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What neighborhood/area to use as base in Madrid?

What neighborhood/area to use as base in Madrid?

Old Mar 7th, 2012, 11:32 PM
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What neighborhood/area to use as base in Madrid?

This is our first time and very excited! When I tried to look this up on the previous posts, most of the entries were actual hotel recommendations. What I was curious about is what neighborhood would be a good cenral base for exploring the major tourist sites - the Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofia, etc, but most importantly, the feel of the neighborhood. What is most similar to the 6th Arr in Paris in terms of a good central location, the neighborhood feel, bistros and restaurants, cafes galore, as well as little boutique shops(instead of chain stores)the actual neighborhood.

A friend of mine highly recommended the Barrio Salamanca area but from looking at the area, I get the sense that although it is chic and fancy, etc. it might feel too quiet and isolated at night? Or maybe that's just a false impression, and if so, then maybe someone can clarify it for me.

Although we would like a vibrant neighborhood, I don't mean something that has the feel of Times Square though.

I hope that sort of gives a sense of what I'm looking for? And when you recommend the neighborhood, if there is a hotel in that neighborhood that yo ucan recommend, I'd be even more grateful!!!

THANK YOU so much!!!
bosgal is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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I thought I'd add a little bit info to give an even better sense of what I'm trying to look for. we prefer the area of Piazza Navona and Campo d' Fiori with its little neighborhood coffee shops, artisan shops and little restaurants than the whole district around the Spanish Steps and the stores around it. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 02:06 AM
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Salamanca would be too quiet and isolated for you, I think.

You should have a look at the Barrio de las Letras/Litterary district (Huertas) around vibrant Plaza Santa Ana. You are then 300 meters from both majestic Plaza Mayor and the heart of Madrid Puerta del Sol. Some few minutes walking to all the major museums.

Plenty of cafés, tapas bars, restuarants and local shops here. Two of Madrid's best jazz cafés (Café Central and Populart) and four of the city's best flamenco tablaos are on your doorstep (Casa Patas, Cardamomo, Villa Rosa and Carboneras). Just five mins walk to one of the absolute best tapas bar/restaurant areas in town, in and around Calle Cava Baja.

About the area:

Plenty of hotels in all prices and categories around here. In the high end, you find places like Reina Victoria right on the Plaza Santa Ana. I use to stay in affordable and good value Persal or Hotel Plaza Mayor.
Reina Victoria: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/madr...ctoria.en.html
Persal: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/pers....en.html?dva=0
Plaza Mayor: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/plaza-mayor.en.html
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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My map of Barrio de Las Letra. Plese, wait while the map loads.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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I don't think you can get more central than the Puerta del Sol.

I've stayed in or near del Sol my last two times in Madrid.

Short walk to all attractions. My last trip was near the famous cape shop, Capas Seseña. Beautiful capes worn by many famous and not-so-famous people. My wife picked out a beautiful cape for herself, much to my financial woe.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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I agree, Salamnca is not hopping at night, it is a very elegant are forth a visit

Kimhe has given you good suggestions.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 08:33 AM
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I like the Barrio de las letras for the museums but to get to the other parts of Madrid you will always be going uphill-too hot in the summer! I prefer to be closer to the Plaza Mayor area-more central.You canv visit the Palacio Real, the Opera and the Latina area. Once you have visited the museums and walked up Huertas to the Plaza Santsa Ana,there is little of interest in that area.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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I have stayed in Salamanca and found it dead on the weekend when stores were closed.

I stayed on the Plaza Santa Ana and loved it, walked to museums, tons of places for tapas on the plaza, an easy walk to Casa Patas for flamenco, vibrant night time atmosphere.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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Barrio de las Letras is quite large, includes Plaza Santa Ana and borders both Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. In other words, you can stay in the Las Letras area and be three minutes walking away from Plaza Mayor. I also prefer to stay close to Plaza Santa Ana/Plaza Mayor.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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I agree with most of the above. We stayed near the Plaza Mayor and found it a perfect location.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Thank you all for the wonderful input, and also for providing extra clarification, kimhe.

Revulgo - what a wonderful way to use google maps! I've made similar maps just to keep as notes and to forward to friends who are looking for recommendations as well but have never used it to access through an ipad or iphone while traveling since I didn't have either. Having just bought one, do you have any advice on how to best exploit these handhelds(still trying to figure out how I can use it) offline, meaning no wi-fi? I wonder if it might not even be a good idea walking around with it but at least when we are at restaurants, would be nice to access.
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