Where to Stay in Madrid

Where to stay in Madrid—The center of all the roads in Spain

A place where history and modernity meet, Madrid is an exciting city to visit. The landscape of the entire city is filled with something for everybody—museums, galleries, historical and cultural landmarks, clubs, pubs, bars, shops, restaurants—you name it, and Madrid has got it.

Madrid is considered to be the heart and soul of art and nightlife in Spain. Some of the more prominent and well-known tourist attractions and sightseeing locations include The Royal Palace of Madrid, Plaza Mayor, Puerta de Alcalá, and many more.

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5 best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid

The neighborhoods in Madrid are known as barrios, and there are well over a hundred of them scattered among twenty-one districts.

These are our picks for the top 5 best neighborhoods:

  1. La Latina
  2. Sol
  3. Malasaña
  4. Lavapiés
  5. Barrio de las Letras
Neighborhoods in Madrid
Best for expats La Latina A neighborhood located in the Centro district. Ideal for long-term visitors. During the day, it feels like any other busy city, but during the night, it comes to life. You can see people sitting around in cafes and bars, relaxing after a long day.
Best for first-timers Sol Situated in the heart of Madrid, Sol is close to all the sights that should be seen, as well as restaurants and shops. Most of the shops and restaurants have English speakers, so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier.
Best for party animals Malasaña The hub of Madrid’s nightlife. With bars, clubs, and pubs to spare, Malasaña is the place to be if you want to party like there’s no tomorrow.
Best for budget travelers Lavapiés One of the more affordable barrios in Madrid that has still retained its old charm and appeal.
Best for bohemians Barrio de las Letras One of many neighborhoods full of culturally relevant and significant places. Perfect for those who want to dive into the culture and art scene of Madrid.

Transportation in Madrid

 

 

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Like any major city, Madrid has an efficient and reliable public transportation system. You can move through the city via bus, metro, taxis, trains, and electric bikes.

Buses cover the whole city, and they typically run from 6 am to 11:30 pm. There are also some buses that run during the night time, covering the time period between 11:55 pm and 5:30 am. A one-way ticket costs €1.50, but you have the option of buying a metrobús which enables you to ride the bus and metro 10 times for a fee of €12.20.

Madrid has one of the longest metro systems in the world. This is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get around the city. When it comes to the type of tickets, there are one-way tickets which cost around €1.50–2, the aforementioned metrobús, and tickets that get you to and from the airport for around €4.50–5.00.

Cercanía is the name of the train system in Madrid. The trains usually operate between 5 am and midnight. There are seven zones, and each of them has a different ticket price. For additional information on how this works, check out this website.

Taxis are another way to move around the city, but they are a bit pricier. Beware of taxi scammers, since there are drivers who will try to take you on longer routes in order to charge more. Another piece of advice is to write down the address and to keep an eye on the meter.

Renting an electric bike is a green way to move around and explore the city. If you want to learn more about how it works, check out the official website.

Where to stay in Madrid long term—La Latina

Known for its narrow streets and large squares, La Latina covers most of the oldest section of Madrid. Full of hidden gems in the narrow streets, this neighborhood is a unique blend of traditional and modern. The history of the city is visible pretty much everywhere. Besides having a number of mesmerizing landmarks, La Latina has quite the number of tapas bars. We picked this neighborhood for long term visitors because it is full of charm, and it is close to all the other areas and neighborhoods of Madrid.

Things to see and do in La Latina

These are our picks for things to do:

  • Juana La Loca
  • Plaza de la Cebada
  • Church of San Andrés

Juana La Loca

A restaurant in La Latina which serves traditional Spanish food. Enjoy some of those delicious tapas.

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Plaza de la Cebada

One of the most well-known squares in La Latina, here you can see a number of vendors, street art, and performers.

 

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San Andrés Church

A beautiful and remarkable church which you should definitely visit when exploring the city.

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Where to stay in Madrid for the first time—Sol

Smack in the heart of Madrid, Sol is a neighborhood full of energy and excitement. Every year it sees a great number of tourists, so there are a lot of places where you can find someone who speaks English, which is great if you are a first-time visitor and your Spanish isn’t the best.

