Salamanca: A Neighborhood Guide

Our resident's guide to getting to know Salamanca, Madrid

May 28, 2024
Banco de españa MadridBanco de españa Madrid

Of Madrid’s 21 districts, none has a name as recognisable as Salamanca. Next to the center of the city (Centro), Salamanca encompasses the neighborhoods of Goya, Castellana, Recoletos, and Lista. The area is not normally the first port of call for tourists, who usually stay in Centro, but it’s one of the most sought-after areas for residents.

If moving to the city, and planning to be here for more than a few days, we think Salamanca is up there with the best options. In our resident’s guide we tell you why, and what you need to know if you’re staying here.

Why Salamanca?

First of all there's the location. Tourists generally want to be right in the center, and long term residents are often happy to be further out. If you’re staying for a few weeks or months though, you want to be somewhere in between, so you can enjoy a more tranquil setting, whilst being close enough to the center to enjoy all that Madrid has to offer.

Salamanca is just northeast of Centro. You can make it to Sol (the city center) in 20 minutes on public transport, and the popular neighborhood Chueca is 20 minutes away on foot. Retiro Park, Madrid’s most famous green space, is even closer- you can make it in 10 minutes.

Retiro park madrid

Despite being so close to the action, Salamanca is a glamorous, upscale neighborhood. It’s clean, safe, relaxed, and has an excellent transport network. Its elegant streets and boulevards were designed for Spanish aristocracy, and make for a beautiful area to walk around.

What to do in Salamanca

Go shopping

Salamanca is most famous for La Milla de Oro (The Golden Mile), an area of luxury stores and boutiques famous throughout the world of fashion. Located on and around Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, you can find Prada, Luis Vuitton, Armani, and many other renowned designers. There are also auctioneers and art dealers, mostly on Calle Villanueva. Calle Velázquez and Calle Goya are two other streets in the area that are definitely worth passing through.

With a different atmosphere, but even more useful once you’re a resident, is the Mercado de la Paz (market of peace). Here you can do all your food shopping, and find top quality products of every type. If you’d rather just stop for a beer or slice of tortilla, get your watch fixed or dress adjusted, you can do it all in La Paz.

See the sights

Many of Madrid’s most distinctive landmarks, monuments, and museums are in Salamanca. Here are some of the highlights:

Plaza de Toros

Spains “bullfighting cathedral” is a spectacular arena that holds over 23,000 people, making it one of the world’s largest. While the divisive sport is not to everyone’s taste, the moorish design and bullfighting museum are well worth a visit. Other events, from music concerts to motocross, are also held here, so there are bloodless ways to see the coliseum in all its glory.

plaza de toros

Plaza de Cibeles

This symbol of Madrid is arguably its most iconic square, and certainly its most beautiful. The home of the city council is notable for spectacular marble architecture, and the fountain depicting the Roman goddess of fertility- Cybele.


There are a few to take a look at during your time here, but top of the list should be the Museo Arqueológico Nacional. The National Archaeological Museum showcases artefacts from across the ancient history of Spain, going all the way back to prehistoric times.

Also the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, which houses the astonishing, once private art collection of Don José Lázaro Galdiano. Its 13,000 works include pieces by Goya, El Greco, Zurbarán, and many more.


Salamanca is known as one of the greenest areas of Madrid, if you’re planning on living here for a while you should definitely take advantage.

Top of the list is Madrid’s most famous- Retiro Park. This huge park is Madrid’s most popular, and features gardens, monuments, a lake, and the Crystal Palace- a beautiful glass building now used as an art gallery. A spectacular tourist attraction, Retiro Park also hosts a range of events, and is a great place to wind down on a Sunday.

palacio de crystal

There are many more to choose from, we recommend Recoletos Park, and the Jardines del Descubrimiento (gardens of discovery). Dedicated to Columbus’ “discovery” of America, the enormous rock sculptures are particularly impressive.

Where to eat and drink in Salamanca

You would expect one of Spain’s most upmarket neighborhoods to be well stocked with top quality restaurants. Salamanca doesn’t disappoint, and has more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere else in the city. You don’t have to break the bank every time you go out for dinner though. The area has plenty of old-school tapas bars, and other reasonably priced options with food from all over the world. Below are some of the best:

At the top end of the scale are the double Michelin-starred restaurants. Ramon Freixa Madrid excites, communicates and provokes with its tasting menus. The Ricardo Sanz Wellington fuses mediterranean cuisine with Japanese.

Moving down the price range, La Porcinería is a new, creative take on Spain’s most beloved ingredient- the pig. If seafood is more your thing, Taberna de Penalver specialises in seafood and paella, and their cheesecake is just as good.


Moving away from mediterranean food, the area has some great restaurants from across the globe. Curry y Canela (cinnamon) is the highlight of an excellent selection of Indian places. You can find wonderful Japanese food at Kibbu, and for Mexian food- La Leyenda del Agave is a cosy place with great enchiladas.

If you’re looking for bars, there is no shortage of cheap and cheerful, authentic Spanish bars. Salamanca’s reputation however, comes from its swanky cocktail bars. Two of our favourites are The Shaker and Arts Club Madrid. If you’re looking to keep dancing till the morning- Gabana and Graf are two of the best clubs in the area.

Where to stay in Salamanca

Salamanca has some of the most luxurious hotels in all of Spain. If though, you’re staying for a bit longer, you’ll want to consider a monthly rental. At Ukio we make sure all our apartments are fully furnished with everything you’ll need for your stay, and we have some great choices in Salamanca.

ukio apartment

The key to any great trip is where you are and who you’re with. We can’t choose your companions for you, but if you stay in Salamanca- there’s no doubt you’ll be able to make the most of your time in Madrid.