You will finds numerous reasons to visit Madrid, regardless if you are fond of art and you want to visit some of the most prestigious museums in the world and internationally famous collections they house, or you are a party lover and you enjoy going out late in the evening. Shopping lovers, families with kids, business professionals, students, and basically all type of travelers around the world have at one point visited or considered visiting Madrid. This is a must-see location many travelers feature on their bucket lists, as the city never cease to stop to amaze and delight people from all over the world, people from different countries and different cultures.
The diversity which you will encounter in the city is something that is astonishing to international visitors, as they are able to see the traditional Spanish culture and customs, merging with the influences of neighboring countries, as well as the influence of settlers who have moved to Madrid in the past few decades.
If you are one of those people lucky to get a chance to visit Madrid, you will need help with finding accommodation. The city has so much to offer, there is no doubt about that, but as a traveler, you want to find the most convenient option for staying in the city, as this aspect should take only a smidge of your time during your trip. Obviously, your travel is all about getting in touch with different culture and customs, meeting new people and attending exciting events. There is not much time to spend on finding an apartment in Madrid to stay in, so here are some tips to help you along the way.
Madrid City Center
Madrid is a very large city, with metropolitan area being a home to more than six million people. The city stretches around the vast area, with lots of interesting places to visit and live in, but most of the tourists in Madrid actually only get in touch with the central area of the city. The main reason for this is certainly the fact that the historic center of Madrid is the oldest part of the city, and as such it holds a special place in the life of the city. Much has been preserved of the historic center, and monuments, buildings, squares, fountains and parks are all there to witness different epoch in the city’s history, epochs that shaped them, influenced the landscape of the area and made it to what it is today.
Madrid city center occupies four neighboring districts, which are generally considered a central area of the city. Travelers are most likely to visit at least one of them, but most travelers usually end up wandering around this entire area, as there is so much to see and visit in terms of culture, history, entertainment, etc.
This district is the oldest one in the city, so you will find a lot of old buildings and monuments that date centuries back and have been preserved from decay. As the city has grown over the centuries, the Centro district in Madrid remained the heart of the city with infrastructure being developed and improved as the area become a very important part of the local life. Some of the places tourists are interested in visiting in this part of the city include: Puerta del Sol, Royal Palace of Madrid, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, Plaza de España, Plaza de Colón, Paseo del Prado, etc. All of these places represent important places in the history of the city, and they are still as important, having in mind that some of the most city’s largest events, such as New Year’s celebration, are held at the squares of the Centro district.
Here is another district near the central area, very popular among visitors and tourists, and certainly a place you should consider visiting during you stay in Madrid. The area is now considered the most prestigious part of the city to live in, with lots of lavish buildings and houses, and some of the most luxurious and the most expensive shops in the city. One of the major reasons people love visiting this area is shopping. The landmarks you can visit in this district include: Calle de Alcalá, Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos.
Paseo de la Castellana
The most remarkable part of this central district is Retiro Park, the largest park in Madrid, which features some of the impressive landmarks such as the Crystal Palace, the Retiro Pond, and the Monument to Alfonso XII. Since the park had major influence in the monarchs’ life in the past, it is very important for the city in this historic sense. You will also find lots of cafes and restaurants in the area, which is great for having a break and enjoying the local cuisine. Besides the park, the most important landmark in this area is certainly Paseo del Prado, a grand boulevard with the famous museums, including the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the avenue. If you love art and culture, there is no way you are going to miss visiting this shrine, where some of the most important artworks are stored.
El Retiro Park
Beautiful architecture is something that characterizes Chamberí district, which is why you will absolutely love going for a walk and enjoy gorgeous buildings as they display different styles that influenced the decoration and the outline of the facades of the buildings in this area. Plaza de Colón, Plaza de Chamberí and Plaza de Olavide are some places of interest that you might want to consider including in your day of sightseeing of Chamberí district.
