The Best Places to Stay in Madrid for Tourists
Exclusive brands, tapas hangouts and fine dining.
With what is thought to be the largest bars-per-capita in Europe (if only we could stay sober long enough to count properly), Madrid is a nightlife hub full of fun, excitement and vibrancy. But, hey, maybe you don’t like that – we certainly don’t. Not to worry, we’ll take a look at the quieter neighbourhoods too, and provide you with an eclectic list of the best places to stay in Madrid for tourists.
Whether you’re into museums or bars, or if you want to stay in the gay district or near some of the best tapas spots in the city, we have you covered. The city doubles up as both a youthful and progressive area packed with bohemian bars, and an exclusive, swanky hub of elegant streets flanked by upscale boutiques and the biggest brands. We at Plum Guide think you’ll favour the latter of the city’s many faces, so we've rounded up our favourite neighbourhoods and the best Plum Guide homes in Madrid. Without further ado, enjoy our guide to the best places to stay in Madrid for tourists.
This is where you should stay if you want to be near to the main shopping avenues and majestic façades of Madrid. It is the most exclusive of the city’s many barrios (that’s Spanish for neighbourhood; we hope you already know). Wander down the promenades in your most regal of attire (or flip flops and shorts; you’re in Spain after all), and admire the elegant façades of the mansions lining the streets. While living up the luxury life, sit down for dinner at one of the city's fine dining establishments, such as Restaurante Etimo by Begona Fraire, Ramon Freixa Madrid and Restaurante Las Carboneras de Lu. Admire the impressive architecture around the Plaza de Toros and visit the Museo Lázaro Galdiano.
Stay in the Conde Duque area for its eclectic range of bars and cafés in the northern part of central Madrid. Visit the Museo ABC, the Plaza del Dos de Mayo (nothing to do with mayonnaise) and see what’s going on in the Centro Cultural Conde Duque. Admire the works of art on display in the Palacio de Liria, and walk through its picturesque grounds.
At the southern end of Conde Duque lies the Malasaña district, which is also known for its trendy bars and cafés. Stay into the evening, when the bars light up the streets with a mix of retro and modern themed party nights. Sit at one of the cafés with open-air seating sprawling out into the plazas. Grab a bite at one of the myriad restaurants spread across Calle Manuela Malasaña and Calle del Pez. Since you're here, lodge in one of our brilliant Plum Guide homes, such as the airy Serendipity or the elegant Camila.
Barrio de las Letras
This is known as the literary corner for its association with some of Spain’s most prominent and historic writers. Cervantes and Quevedo lived here – quickly look them up so you can impress your family or friends on the trip with your newly-gleaned knowledge. Enjoy an espresso or a cortado on the terrace of one of the cafés lining the Plaza de Santa Ana, and admire the exceptional architecture of the iconic buildings. This is definitely a neighbourhood to visit on any book lover's Madrid itinerary.
The gay district of Madrid is packed with bars and clubs, as well as fashionable shops and cafés. Soak up the cool and cosmopolitan vibe as you wander down the streets and hear the electronic music emanating from the bars. If you’re really feeling this youthful and cool vibe, head to the Alonso Martínez area for its discos and party hubs that keep on truckin’ (do the kids still say that?) til the early hours (of the next day).
A little further north, this is where you’ll probably want to stay if you’re here for football purposes. It’s where you’ll find the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, one of the most iconic sports arenas in the world. Watch Los Blancos (Real Madrid) turn out here, checking for tickets online. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch them when they’re playing rivals Barcelona or Atlético Madrid. Despite its football association, the area is surprisingly quiet and upscale, with department stores and shopping centres aplenty.
We are also open to the possibility that you’re here visiting your kids, who’ll be hanging around in all the student zones. The Ciudad Universitaria has many of the dorms, with affordable bars and an electric nightlife. Moncloa is the other main student hub, with its cheaper discos and parties going on until way past your bed time. Kids a little young for college? Take a look at our family friendly guide to Madrid.
Now you know the best places to stay in Madrid for tourists, it's time to book your temporary accommodation in the city. Our exclusive homes in Milan are personally tried and tested by our fastidious home critics, so whether the huge open-plan living room at True Turquoise or the compact, stylish space at Raindrops Keep Falling appeals, you know you're in for a great night's sleep in a Plum Guide home.