What is the best location to stay in Madrid? This is a question we always receive. Therefore, we created this guide on where to stay in Madrid.
It includes the best areas for first-time visitors, families, couples, luxury travelers, design travelers, groups, solo-travelers, nightlife-seeking travelers and budget travelers.
We even included a big map with the top 10 sights in Madrid, so you can organize your trip to don’t miss anything!
(This guide is always up to date, the last updated January 2021.)
But, first things first:
Question: Where to stay in Madrid for a first-time visit?
Answer: The center of the city is the best option. Staying central will help you in easy access to the major tourist destinations in the city.
The very city center includes:
These are the most central and historical areas of Madrid, and probably those are the most convenient areas to stay because they have direct access to the airport, public transport and many of the major sights nearby.
Why do I recommend these areas?
The transport usually works very well in Madrid, the metro service starts at 6 am and ends at 1:30 am; and the train service starts at 5:30 am and ends at 23.30 am.
This means that the last metro or train departs at that time, so you can find service later, but I don’t recommend you to wait so late, just in case. The bus service starts at 6 am and ends at 23 pm, but there are buses service all night, known as nocturnes buses and identified by an N (and the line number) on the bus.
Good to know: Make sure you read our handwritten guide to 7 days in Madrid – and how to prepare properly!
But remember that Madrid is a city that you can tour by walk. It is true that maybe the distances are long but sometimes I have walked so far and it is not weary at all.
Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.
We added our best places to stay in Madrid as well as the top sights. Read our guide on the best fun things to do in Madrid for more details.
1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Madrid
As mentioned, the city center of Madrid is the perfect place for first-time visitors, it is not like a huge city, it is more like a big town, and that is its charm.
I also understand that different travel styles match different needs so I created an overview of this.
Here you will find some options for families, couples, luxury travelers, design travelers, groups, solo-travelers, nightlife-seeking travelers and budget travelers.
You will notice some areas are excluded or added to the previous recommendation.
As a historical neighborhood, Austrias and Las Letras are great places to stay for families. There are many things to learn (pieces of poetry written on the floor, the house of Lope de Vega and Cervantes…
But at Las Letras, there are many bars, so at night there is a lot of noise on the weekends. For this, I recommend you to stay in this neighborhood but near Paseo del Prado.
So you can stay in a beautiful area of Madrid but also near Museo del Prado (great if you want to learn about art and admire hundreds of artworks) and Parque del Retiro, where you can have a relaxing walk, a picnic… and cycling or skating, of course. Maybe the best option for families is an apartment.
For families we recommend the following districts:
This map shows you the areas recommended for families:
Handpicked accommodations for families
Flexibility is a must while traveling with a family group, that is why the best option would be to look for an apartment centrally located or nearby the beach, depending on the family purposes.
Also, check if you need self-catering facilities, such as a kitchen. For me, this is always useful to have.
Love is in Madrid’s air too, of course. If you want to do a romantic picnic and see the sunset, you can do it! If you want to have a walk in the old streets of the city and then have a cold coffee (or a cold beer), you can do it, of course.
And what about rent a bike and cycling in the beautiful Parque del Retiro? Madrid offers a lot of plans for couples, and the best areas to stay are:
Barrio de Salamanca
This map shows you the areas recommended for couples:
La Latina Apartment
La Latina Apartment is a great option for couples because there is a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
You will find it near La Latina metro station. And there are so many squares to visit (Plaza de la Plaja, Plaza de Los Carros) and other romantic places as Jardin del Principe de Anglona.
Also, it is 15 minutes walking to Palacio Real and 10 to Plaza Mayor.
Set on a 19th-century that continuous to feature its original art and style up to this day is Gran Hotel Inglés.
The property is a 5-star hotel set in Barrio de las Letras which puts you close to Madrid’s main museums and El Retiro Park. On the other hand, the Royal Palace is just a 20-minutes walk from the hotel.
You will also find a cocktail-bar to grab a few drinks or enjoy Mediterranean cuisines at the hotel’s restaurant.
As a designer traveler, there are areas in Madrid that can be very interesting for you, like Barrio de Salamanca or Gran Via, where you will find incredible examples of architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
At Barrio de Salamanca there are all the shops like Chanel, Prada, etc. and at Gran Vi, you can find Swaroski and Loewe (in the intersection with Calle Alcalá).
For this reason, I recommend the following districts for a design traveler:
Barrio de Salamanca
This map shows you the areas recommended for Design Lovers:
If you’re a music lover, Barceló Imagine is the perfect accommodation for you. Inspired by music, the hotel has created rooms that feature all types of music genres.