The touristic center of Madrid
The center of Madrid is home to many iconic and representative places for Spanish history.
In its tourist version the neighbourhoods at the Center of Madrid are known as: Sol, Madrid de los Austrias, Barrio de La Latina, Barrio de Lavapiés, Barrio de Las Letras, Chueca area and Malasaña neighbourhoods, axis around which Madrid’s tourist, cultural and recreational life revolves.
The center of Madrid
The “Puerta del Sol” is the nerve center of Madrid. It owes its name to one of the old entrances to the capital from the mid-eighteenth century. Here you can find the “Kilometro Cero” plaque and the statue of El Oso y el Madroño or the Casa de Correos.
Gran Vía is a younger street born in 1910 and It is close to Puerta del Sol, at a 200m distance, but in just over a hundred years it became one of the main arteries of Madrid. It begins at Calle Alcalá and ends at Plaza de España, connecting the center with the northwest of the city. Here you will find theaters, cinemas, department stores and some of the most select stores in the capital. It has a new look that is free of cars and pollution, and more friendly towards pedestrians.
Madrid de los Austrias and La Latina, the oldest Madrid
“Palacio” within the Centro District is known as”Barrio de los Austrias” and contains the most historical part of Madrid, linked to the monarchy, first of the Austrias and later of the Bourbons witch gives the city its special relevance as it contains the most valuable architectural and historical heritage of the city. It is the most fascinating neighbourhood visited.
The neighbourhood of La Latina owes its name to Doña Beatriz Galindo, a writer and humanist popularly known as “La Latina”, for being the Latin teacher of Queen Isabella the Catholic and her daughters. This area served as lodging for many merchants who came to the city to sell their merchandise, this commercial tradition being what has given many of its streets and squares their names.
Places of interest: Almudena Cathedral, Royal Palace and Sabatini Gardens, Royal Theater, Plaza de Oriente, Plaza de la Villa, Plaza Mayor, Palacio de Santa Cruz, Plaza and the Cebada Market, Mercado San Miguel, the Latina Theater, the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, the Puerta de Toledo, the Collegiate Church of San Isidro, the Museum of the Origins of Madrid, among others.
Lavapiés, the most charismatic Madrid
This area belongs to the neighbourhood officially called “Ambassadors”, within the Centro district, it is one of the most traditional and multicultural areas of Madrid, which is home to dozens of nationalities and night life.
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 belongs to the neighbourhood officially known as “Cortes”, within the Centro district and is located between Sol-Gran Vía and Paseo del Arte. It is known by this name for being the place where some of the most distinguished writers of the Spanish Golden Age established their residence.
You can walk through the same streets that 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 the best works by them, 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, 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 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 Madrid
We also recommend this plan to visit Madrid in 1 day, these tips for your first visit to Madrid, the second visit or the 10 most visited places in Madrid.
Our accommodations in Madrid
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: list of apartments for companies or our list of apartments for students .
Pretending to live in Madrid?
If you are a Madrid passionate considering to invest in Madrid visit or Golden Visa page to obtain a permanent residence in Spain.