Districts of Madrid

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is divided into 21 districts (distritos), which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios). Each district is governed by a body named Junta Municipal de Distrito. Residents of Madrid are typically called Madrileños.

Administrative division

Districts and wards

Map of the districts of Madrid
  1. Centro: Palacio, Embajadores, Cortes, Justicia, Universidad, Sol
  2. Arganzuela: Imperial, Acacias, La Chopera, Legazpi, Delicias, Palos de Moguer, Atocha
  3. Retiro: Pacífico, Adelfas, Estrella, Ibiza, Jerónimos, Niño Jesús
  4. Salamanca: Recoletos, Goya, Parque de las Avenidas, Fuente del Berro, Guindalera, Lista, Castellana
  5. Chamartín: El Viso, Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, Hispanoamérica, Nueva España, Castilla
  6. Tetuán: Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Valdeacederas, Berruguete
  7. Chamberí: Gaztambide, Arapiles, Trafalgar, Almagro, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas
  8. Fuencarral-El Pardo: El Pardo, Fuentelarreina, Peñagrande, Barrio del Pilar, La Paz, Valverde, Mirasierra, El Goloso
  9. Moncloa-Aravaca: Casa de Campo, Argüelles, Ciudad Universitaria, Valdezarza, Valdemarín, El Plantío, Aravaca
  10. Latina: Los Cármenes, Puerta del Ángel, Lucero, Aluche, Las Águilas, Campamento, Cuatro Vientos
  11. Carabanchel: Abrantes, Buenavista, Comillas, Opañel, Puerta Bonita, San Isidro, Vista Alegre
  12. Usera: Orcasitas, Orcasur, San Fermín, Almendrales, Moscardó, Zofío, Pradolongo
  13. Puente de Vallecas: Entrevías, San Diego, Palomeras Bajas, Palomeras Sureste, Portazgo, Numancia
  14. Moratalaz: Pavones, Horcajo, Marroquina, Media Legua, Fontarrón, Vinateros
  15. Ciudad Lineal: Ventas, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, La Concepción, San Pascual, San Juan Bautista, Colina, Atalaya, Pinar de Chamartín (Costillares)
  16. Hortaleza: Palomas, Valdefuentes, Canillas, Pinar del Rey, Apóstol Santiago, Piovera
  17. Villaverde: San Andrés, San Cristóbal, Butarque, Los Rosales, Los Ángeles
  18. Villa de Vallecas: Casco Histórico de Vallecas, Santa Eugenia
  19. Vicálvaro: Casco Histórico de Vicálvaro, Ambroz
  20. San Blas: Simancas, Hellín, Amposta, Arcos, Rosas, Rejas, Canillejas, Salvador
  21. Barajas: Parque de El Capricho (Alameda de Osuna), Aeropuerto, Casco Histórico de Barajas, Timón, Corralejos
Bank of Spain building (foreground) and Palacio de Comunicaciones building (background) at the center of Madrid

Contemporary Madrid came into its own after the death of general Francisco Franco. Reaction against the dictatorial bureaucracy centered in Madrid, and a history of centralism that predated Franco by centuries has resulted in the successful modern movement towards increased autonomy for the regions of Spain, considered autonomous regions under the umbrella of Spain.

The modern metropolis is home to over three million people.

Some of the most well-known neighbourhoods in Madrid are listed below.

Alonso Martínez

This district contains the large Plaza de Colón. This plaza commemorates Christopher Columbus, who was responsible for ushering in the Spanish imperial golden age of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is within walking distance of the main cultural and commercial areas of the city, such as the Prado museum, the expansive Parque del Buen Retiro and the business center on the lower part of the Paseo de la Castellana.


Atocha covers a large area and is bordered by the Huertas and Lavapiés neighbourhoods. It contains several notable cultural institutions, including the Reina Sofía Museum. Also located here is the central bus terminal and the Atocha Railway Station, one of two main train stations in Madrid, the other being located in Chamartín. This was the main site of the train bombings carried out on March 11, 2004. Atocha was also the site of the 1977 Massacre of Atocha.

Torre Picasso, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center in New York

AZCA / Nuevos Ministerios

Located in the Cuatro Caminos ward, AZCA is the financial center of Madrid. The area is populated by skyscrapers, among them Torre Picasso at 157 metres (515 ft), Edificio BBVA at 107 metres (351 ft) and Torre Europa at 115 metres (377 ft). The skyscraper Torre Windsor once stood here as well, until it burned completely on the night of 12 February 2005. A large El Corte Inglés department store consisting of three interconnected buildings is also located here. The area is directly linked to Barajas Airport by metro line 8 at the Nuevos Ministerios station. It's the Parkour centre of Madrid.

A Black and white photograph of the Torre Picasso (Picasso Tower) looking southwest

CTBA (Cuatro Torres Business Area)

The CTBA is composed of the four tallest skyscrapers in Madrid. The tallest is Torre Bankia, once known as the Torre Respol, at 250 m (820 ft). It was designed by Sir Norman Foster, and is the third tallest skyscraper in Europe. Torre de Cristal, or 'Crystal Tower', is only 0.6 metres (2 ft) lower than Torre Bankia, at 249.4 metres (818.2 ft), and was designed by Cesar Pelli. Torre PwC is the third tallest in Madrid, at 235 metres (771 ft), and was designed by Enrique Alvarez & Carlos Rubio. The fourth skyscraper is Torre Espacio, or 'Space Tower'. It is 223 metres (732 ft) tall and it was designed by I.M. Pei.[1] The four skyscrapers were finished in 2008.


