Today I want to introduce you one of the favorite neighbourhoods for young expats landing in Madrid : Malasaña. The idea is to give you a better idea of how would it be to live there, and some key ideas to have when flat hunting. This how I described in a few words Malasaña on my post on how to choose the neighbourhood made for you:
Malasaña – Alternative, Gentrified and Bars
Famous in Madrid for its bars, artist population and “movida legacy” (the 80s in Madrid, the liberation after the Franco era), Malasaña is the neighbourhood for the gentrified, the alternative and people who like to be in the middle of things, should it be party, alternative art and music, or the city itself.
Malasaña is in the center of Madrid, just north of Gran Vía, the famous avenue of Madrid center, south of the traditional Madrid neighbourhood of Chamberi, west of the gay and arty neighbourhood of Chueca. “Madrileños“, i.e. Madridians or Madrid people, know Malasaña first for being the #1 spot for “bares de copas“, bars with loud music where you will be served “copas“, mixed beverages like Rum-Coke, Gin-Tonic, for 4 to 6 € on average, until 3 am at least. It is surely the part of the city with the most intense partying atmosphere in all Madrid.
Malasaña is not only party, but also history. The heart of Malasaña locals is the “Dos de Mayo” square, a nice place to have a zen drink on a terrace or one of the best ice creams of Madrid in “Acquolina”. The locals often organize art market, book sharing, or even popular assemblies where they share their ideas on how to make Malasaña a place where people not only party, but also love to live and have a family life. This trend takes it roots directly in the mythical period of 80s: la Movida. In the 80s, the most famous Spanish cinema director Pedro Almodovar would be in Malasaña’s bars rehearsing movies, going to rock concerts like the ones of his friend “Alaska” (have a look on youtube…) and supporting all artistic initiative that could help put the Franco years behind them. A crazy period where Madrid was just unique, like Paris in May 1968.
As for the newcomer, I really recommend living in Malasaña if you have interest in alternative art, if you like authentic neighbourhoods with locals who know each other and try to create a “village” atmosphere, and also if you like the thrilling feeling of being in heart of the party neighbourhood of Madrid. Be careful and choose your flat wisely, since you can live on the same street, and never hear a noise, or just live a bit further, and be over 4 famous bars where the party is just unrelenting. Do visit your flat and have a walk around the neighbourhood on a thursday night to make sure the flat you want to rent is liveable.
To finish with, I posted here the photos I took during the last weeks of my favorite spots in Malasaña, so you can make yourself an idea of how it is to live there. Enjoy !
Do not hesitate to comment and/or send me an e-mail if you have any kind of question or if you are hesitating on the neighbourhood you want to move to !
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