Having already presented my first favourite neighborhood of Madrid and its alternative lifestyle (Lavapies), it’s time to present my second favorite, the barrio of la Latina!
One of the most well known neighbourhoods in Madrid is without any doubt the barrio de La Latina! Famous for its nightlife, its tap beers and its traditional “Spanish-style” restaurants (tapas), la Latina is a place totally worth visiting while traveling in Madrid.
La Latina is synonymous with going out for beers in Madrid. Weekends mean trying to get an elbow in to order at a bar, and booking in advance or arriving early for a table in a restaurant. At the same time, you may find great bars for getting the drinks in, and venues where you can enjoy good music!
As mentioned, La Latina is one of the oldest and most traditional areas in the Spanish capital, fact that can be actually seen by the city’s walls ( ex. Puerta de Toledo) that spring up out of nowhere in the middle of the streets!
If you’re a fan of the Spanish mercados (foodmarkets), then the Mercado de la Cebada, one of the biggest mercados that can be found in Madrid, is situated right next to the metro stop and yes, it’s worth-visiting! If looking for something a bit different, Italian pizzas and pastas, Greek dishes, African dishes and a plethora of raciones prepared back in a kitchen can be found in most of those markets. Additionally, if you are looking to get some grocery shopping done, the mercados sell fresh meats, fish, cheese, hamburgers and whatever would satisfy your appetite!
If you ever feel like drinking like a local then I guess you should pay a visit to the Campo de la Cebada. The Campo de la Cebada is actually a small urban space, more like a park, situated right in front of the La Latina metro stop. You can’t really see that, unless you know its entrance! It’s open all day and it’s a space for creation, a space for relaxation and a space for exercising, well a space for everything! Its walls are decorated with amazing and impressive graffitis while many benches are installed welcoming the people any time of the day! At the same time there’s a small basketball court while ramps for skateboarding can also be found right next to it.
If there's one time of the year to enjoy this barrio in all its glory, it’s summer. The district's fiestas are known throughout the city: the party for La Paloma on in August with free outdoor concerts, 'chotis' competitions (a traditional Spanish dance in Madrid), a parade, and big celebrations at all the bars that make space outside for their clientele. A bit earlier in the year, in May, are the Fiestas de San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid!
If you’re a fan of the flea markets and a vintage culture lover then you should definitely pay a visit to Madrid’s El Rastro Sunday Market! El Rastro is the biggest and of course the most impressive flea market in Madrid; it’s even said to be the biggest one in Spain! It takes place every Sunday morning from 9 to 2 and it attracts thousands of visitors every week. A great variety of things can be found in El Rastro; from clothing to furniture, fabrics and even electrical appliances!
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