Neighborhoods of Madrid

Neighborhoods of Madrid

Madrid most popular districts and boroughs

Madrid is the capital and the biggest city in Spain. Its population is around 6.5 million, half of whom live in downtown and half in the metropolitan area. Its 234 square miles are divided in different district each one with its own history, characteristics and culture. There are twenty-one districts in Madrid: Centro, Arganzuela, Retiro, Salamanca, Chamartín, Tetuán, Chamberi, Fuencarral-El Prado, Moncloa-Aravaca, Latina, Carabanchel, Usera, Puente de Vallecas, Moratalaz, Ciudad Lineal, Hortaleza, Villaverde, Villa de Vallecas, Vicálvaro, San Blas-Canillejas y Barajas.
There are also several emblematic neighborhoods or boroughs that divided the city in even smaller areas each one with its own idiosyncrasy and culture. That is the case of Chueca –the gay district-, Sol, Salamanca –the shopping neighborhood- or Malasaña. Let’s take a look to the trendiest and popular boroughs in Madrid and its peculiarities.

Downtown or Centro

Downtown Madrid or the Center district is the oldest part of the city, where the first settlement was founded in the second half of the 9th century. Some of the most important Madrid museums and monuments are located in the area, as it was part of the Royal borough along the Austria’s and Bourbons’ reigns.
The emblematic Puerta del Sol points the geographical center of country and the city. It is probably one of the most frequented places by the locals and the tourists, along with famous Gran Vía, Alcalá Street, Paseo del Prado or Cybele’s Fountain. 

Chamberi

This district of the city belonged to the Temple Knight Order until it dissolution in XIV. It includes the financial district, enclosed between Genova Street, Paseo de la Castellana and the axis formed by Almagro and Michelangelo streets. The architectural interest of the zone is irrefutable, given the abundance of Modernist Gothic and Neo-Mudejar buildings. Read more...

Argüelles

This borough, located in the Moncloa-Aravaca district, was name after Agustín Argüelles an important Spanish politician. It is mainly a residential area with several interesting spots to visit, including the Sagrada Familia church, the Liria Palace and the Temple of Debod. Read more...

Moncloa

Moncloa is the relatively new district where the Spanish Presidential Residence and the Completense University are located. Besides this, the popular Faro de Moncloa is the most visited building in the area, since it is a great balcony over the whole city. Also, Casa de Campo Park –the biggest park in the Madrid– is within the Moncloa district. Read more...

Vallecas

Vallecas was a small town outside Madrid and incorporated to the metropolitan area in 1950. It is mainly a working-class residential area surrounding a tiny historical zone that includes a church and several old buildings. 

Ventas

Ventas is the borough surrounding Las Ventas Bullring Everything here revolves around the bullfighting and its traditions. It’s a very peaceful residential area with peak of popularity especial on the San Isidro Fest. 

Retiro

Retiro is not official a borough or a district, when people talk about Retiro is the space that surrounds the Buen Retiro Park. This park is the biggest urban park in the city and the cradle of the Bourbons’ Monarchy. This are it is also the home of the city symbol, the Alcalá Gate. This monument was built in the 18th century by Francesco Sabatini is the first arch of triumph built in Europe after the Roman Empire. Read more...

Chueca

Chueca is world-wide known for being Madrid’s gay district. It is not officially a district, but a borough with the best city’s nightlife. When Madrid served as host of the 2007 Europride, the local Gay Pride march has evolved becoming the biggest gay festival in the world and turning Chueca one of the most popular areas of Madrid. Besides being the gay district, this borough counts with a wide heritages and attractions including San Anton Market. 

Las Letras

The cafes and bars in the Barrio de las Letras –literally the Literature neighborhood– was meeting area of intellectuals and writers in the 16th and 17th century. Also, this was the neighborhood where Cervantes, Quevedo, Góngora and Lope de Vega lived in. Now a days it is an active nightlife area; its streets are full of bars and clubs.

Lavapiés

Lavapies was named after a huge ablutions’ fountain located in the main square in the 19th century. In the 80’s blue-neck families looking for low-rent housing move to this neighborhood inhabited exclusively by older people. Lavapies has a bohemian atmosphere since it is the leader of the squad movement in Madrid. Read more...

Atocha

Atocha is the common name given to the area surrounding the Atocha Train Station, even though it is not a formal district. Besides, the amazing stations and its tropical garden created by Rafael Moneo, the area hold one of the best Madrid museums: Reina Sofía Museum. Read more...

Malasaña

Malasaña is the trendiest borough in Madrid. It bars and restaurants has become famous for offering incredible meal options for very reasonable prices. It is usually compare to the Soho in London or the East Village in New York regarding its bohemian and actual atmosphere. Read more...

Barajas

Barajas was a small town outside Madrid, but in the past thirty years has become a suburb. The Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport is located here and besides that this neighborhood does not have any interest for the tourist. Read more...

Arturo Soria

Arturo Soria is the common named for the district called Ciudad Lineal. Its name, comes from the model of organization by the Spanish architect Arturo Soria y Mata. The main street in the district is named after the urban planner. It is mainly a residential borough with some interesting commercial malls. Read more...

Serrano

Serrano is the finest neighborhood in Madrid, and probably the most expensive one, too. Serrano Street its main artery is the best shopping boulevard in the city and the scenery of the Madrid Shopping Night.

La Latina

La Latina is the name of a borough in Madrid’s central district. It is famous for its tapas and vermouth on tap bars. It contains the Austrian neighborhood, including the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. La Latina urban planning is really curious since it grew organically for centuries.