Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel in Madrid

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Updated: April 13, 2021

Essentials
• Location: Calle de la Cava Baja.
• Hotel website: posadadeldragon.com
• Hotel phone: +34 91 119 14 24
Check prices on Booking.com

Review of Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel in Madrid.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Historic hotel on a lively tapas bar street in the heart of Madrid.

A couple of blocks from the Plaza Mayor, this funky three-star boutique hotel was a sixteenth-century grain store and a nineteenth-century inn for visiting merchants in its previous incarnations. Individually-styled, sparsely-furnished rooms come with memory foam beds, retro phones, Moorish-style alcoves, and lime-green, crimson, mustard-yellow, or azure walls. The ones towards the front of the building are brighter and more spacious, but also come with more street noise. The historic design of the building means that there’s little room for amenities, but there’s an excellent tapas bar and restaurant on the ground floor, as well as a bar serving original cocktails. The staff is wonderfully friendly and helpful and the location couldn’t be more central, with numerous other tapas bars and restaurants nearby, and museums and other attractions a short walk away.

See Also

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Location

  • Address: Calle de la Cava Baja, 14.
  • Nearest Metro/Subway: La Latina is a 3-minute walk from the hotel. Sol, 5 minutes away, is a metro hub that’s more useful.
  • Area: Super-central location, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Madrid’s historic Plaza Mayor and at the top of La Latina’s famous Cava Baja street, lined with wall-to-wall tapas bars, with many more dotting the surrounding streets. Easily walkable to the city’s main attractions; the Palacio Real is a 6-minute walk away, while the three world-class art museums (Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, Reina Sofia) are all within a 10-minute walk or so. Great public transport connections from the nearby Sol metro stop to attractions further out, plus the Atocha and Chamartín train stations.
  • How to Get There: From Madrid Barajas International Airport, it takes around 35 minutes on the metro, changing lines at Nuevos Ministerios from #8 to #6 and again at Cuatro Caminos from #6 to #2; to get to Sol, take red line #2 in the direction of Las Rosas. From the Atocha train station (with connections to most major Spanish cities), it’s a 4-stop ride to Sol (10 minutes) on line #1 in the direction of Pinar de Chamartín. Some intercity trains arrive at the Chamartín station in north Madrid; from there it’s a 12-stop ride (25 minutes) on the metro to Sol on line #1. Alternatively, to avoid changing metro lines, at the airport, hop on the Exprés Aeropuerto (€5) bus that goes to Atocha train station, and ride metro line #1 from there. Can also go directly to the hotel via the AeroCity minibus (€18) or a taxi (around €30).
  • Private Transfer: We use and recommend Welcome Pickups car service. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more than a taxi – about €35 from Madrid Barajas International Airport – but can be worth it to avoid the long taxi queue and for the convenience of paying ahead.
  • Handy to: Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, La Latina tapas bars/nightlife.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – The Basics

  • Ages: Guests tend to be an international crowd, with especially couples on a romantic or city break. Children 13+ are welcome.
  • View: Front-facing rooms look out over the lively Cava Baja street; others look out over the internal courtyard or else have limited street views.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
  • Laundry: Laundry service available (extra charge).
  • Extras: Dedicated concierge service and 24-hour reception. Bicycles in the lobby, available for rent. Glass of homemade lemonade on arrival.
  • When to Book: Book 2-3 months in advance for the March-June, September-October, Easter, and Christmas/New Year periods. Last minute bookings sometimes available.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +34 91 119 14 24
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: posadadeldragon.com

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Amenities

  • Pool: No pool.
  • Spa: No spa.
  • Fitness Center: No fitness center.
  • For Disabled Guests: There is one specially adapted room, plus an elevator.
  • For Families: No family rooms per se, or extra beds. Children aged 13+ can use existing beds.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: There are 2 dining spaces: the cozy La Antoñita and the striking La Despensa, featuring a glass floor that showcases the remnants of Madrid’s 12th-century city wall. They share the same menu, and you can opt either for classic tapas, charcuterie platters to share, or meaty mains such as Iberico pork with guacamole or barbecue ribs. Open 1:30pm-11pm. $$.
  • Lounge/Bar: Bar Dragónate – Open from 1:30pm till late, this buzzy tapas bar has a decent wine list and serves 2 specialty cocktails: the Drag-on-Ice Gin Tonic and the Drag-on-Fire Mojito. Good selection of tapas and light bites.
  • Breakfast: The excellent breakfast buffet spread costs €9 per person and includes top quality charcuterie, plus homemade yogurt, fruit, fresh juices, eggs cooked to order, and toasted sandwiches. It is served 8-11:30am in the La Despensa dining room.
  • Room Service: 24-hour room service is available.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Rooms

