Madrid neighborhoods

You know what you want to pay for a night's accommodation, but where should you stay? Our Madrid guide will help you sort it all out.

Near Atocha Train Station & Prado Museum

"Atocha" refers to Calle de Atocha and the area around the Atocha Train Station, just a few blocks from Puerta del Sol. It is comprised of a residential neighborhood, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Ethnological Museum and the Real Jardín Botánico. The magnificent Prado and Tyssen art museums are located to the north of the train station.

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Chamberi

Located just north of Chueca, the quieter Chamberí provides both a convenient location and a pleasant reprieve from the busy city. The main draw here is Casa de Campo, an exquisite park with a number of attractions, from outdoor ambling to amusement park squeals to a bullfighter school where visitors can view training.

For the architecturally inclined, the streets of Chamberí boast stunning structures, including El Palacio Real de Aranjuez and Reales Palacio de El Pardo. Plus, this "sweet escape" offers a scattering of bargain hotels, plus a few splurge-worthies.

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Chueca

This up-and-coming area to the north of the Gran Via includes the main streets Hortaleza, Infantas, Barquillo and San Lucas and is considered the epicenter of gay Madrid. The center of life in this area is the buzzing Plaza de Chueca, packed with people on any spring or summer night, and close to Madrid's trendiest new restaurants, bars and dance clubs.

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Along the Gran Via

The Gran Vía, Madrid's main boulevard, stretches majestically from the Plaza de España and encompasses the Puerta del Sol. The Gran Vía is like no other avenue in Madrid. It's a truly grand boulevard populated by cinemas, shopping, theaters and impressive art-nouveau buildings. Accommodations here can from for the very pricey (three-, four- and five-star hotels) to the comfortably cheapo (one-star pensions).

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Huertas & Santa Ana

Huertas or Santa Ana? The neighborhood itself doesn't seem to know. But whatever its name, one thing's certain: This tiny but central stretch of city just south of Puerta del Sol is jam-packed with people, attractions and excitement. Although digs in this popular 'hood can sometimes fall on the pricier end, there are deals to be had for travelers who crave a lively bar scene.

Also known as Barrio de las Letras (or "Neighborhood of the Letters"), it was a hot spot for literary gents of Madrid's Golden Age, and remnants of 16th- and 17th-century literary life still abound near Plaza Santa Ana. There's the Ateno, the Mueseo Cervantino, where the first edition of Don Quixote was printed, and myriad theaters and bars.

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Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is the geographic and historic center of old Madrid. Located within walking distance of most of central Madrid's tourist offerings, it's an obligatory stop for all visitors to Madrid. Calle Mayor, a major commercial and business street, runs to the west of Puerta del Sol, and from the south branch a gaggle of tiny, dense streets packed with tapas bars, restaurants and cafés. Many of Madrid's best hotels are on the Puerta del Sol, while pensions can be found along the side streets.

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Salamanca

WWhat Fifth Avenue is to New York, Salamanca is to Madrid. Big name fashion boutiques, where clothing costs more than a Madrid vacation, line the provincial streets here. Two museums of interest are Museo Arqueológico and Museo Sorolla. On the neighborhood's fringe is Plaza Colon, a skateboarding hub that attracts some of the best known aficionados in Spain hit the pavement (and the largest flying Spanish flag in Madrid soars.

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