Where to stay in Madrid? 4 Best Areas & Places to Stay + Where to Avoid! 🇪🇸

Looking for the perfect area in Madrid for your trip? In this guide, I'll tell you about 4 exciting areas and recommend places to stay.

where to stay in madrid

Madrid is a beautiful city with plenty of history and culture. Whether you’re a football fan, art lover or food enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in Spain‘s capital.

However, navigating the many different neighbourhoods and areas in the city can be challenging when it comes to finding a place to stay.

Where to stay in Madrid? Here’s my guide to the 4 best areas to stay in Madrid.

All the areas are in the central part of Madrid, so whichever you choose, you’ll be close to the city’s best things to do.

Best areas in Madrid

Best areas and places to stay in Madrid, Spain

For those of you who are busy or want the cold hard facts, here they are –but I’ll go into more depth with the different areas if you scroll down in the guide.

Here’s where to stay in Madrid, Spain’s capital:

  • Centro – best area for most tourists ⭐️
  • Malasaña – best area for trendy culture & nightlife 🍹
  • Salamanca – best area for high-end shopping & fancy hotels 👌🏻
  • Lavapiés – a multicultural & historical area

Click on the area’s name to see the best hotels in that specific area of Madrid.

And now – let’s start with the best place to stay if you’re coming to Madrid for the first time.

1. Centro – best area for first-timers ⭐️

If we have to crown a sure winner and the area of Madrid where you can confidently book a hotel and stay close to everything, it’s Centro.

Centro Madrid, best place for first-time tourists
The famous Plaza Mayor in Madrid Centro

Centro is, as the name suggests, one of Madrid’s most central and popular neighbourhoods and is an excellent choice for those who want to stay in the city’s heart.

The area is known for being one of the liveliest areas in Madrid, and it’s home to many of the city’s biggest attractions and sights.

See the best hotels in Centro here.

Here you’ll find many of Madrid’s top attractions – including the famous Puerta del Sol, which is the central hub for transportation in the city, and Plaza Mayor, one of the most impressive squares in all of Madrid.

Madrid city centre

Centro is also known for its many shops, bars, and restaurants; you can easily find something for every taste and budget in this area.

If you’re interested in shopping, it’s worth noting that Centro is home to some of the biggest stores in the city. Here you’ll find both small local shops and large international chains.

Another reason to stay in Centro is the easy access to Madrid’s transport network. From here, you can quickly get around the city by metro, bus or taxi – it’s also easy to reach from Madrid airport to Centro.

Centro is also a great starting point for exploring other parts of Madrid, as you can easily access some of the city’s biggest parks and attractions.

So, Centro is the best area to stay for most tourists and for those visiting Madrid for the first time.

Places to stay in Centro

Below, I’ve found three great hotels in central Madrid – in three different price ranges. Click on the hotel’s name for more photos and online booking with free cancellation.

Melia hotel in Madrid city centre

Luxury hotel: Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá (hotel with pool in Madrid)

This beautiful five-star hotel is located in the heart of Madrid and is a perfect combination of modern luxury and classic elegance.

The hotel has a fantastic terrace overlooking the city, a spa, and a Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant.

And it’s one of the Madrid hotels with a rooftop pool with city views.

Vincci the mint hotel madrid centro

Mid-range hotel: Vincci The Mint

Vincci The Mint is a modern and trendy hotel located in the heart of Madrid, just a few minutes walk from Puerta del Sol.

The hotel has a fantastic rooftop terrace with a bar where you can enjoy a cocktail or tapas, and the rooms are stylishly decorated with all the necessary amenities.

hotel atlantico madrid centro

Mid-range hotel (another very popular option): Hotel Atlántico

Hotel Atlántico, centrally located on Madrid’s Gran Via, receives high marks for its pristine cleanliness and attentive service. Guests enjoy the convenience of air-conditioned, free Wi-Fi-equipped rooms and appreciate the peace afforded by effective soundproofing​.

