18 Oct Madrid Neighborhoods as TV Characters
A Pop-Culture Guide to Finding Your Dream Apartment in Madrid
A comprehensive list of apartments in Madrid by neighborhoods
You've landed in Madrid and now you are looking to get acquainted with the neighborhoods (barrios) and looking for a place to live. Speaking from first-hand experience, finding suitable apartments in Madrid can be daunting at times, especially if you are unfamiliar with the city and its many neighborhoods. How do you know if you want to live in Salamanca, La Latina, or Moncloa? Why does it seem like there are so many more neighborhoods than the ones officially zoned areas in Madrid? And which area has the best apartments in Madrid for students? If only there were a guide to learn more about apartments in Madrid by neighborhoods...That's where we come in!
Each neighborhood has a unique vibe and you want to make sure you find the one that's the best fit. Where you live can influence your overall experience in Madrid -- it will be your temporary home after all! To help you find the community that’s best for you, we put together a list of some of the most popular areas of the city and compared them to iconic TV characters that best represent them.
Salamanca: Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl
Home to luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Salamanca is one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Madrid. Don't worry too much about price -- Salamanca also offers affordable shopping and is a great neighborhood to live in if you want convenience, along with a family-friendly atmosphere. The wide, clean sidewalks are perfect for runners and the grid layout of the neighborhood makes it easy to navigate. One of the biggest perks of living in this neighborhood is its proximity to Retiro Park, one of Madrid’s largest public parks. No matter what you’re looking for, Salamanca has it all, as long as you’re willing to spend a little extra, but trust me, vale la pena.
Chueca: Mitchell and Cameron from Modern Family
While Madrid as a whole is very forward-thinking, Chueca is the largest gay-friendly neighborhood in the city. If you’re looking for a super-inclusive neighborhood, then Chueca is the place for you. In addition to its progressive reputation, Chueca is home to several great restaurants and cafes. Be sure to check out the San Anton Mercado, which has a roof deck bar on the top floor! While it can be busy, the streets are a lot quieter compared to other areas near the city center. Unfortunately, one downfall of this zone is its price tag. Some properties can be quite expensive, but if you do your research, you’ll find a deal that works well with a student budget!
Malasaña: Jughead Jones from Riverdale
With plenty of cafes serving great coffee and bars serving even better beer, Malasaña is a hipster’s heaven. While it’s not the ~cleanest~ neighborhood, you can find rich culture on every street corner between the thrift stores and boutiques. The Plaza Dos de Mayo can be found here and young locals frequent this square to meet up with friends or partake in a botellón any night of the week. For a student on a budget looking for an authentic experience, Malasaña is a great option. It’s just far enough away from the touristy parts of the city, while still being very central and offering a variety of gastronomic options.
Sol/Gran Vía: Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City
For anyone who loves the hustle and bustle of a capital city, Sol/Gran Via is the place for you. Picture Times Square but in Spain and the result would be the Sol/Gran Via area. Being the literal epicenter of the city (kilometer 0 is in Sol), it’s no surprise that this neighborhood attracts a ton of tourists. However, having iconic landmarks right in your backyard -- or outside your balcony -- makes all the hectic atmosphere worth it. Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Callao, the Tio Pepe sign, Metropolis building...must I go on? All of these and more are less than a five-minute walk when you live in the center. What’s also great about Sol/Gran Via is that it offers countless apartments for students in Madrid -- some even boasting up to 14 bedrooms! If you’re ready to people watch in the center of it all, then you’ve found your new home.
Lavapiés: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo
Do you love to eat and try new foods? If you crave authentic international cuisine, then Lavapiés should be a top contender when looking for an apartment. With so many diverse cultures crammed into this neighborhood, you’ll always be encountering new people and traditions that will complement your interactions with Spanish culture. One of the things that distinguish Lavapiés from others close to the center is its annual food festival, Tapapiés, where event-goers can hop from restaurant to restaurant trying different tapas or small plates. Food lovers and globetrotters alike will easily fit in here.
La Latina: Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World
Being the oldest neighborhood in Madrid, La Latina will not disappoint for those looking for a truly authentic experience. With architecture that is virtually untouched, the facades of apartments here are beautiful and give this neighborhood a classic look. In addition to various tapas restaurants and bars, La Latina is most famous for the popular Sunday flea market - El Rastro. Vendors come each week to sell tapestries, souvenirs, clothing...you can find pretty much anything you need here! Whether you want to sit outside sipping a caña or roaming side streets just to take in the views, La Latina is the perfect place for any student wishing to live in the true heart of Madrid.
Moncloa/Argüelles: Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
The last neighborhood on our list is one of the most student-dense areas in the city. Not surprisingly, it also offers a ton of apartments in Madrid for students. Moncloa is a neighborhood to the west of the city and has a huge bus stop, perfect for students who commute to school or those looking to travel outside the city. Argüelles is just south of Moncloa and has several options for shopping, in addition to popular bars and restaurants. There are a ton of young people living in these neighborhoods, so any students staying in Madrid will fit in well. I can personally say that despite the large student population here, it’s fairly calm and quiet at night. If you're social, but also enjoy sleeping like me, you’ll have no problem having the best of both worlds here.
If you’re still stuck on where to find apartments in Madrid for students, check out websites like Study Abroad Apartments or consult friends who have traveled to Madrid before you. Some of the best information (including any available apartments in Madrid for students!) is passed by word-of-mouth, so get out there and use your networks to find the best fit for you!
So, who will you choose as your Madrid apartment muse? What other characters would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!