When I was wondering where to live in Madrid I thought there is no better way to understand this country and its culture than to move into the city’s most international and modern suburb of Malasaña. And now I’m writing about it because nothing says authenticity like an Australian writing a Madrid neighbourhood guide and telling you where to live in Madrid.

After doing barely any research at all I have come up with this Madrid neighborhood guide. After reading a couple of other blog guides myself on where to live in Madrid, I thought, hey, I want to live in Malasaña. They have soy lattes there and numerous cafés that consider bicycles as ornaments. Surely this is the best place to live in Madrid.

And it doesn’t matter that I’m here to learn Spanish and that I’m working as an English teacher all day and living in a suburb full of American 20-somethings who spend their free afternoons hunting down peanut butter and Reese’s bars.

There are many Madrid neighbourhood guides on the webs – but they’re all wrong. I’ve boiled it all down and I’ve also included the names which idealista uses so everything is laid out for you.

Malasaña/Conde Duque: (Univeridad)

In three words: international, hipster, cafes.

Live here if: you enjoy old wooden palettes recycled into bookcases, you’re into cafes that provide WiFi and La Fábrica beer (but seriously omg have you tried it?)

La Latina: (Palacio)

In three words: bars, tapas, traditional.

Live here if: you’re a tapa muncher. Also ideal for people you’ve got Monday off and you like to leave the partying till Sunday.

Chueca/Alonso Martínez: (Justicia)

In three words: shoes, shoes, shoes.

Live here if: you have a shoe fetish. There is actually nothing in Chueca apart from shoe shops. Apparently there’s a big gay community here, but all I can see are shoes.

Sol/Huertas/Opera: (Cortes)

In three(ish) words: tourists, Té y Café chains, drunks.

Live here if: you enjoy being pickpocketed and you don’t mind being groped by a life-size Mickey Mouse or Sponge Bob Squarepants in Sol.

Chamberí:

In three(ish) words: Family-oriented, prams, Zara Home.

Live here if: you enjoy living in the vanilla of Madrid communities.

Lavapiés/Anton Martín: (Embajadores)

In three words: ethnic, lively, cheap(er).

Live here if: you’re white and proud to be part of the gentrification movement. And you enjoy the odd papadum or two.

Salamanca

In three words: pijo, pretentious, boutiques.

Live here if: shut up. You can’t afford it.

view of Plaza de Chueca from the 5th floor
Plaza de Chueca. See all those apartments? They’re actually shoe shops.
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