Proximity to key attractions like Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, combined with easy access to public transport, is a highlight for visitors​.

See more photos & book here.

Hostal Persal, cheap place to stay in madrid city centre
At Hostal Persal, there are beautiful and affordable rooms with private bathrooms.

Budget hotel: Hostal Persal

This charming hotel is located in the heart of historic Madrid and is a perfect base for those who want to explore the city on foot. The rooms are small but clean and comfortable, and the staff are friendly and helpful.

The hotel also has a restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Spanish dishes at reasonable prices.

2. Malasaña – best area for trendy vibes & nightlife 🍹

Malasaña is a lively neighbourhood in central Madrid, known for its bohemian vibe and youthful atmosphere.

The area is perfect for travellers who want to experience the city’s culture and nightlife up close. And you’re just a stone’s throw away from Centro!

See the best hotels in Malasaña here.

Malasana, best place to stay for trendy vibe and nightlife
If you’re looking for a cool and slightly hipster area in Madrid, Malasaña is a great choice.

Malasaña has a wide range of bars, restaurants, and shops, and the neighbourhood is known for attracting a hipster-like and alternative crowd.

You can find everything from local designers and art galleries to cocktail bars and trendy cafes here.

Moreover, Malasaña has excellent nightlife, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy music and drinks at the many bars and clubs in the area.

So, Malasaña is a great place to stay for those who want to experience the best of Madrid’s culture and nightlife up close.

The neighbourhood is perfect for those who want to explore alternative Madrid and be close to the city’s trendiest spots.

Places to stay in Malasaña

Let’s take a closer look at some great hotels in Malasaña.

Only You, luxury hotel in malasana
Only You Hotel in Malasaña

Luxury hotel: Only You Hotel

Only You Hotel is a five-star boutique hotel in the heart of Malasaña.

The hotel is decorated in an elegant, modern style and offers luxurious amenities such as a rooftop terrace with an impressive view of the city, a spa, and a gourmet restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.

Room Mate Mario, good place to stay in Madrid

Mid-range hotel: Room Mate Mario

Room Mate Mario is a trendy, four-star hotel in the heart of Malasaña.

The hotel is modern and stylishly decorated with a colourful theme and offers a range of facilities, such as a rooftop terrace, a bar, and a breakfast restaurant.

Vitium Urban Suites, cheap hotel in Malasana

Budget hotel: Vitium Urban Suites

Vitium Urban Suites is a popular choice in Malasaña. It is a mid-range hotel with modern and stylish decor and a fantastic location in the heart of the Malasaña neighbourhood.

The rooms are spacious and well-equipped with amenities such as a flat-screen TV, minibar, and air conditioning.

There is also a rooftop terrace with a bar to enjoy a drink and a fantastic city view.

3. Salamanca – best area for high-end shopping & fancy hotels 👌🏻

Salamanca is an exclusive and elegant neighbourhood in central Madrid, known for its wide boulevards, beautiful buildings, and luxury shops.

Salamanca Madrid, best place to stay for luxury and shopping
Calle de Serrano is a famous shopping street in the Salamanca area.

The area is popular among the affluent part of the population and travellers seeking a more exclusive experience in Madrid.

Salamanca is home to many of the city’s most exclusive shops and restaurants, making it a popular place to shop and dine out.

See the best hotels in Salamanca here.

Naturally, there are some highly luxurious hotels in Salamanca, so it’s worth checking prices well before your trip, as there can be good money to save.

The neighbourhood is also known for its beautiful neo-classical buildings, such as Puerta de Alcalá and the Cibeles fountain.

Another great advantage of staying in Salamanca is its central location. There is easy access to the city’s many attractions and transport networks from here.

Salamanca is also close to the Retiro Park, a large green oasis in the middle of the city, and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

So, Salamanca is a great place to stay for tourists who want to experience Madrid’s more exclusive and sophisticated side.