  • Room Types: Single Room • Double Room • Double Room with Balcony • List of all Rooms
  • Smoking Rooms: La Posada del Dragón is 100% smoke-free.
  • Best Room: Rooms are individually decorated in bold colors, so it depends on whether you prefer a statement headboard or slightly more muted Moorish arches. The largest, brightest rooms are the doubles with balcony that look out onto the street, but they also tend to get more street noise, so choose one on the top floor.
  • For Families: No family rooms per se.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – Local Transport

  • Walking: Central Madrid is surprisingly compact and walkable, and wandering both the tiny medieval lanes of the historical center and the wide Paseo del Prado boulevard is great fun. One can easily reach most main sights on foot from the hotel: Plaza Mayor, cathedral, and Palacio Real are about 5 minutes away. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza; slightly longer to reach Reina Sofia. Parque del Retiro is a 15-minute walk away.
  • Metro: For sights further out of the city center, consider taking the metro. Take red line #2 from Sol to Retiro for quicker access to the Parque del Retiro and Museo del Prado. Take green line #5 from La Latina to Gran Vía for quicker access to Malasaña and its independent shops, cafes, and nightlife, or to Chueca to explore bars and hipster boutiques there. The metro is also handy for getting to Madrid’s 2 main train stations, Atocha and Chamartín, and reasonably convenient for getting to the airport (though lines need to be changed twice).
  • Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the airport is a flat fare of €30; Uber costs €15-29, depending on type of vehicle. Using taxis to get around central Madrid is unnecessary due to the ease and convenience of walking/metro, but if required, daytime flag fall is €2.50 with around €1.10 per km. Uber X minimum fare is €5.50.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – What’s Nearby?

Recommended Nearby Tours

  • Free Walking Tours Madrid – Colin and Ian run excellent free walking tours of historic Madrid, as well as organize day excurions to Toledo and specialized tapas tours of the capital. For the free tour, meet at Plaza de Callao at 11am on Fridays or 3.30pm on Saturdays.
  • Devour Madrid – These guys specialize in intimate, small-group food tours of Madrid, from the super-popular Gourmet Tapas and Wine Tasting to the more off-the-beaten track Huertas Neighborhood and Market tour. Private tours for families arranged, with kid-friendly snacks and activities. Departure point: Plaza Mayor.
  • Bravobike – Small group cycling tours of the city, ranging from 2 hours to whole-day tours. This outfit also arranges cycling day tours of Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, and Ávila – all great day trips from Madrid. The Parks Tour is particularly suitable for families with kids. Tours depart from the cycle shop near Plaza de España.
  • Spanish Tapas Madrid – Going strong for almost a decade, this family-run outfit takes guests on fun bar crawls of Madrid’s classic tapas bars. Flamenco tours and tours of the Prado museum also arranged. Departure points vary.
  • Madrid City Tour – Hop-on, hop-off bus tours with multilingual audio guides. They run along 2 routes: one covers the main attractions of historical Madrid, while the other focuses on modern Madrid. The closest departure point for historical Madrid is Plaza Mayor; for modern Madrid – Plaza del Sol.
  • Wellington Society – Offbeat historical walking tours of Madrid, from Hemingway tours to tours focusing on off-the-beaten-track sights. Historian Stephen Drake-Jones also arranges historical tours of Segovia and Toledo. Departure points vary.