Plaza de Colón
Having presented the basic information about the districts in the central area, we will know focus on how to find an apartment in Madrid city center.
The best way to find an apartment in Madrid is to go through the offer online and scan the apartments that are available for the period during which you plan on visiting the city. A lot of websites and companies offer accommodation in Madrid using online presentations, so you will be able to choose and book the accommodation before you even arrive to the city. Although choosing accommodation online might seem more difficult than viewing the apartment in reality, you will have lots of images to look at the interior, in order to access if the particular apartment is really a place where you would like to spend your holiday in Madrid, regardless if we talk about short-term or long-term holiday. Reviews are also very helpful when choosing accommodation, as you get to read the experience of other travelers, who have chosen that particular accommodation provider in the past.
Online offer of accommodation is very vast that it will satisfy the choosiest travelers out there. Regardless if you want a cozy little studio apartment or a spacious apartment with a terrace, you will have a lot of opportunities to choose the accommodation that is perfect for you.
Benefits of apartments in Madrid city center
It is no wonder the travelers from all over the world choose the central districts as the place to stay while in Madrid. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Great connection to the airport
Although you can always use metro or taxi to get to and from the airport, Madrid’s Airport Express Shuttle Bus is a very convenient solution for all the travelers. The bus operates 24 hours, 365 days a year, within 15 to 20 minutes interval (35 minutes during the night). It is one of the quickest way to get to and from the Barajas Airport to Atocha (Cibeles at night), with an approximate 40-mintues ride. Four stops in the center of the city allow connection to other parts of the city. The price of the ride is 5 Euros.
- Lots of cafes and restaurants
When visiting the city, you will surely want to go out and have coffee or try out some local specialties, and the best way to do so is in the central area, as this is where you will find lots of different types of restaurants and cafes. All of the gourmands visiting Madrid will enjoy eating out in Madrid and enjoying delicious Spanish cuisine, with tapas, paellas, Iberian ham and other treats on the menu, accompanied by Spanish wine and sangria. Additionally, some of the most popular parties are organized in the bars in the central districts of Madrid.
- Shopping spree in Madrid
You will find a lot of shops in the central area of Madrid, perfect for a shopping spree, regardless if you are on the hunt for new clothing items, accessorizes or souvenirs. Apart from the large shopping malls located in the outskirts of the city, the central area is a shopping paradise for everyone looking to spend a day shopping in Madrid.
- Walk and enjoy the sights
Another major benefit of finding an apartment in the city center is the fact that you will not have to spend much time using public transport. Instead, you will be able to visit the most important landmarks in the central area on foot, as they are all located quite nearby. Walking is a perfect way to enjoy sightseeing of the city such as Madrid, as walking from one landmark to another is very much interesting allowing you to enjoy the wonderful architecture and beautifully decorated shop windows along the way.
What else you need to know about city center
The central area of Madrid is the busiest part of the city, not only when it comes to tourists, but among locals as well. A lot of offices are located in the business centers scattered along the streets of the central districts, and you will see a lot of people commuting every day using the city’s metro to reach this part of the city. This means that you can expect the area to be crowded, even if there are not many tourists in the city.
Of course, the most crowded period for the central area is during holidays, when the concentration of tourists in this area is the highest. It does not matter if they are staying in the center, or they have stopped by for a meal or a drink, or day are walking along the streets enjoying sightseeing, a lot of tourists will end up in the central districts, one way or another. Therefore, you should not be surprised by huge crowds of people or hundreds of visitors queuing in front of the museum or other sights you can visit in Madrid.
The center of Madrid is also a home to many people, who live in the residential areas of the city. Frequently, you will find lots of people who have spent their entire life in the center of the city, and are unable to image their life outside the hub the central area has turned into. When you visit Madrid, you get a chance to become one of those people, even briefly, as renting an apartment in Madrid city center is a perfect way to feel like a local and get to experience the perks of living in the center of one of the busiest and one of the most exciting cities in Europe.