Places to stay in Salamanca

I have no budget hotels in Salamanca on the list, as it doesn’t make sense to stay in this area if you’re looking for cheap accommodation in Madrid 😀

Rosewood Villa Magna Madrid

Luxury hotel: Rosewood Villa Magna

Rosewood Villa Magna is a five-star luxury hotel in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood.

The hotel is elegant and stylishly decorated and offers many facilities, including a gourmet restaurant, a wellness area, and a fitness centre.

The rooms are spacious, comfortable, and equipped with modern conveniences and amenities.

This hotel is perfect for a luxurious and relaxing experience in Madrid.

H10 Madrid, rooftop swimming pool

Mid-range hotel: H10 Puerta de Alcalá (hotel with rooftop pool in Madrid)

H10 Puerta de Alcalá is a four-star mid-range hotel in a beautiful building in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood.

The hotel has a modern and elegant decor and offers a range of facilities, such as a rooftop terrace with a fantastic view of the city, a bar, and a breakfast restaurant.

The rooms are comfortable, modern, and equipped with all the necessary facilities.

NH Madrid Lagasca

Mid-range hotel number 2: NH Madrid Lagasca

NH Madrid Lagasca is a three-star budget hotel located in the Salamanca neighbourhood. The hotel is modernly decorated and offers good essential comfort and facilities.

The rooms are simple and clean and have everything needed for a comfortable stay.

This is a good choice for those who want to stay in the Salamanca neighbourhood at an affordable price.

4. Lavapiés – stay in a multicultural & historical area

Lavapiés is an exciting and multicultural neighbourhood in central Madrid.

The district has a rich history and is known for its eclectic mix of architecture, food, music, and art.

Lavapies, stay in an exciting area of Madrid

Lavapiés is also known for being one of the city’s most diverse and bohemian neighbourhoods, making it a perfect destination for the adventurous traveller.

Lavapiés is a mix of traditional Spanish streets and narrow alleys filled with life and colours.

See the best hotels in Lavapiés here.

The neighbourhood also has many local shops, cafes, and restaurants.

In addition, in Lavapiés, you can find many cultural attractions and events, such as the famous Teatro Valle-Inclán and the Reina Sofía Museum, showcasing modern and contemporary art.

Lavapiés is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with many bars and clubs where you can experience live music, dance to different rhythms, and meet local and international travellers.

If you’ve been to Barcelona, Lavapiés can be compared to El Raval.

Places to stay in Lavapiés

Here are three different hotels in Lavapiés to suit different budgets:

Catalonia Atocha

Luxury: Hotel Catalonia Atocha

This 4-star hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Lavapiés and features stylish and elegant rooms with modern conveniences.

The hotel also has a rooftop terrace with a pool and a bar, where you can enjoy fantastic city views.

Radisson Red Madrid

Mid-range: Radisson RED Madrid

Radisson RED Madrid is a modern and stylish hotel in the Lavapiés area.

It is a luxury hotel with a youthful and relaxed atmosphere that fits well with the area.

The rooms are spacious and well-appointed with modern decor and amenities like air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and minibar.

The hotel also has a rooftop bar to enjoy a drink and a fantastic city view.

Cheap hotel in Lavapies

Budget: SLEEP’N Atocha

SLEEP’N Atocha is an affordable hotel located in the Lavapiés area of Madrid.

The hotel offers modern, comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and flat-screen TVs.

There is also a shared lounge where guests can relax and socialise.

SLEEP’N Atocha is a good choice for travellers on a tight budget who still want a great location and comfortable facilities.

Still not sure where to stay in Madrid? Let me summarize

Madrid is an exciting city, and there are plenty of different areas to choose from when looking for a place to stay. 

Centro is the perfect choice for tourists who want to stay close to all the major attractions in the city, while Malasaña is ideal for travellers who want to experience Madrid’s bohemian and art scene.