Best Nearby Restaurants

  • Sobrino del Botín – Founded as an inn in 1725, this is the world’s oldest continuously open restaurant. It’s renowned for 3 things: its old-world 18th-century decor, succulent roast meats, and literary connections (Hemingway, Graham Greene). The specialties are the roast suckling pig and lamb; dine in the atmospheric bodega (vaulted cellar) or in the opulent dining rooms.
  • Casa Paco – This 1930s taverna has been a neighborhood institution since the 1930s and is all about Madrid specialties such as callos a la madrileña (tripe stew) and cocido a la madrileña (chickpea and smoked meat stew), as well as a solid range of wines and tapas.
  • La Cabaña Argentina – Arguably Madrid’s best Argentinian steakhouse is all exposed brick walls and black and white photos of vintage Buenos Aires, with a meat-heavy, succinct menu of ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, flank, and skirt steak cuts. The extensive wine list focuses mostly on Argentinian and Spanish wines. Equally popular for dates and family meals.
  • El Inti de Oro – One of the best Peruvian restaurants in Madrid, serving authentic Peruvian standards such as ají de gallina (chicken in a spicy yellow sauce), anticuchos de corazón (beef heart skewers), and arróz con mariscos (seafood-fried rice). Inexpensive, casual, big portions.
  • La Musa Latina – Super-popular modern Spanish restaurant, with internationally inspired fusion tapas on the menu, a busy bar in the converted wine cellar and a pleasant outdoor terrace. Informal, wallet-friendly.
  • La Bobia – This Asturian cider bar and restaurant was part of the 1980s counterculture La Movida movement, and its authentic cooking remains as good as ever. Come here for cider straight from the barrel, fabada asturiana (meaty bean stew), and steaks.
  • Taberna Almendro 13 – Full of old-timers and locals, this tapas bar and restaurant is all about no-frills classics made from high-quality ingredients such as tortilla (potato omelet), croquettes, and charcuterie and cheese platters, accompanied by glasses of wine from across Spain, and dry sherry.
  • Vietnam – Arguably Madrid’s best Vietnamese restaurant, serving authentic pho, delicate summer rolls, stir-fried dishes, and more. Inexpensive, particularly busy at lunchtime.
  • Casa Alberto – A local institution, this characterful taberna has been around since 1827 and has decor to match. Locals suggest ordering the croquettes and the tender, melting-off-the-bone rabo de toro (oxtail), and washing it down with the vermouth on tap.
  • La Paella de la Reina – One of the best places in Madrid to try paella is this old-school restaurant in a super-central location right near metro Opera.

Best Nearby (Tapas) Bars and Breweries

  • Txirimiri – Just south of the two main tapas-bar-lined streets in La Latina, Txirimiri is a terrific Basque tapas bar. Choose from the heaped pintxos (tiny open sandwiches) along the bar and specialties such as the Unai hamburger, fried in tempura with wild mushroom sauce, and grilled foie gras with fig marmalade. Good selection of Basque and Spanish wines.
  • Lamiak – This buzzy Basque tapas bar on Calle de Cava Baja does a great range of pintxos (tiny open sandwiches). Standout toppings include eggplant moussaka with veal and homemade guacamole with smoked salmon.
  • La Perejila – Right in the middle of one of the most popular streets for tapas bar hopping in La Latina, this is an old-school bar popular with locals. There are traditional raciones – cheese platters and mojama (wind-cured tuna) with roasted almonds – but what this bar is really famous for are the rebanadas (large open sandwiches), washed down with wine and vermouth.
  • La Chata – La Chata is a quintessential madrileño tapas bar with a dining room decorated with vintage bullfighting posters and stuffed bull’s heads. Perch at the bar with a glass of wine or vermouth and order some tostas (toasted bread) with numerous toppings, or else grab a tiled table and get some rabo de toro (oxtail) or cazuela (stew) to share.
  • Casa Revuelta – About as ‘local’ as one can get, Revuleta has been a neighborhood favorite for generations. The specialties here are the battered bacalao (salted cod) fritters, plus callos a la madrileña (Madrid-style tripe stew). Get to the bar and order a glass of vermouth from one of the penguin-suited waiters.
  • Melos Bar – Seriously old-school bar with a short menu scribbled in chalk, just two types of house wine (red or white) by the glass and lots of old-timers. Go for the signature zapatilla sandwich (grilled cheese stuffed with melted Galician tetilla cheese and smoked Galician ham).
  • Casa González – A hybrid vinoteca, cheese shop, and tapas bar, Casa Gonzáles has been a beloved local institution since 1931. It comes with a few marble tables on which one can enjoy a glass of wine, along with platters of charcuterie and conservas (tinned seafood).
  • Cervecería Alemana – Hemingway used to prop up the bar at this atmospheric cervecería, serving a selection of German and Spanish beers along with classic tapas platters enlivened by the presence of bratwurst. Casual, busy, and great location on the Plaza Santa Ana.
  • El Viajero – This top-floor, trellis-covered terrace overlooking La Latina’s Plaza de la Cebada is a favorite spot for sunset cocktails and glasses of wine.
  • La Venencia – This temple to sherry has been around since 1922 and the decor hasn’t changed a great deal since Hemingway used to haunt this place. Find a space among the oak barrels and vintage bullfighting posters and let the bartenders initiate the world of amontillados, palo cortados, and finos.
  • Salmón Gurú – The drinks at this flamboyant, over-the-top brainchild of Madrid’s top mixologist Diego Cabrera are as incredible as the decor. Expect elaborate, original cocktails with really unusual ingredients and a sensory assault in the form of neon, retro superhero prints and plenty of mirrors.
  • Brew Wild – Combine some beer enthusiasts, a Sicilian chef, and a pared-down, exposed-brick-wall bar and the result is something like this, where the signature beers are brewed on-site and complemented by the short and sweet menu of homemade pizzas.

