In our blog, we’ve taken the opportunity to discuss several neighborhoods in Madrid. Thus far, we’ve featured Huertas (a.k.a. el Barrio de las letras), la Latina, Malasaña, and Lavapiés — all very castizo neighborhoods in the center district of the capital. Due to their age and location, each one of them has developed a unique character based on their particular blend of old and new. Today, however, we’d like to take a look further afield at another noteworthy area of the city: Barrio Salamanca. Known for its affluence and architecture, this part of Madrid is just as emblematic as the time-honored neighborhoods in the city center.
Background and Location Barrio Salamanca
The construction of Barrio Salamanca dates back to the nineteenth century, when a plan was created by D. José de Salamanca y Mayol, Marqués de Salamanca, to urbanize the area where the neighborhood currently stands. The original phase included only a portion of what the entire Distrito Salamanca presently comprises, which as an administrative sector stretches from Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo de la Castellana in the East to the M-30 beltway in the West; Calle María de Molina and Avenida de América delineate the northern limit while calle Alcalá and calle O’Donnell do so to the South. It is this more or less this initial part which is what people typically refer to when they employ the term Barrio Salamanca, a term that does not actually correspond to any administrative distrito or barrio. The most emblematic streets located in the neighborhood are Serrano, Velázquez, Ortega y Gasset, Claudio Coello, and Goya among others, and make up what would come to mind for most when the name Barrio Salamanca is mentioned.
Madrid´s Golden Mile
One of the most affluent and expensive areas in Europe at 4,967€ per square meter, and with prices around 190% more expensive than the national average, Barrio Salamanca is home to la Milla de Oro — the Golden Mile — an exclusive shopping area on and around Calle Ortega y Gasset. Here is where the upscale shopper can find all of the high-end, international shops and boutiques, such as Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany, Victorio & Lucchino, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel. Naturally, there are also Spanish brands like Purificación García, Adolfo Domínguez, and Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada. Due to the great number of shops and the prestige of the firms present, la Milla de Oro is by far the most exclusive shopping in Madrid, if not in all of Spain.
Barrio Salamanca is not only home to luxury shopping, but also has a number of posh bars and nightclubs. Although an expensive area in general, cover charge and drink prices are generally relatively reasonable. As a result, most nightspots offer good value for money in that although prices are higher than in other neighborhoods in the city, for the most part you do get what you pay for. As to be expected, much of the crowd is made up if wealthy individuals, however there certainly are others from all walks of life. Regardless of one’s social standing, though, people do dress to impress. Le Boutique (c/Serrano, 45) and Gabana 1800 (c/Velázquez, 6) are some of the most well-known clubs.
Take a Stroll
The center of Madrid is undoubtedly home to many timeless, authentic neighborhoods, but just north of Retiro Park and the Puerta de Alcalá lies Barrio Salamanca, home to elegant architecture, luxury shopping, and vibrant nightlife. Step out beyond the center and take a stroll through one of Madrid’s most famous neighborhoods.