A traditional district with an aristocratic architectural flair in the heart of Madrid
What to see
Where to sleep
Food & drink
Comprising several neighbourhoods – Trafalgar, Arapiles, Gaztambide, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas and Almagro –, the district of Chamberí was the place of residence of many aristocrats in the past two centuries.
In Chamberí stand the Sorolla Museum and the Geomineral Museum. The former is housed in the home the painter from Valencia used to live in in Madrid. As interesting as his paintings is the collection of sculptures, furniture and ceramics, and there’s a beautiful garden too.
A short walk from these museums you’ll come across Andén Cero-Estación de Chamberí, an old tube station closed in 1969 and converted to a visitor centre of Madrid’s underground system. Here, you’ll travel back in time to 1919, the year when the first underground line, running across the centre of town from Cuatro Caminos to Gran Vía, opened to the public.
Plaza de Olavide, in Trafalgar, is a nice landscaped square surrounded by terraces. It’s a good place to meet friends and eat tapas.
Halfway from Arapiles to Vallehermoso, on Calle de Cea Bermúdez, are Teatros del Canal. Designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg and covering 35,200m2, this modern theatre complex, whose hall incorporates the latest technology, was granted the much coveted National Architecture Award in 2008. Teatros del Canal runs classical and modern plays, concerts, dance and flamenco performances, zarzuela, opera, circus shows and cabaret acts.
The largest green area in Chamberí is Santander Park, making golf facilities available in the very heart of Madrid. On 120,000m2, the park combines vegetation with modern sports infrastructure (artificial turf football pitches, paddle tennis courts, and a 1,200m circular tartan track for running).
Although it’s an upscale district in Madrid, Chamberí has hotel properties of every level of comfort, service and price. This means that here you can find a hotel that meets your needs, whatever your budget.
From the smart AC Santo MauroHotel, housed in the old mansion of the Duke of Santo Mauro, the Exe Moncloa, whose terrace/rooftop bar is simply spectacular, or one of the best business hotels in Madrid, the Intercontinental Madrid, to more basic types of accommodation, there’s something for every pocket and every taste in Chamberí. Some establishments like the Gran Versalles and the NH Zurbano are ranked high on value for money.
Outdoor bars, old taverns like Casa Ricardo and modern establishments offering international recipes rub shoulders in Chamberí.
Ponzano and adjacent streets are always brimming with people eating tapas or sitting at formal restaurants for lunch. Other meeting points are Plaza de Olavide, Calle San Bernardo and the area near Glorieta de Quevedo.
The stretch of Calle Fuencarral starting at Glorieta de Bilbao, formerly known as ‘the cinema street’, is still dotted with cinema theatres today. If you feel a bit peckish before or after the movie, head to one of the bars nearby. El Ferry on Sandoval 12 is a good choice; it’s an old bar that’s been totally renovated. At weekends, it serves the typical brunch you get when visiting New York.
For the best live music events in Madrid at night, come to the legendary concert hall Galileo Galilei, established in Chamberí in 1985 in the same building where the old Cine Galileo used to be.
The busiest shopping street in this district is Calle Fuencarral from Glorieta de Bilbao to Glorieta de Quevedo. It’s dotted with stores selling cosmetics and children’s clothes, plus fashion stores and bookstores.
Besides, Chamberí features three town markets: Guzmán el Bueno, Vallehermoso and Chamberí. Open since 1943, the market that’s borrowed its name from the district itself has grown to offer a wealth of products and services. In the more than 50 stalls on the ground floor of the building and the stores with street entrance, you’ll find décor items, clothes and accessories, plants and flowers, and housewares.
To learn more about the history of Chamberí and the six neighbourhoods in it, you can take a guided tour.