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What area(s) in Madrid best for moderate price, safety?

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My friend's 21-yr-old daughter and a friend are going to Spain for the entire month of August. They told their mothers they were just buying plane tickets and going.. weren't going to book anything in advance.

Needless to say, moms were not amused and asked me to inquire.

If the girls book an apartment in Madrid, what areas should they stay away from or where should they concentrate their search?

thanks!

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