Best Nearby Cafes

  • Chocolateria San Ginés – Just north of the Plaza Mayor, this locally beloved cafe has been serving churros con chocolate to madrileños for over a hundred years. It serves only drinking chocolate – so thick that the spoon almost stands up in it – accompanied by churros (tubular, deep-fried dough); best on weekdays, when the lines are shorter.
  • El Perro de Pavlov – Run by Alejandro, who brought back a love of gourmet coffee from his years in Australia, this small, plant-filled café is a great place to enjoy speciality coffee, gourmet teas, and homemade pastries.
  • Ruda Cafe – La Latina’s hipster coffee shop, serious about its carefully sourced beans from around the world, and also serving tasty breakfast/brunch offerings.

Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops

  • Antigua Casa Talavera – If looking for uniquely Spanish gifts, the Antigua Casa Talavera is home to beautiful ceramics by small family potters from all over Spain, ranging from colorful tiles to crockery.
  • El Arco Artesanía – Just off the Plaza Mayor, this great little store is all about homemade designer souvenirs, from jewelry and papier-mache figures to home fittings. Ideal for unique gifts.
  • Museo del Jamón – This is the most central branch, just off the west side of Plaza Mayor. For foodies, the vacuum-sealed packs of Spain’s finest jamón iberico bellota and other meaty goodies are a great purchase; some outlets double as tapas bars.
  • Cocol – If looking for genuine crafts by Spanish artisans (as opposed to mass-produced souvenirs), this great boutique stocks high-quality items made by craftsmen all over the country, from wool blankets and abstract ceramics to esparto baskets.
  • La Librería – A neighborhood fixture for 35 years, this compact bookstore sells books on Madrid’s history (mostly in Spanish), coffee-table books, and other Madrid-focused literature.
  • Convento del Corpus Cristi (Calle del Codo) – Working convent where orders are placed through the grille and then cookies, freshly baked by the nuns, can be picked up at a little revolving door.
  • Casa de Diego – If looking for a hand-painted fan, silk shawls hand-embroidered with traditional Spanish needlework, a gentleman’s cane, or a high-quality umbrella, look no further than this store that’s been outfitting Madrid’s high society since 1800.
  • Caramelos Paco – Serving those with a sweet tooth since 1934, this old-fashioned candy store stocks a huge variety of sweet edibles.
  • Ojalá Madrid – Colorful, sophisticated streetwear for women by local designer Paloma del Pozo.
  • Casa Hernanz – This alpargata (espadrille) workshop has been hand-making shoes for 5 generations. Buy a ready pair or have them made to order.
  • Helena Rohner – Contemporary jewelry incorporating porcelain, Murano glass, wood, silver, and stone by Spanish-Swiss designer Helena Rohner, whose creations often make it to the catwalks of Paris.

Nearby Attractions

  • Plaza Mayor – Madrid’s cobbled, pedestrianized main square was the stage for bullfights, royal processions, and the burning at the cross of heretics during the Inquisition in centuries past. Today, it’s a popular gathering spot, with cafes around the edges, attractive Baroque architecture, and a statue of Felipe III on horseback.
  • Palacio Real – Originally a 16th-century wooden fortress, Spain’s grand royal palace was rebuilt in a style similar to Versailles. Each subsequent king added their own touches – Italian interior decor, Spanish porcelain, French tapestries – and the end result is an imposing French-Italian Baroque palace filled with frescoes, tapestries, gold leaf, chandeliers, and porcelain, used primarily for state functions (the royal family lives elsewhere). The audioguides lead visitors through individually decorated rooms, including the Throne Room, Gala Dining Hall, and Armory.
  • Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena – Madrid’s cathedral was only completed in 1992 and its cavernous, grey-and-white, neo-Gothic interior lacks the old-world grandeur of Spain’s medieval churches, though some visitors find it refreshingly modern. Interesting features include a contemporary and colorful ceiling, a splendid 15th-century altarpiece, and an enormous 5,000-pipe organ. In a chapel behind the altar is the 12th-century coffin of Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidro. The main highlight is the rooftop viewpoint with great views of the Royal Palace.
  • Museo del Prado – With a collection spanning more than 7,000 priceless artworks, including entire rooms dedicated to masterpieces by European greats, the Prado is one of the world’s top art museums. Look out for the Black Paintings by Francisco de Goya, as well as works by other Spanish masters: Murillo, Velázquez, and El Greco. Don’t miss the Edificio Jerónimos with its excellent temporary exhibitions, or the beautiful 2nd-floor cloisters. Book tickets online to avoid waiting in line.
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – An extraordinary private collection of European art that forms part of Madrid’s “Golden Triangle” of art. While the Prado and the Reina Sofia galleries provide an in-depth look at the works of specific artists, Thyssen gives a chance to explore a huge array of artistic styles, including Thyssen’s forte, Impressionism. Look out for works by Constable, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Dali, Chagall, Manet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud, and many more. Don’t miss paintings by El Greco and his Venetian contemporaries Titian and Tintoretto.
  • Centro de Arte Reina Sofia – Madrid’s top contemporary art gallery showcases cubism, surrealism, and other 20th-century art movements, as well as contemporary sculptures. The majority of works are by Spanish artists, with a particular emphasis on 20th-century greats such as Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joán Miró, Antoni Tàpies, and Juan Gris. The star of the collection is Picasso’s Guernica, a monumental canvas that captures the horrors of war, with a room all to itself.
  • Círculo de Bellas Artes – One of the most popular viewpoints in Madrid, this 1920s skyscraper near the Plaza de España has a 7th-floor roof terrace, crowned with an Art Deco statue of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom. Pay to take the elevator up to the terrace, have drinks at the small rooftop café, and get a bird’s eye view of some of Madrid’s notable buildings, plus the Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s main shopping streets.
  • Caixa Forum – One of Madrid’s most striking contemporary landmarks, this eye-catching 21st-century structure across the street from the Prado has a 4-story hanging garden and an exhibition hall, with 4 floors of stainless steel and soaring ceilings. World-class contemporary art, photography, and multimedia shows take place here on a changing basis 3 or 4 times per year.
  • Real Jardín Botánico – Just south of the Museo del Prado, this sculpted green space is a great spot to relax after visiting the nearby art galleries. There are over 30,000 species of plants in this 8-hectare space, including exotic trees from around the world, gathered by King Carlos III. Head to the Pabellón Villanueva, on the east side of the gardens to check out the frequently staged contemporary art exhibitions.
  • Parque del Buen Retiro – Created in the 17th-century for King Felipe IV, this vast park just west of Madrid’s art museums is hugely popular with locals. Madrileños come here to read, go strolling or running past the landscaped lawns, play with their kids, go boating on the park’s larger lake (El Estangue), or sit in one of the numerous terrazas (open-air cafes) with a cold drink. On weekends, buskers, tarot readers, jugglers, and other street performers cluster along the walkways around the lake.

