Barrio de las Letras is one of the most bohemian neighbourhoods of Madrid. It is tight related to literature because some of the greatest writers of Spanish history were born or died in this zone. In fact, the name of Barrio de las Letras means ‘Letters Neighbourhood’.
Barrio de las Letras is located more or less between Carrera de San Jerónimo and Plaza de las Cortes northward, Atocha Street southward, Plaza de Santa Ana westward and Paseo del Prado eastward. Barrio de las Letras is a pedestrian neighbourhood, so only the people who live there can drive through their cars. The closest Metro stations are Atocha (Line 1) and Antón Martín (Line 1).
The monuments located in Barrio de las Letras are related to culture. One of them is Trinitarias Descalzas Convent, in Lope de Vega Street. This is the place where Miguel de Cervantes, the most famous Spanish writer and author by Don Quixote, is buried. It is a 17th century building, designed in a typical ‘Austrias’ style. Trinitarias Convent gives a break of peace and silent to Barrio de las Letras.
Another important monument in Barrio de las Letras is Lope de Vega’s Birthplace. This is a humble house located in Cervantes Street and visitors can discover how the Spanish writer spent his first years. Cervantes and Lope de Vega were enemies in life, but curiously Barrio de las Letras has called a truce for them, naming their streets with the surname of each other.
But of course, the most important building in Barrio de las Letras is the Congreso de los Diputados, the Spanish Parliament. It is located in Plaza de las Cortes and it was built about 1834. The facade is the best Neoclassical example in Madrid and gives a classic character to Barrio de las Letras.
Barrio de las Letras is well known in Madrid for being a lively area at night. In Huertas Street and its surroundings, tourists can go drinking almost every night. Pubs in Barrio de las Letras usually close at 3.00 AM but some others are open until dawn. The atmosphere is kind and the people who go there is young and middle-aged, not teenagers.
Some of the pubs in Barrio de las Letras organize live concerts too. Not-so-commercial bands play their musical repertoire in bars like Cafe Central or Populart. The genres tourists can listen to here are soul, blues, jazz, rock, country, bossa nova, flamenco...
Besides, Barrio de las Letras is also a good place to go to theatre because one of the ancient stages of Madrid is located right here: the Teatro Español, in Plaza de Santa Ana. It was built in the late 19th century over the base of a 17th century theatre and the most classical plays are represented here. Finally, another important culture institution is located in Barrio de las Letras: the Ateneo, were leftist intellectuals read conferences.
Barrio de las Letras have accommodation adapted to all king of people and all kind of budgets. Tourists that are looking for luxury hotels can stay at Melia Reina Victoria, Hotel Urban or NH Palacio de Tepa, all of them five-stars. Visitors that content with little can overnight in Barrio de las Letras at hostels like Hostal Internacional, Hostal Lisboa or Hostal San Isidro, two-stars and three-stars.
Young people can also stay in Barrio de las Letras for a cheap price: La Posada de Huertas, in Huertas Street, is a Youth Hostel whose prices start at 17 euro (a bed in a shared room).