The leading nightlife zones in the Spanish capital and the hostels you should stay at. From award-winning clubs to small local pubs, Madrid offers something to satisfy every type of party-goer!
There are many cities around Europe that offer fun and nightlife to travellers from across the globe. Constantly growing in size, population and culture, it's not surprising that these cities are home to some of the best parties and clubs in the world. Among other European capitals known for their great nightlife, such as London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and even more recently Basel, Madrid's party reputation soars above the rest. The Spanish capital takes precedence in this article because of its incredible ability to cater to the many varied interests and preferences of its guests. From its cosy pubs found on street-corners where you can get to know the locals, to the immensely popular super-clubs that thousands of people flock to see. This article will transport you away from the dullness of the everyday, talking about 3 neighbourhoods in Madrid where you can party until the sun rises. Our "party tour", in addition to informing you of the best places to go out, will also include some hostel suggestions for you to stay in along the way. As, after all, a good nights sleep is essential if you're preparing to go all out! Vamos! Let's party Spanish style!
Madrid sunset - Credits: @sinn_frei
Exploring the best of Barrio de las Letras
Let's start where the plane hits the ground: take the bus from Barajas airport to Madrid centre and get off at Calle de la Cabeza 24, a narrow, quiet street where you will find your first accommodation option, the Cats Chill Out Hostel. A well-decorated and modern hostel with very reasonable prices. It is perfect for those who want to be within walking distance from the nightlife of the city, as by foot it is only 6 minutes away from one of the liveliest zones in Madrid. It is also ideal if you are travelling in a group, as there are dorms available for you to book an entire room for all of your friends. Not only is there free wifi and breakfast included (perhaps to help you with that hangover!), the reception is also open 24hrs a day in case you forget your room number or lose your keys. After having dropped off your bags, head straight to Barrio de las Letras and let the fun begin!
Puerta del Sol - Credits: @cartayen
Calle de las Huertas is the central hub of the area, and where all the craziness takes place. The zone is named after its former residents of whom were famous writers, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo and Luis de Góngora. Barrio de las Letras is perfect for those who like to have everything in one place, as there is practically no distance between one party and the next! For this reason, the area is suitable even for the laziest type of party-goer! Calle Príncipe and Calle Huertas together with Plaza de Santa Ana form a pedestrian zone which truly offers everything one may need for a night on the town. One of the main advantages of the area is the ease of finding bars and clubs where you can dance every night of the week. The music varies in style, alternating between typical Spanish hits and stretching out more broadly across different genres. For example, you will often find international DJs in Plaza de Matute.
Common area in Cats Chill Out Hostel
If you are on the search of a club hosting more of a younger crowd, then "Mi madre es una groupie" is definitely the place to be. Here you will find those that want to dance the night away until the early hours of the morning. If instead you are looking for something a bit more relaxed, as of course it is only the first night in the city and the journey to get here may have left you exhausted (pace yourselves!), then Salmón Gurú or Decadente are two great bars serving excellent drinks in the area. It's normal to be a bit indecisive when exploring this zone, as you will no doubt be bombarded with information. These streets are full of promoters handing out flyers for all types of different nightclubs and bars, so by all means take advantage of the discounts and free passes but take care as you do so, as prices are often subject to change. Are you intrigued by the Hollywood lifestyle and constantly on the look out for celebrities? Well, Barrio is the place for you! In this zone you will often bump into major VIPs you have seen on the screen, so keep your eyes peeled in order to get that ultimate photo for Instagram!
What happens in Princesa stays in Princesa
If what we have mentioned so far has not tickled your tastebuds, don't panic! We have another option up our sleeve for those that wanting views to accompany their vodka! Moving only a few kilometres south of the city, but still very much in the centre, you will find Calle de Sagasta 22. Close to Plaza Alonso Martínez, it is an ideal location for those on the hunt for nightlife. People define this particular hostel as offering "luxury for less", and today it's one of the favourite places to stay in Madrid. Safestay Madrid offers rooms of up to 12 people with shared bathroom, free wifi so you can speak to your family whenever you want, and air conditioning to cool you down during those hot Spanish summer nights. There is also a common room with its own mini cinema! But the highlight of this hostel is undoubtedly its panoramic rooftop where you can spend your evenings with other international travellers... a truly priceless experience.
If viewpoints are a passion of yours, check out our article dedicated solely to hostels with the coolest rooftops in the world.