Salamanca is known for its high-end shops and luxury restaurants and is a good choice for travellers who want to stay in an elegant and sophisticated part of the city.

Finally, Lavapiés is a vibrant, multicultural area that attracts a young and artistic audience.

No matter which area you choose, there are many great places to stay.

With this guide, you can choose the area and hotel that best suits your preferences and needs and enjoy everything Madrid offers.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Madrid:

Where is the best place to stay in Madrid?

It depends on one’s individual preferences and needs. Centro is a popular choice for tourists who want to stay close to the major attractions and sights in the city, while Malasaña is a good choice for travellers who want to experience Madrid’s bohemian and art scene.
Salamanca is known for its high-end shops and luxury restaurants and is ideal for those who want to stay in a more sophisticated area. Lavapiés is a vibrant, multicultural area that attracts a young and artistic audience.

Where is the main area in Madrid?

Centro, for sure. This bustling and lively neighborhood is the beating heart of the city, where history, culture, and entertainment come together in a fantastic mix.

Centro is where you’ll find some of Madrid’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, such as the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, and Puerta del Sol.

Not to mention, the area is brimming with delightful tapas bars, cozy cafés, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

So, if you’re planning a trip to the captivating city of Madrid, Centro is definitely the place to be.

How many days are enough for Madrid?

A three-day itinerary is often sufficient for travelers looking to experience the highlights of Madrid. This Spanish capital, brimming with art, culture, and history, offers a plethora of attractions that can be comfortably explored within this timeframe.

During your stay, you can dedicate one day to visiting Madrid’s world-renowned art museums, such as the Prado Museum, Reina Sofía Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Another day can be spent exploring the city’s historic sites, including the Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral, and Plaza Mayor.

Finally, you can allocate the third day to strolling through the expansive Retiro Park, shopping in the bustling Gran Vía, and perhaps catching a traditional flamenco show.

While a three-day visit allows you to experience Madrid’s essential attractions, an extended stay would provide you with the opportunity to uncover lesser-known treasures and further immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. That being said, a well-planned three-day trip offers a satisfying introduction to the enchanting city of Madrid.

Which areas in Madrid are close to good restaurants and nightlife?

Malasaña and Lavapiés are known for their vibrant nightlife and exciting restaurants and bars. Centro also has many good dining options and bars, while Salamanca is known for its high-end restaurants and cocktail bars.

How much are hotels in Madrid?

The price of hotels in Madrid varies depending on factors such as location, amenities, and season. In general, however, you can expect to pay between 50-100 euros per night for a budget to mid-range hotel, while the price for a luxury hotel can range from 150-500+ euros per night.

Prices can be higher in the tourist season, so it is a good idea to plan and book well in advance if you want to visit Madrid on a budget. In this guide, I link to good hotels in several different price ranges.

Is Madrid a walkable city?

Madrid is undoubtedly a walkable city. Its well-planned layout, charming cobblestone streets, and impressive architecture make traversing the city on foot an enjoyable and efficient way to explore its many attractions. The compact nature of Madrid’s city centre allows for easy navigation between major sights, making walking a preferred method of transportation for many visitors.

Are there any dangerous areas in Madrid to avoid?

While Madrid is generally considered a safe city for travellers, it is always prudent to exercise caution and remain aware of your surroundings, particularly in areas less frequented by tourists. As in any urban environment, petty crime, such as pickpocketing, can occur in crowded places, so it is advisable to be vigilant and secure your belongings.

Some neighborhoods, such as San Blas and Carabanchel, can be perceived as sketchy, particularly at night. However, there is no significant reason for tourists to visit or stay in these areas, as they don’t offer many attractions or unique experiences for travelers.

It is best to stick to the more popular and tourist-friendly areas of the city to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay in Madrid.

Websites I use to book my trips 👇

Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
This power bank is the only thing (apart from my passport) that I always bring on trips
Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst 👀 Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?