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

  • El Rastro – Europe’s biggest flea market. Every Sunday, madrileños head to Europe’s biggest flea market that spreads over several blocks south of La Latina metro stop. The streets are lined with old furniture, antiques, miscellaneous bric-a-brac, bootleg CDs, and much more, and there are plenty of street musicians.
  • La Chinata – The Sol branch of this oleoteca (olive oil dispensary) sells a bewildering array of Spanish olive oils, as well as other gourmet food items and olive-oil-based cosmetics.
  • Mercado de San Miguel – A couple of blocks away from Plaza Mayor, this beautiful historic food market is a great place to stop for tapas. It’s very popular for several reasons: central location, varied selection of edible offerings at counter-bars, and gourmet shops for buying wine and chocolate.

Posada del Dragón Boutique Hotel – The Hotel

There are a lot of tapas bars in the neighborhood.

The hotel is particularly well-located for tapas bar-hopping, sitting at the northeast end of the Cava Baja street in La Latina, renowned for its wall-to-wall tapas bars.

La Antoñita is known for its tapas.

The on-site tapas bar, La Antoñita, serves classic tapas with a twist, along with meaty mains and stews. Open 1.30-11pm.

La Despensa has a striking glass floor.

It shares a restaurant, La Despensa, with the Posada del León de Oro hotel next door. The menu is the same as at La Antoñita, but the setting is more striking: it features a glass floor that showcases the remnants of Madrid’s 12th century.

The restaurant has an outdoor courtyard.

On warmer days, restaurant diners spill out into the narrow courtyard.

Singles are compact but colorful.

All rooms are individually styled, with bold, eye-catching decor. The singles are snug, but with good use of space and views over the inner courtyard.

Some Singles have desks.

Another example of a single; some have desks.

Doubles overlook the inner courtyard.

The doubles are somewhat more spacious than the snug singles and also look out over the internal courtyard.

One of the Doubles is a fiery red color.

The decor in the doubles varies wildly; some guests prefer this fiery room to cool blues…

Another Double is in lime green.

…or lime greens.

Front-facing rooms have small balconies.

The front-facing rooms that look out over Cava Baja are the most spacious and come with small balconies. As with the other room categories, decor varies.

Rooms vary in decor.

There are teardrop chrome lamps, bold prints, and splashes of bright color…

One of the rooms has a Moorish arch.

…or classic Moorish arches…

Another room has a retro phone.

…or funky chandeliers, desks, and retro phones.

There are several tapas bars near the hotel.

Southwest down the street from the hotel are numerous tapas bars, including La Chata.

La Chata is an old school tapas place.

La Chata is very old-school, decorated with classic bullfighting posters and specializing in oxtail and other meaty tapas, plus cazuelas (stews) to share.

La Perejila is known for its rebanadas.

Across the street from La Chata is La Perejila, another tapas bar with a very local vibe, renowned for its rebanadas (open sandwich).

Lamiak is known for its pintxos.

Towards the southern end of the street, Lamiak is a buzzy Basque tapas bar with a vast array of pintxos (tiny open sandwiches) and drinks.

Viajero bar has a roof terrace.

Just around the corner is Viajero, a bar with a roof terrace, popular for sunset drinks and buzzing late into the night.

Txirimiri is a good Basque tapas bar.

Just south of the square is another great Basque tapas bar, Txirimiri.

Txirimiri is renowned for its pintxos.

Txirimiri is locally renowned for its elaborate tiny pintxos.

Madrid’s modern cathedral is on the main Viaduct.

Following the tiny lanes northwest of the Plaza San Andrés leads to the main Viaduct thoroughfare. Across the street is Madrid’s modern cathedral, with great views of the royal palace from its rooftop.

Palacio Real is a must-visit.

Opposite the cathedral is the Palacio Real, Spain’s royal palace with opulent decor, mostly reserved for state functions these days. Visit early to avoid crowds.

Plaza de Segovia Nueva is a delightful small square.

