The Safest Places to Stay in Madrid: A Quick Guide
Looking for a safe place to stay in the Spanish capital? We’ve got you covered
When planning your dream stay in Madrid, booking somewhere you can feel safe and comfortable is essential. The grand, sprawling capital of Spain offers plenty of diverse barrios (neighbourhoods) to choose from. From the awe-inspiring architecture of Centro and its winding medieval streets to the polished townhouses of Salamanca, and the parade of hip bars, restaurants and boutique shops that line Malasaña, Madrid is as diverse as it is beautiful. As major European capitals go, it’s an incredibly safe city to explore. But, like with all big cities, it pays to be cautious - especially with pickpocketing, which is common in Madrid. And here at Plum Guide, we want to share our expert knowledge to ensure you can avoid the trouble and have a trip to remember for the right reasons, like your bed being excessively comfortable. Generally, the more upmarket the neighbourhood, the safer it’ll be to wander around after dark. In the bustling districts of Centro, La Latina, Chueca, Huertas and Malasaña, things can get a bit headier on weekends - stick to central, well-lit streets and avoid empty parks or the area surrounding the Atocha train station at night. Here’s our guide to the safest places to stay in Madrid.
The epicentre of Madrid’s countercultural scene that bubbled to the surface after years of fascist repression under Franco, the once-scuzzy, punky district of Malasaña has been quietly gentrified in the last few decades. Visitors should still be able to recognise the Malasaña of Pedro Almodóvar’s cult ‘80s films, however, as the neighbourhood manages to preserve much of its original character. Living among its vintage bars and second-hand markets, new artisan cafes and trendy eateries pop up every week. As do colourful murals: in Malasaña, street art is everywhere, overlooked by the municipal authorities and cherished by locals. At night, things grow livelier at the chaotic rock bars and DJ-led clubs - this is one of Madrid’s most happening areas for nightlife. With that in mind, be careful at weekends - stick to the main thoroughfares, and dodge unlit walkways and deserted parks.
Madrid’s historic city centre sprawls with magnificent architecture, elaborate Baroque palaces and winding medieval alleyways. Best explored by foot, Centro is one of the safest neighbourhoods in the city: the central walkways are wide, well-lit and bustling with people. Perfectly positioned for exploring the stately shopping promenade of Gran Vía, the impressive square Plaza Mayor and the Reina Sofia Museum, home of Picasso’s cubist masterpiece Guernica, Centro offers convenience in spades. And it never really feels too touristy...unless you happen to visit in August when the city experiences its annual exodus of residents to the Spanish coast.
Stately townhouses, plazas and contemporary museums and galleries line the impeccably-clean boulevards of Salamanca. Called the ‘Golden Mile’, this stretch of Italianate-stone mansions, fine-dining restaurants and international fashion boutiques represent Madrid at its most exclusive. If you're indulging in a food tour of Madrid, you’ll find a cluster of Michelin-starred restaurants here, living alongside the Platea Madrid, a gastronomic food market set in a former theatre building. Discover ancient Iberian artefacts at the Archaeological Museum; the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is a source of national pride, with its collection of works by Goya, the last Spanish Old Master. Unsurprisingly, it’s not cheap to stay here...but it is definitely one of the safest places to stay in Madrid, and there’s a handsome collection of properties available for vacation rental.
The traditional, sleepy barrio of Chamberí provides a lovely respite from the bustle of the city centre. An architecturally-pleasing neighbourhood with quiet residential streets, Chamberí is calm, laid-back and without doubt one of the safest places to stay in Madrid. Growing increasingly popular as a gourmet food destination, it's home to some of the city’s best fine-dining restaurants and upscale bars - particularly around C/Ponzano, a must-visit for fans of traditional tapas. A quietly creative hub for the arts, Chamberí offers a varied supply of cultural attractions, including the Sorolla Museum and gallery, set in a beautiful 19th-century house. The transport museum is set within the old Andén 0 Metro station, while flamenco and contemporary theatre is performed at Teatros del Canal. This is one of the safest neighbourhoods to stay in Madrid: quiet, relatively crime-free; it’s also very family-friendly.