It is one of the hearts of Madrid, one of those places where time and space have stopped, where the most authentic essence of the capital is preserved, its art, history and the pages written by some of the most representative Spanish authors. Dotted with traditional bars, it is arranged in around ten small streets with names of mythical poets and writers that lived and stayed in this area of Madrid close to La Gran Vía and Congress of Deputies.
El Barrio de Las Letras comprises Calle de la Cruz Jacinto Benavente Street, the emblematic Paseo del Prado, Atocha and the mythical Carrera de San Jerónimo. There are situated historical places such as Plaza del Ángel, Quevedo street and a bar with the same name, one of the must do tapas tours in Madrid, Huertas street and the pleasant Santa Ana square, perfect to have an aperitif in the terraces under the winter sun of Madrid.
The name of this neighbourhood is recent, but its origin is ancient. In a certain way, it is a tribute to one of the golden ages of the Spanish literature, specifically to Madrid throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In these years, El Barrio de Las Letras in Madrid boasted so illustrious neighbours such as Quevedo, Cervantes, Lope and Góngora. Streets such as Calle del Mentidero -whose name comes from El Mentidero de los cómicos (The comedy club)- Calle de Francos or the before mentioned Calle de la Cruz were places full of poetry, theatre, comedy and prose.
Nowadays, it is possible to walk around its streets and enjoy some of the traces of that time: the House-Museum of Lope de Vega, Convent of las Monjas Trinitarias Descalzas, San Sebastián Church… It is clear that not very much has been preserved, but the spirit is present in every corner and these street are still a must visit in Madrid.
The best option to know in depth El Barrio de Las Letras in Madrid is to book a hotel in La Gran Vía, close to Cibeles and Paseo del Prado. Your will be one step away from Puerta del Sol and Callao, and right next to the Golden Triangle of Art, La Latina and near to Lavapiés. The prices in this area are really affordable if you consider the price-quality relationship. Additionally, there is a wide range of alternatives, from guest houses for short and affordable trips to 3, 4 and 5 star hotels which are an authentic luxury. Here is a short list for those who are planning to escape to Madrid in these winter or spring months: