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Madrid Elegant: Salamanca District


"Barrio de Salamanca"

This neighbourhood, bounded by Paseo de la Castellana, Calle Alcalá, calle María de Molina and Francisco Silvela, is one of the few parts of the city with a well-defined urban structure. Blocks in the area are square and streets run parallel and perpendicular. It has a reputation for being the wealthy neighbourhood in central Madrid, and some of the most exclusive boutiques in town are located there. Its main streets are Serrano, Velázquez and Goya.

If you're willing to venture outside Madrid's typical hub of tourist attractions, there are a handful of great places to explore in Salamanca. See the Student's Residence
where Salvador Dalí once lived, the Juan March Foundation, which hosts classical music concerts and intimate art expos, Spain's National Library, the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, or the fascinating Archaeological Museum.

South of Serrano brings you straight to the Plaza de Independencia, one of the main entrances to El Retiro Park
. In this area, there are some gorgeous private homes, many of them, former 19th century palaces.
North of Serrano you'll pass a number of stately embassies and, way down, just off Serrano, on calle del Pinar 23, the reknown Residencia de Estudiantes. A plethora of famous artists and authors lived or visited here in the early 20th century: Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Miguel de Unamuno, José de Ortega y Gasset and more. It is still residence for students, a library and a cultural center.

Far north, above calle María de Molina, we actually leave past Salamanca neighborhood to enter Chamartín. There, you can gape at the luxury homes of El Viso. It's probably the wealthiest corner inside Madrid.

In Salamanca area there are some well known hotels and restaurants.
It also has some nightlife, posh discos and bars, though that's certainly not it's main characteristic.

Chamberi District

Though actually built in the late 19th century outside the old city walls, this formerly working-class zone is neither grungy nor gay like its southern neighbors but more low-keyed  and upmarket. The focal point is the circular Plaza Olavide. This barrio offers an attractive selection of restaurants, bookshops, art galleries, and museums, such as the charming Museo Sorolla

The Glorieta de Bilbao is the intersection of the streets Sagasta, Luchana, Fuencarral and Carranza. Bilbao, in the same way as Alonso Martinez and Colón it marks the limits of the "center" of Madrid. Taking the street Fuencarral southwards  you enter Malasaña district. It is an area with good shops, bars and places to eat.
The Café Comercial, right at the Glorieta, is one of the classic cafés of Madrid:  non reformed since 1953, it was the place for literary gatherings in the post Spanish War period.

Alonso Martínez

The area around the Plaza and metro station Alonso Martinez is the intersection of the streets Sagasta, Génova and Santa Engracia. It is ideal for both the resident and the short-term lodger because of its location near Plaza de Colón, a central point of the city and terminus for the buses to Barajas airport. It is within walking distance of the main cultural and commercial areas of the city and it is located near the business centers on the lower part of Paseo de la Castellana. The heart of Alonso Martínez is Plaza de Santa Bárbara, with its shady terraces, and an active nightlife. It also has a cercanías train station nearby (Recoletos Station) for those who wish to go on excursions or make trips outside the city. Ten minutes walk brings you to the main shopping areas of the city. Added to all this, there are many places for tapas and some nice restaurants.

Colon Square

The large square Colón, is dedicated to Chistopher Columbus, who dominates the square from the top of the 1885 spire. Beneath the square's waterfall there is an extensive cultural center, the Centro Cultural de la Villa, with auditorium, theatre and  exhibition halls run by the city council. On the surface of the square there is a garden and a place for skating, and, of course, the enormous Spanish flag flapping in the wind. The square is also an important intersection of avenues -Castellana, Recoletos,  Goya, Génova and Jorge Juan.

Colón Tourism Center
The new Colón Tourism Centre, by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, is a key starting point when it comes to touring the city. The centre is located in the former underground passage of Plaza de Colón, the centre has a large open skylight on the  surface of the Plaza de Colón, providing natural light that shines directly onto a water wall and a courtyard, both located in the central area of the passage.
In this centre visitors will find extensive and varied tourist and cultural information about the capital, it has been designed as a live space where visitors will be able to interact and experience the thrilling lifestyle of the city.
Colón Tourism Centre’s continuous business hours are 09:30 to 20:30, 365 days a year.

On the Paseo de Recoletos side of the plaza are the
Archaeological Museum and the National Library

What to do in Salamanca-Retiro
  • Colón/ Serrano/ Velázquez/ Lista (L4)/ Goya (L3, L5)/ Retiro/Príncipe de Vergara (L2)

What to do in In Chamberi

  • Colón information centre. Colón Square
    (Underground passage access through the side of Paseo de la Castellana on the corner with calle Goya)
  • Colón (L4)
  • Bilbao (L1,L4) /Alonso Martinez (L4,L5,L10) /Colón (L4)
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