Staying in Madrid: Useful tips & links
Staying in Madrid: Useful tips & links
Madrid’s accommodation is hugely varied in both price and quality. Put simply there is something for everyone, from penny-pinchers through to flash-packers. Here are a couple of the cheapest selections for staying in Madrid:
Search for Madrid’s cheapest accommodation (hostels, airbnb, home-stays etc.).
No Name City Hostel (Calle de Atocha, 45) is located in the heart of the museum district, positioned a few minutes walk from the Golden Triangle. There are a wide selection of rooms available stretching from four (€17) to sixteen (€12) bed dorms. Prices are slightly higher at the weekends.
Backpackers Madrid (San Leonardo 12, Plantas 2ª y 3ª) is more of a student’s residence than a hostel that offers very cheap dormitory beds (8 € – 10 €) and private rooms from (12 €) Prices are slightly higher at the weekends but there is WiFi and lockers and breakfast is available from a Euro.
La Posada de Huertas (Calle Huertas, 21) is an international youth centre which has recently been refurbished and is popular, so be prepared to book ahead. Situated in the city centre there are a number of options available from four (€17) to twelve (€10) bed dormitories.
One thing Madrid does better than most cities in the world is party. The streets are packed with people drinking, singing, performing, loving, fighting and crying long into the night. Every corner you turn seems to be covered in bars and the inevitable ring of smokers spilling onto the street outside. The nightlife is as varied as the clientele, as suits rub shoulders with punks and ladies in all their finery pass a gin bottle to the bum on the right. Each barrio has its own culture, below is a rough guide to drinking in the city, simply pick your favourite and go out and paint the town red. For further information check out Madrid listings here.
Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía & Huertas
This is tourist town, so expect the usually array of Irish pubs, pop music and Spanish boys and girls looking for foreign talent. Nevertheless there are a few good jazz bars: Café Populart (Huertas, 22) and Café Central (Plaza del Ángel, 10) which are popular with the locals, as well as some decent tapas and flamenco joints. The best flamenco shows are based around Calle de Echegaray.
Both north and south of Gran Via are numerous nightclubs, so expect a thronging mass at the weekends.
Relaxed but growing in trendiness, the bars around Plaza de la Paja, Plaza de San Andrés and Cava Baja are packed everyday of the week and are a great place to eat tapas and drink a beer. Be prepared to fight for a much sought after terrace table, however.
Home of Madrid’s gay scene, modern and stylish Chueca is a very welcoming place, and is one the most interesting and diverse of Madrid’s barrios. Fans of Reggae and Hip-Hop should head to Calle Barquillo’s Kingston’s. More information on Madrid’s gay scene can be found here.
Once central to the La Movida counter-culture scene, Malasaña at night is still one of Madrid’s most alternative districts, with hipsters and rockers all contributing to the youthful vibe. The bars, clubs and streets around Plaza Dos de Mayo, Calle de San Vincente Ferrer and Calle de la Palma are heaving with an alternative crowd. A little further north Calle del Pez attracts a slightly more mature crowd with chill out bars and jazz cafés the norm.
Throwing of its reputation as one of Madrid’s most rough and ready neighbourhoods, multicultural Lavapiés is fast becoming gentrified as new bars attempt to attract the alternative bohemian crowd. Once infamous for its street crime and drug problems, now Indian restaurants fight with Brazilian bars and chill out lounges in this diverse and interesting place.
If wine bars and swanky nightclubs are your thing, then Salamanca is for you. Home to some of Madrid’s wealthiest residents you can rub shoulders with TV stars and footballers at posh clubs such as Gabana 1880 and Shabay, assuming they let you in.
Things to try and buy
Although Madrid’s reputation for native cuisine is not as renowned as some other Spanish regions like Catalonia and the Basque country, there are still some treats to try. Rabo de toro (stuffed cow or bull’s tail), callos a la madrileña (tripe in a spicy tomato sauce) and oreja (pig’s ears) are not for the faint-hearted but are devoured by locals. Also be sure to try cocido madrileño, a tasty meat and chickpea stew. The ever present churros and the thicker version porras: fried batter taken with thick hot chocolate or coffee are revered by the locals and is a useful hangover buster.
Madrid is a clothes shopper’s paradise with leather-ware particularly well regarded. Paella dishes and the essential ingredient of saffron also makes an interesting holiday memento. El Rastro, the Sunday flea market held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a great place to pick up a bargain. The market however does have an infamous reputation for pickpocketing, so be extra careful.
Here’s a useful map with lots of Wi-Fi places marked:
written by: Jon