Sol in Madrid: the Neighbourhood Guide for Students!
Are you planning to move to Madrid? The neighbourhood you decide to live in can become an important part of your experience, don’t you think? If you like to know what’s going on and would love to be at walking distance from some of the most important tourist attractions, then Sol neighbourhood in Madrid can be your safe bet! Keep reading this neighborhood guide for students to find out more about it.
Plaza Mayor. Source: www.segwaytrip.com
You can’t go more central than Sol
Sol neighbourhood is located inside Centre District. You can’t go more central, so if you like to be in the middle of things then this is your place. Plaza Puerta del Sol is its heart and is the best known square in Madrid, and likely all around Spain!
Vibrant and bustling neighbourhood in Madrid
Sol is quite a wide district, its center –Puerta del Sol– is the heart of Madrid. In fact, this square is the km 0 for all roads that connect Madrid to the rest of Spain. The neighbourhood of Sol has a very tourist centre, and a more residential belt that reaches Callao Square.
The area around Puerta del Sol is vibrant, crowded and bustling. This is a meeting point for madrileños, who love to go shopping in the pedestrian streets surrounding the well-known square. It’s usual to see tourists taking photos and street performers asking for some money. The restaurants and shops in Sol are English-speaking, so don’t worry if you still need to practice your Spanish!
Perfect for Spanish food lovers
It’s really easy to find a restaurant or bar to your liking in Sol. The area is jammed with them and you can find somewhere to eat even late at night. There are both foreign and traditional bars to taste Spanish tapas, small portions of mouth-watering food.
Source: Terence Lim (www.flickr.com)
Casa Labra is a centenary tavern famous for its cod croquettes, located near Puerta del Sol. And if you like pastry, write down the name of La Mallorquina, one of the best bakeries in Madrid.
It’s also typical to sit down at one of the terraces at Plaza Mayor and enjoy a coffee with milk or a refreshing drink. Don’t forget to ask for a bocata de calamares (squid sandwich)!
Plaza Mayor. Source: www.infohostelero.com
Chocolatería San Ginés is within walking distance and is one of the best places in Madrid to taste traditional chocolate con churros. This is one of the tastiest Madrid’s specialities.
Source: Matt Biddulph (www.flickr.com)
Sol never sleeps
Madrileños say that their city never sleeps. The neighbourhood of Sol is a meeting point at night, as the area hosts a wide variety of pubs and bars. Flamenco, jazz, pop music, Irish folk…Just stroll around and find the places that suit your mood!
New Year’s Eve Celebration in Puerta del Sol
The square of Puerta del Sol is the favourite place for madrileños to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This celebration is broadcast on television and Spanish families gather to watch it. It’s a deeply rooted tradition! The tower of the building Casa de Correos gives the 12 midnight chimes, whilst the square is crowded with people celebrating.
Sol neighbourhood’s facilities
The less central part of Sol neighborhood is more residential than its geographical nucleus, so there is where it’s best to go if you want to fill your pantry at a reasonable price. The supermarket of El Corte Inglés shopping mall is the most centric option, next to Puerta del Sol, but it can be quite pricey.
If you consider yourself a foodie, then don’t miss San Miguel Market. This local market offers fresh high-quality food and delicious beverage, along with delicatessen, in its iron original structure of the early twentieth century. Fancy tasting Spanish tapas?
San Miguel Market. Source: julia-mathewson.com
The best place to go shopping in Madrid
Do you like shopping? Then you will love this neighbourhood in Madrid! Large department stores and international brands are located in Preciados and Carmen Streets, two shopping pedestrian streets that lead to Puerta del Sol. Check out as well the shopping mall El Corte Inglés, which is the biggest shopping chain in Spain, where you can find almost everything.
Source: José Manuel Mazintosh (www.flickr.com)
Within a short walking distance is Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s most popular streets, jammed with restaurants and shops, as well as theaters and cinemas.
If you’re starting to picture yourself living in Sol neighbourhood but are worried about where you will be able to practice sport, you’ll be glad to know that there are several gyms in the area with gymnastic apparatus and even a swimming pool.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens
This isn’t the greenest neighbourhood in Madrid. However, it’s surrounded by beautiful green areas. Within 15 minutes walking distance is El Retiro Park -going east- and Sabatini Gardens/Athens Park -going west-. You can also reach Del Oeste Park in 20 minutes going underground (line 3).
