Where to live in Madrid: the best neighborhoods

World-renowned for its illustrious sporting heritage, architectural marvels and gastronomical delights, Madrid is one Europe’s most compelling cities. Such an esteemed reputation continues to draw in throngs of young people from around the globe. However, one pressing question remains: where to live?

If you are looking into renting a flat in Madrid, you will also want to choose wisely the barrio that best fits your needs. Luckily, the Spanish capital is replete with a host of unique neighborhoods to call your home. Whether you’re looking for hipster coffee shops, authentic Spanish tavernas, or upmarket designer shopping boutiques, this informative guide will provide you with the cream of the crop. So sit back, relax, and dive into the wondrous world of a Madrileño.



Malasaña is the creative heart of España. Madrid’s pre-eminent hipster neighbourhood is what Shoreditch is to London, what Kreuzberg is to Berlin or what the East Village is to New York City.

The neighbourhood was the centre of the experimental La Movida Madrileña counterculture movement of the 1970s, and quickly became a hub for the best talents of Spain’s artistic community. There’s no risk of any surrealist shocks when it comes to flat prices, however. Surprisingly, Malasaña offers some of the best value property in Madrid. And when it comes to culture, there really isn’t a price you can put on what Malasaña has to offer. From vintage clothing markets, to vegan cafes, to contemporary art galleries, there’s always something fascinating to do a stone’s throw from your front door. Forget melting clocks, the only thing that will be melting living in Malasaña is your dairy-free ice cream. Lick it up – you’re living in the cultural core of Madrid.

Photo credits: Álvaro Ibáñez


Separated by the Calle de Fuencarral, Malasaña’s twin district is its flamboyant counterpart. As one of the best LGBTQ hotspots in Europe, cosmopolitan Chueca is an area that’s sure to instill excitement. With tapas bars aplenty and aguardiente on tap, this neighbourhood’s nightlife will linger long in the memory.

Home to delicious eateries, beautiful boutiques and an entire street of shoe shops, Chueca is the place to be if you’re looking for a colourful, lively lifestyle. Looking for a bit of daytime culture to complement the evening party atmosphere? Chueca’s got you sorted, and is home to some of the best museums in the city. Love is certainly in the air at the National Museum of Romanticism.

Like Malasaña, rent prices come as a pleasant surprise, and will leave enough space in your bank account to enjoy the finer fruits of this Iberian oasis.



Like Malasaña and Chueca, Lavapiés loves to play it cool. Centrally located, this diverse neighbourhood continues to exude the bohemian attitude that its former anti-Francoist, leftist and anarchist occupants used to live and breathe.

Walk down the streets and you’ll be in awe at the sheer vivacity of sights, sounds, and smells. Let the Indian street food whet your tastebuds. Let the African beats excite your eardrums. Let the wild colours delight your eyes. In Lavapiés, you’ll be opening your senses up to a level not felt since childhood. Rent prices might be a little higher than in Malasaña, but you’ll be getting plenty of experiential bang for buck. And with such a multicultural flavour, there’s plenty of scope for learning new languages, embracing new cultures, and interacting with new personalities. If you’re open-minded, and love adventure, Lavapiés is the place to lay down your roots. Soak up those sweet countercultural nutrients…

Photo credits: Antonio J. Amar

La Latina

La Cava Baja

This historic barrio is literally packed with tapas bars. With its age-old architecture and fine dining pursuits, Madrid’s Latin Quarter is as splendid as any in Europe.

Be sure to visit El Rastro flea market on Sundays and public holidays for a fabulous range of second-hand offerings. Afterwards, La Latina’s main commercial artery La Cava Baja becomes the talk of the town. Here you’ll find throngs of Madrileños enjoying the fantastic selection of local craft beers, wines and, of course, tapas. ¡Muy bien!

What’s more, La Latina also offers an affordable cost of living, with 1-bedroom furnished apartments starting from around €650 per month.

Photo credits: Manuel



Salamanca is Madrid’s answer to London’s Mayfair: exclusive, upmarket and oozing with style.

Exuding elegance, this posh neighbourhood is home to high-end shops, fancy restaurants and some of the most expensive real estate in the capital. Salamanca is also a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of surrounding areas – perfect for a peaceful spot of people watching in one of its many coffee shops.


Gran Via

Sol is the dazzling centerpoint of Madrid and acts as a hub for intrepid visitors to the city. You can expect to come across hordes of boisterous bars and bistros that largely cater to the continual stream of backpackers who visit the Spanish capital.

The neighbourhood is connected to Malasaña by Madrid’s main thoroughfare and commercial hub, Gran Vía. It’s also home to the city’s most famous and central plaza, Puerta del Sol, which is filled with ornate monuments and surrounded by lavish municipal buildings. Both of these offer an abundance of some the best dining, drinking and shopping in the city, whilst you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to theatres and museums.

Sol is the busiest district of Madrid, and so rent prices are higher than surrounding districts.

Photo credits: C D _Fr

Barrio de las letras

Meaning ‘the Literary Neighbourhood’, Barrio de las Letras was once – yes, you’ve guessed it – home to some of the finest literary figures in the country.

Also known as Huertas, this lively neighbourhood is positively overflowing with culture. Jazz cafes, artisanal delicatessens and all types of bars line the historic streets, while famous passages from Spanish literature and poetry adorn the ground beneath your feet. Sandwiched between the bustling city centre and the verdant greenery of Real Jardín Botánico, Barrio de las Letras offers the best of both worlds.

Honourable mentions

The popular student areas of Moncloa and Argüelles are the places to be if you’re looking to experience the best of Madrid on a budget. Offering a relaxing pace of life, a 20-minute walk from the city centre and great access to leafy green spaces, you’ll love these quaint residential districts.

Madrid neighborhoods

Photo: Federico Jordá

The village-like business district of Chamberí is among the most gorgeous parts of the city. Offering a range of restaurants, stunning architecture and reasonable rental prices, it’s also a great location for a spot of drinking. Sip a sangria in one of the various outdoor terraza in the charming Plaza de Olavide.

As you can see, Madrid has a lot to offer and whether you are looking for a hip neighborhhod, a quiet area you can walk in parks, or amazing shopping, you will find that easily in one of the barrios. Are you ready to move yet? Find a flat in Madrid with Nestpick!

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