and which hotel to stay in that neighborhood by doing most of the research for you. The neighborhood details are outlined by a local expert, and the hotel listings are based on online research, not personal experience.

Hopefully this Where to Stay in Madrid will help you have a better trip to Madrid…but please don’t blame us if it doesn’t. Ultimately, we are providing some of the research, and we expect you’ll do some research too to ensure the information hasn’t changed since this guide was published, conditions in the city haven’t changed, etc.

Thank you so much for reading this, and for booking your hotel through one of our links. And the very happiest of travels to you!

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