The center of Madrid is home to many iconic and representative places in Spanish history.
It’s popularly known as Sol, Madrid de los Austrias, La Latina, Lavapiés, Barrio de las Letras, Chueca y Malasaña, or Gran Vía.

Madrid Center, the tourist center of Madrid

This is the axis on which the tourist, cultural, and recreational life of Madrid revolves and the starting point or obligatory point of passage of any tourist route through the city, since it is an area that invites you to walk, visit its shops and commercial areas, theaters, terraces, and bars.

The Puerta del Sol, from the mid-18th century, is the nerve center of Madrid and owes its name to one of the old entrances to the capital, facing east, where the sun rose.
Here you will find the Kilometer Zero Plaque, the statue of The Bear and the Strawberry Tree, and the Post Office House.

Gran Vía is younger, born in 1910, but in just over a hundred years, it has become one of the main arteries of Madrid.
It begins on Alcalá Street and ends at Plaza de España, connecting the center with the northwest of the city. Here you will find theaters, cinemas, large shopping centers, and some of the most select stores in the capital. It has a new appearance, is freer of cars and pollution, and is more pedestrian-friendly.

Madrid de los Austrias and La Latina: the oldest Madrid

“Palacio,” or the one called Barrio de los Austrias, is in Madrid Center.
It is the most historic Madrid, whose connection to the monarchy, first of the Austrians and then of the Bourbons, will be what gives it its special relevance. It contains the most valuable architectural and historical heritage of the city, and it is the most fascinating neighborhood visited by tourists.

The La Latina neighborhood owes its name to Mrs. Beatriz Galindo, a writer and humanist popularly known as “La Latina” for being the Latin teacher of Queen Isabel La Católica and her daughters.
This area served as lodging for many merchants who came to the city to sell their goods, and this commercial tradition has given its name to many of its streets and squares.

Lavapiés, the most charismatic Center Madrid

It is one of the most traditional and multicultural areas of Madrid, which is home to dozens of nationalities and nightlife.
This area belongs to the
neighbourhood officially called “Ambassadors”, within the Centro district.

Its steep streets, most of them with irregular, narrow, and winding paths that end in squares, preserve their medieval origins as a suburb that extended outside the city walls when Madrid became the capital of the kingdom in 1561.
It is full of
cheerful squares, urban art, churches, and stories of chulapos and castizos await you in this area.

Places of interest: the Plaza del Cascorro and the Rastro popular market, the Spanish Film Archive; the Casa Encendida social club, the Valle-Inclán and Circo Price theater and the Tabacalera, among others.

Barrio de las Letras, tribute to the great writers

It is known by this name for being the place where some of the most distinguished writers of the Spanish Golden Age established their residences.
Belongs to the neighbourhood officially known as “Cortes,” within the Centro district, and is located between Sol-Gran Vía and Paseo del Arte.

You can walk through the same streets that the main Spanish writers did: Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Tirso de Molina, or Góngora, among others.
As you walk by, you can enjoy literary quotes from their best works, which adorn the pedestrian pavement with golden letters.

Places of interest: Huertas Street, Plaza de Santa Ana, the Spanish Theater, the Lope de Vega House Museum, Álvarez Gato Street, the Congress of Deputies, and the Zarzuela Theater, among others.

Chueca, a trendy neighbourhood

It is one of the best-known gay neighbourhoods in Europe that is always in fashion. Epicenter of one of the most anticipated parties, the LGTBI+ Pride Festival in Madrid.
Walking through its streets you will get to know the cosmopolitan side of Madrid. It belongs to the neighbourhood officially called “Justicia” and is within the Centro district.

Located next to the Gran Vía, it stands out for its enormous commercial activity, good cuisine and cultural offer, as well as for the bustle of people who pass through its streets, hence, it is internationally known for its atmosphere and nightlife.

Places of interest: the Plaza de Chueca, the Museum of Romanticism, the Longoria Palace, the House of the Seven Chimneys, among others.

Malasaña, a bohemian and modern neighbourhood

It owes its name to the 17-year-old hero named Manuela Malasaña, hero of the uprising of May 2, 1808, and died that same day in those streets at the hands of French Napoleonic troops when she collaborated to defend the city.
This neighbourhood is closely related to the explosion of the cultural movement of the 80’s, known as “La Movida Madrileña”

It belongs to the neighbourhood officially known as “Universidad”, within the Centro district, it is a benchmark for retro fashion and underground culture in Madrid.

Places of interest: the Madrid History Museum, the Teatro Maravillas, the Plaza dos de Mayo, the Plazas de la Luna and San Ildefonso, among others.

More ideas to enjoy the center of Madrid

We also recommend this plan to visit Madrid in 1 day, these tips for your first visit to Madrid, the second visit or the10 places of tourism in Madrid.

Our accommodations in Madrid city center

In this area we have apartments by months in the Centro area, and in the Retiro area and as a quieter and less touristy area you can consider the apartments by months in the Salamanca district.

For a short stay we have apartments by the days next to Calle Serrano and Paseo de la Castellana, in the Escultor Building and accommodation by category  apartments for companies or our apartments for students.