Things to see and do in Sol

Here are some of our picks for things to see and do:

  • Gran Vía
  • Chocolatería San Ginés
  • Puerta del Sol

Gran Vía

One of the best-known streets in Madrid, occasionally referred to as the Spanish Broadway, Gran Vía is located in the center of Madrid. It is packed with shops, bars, cinemas, restaurants, as well as gorgeous architecture.

 

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Chocolatería San Ginés

Satisfy your sweet tooth with some delicious sweets. This chocolatería is open 24 hours and is best known for churros with chocolate.

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Puerta del Sol

Here is another famous square, whose name means Gate of the Sun. This is the square from which New Year’s celebration is broadcast on television and the home to some great landmarks.

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Where to stay in Madrid for nightlife—Malasaña

A neighborhood where young people, as well as those looking for a vibrant atmosphere, gather and meet. Known for its youthful and fun energy, Malasaña has an abundance of bars, pubs, and clubs.

Things to see and do in Malasaña

Here are some of our suggestions for a good time out:

  • La Vía Láctea
  • El Penta
  • Tupper Ware

La Vía Láctea

A bar that plays a variety of music and serves delicious drinks.

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Lucy In The Sky Club

Experience a true Spanish night out, with excellent music and an enticing atmosphere.

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Tupper Ware

A club with an easy-going vibe and 60s and 70s feel and decorations.

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Where to stay in Barcelona

Beautiful Barcelona: where to stay in “the city of dreams”

With its mouth-dropping architecture, lively and friendly vibe, and beautiful Mediterranean beaches, it truly is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As it is one of the older Spanish cities, it is full of historical sights. Fans of modern art and lifestyle will also appreciate it due to Gaudi’s fascinating contribution to the city landscape. Falling in love with Barcelona is quite easy: all you need to do is come visit it and it will steal your heart forever. 

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Where is the best place to stay in Barcelona — Our 5 favorite areas

Your experience in Barcelona heavily depends on the neighborhood you stay in. Although the city is well-connected, each area has a distinct vibe and lifestyle. To help you pick the best place, we’ve made a rundown of our favorite Barcelona neighborhoods:

  1. El Poble-Sec
  2. El Born
  3. El Raval
  4. El Gotico
  5. Gracia
Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain
Best for budget travelers El Poble-Sec An affordable but lively area with plenty of bars and pubs
Best for party animals El Born The crowdest neighborhood where you’ll find all major bars and clubs
Best for cool kids El Raval An artsy neighborhood known for its bohemian vibe
Best for first-timers El Gotico The historical center of the city with major tourist attractions
Best for expats Gracia A peaceful, family-oriented area ideal for a long-term stay

Photo credit: barcelona_barcelona

Where to stay in Barcelona for budget travelers: El Poble-Sec

El Poble-Sec is a safe, primarily residential neighborhood ideal for budget travelers. It is close to the city center and you can get to the major sights on foot. Even if you’re not a fan of walking, this area will suit you as it is well-connected with other parts of the city. It is located at the bottom of the Montjuïc hill, so it won’t take you more than a few minutes to reach its most wonderful attractions. There are plenty of economical accommodation options that will suit your budget perfectly. 

What to do in El Poble-Sec

El Poble-Sec is surprisingly lively for such an affordable neighborhood. Although there aren’t any major sights to see, the area has many tapas bars, interesting pubs, and hip restaurants. If you decide to stay in El Poble-Sec, make sure to visit our favorite places:

  • Bar Seco
  • Caixa Forum
  • Archaeology Museum of Catalonia
  • El Molino
  • Montjuïc hill
  • The Magic Fountain 

The Magic Fountain 

The Magic Fountain is a true spectacle of sounds and colors. It was built almost a century ago and still remains one of the most beloved tourist attractions in Barcelona. The square below the fountains is especially lively and crowded, and it is where all major concerts are held. Who knows, maybe you’ll go for a walk around the fountains and accidentally run into Shakira’s concert!

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Where to stay in El Poble-Sec

If you want to stay close to the city center without spending much money on accommodation, you will adore El Poble-Sec. There are plenty of accommodation options, both budget and high-end. On average, one night will cost you around $70. Take a look at our top picks:

Budget option: This lovely, comfortable private room.

Midrange option: This fantastic loft.

Luxurious option: This amazing apartment near La Rambla.

