There is never a dull moment in Madrid, the sunniest capital city in Europe. Read below to get a feel for some of its most interesting neighborhoods.
Sol: Orange Area
The touristic hub of the city, Sol is bustling with crowds at all times. Grand monolithic white stone buildings and hotels dominate the skyline. Gran Via is where you go when you need some retail therapy, with huge multi-level clothing chains. Puerta del Sol, a large public square, is the geographic center of the Spanish peninsula with fountains, statues, and its famous clock tower.
The 24-hour Churreria, San Gines, usually has lines out the door of visitors desperate to dunk a freshly fried churro into their thick piping hot chocolate. Step through grand stone arches to reach Plaza Mayor. This perfectly symmetrical 17th-century square is one of the prettiest in Spain.
La Latina: Yellow Area
La Latina is a stunning, historical part of town, with winding cobblestone roads, beautiful cathedrals, and hidden parks. The street of Cava Baja is known for its endless tapas restaurants and is one of the top places to do a bar crawl in the city. Cuisine from every corner of Spain, from traditional to modern, is available here.
Retiro/ Salamanca: Red area
The neighborhoods of Retiro and Salamanca are posh, cosmopolitan, and the place to go to find a designer handbag. This is where you go to eat at a top-rated restaurant and rub elbows with the elite.
Luckily, the best part of the neighborhood is free. Head to the tree-filled 350-acre Retiro Park to have a picnic or rent a boat to enjoy the day on its artificial lake. A crystal palace with rotating art installations is another big draw in the park.
Lavapies: Purple Area
A multicultural neighborhood, Lavapies is vibrant and alive. People come here for international cuisine, one-of-a-kind street art, and no-frills friendly, local bars. Every weekend, some of its busiest streets are closed to traffic as the neighborhood hosts the city’s largest flea market, El Rastro.
Malasaña: Green Area
The undisputed center of all things trendy and hip, Malasaña’s winding streets contain colorful murals, buzzing bars, fusion restaurants, and quirky locally owned stores. Nightclubs bring large crowds of young people and the party usually keeps going until the early morning. Pick up something that no one else will have at the vintage clothing store, Magpie.
Chueca: Black Area
Only a small dot on the map, Chueca is bursting with soul and culture. Madrid’s own LGBT neighborhood, Chueca is known for night clubs, all-night parties, and its yearly Pride celebrations. Concerts, drag shows, and other events happen in Chueca all year round.
The Mercado de San Anton contains three stories of inventive cuisine of all varieties with a welcoming cocktail bar on its rooftop.