Chueca is well known as a centre of gay culture in Madrid.[2]

Las Cortes

This small area is notable for housing the Congress of Deputies, known as the Congreso de los diputados, the lower house of the Spanish parliament. Other notable sites include the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Banco de España, the Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes, the Zarzuela Theater and the Plaza de Cibeles.

Parque del buen Retiro.


This neighbourhood, also known as Barrio de las letras, is west of the Paseo del Prado and north of Calle Atocha. Once the home and popular hangout of writers such as Miguel de Cervantes and Calderon de la Barca, Huertas is now considered Madrid's literary neighbourhood.[2] One prominent landmark is the house where Cervantes died in 1616.[3] It is a popular nightlife spot and tourist destination.

Gran Vía

As the name implies, the Gran Vía area contains one of Madrid's most important avenues, the Gran Vía (literally, "Great Way"). First and foremost it is a shopping street; however, it also contains a number of tourist accommodations, plenty of nightlife (including Madrid's large goth scene), many of Madrid's largest movie theaters and live musical shows. It is also a hub for Madrid's red-light district, as it links many side streets. One of these streets, calle Fuencarral, has become a link between the old shopping area of the center of the city, the Bohemian Malasaña, and the hip Chueca district, making of it one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the city.

Gran Via


One of the poorer neighbourhoods near the city center, this area has maintained much of true 'Madrileño' spirit of the past. Lavapiés has a high concentration of immigrants (mainly Chinese, Arabs, Hindi, Africans and Caribbeans), and also tends to attract artists and writers, adding to the cosmopolitan mix. The presence of immigrants has led to a variety of good, cheap shops and restaurants of both local and international food. It's one of the best places to find foreign herbs and spices.

La Latina

In and around this area are the origins of Madrid. Its difficult to put precise boundaries on La Latina, because, like its immediate neighbours, streets are narrow and winding. There are quite a few nightlife spots, though the neighbourhood is best known as having a concentration of tapas bars (particularly on the Cava Baja and Cava Alta). There are also a number of attractive churches, including the Church of San Andrés and the San Francisco el Grande Basilica. On Sundays and major holidays, the famous Rastro flea-market begins on the eastern edge, spilling out of the San Millan exit of the La Latina metro stop to the Plaza de Cascorro and all the way to the Ronda de Toledo to the south. Plaza de la Paja is another interesting location here. On its other side, La Latina borders Plaza Mayor and another ancient part of the town, El Madrid de los Austrias, where you can find the beautiful Palacio Real (Royal Palace).


This neighbourhood is famous for its nightlife, and for having been the main hub of the movida countercultural movement in the 70s and 80s.

Edificio España, 117 m (385 ft), built in 1953


As the name implies, this area around the Ópera metro stop is the location of Madrid's main Opera Theatre, the Teatro Real (Royal Theatre). In front of the theatre is the Palacio Real de Madrid, or Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is no longer used as a residence, but it has been kept intact, serving as a cultural monument that is occasionally used for state functions. It's one of largest palaces in Europe, surpassing even the Versailles Palace.


Barrio Retiro is a classic neighbourhood surrounding the famous Buen Retiro Park, to the east of the center of the city. It is demographically the oldest neighbourhood in the city, but over the past five years the increasing number of flats for rent has been attracting young people and students to the area in growing numbers. The neighbourhood can be characterized by the style of its three most important areas. In the north, centering on Calle Ibiza, streets are in a grid pattern and buildings, normally 6-10 storeys, are packed closely together, creating a bustling atmosphere of small shops, bars, and restaurants. This area is very similar to the neighbouring Salamanca district. In the south, called Niño Jesus, the area is quieter, more spacious, and residential. In the west, the Jerónimos area, with its beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings and many museums (including the Museo del Prado), has few private residences, its large flats that often surpass 200 m² (2,150 sq ft) being mainly used for offices.


A residential district in the north, Hortaleza includes the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee, the IFEMA (Madrid's main trade fair centre) and Juan Carlos I Park, a park between Campo de las Naciones (commercial district) and Barajas. Mar de Cristal is a tube station in Hortaleza district with an airport connection.


Vallecas is a working-class residential neighbourhood in the south of Madrid. It is also home to the Rayo Vallecano football team.


Aravaca is an upper-class residential suburb in the northwest of Madrid. During the Spanish Civil War the front was stabilized here for almost three years. Aravaca and its surroundings include parkland and wooded areas such as Casa de Campo.


  1. "La mayor obra de rascacielos de Europa." (in Spanish). CincoDias.com. August 21, 2006.
  2. 1 2 Let's Go: Spain & Portugal. Cambridge, MA.: Let's Go, Inc. 2012. ISBN 9781612370316.
  3. "Huertas Madrid". Retrieved 29 March 2014.

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