You can browse for more accommodation options here

Where to stay in Barcelona for party animals: El Born

Once known as a shady, gangsta neighborhood, El Born has transformed into the most vibrant and exciting area in the city. While there are several great tourist attractions, nightlife is the area where El Born shines. It is crowded and lively at any hour of the day or night. There are hundreds of fantastic bars, restaurants, and clubs in this area, which makes it perfect for party animals. 

Where to party in El Born

If you go for a walk around El Born, you’ll notice interesting night spots at every corner. From casual bars to cocktail lounges and exclusive nightclubs, El Born is where you will easily find your favorite party spot. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of these places:

  • Dr. Stravinsky Cocktail Bar
  • Magic 
  • Dux
  • Mamaine Mojitos
  • Palau Dalmases
  • Dans Le Noir

Dux

Dux is a true hidden gem of Barcelona’s night scene. This secluded speakeasy is a place any connoisseur of adult drinks must visit. The bar has its own, homemade gin that is an absolute treat for your tastebuds, and there are hundreds of craft cocktails that you can experiment with. 

Photo credit: duxbarcelona

Where to stay in El Born

El Born is quite affordable for a neighborhood so close to the city center. A night in an AirBnB costs around $80 on average. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: This affordable apartment at the very center of the neighborhood.

Midrange option: This enormous room in a fantastic location.

Luxurious option: This elegant studio with a balcony.

Want more options? Visit this page!

Where to stay in Barcelona for cool kids: El Raval

El Raval is a neighborhood heaven-sent for art lovers and culture vultures. This area is lively, charming, and bursting with a trendy, hipster vibe. In El Raval, you will see lots of museums and galleries, as well as some stylish cafes, restaurants, and shops. This neighborhood is like a magnet for bohemian, artistic souls so it’s no wonder it’s known as the coolest part of Barcelona. Unfortunately, El Raval is not as safe as some other neighborhoods, so keep an eye on your belongings to avoid pickpockets, especially at night.  

Major sights in El Raval

Whether you are looking for unusual architecture, unique art exhibits, or fancy restaurants, El Raval is where you will find everything your heart desires. If you can’t decide where to go first, check out some of our top picks:

  • Sant Pau del Camp
  • Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona
  • Avenida del Paralelo
  • Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
  • Mr. White Cocktail Bar
  • Bar Marsella

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) is one of the best museums of contemporary art in the whole of Spain. This museum is proof that Barcelona has much more to offer than just Gaudi. Besides the permanent set up, the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of world-famous artists. There is even a section referring to The Rolling Stones!

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Where to stay in El Raval

El Raval offers plenty of accommodation options for both budget travelers and those seeking more high-end places. On average, one night in an AirBnB costs around $70. Check out our favorite places:

Budget option: this cute private room

Midrange option: this amazing private room near the market

Luxurious option: this beautiful room with a balcony.

Browse for more AirBnBs here

Where to stay in Barcelona first time: El Gotico

El Gotico, also known as Barrio Gotico, is the very heart and soul of this fascinating city. We can call it the original Barcelona as it is the historical center and has many remnants of the ancient Roman village that it once was. Its charming streets are decorated with cobblestone and gorgeous architecture. This neighborhood is a beautiful blend of the new and the old, so you will experience the whole of Barcelona’s long history. 

Places in El Gotico you shouldn’t miss

Barrio Gotico is an ideal location for first-time visitors as this area offers so many things to see and do. There are plenty of tourist attractions so sightseeing will be a true adventure. The area is also full of bars, restaurants, and shops, so you’ll always have something interesting to do. If you’re visiting the city for the first time, make sure to check out these places:

  • La Rambla
  • Guell Palace
  • The Barcelona Cathedral
  • Museum of the City of Barcelona
  • Picasso Museum
  • Plaza del Rei

Guell Palace

Just like every part of Barcelona designed by Gaudi, Guell Palace is absolutely amazing. It’s an outstanding representative of the Art Nouveau movement and will swipe any architecture lover off their feet. 

Photo credit: andrey_on_the_way

Where to stay in El Gotico

In El Gotico, you won’t have difficulty finding the perfect accommodation for you. The average price is around $80 per night. Take a look at our top picks:

Budget option: this apartment near the Picasso Museum.

Midrange option: this amazing room in the center.

Luxurious option: this gorgeous apartment at the very heart of the Gothic Quarter.

You can see more accommodation options here