Just north of the hotel is the Plaza de Segovia Nueva, one of many small squares in Madrid’s historic center.

Casa Paco is a lovely 1930s taverna.

On the plaza is Casa Paco, a 1930s taverna that’s all about Madrid specialties such as callos a la madrileña (tripe stew) and cocido a la madrileña (chickpea and smoked meat stew), as well as a solid range of wines and tapas.

Sobrino del Botín is the world's oldest restaurant.

Around the corner from the plaza is Sobrino del Botín, Madrid’s (and the world’s) oldest restaurant.

Sobrino del Botín is known for its refined vibe.

Yes, it’s touristy, but Sobrino is still well worth a visit for the refined atmosphere and the roast suckling pig and lamb.

Casa Hernanz sells custom and readymade shoes.

A tiny lane leads from behind Sobrino towards Calle de Toledo, the main street that approaches the Plaza Mayor from the south. Just along the street is Casa Hernanz, an espadrille workshop for 5 generations where one can order made-to-measure shoes or buy a ready pair.

Plaza Mayor is Madrid's historic main square.

Just north of Casa Hernanz, Plaza Mayor is Madrid’s historic main square, where bullfights and royal processions took place in centuries past. Take a selfie or grab a coffee at one of the square’s many cafes.

Plaza de la Puerta del Sol has a lot of street performers.

Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is the geographical center of Madrid, with street performers and Madrid’s busiest metro station.

Chocolatería San Ginés is extremely popular.

A couple of blocks north of the Plaza Mayor, along the tiny Calle de los Coloreros, Chocolatería San Ginés is one of Madrid’s most beloved cafes…

Chocolatería San Ginés is renowned for its churros.

…renowned for its churros (tubular deep-fried donuts) dipped in thick hot chocolate. Come early to beat the crowds.

Mercado de San Miguel has a lot of gourmet shops.

Two tiny blocks northwest of the Plaza Mayor, the historic Mercado de San Miguel features numerous tapas counters as well as small gourmet shops for chocolate and wine.

Convento del Corpus Cristi is known for its cookies.

A couple of blocks west of the market, along Las Calle de la Coda, the Convento del Corpus Cristi is a working convent known for its delectable cookies freshly made by the nuns.

Plaza de Santa Ana is a nightlife hotspot.

Six blocks east from the Plaza Mayor is Plaza de Santa Ana, one of Madrid’s nightlife epicenters, surrounded by bars.

Cervecería Alemana serves German and Spanish beers.

One of them is the Cervecería Alemana, once frequented by Hemingway and currently serving a decent range of German and Spanish beers.

Ojalá Madrid sells streetwear for women.

Just off the plaza’s southwest corner, opposite the triangular Plaza del Ángel, is Ojalá Madrid; pick up some colorful streetwear for women by local designer Paloma del Pozo here.

Vietnam serves authentic Vietnamese fare.

Just around the corner, Vietnam is one of Madrid’s most authentic Vietnamese restaurants, ideal for a quick lunchtime bite.

Casa Alberto is a lively 1827 taverna.

One block east, Casa Alberto is a characterful 1827 taverna specializing in croquettes, rabo de toro (oxtail), and vermouth on tap.

Brew Wild serves wood-fired pizzas.

Head north for a block along Calle del Echegaray to reach Brew Wild, a buzzy night spot that cooks up wood-fired pizza and doubles as an excellent microbrewery.

La Cabaña Argentina is an excellent steakhouse.

A block east, the parallel Calle de Ventura de la Vega is lined with excellent restaurants, including La Cabaña Argentina, an authentic Argentinian steakhouse.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is one of Madrid's best museums.

Keep walking east along Calle del Prado; it soon turns into the main Carrera de San Jerónimo thoroughfare and leads right to the Paseo del Prado, a wide, leafy boulevard featuring 2 of Madrid’s world-class art museums. On the corner in Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, a priceless private collection of European art with a huge array of artistic styles represented.

Museo del Prado is one of the world's top art museums.

Diagonally across the street is the Museo del Prado, one of the world’s top art museums, with masterpieces by the likes of Murillo, Velázquez, and El Greco.

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