El Retiro Park is the most popular area, especially for local people, who like to stroll around its 125 hectares of fountains, gardens, and even a palace and a lake for boating. It’s the perfect place to sit down and read a book.
El Retiro Park. Source: Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería (www.flickr.com)
Del Oeste Park is another option to relax. The Debod Temple within it is definitely worth a visit: it’s a real Egyptian monument given as a gift to the city and brought stone by stone in 1968. The sunsets here are really breathtaking.
Cultural offer and attractions within walking distance
The neighbourhood of Sol is the most central you can get if you live in Madrid. Therefore, this area holds many historic buildings which are a pleasure for the eye.
In Puerta del Sol square, the building Real Casa de Correos was built in the 18th century as a post office and currently hosts the activities of the local government. In addition, in this same square stands the statue the “Bear and the Arbutus”, which is the symbol of the city and acts as a meeting point for madrileños. The stone which marks kilometre zero is also here. Don’t forget to take a picture of your feet standing on top of it!
Source: Bartsch (www.flickr.com)
Walk 5 minutes to the west and you’ll find Plaza Mayor. You’ll find it hard to choose only one restaurant amongst all possibilities in this porticoed 17th square.
Walk now 5 minutes north and you’ll see The Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, which was founded by Joanna of Austria in the 16th century and attracted noblewomen during centuries. You may visit its museum and admire the dowries these women brought with them.
The north boundary of Sol neighbourhood is Gran Vía, a crowded avenue with beautiful buildings, some of them have become city icons, such as Edificio Metrópolis and Telefónica Building.
Metropolis Building. Source: M. Moraleda (www.flickr.com)
The Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral are next to each other and just outside the limits of this neighbourhood in Madrid, surrounded by landscaped gardens. Both attract thousands of tourists each year.
If you love to go to the opera or other classical music events, the Teatro Real (Madrid Opera House) is also at a short distance from Puerta del Sol and brings international artists to the city. For musical shows similar to Broadway you just need to stop in one of the various theatres in Gran Vía. And if you like photography, the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid hosts interesting exhibitions and activities. Try out its rooftop terrace, it’s really nice!
The Spanish national art museum (Museo Nacional del Prado) is close to the neighbourhood of Atocha. Almost 3 million people visit each year its thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and historic documents. If you’ve always wanted to see some artwork by Goya, Velázquez, Rubens or El Greco, this is your chance.
Our last stop is Plaza del Callao, a square with many historical buildings and a cinema.
Callao Square. Source: www.madrid.es
In such a busy neighbourhood you’ll need some peace to study your new subjects. Don’t worry, because within less than 10 minutes walking distance from Puerta del Sol is the public library Iván de Vargas.
The neighbourhood of Sol in Madrid is the best-linked place of all the city. The metro station Sol is the centre of all the metro system, and is located in Puerta del Sol Square. Lines 1, 2 and 3 of the tube, apart from 2 regional train lines (C-3 and C-4) stop at Sol. Other metro stations near are Callao (line 5), Gran Vía (lines 1 and 5) and Sevilla (line 2). You can reach in less than 20 minutes University City going underground.
Living in the neighbourhood of Sol can be quite expensive, but you’ll find affordable options at shared flats, usually starting at 500€/month. If you love to live in the middle of things, on Beroomers we can help you find your room or flat!
Short and sweet
- Atmosphere: bustling, vibrant and tourist, the meeting point for madrileños.
- Location: the neighbourhood of Sol is the heart of the city, so you can’t get more central!
- Local traditions: there’s a big party to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Puerta del Sol Square.
- Facilities: supermarkets, San Miguel local market, shopping hub, gyms, great cultural offer and attractions.
- Transportation: there’s no need to know how to reach the city centre, as you’re in it! This is the best-linked neighbourhood of all Madrid, and you may reach University City in less than 20 minutes going underground.
- Rental rate: high rental rates, although you may find affordable options at shared flats.
- Area of Madrid: within District Centre.
Del Ángel Square. Source: www.secretosdemadrid.es
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