The area between Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, with the adjoining streets, is the center of Madrid’s cultural, tourist, and recreational life. It is here that you can listen to the heartbeats of Spanish capital. Puerta del Sol marked the city ‘s Eastern boundaries in the fifteenth century. This large square makes one of the most popular meeting points in town, with visitors and locals gathering at the Kilometer Zero mark, the statute of the bear and the strawberry tree or the statue of Charles III on horseback. The Sol-Gran Vía neighborhood hosts a number of important art centers and institutions such as San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Descalza Reales Monastery or Instituto Cervantes. It is a top shopping district in Madrid. Visitors should not miss window shopping here. Some of the main streets in the area are pedestrian only, making it easy to hit the shops. Inaugurated in 1910, Gran Vía is much younger. But, in just a century, this became the symbol of Madrid. Cinemas, theaters, department and fashion stores, as well as some emblematic buildings and the first skyscrapers built in the city.
Metros: Sol, Sevilla, Ópera, Gran Vía, Santo Domingo, Callao, Tirso de Molina (Lines 1, 2, 3, 5)
Barrio de Salamanca
Discover the luxury stores on the Golden Mile, Michelin-starred restaurants, and the most stylish nightlife of Madrid. Barrio de Salamanca is quite peculiar, both for its layout and for the neighbors whose homes sit in this most desirable area of Madrid. The neighborhood was developed in the second half of the nineteenth century as an expansion planned under Queen Isabella II. Salamanca’s two main streets are Serrano and Velázquez. This district shows the best of Madrid: elegance and style. Renowned designers from national and international brands have their boutiques in Salamanca. It also has three restaurants that have been awarded with Michelin stars.
Metros: Príncipe de Vergara, Retiro & Goya (Line 2), Serrano, Velázquez, Lista & Goya (Line 4) Núñez de Balbao (Line 5
Barrio de las Letras
Barrio de las Letras (Literary Quarter) lies in the heart of Madrid, between such attractions as Sol-Gran Vía and Paseo del Arte (Art Walk). In the seventeenth century, (the Golden Age of Spanish Literature) Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Tirso de Molina and Góngora, among other authors, had their homes here. Some of the streets in this neighborhood pay tribute to this and other brilliant chapters of Spanish history, culture and art.The shops here have a distinct artistic character, whose best titles are offered in the countless bookstores in the area. But there are many contemporary art galleries also. Barrio de las Letras is one of Madrid’s liveliest districts, ideal to go out for tapas!
Metros: Sol, Sevilla (Line 2), Atocha, Tirso de Molina, Antón Martín (Line 1)
As home to Madrid’s two top attractions – beautiful Retiro Park and the world-renowned Prado Museum – the charming Retiro neighborhood is a required destination. While the city’s main green space and the surrounding area used to be a royal preserve, nowadays, you can enjoy plenty of beautiful attractions, such as the lake, glass palace, rose garden and inviting green lawns. Also, many free activities are held regularly, from bootcamp and running clubs, to roller skating and yoga lessons.
Metros: Retiro (Line 2), Príncipe de Vergara, Ibiza and Sáinz de Baranda (Line 9)
Chueca is in the center of the city of Madrid, and its main hubs are the Plaza de Chueca and the streets of Fuencarral and Hortaleza. In recent years this area has become an outstanding illustration of the freedom and openness of Madrid society and is home to numerous venues which are popular with the LGBT community, alternative fashion centers and a host of opportunities for fun. This is a neighborhood where you can enjoy fashion in all kinds of different shops, especially a whole street of shoe stores on c/ Agusto Figueroa. In addition, you’ll find numerous cuisine options with designer eateries and traditional restaurants. And all in an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity. Chueca is also the center of the Gay Pride Festival which is held every year between June and July and fills the streets with music, color, and high spirits.
Metros: Chueca, Gran Vía & Alonso Martínez (Line 1 & 5) and Tribunal (Line 1 & 10)
From the center of La Movida Madrileña to the trendiest district in town, Malasaña has been through quite a lot of changes in the last few decades. Today, modern restaurants and second-hand shops live alongside traditional bars and markets people have been going to for ages. It’s also one of the most popular nightlife areas in the city. Its main street, Fuencarral, runs parallel to c/ Hortaleza, making Malasaña and Chueca very friendly neighbors. Its main plaza, Plaza de Dos de Mayo, was home to the battle in 1802 when the Madrileños rose against Napoleon. Now the plaza is full of cafés and restaurant terraces. Malasaña is a melting pot of Madrid – be sure not to miss it!
Metros: Tribunal (Line 10 & 1), Bilbao (Line 1 & 4), Noviciado & San Bernando (Line 2)