Private room at Safestay Madrid
Anyway, let's get back to the party. The zone taking to the stage is Princesa. We've taken a step up from the bars of Barrio, as the streets become busier, the music louder, and the nightlife wilder than ever before. We are now right at the heart of the student area of Madrid, as most of the university houses are located here, making it easy to find an evening suited to the tastes of thousands of boys and girls looking to blow off some steam after lectures. The musical genres range from dance, electronic, rock, heavy metal, pop and of course Latin music, which is becoming increasingly popular today. In general, both locals and tourists start to warm up here in the early evening, tasting tapas and drinking cocktails. After a few hours however, the speakers start to vibrate and the zone transforms into one of the biggest party spots in the city.
Cinema room at Safestay Madrid
Pirandello is the place for electronic fans, a major club divided into several different rooms; in one of these you'll find live music while in another there is a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, indie and house tunes. The favourite among hardcore party-people is Sala Mitty, hosting themed events and neverending reggaeton and electronic hits. Sometimes, DJ Willy Alcocer performs his set here, a truly spectacular night worth experiencing. La Sal is more of a commercial bar/nightclub with its own famous bowling alley... make sure you plan beforehand however as you need to be on the list to enter. In Príncipe Pío you will find Colonial Norte, another very famous club found a bit further away from the others.
Night scenes of Madrid - Credits: @DavidMark
It takes two to Tango in Chueca
The Way Hostel is an excellent option for you to stay in this zone. The hostel is actually located in the Tirso de Molina neighbourhood,very unique in the way that there is a theme running throughout its interior. All the bedrooms and common areas are decorated with the works of famous musicians! There are also more practical features to mention, for example free parking, air conditioning and a kitchen if you want to save a little money cooking your own meals. We realise if you're reading this article that perhaps the most important thing is to party, but it is also worth experiencing a little Spanish culture while you're here. Your trip to the Spanish capital can only be complete once you've tried out some of the Flamenco, Milongas and Tango shows. It's advisable to make connections with people of different cultures and traditions to fully understand their way of living.
Common room at Way Hostel
This time, the journey from the hostel to Chueca is a bit longer, but it's definitely worth it. From Way Hostel the it takes about 15 minutes by foot, but there are a lot of things to see along the way (like the Puerta da Sol which is only a few steps away). Chueca is a district possessing the extraordinary ability to transform itself according to the constantly changing needs of its visitors. The entire area is steeped in history and the LGBT community has resided here for decades, holding a great presence in the area in the past. Some years ago the scene here changed a little, and the area is now very open-minded, welcoming new ideas, cultures and values. It has to be said, Chueca really is Madrid's nightlife kingdom.
If someone in your group doesn't want to rave all night long, a slightly tamer alternative could be the legendary Chicote Museum, which has now become a part of the city's cultural heritage due to its long-standing reputation. The quality of this bar is so high that it has even been nominated the best bar in Europe on several occasions, often frequented by A-listers. If at this point your alcohol levels have already skyrocketed, we suggest heading to Club Teatro Barceló next. Boasting innovative and original music, this spot is packed with a slightly older crowd, usually over 25s. Pacha is another option, particularly for those who love to dress up, as this club is for sure one of the most glamorous places in the city.
Shared bedroom at Way Hostel
Pacha is found in the same building as Sala Ocho y Medio, the difference between the two being that the latter hosts live concerts where Spanish artists regularly perform, for example Los Punsetes, La Casa Azul, Klaus & Kinski and Hidrogenesse.
Still undecided about where your evening will lead? There are many more alternatives to choose from, such as the extravagant shows taking place at LL Showbar or Kubrick. There are also many places in Chueca that are perfect for those who just want to sit back and relax, sipping a beer or two. Names like l'Enfrente, Zarpa and The Paso are very popular hang-out spots for the LGBT community, whereas at Hot you can listen to Jazz bands and Bossa Nova. Why not have a look at Truco, Fulanita de Tal or the transcendental Black & White for even more variety. One thing is guaranteed: all these places are of excellent quality and you will have a great night where you end up!
As is now highly apparent, there really is something for everyone in the streets of Madrid. If the goal is to have fun, the options are endless, be it a night of raving or relaxing. So, whatever your party style may be, from rooftop lover to hip hop fan or even if you're the 'just a few with the lads' kind of guy, what are you waiting for? Get those bags packed now so you can experience the metropolitan madness of Madrid for yourself!