Let’s dive into an often-overlooked neighborhood that is a part of Madrid’s bustling cityscape. The colorful and quickly changing area in the Spanish capital’s northern district, Tetuán.
Straddling the AZCA, the financial district and hub of Castellana to the East and bordering the trendy but pricier Chamberi. Tetuán’s six neighborhoods are made up of Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Berruguete, and Valdeacederas. They fully reflect the emergence of a New Spain and Madrid that is beautifully marrying the old casas bajas (old, abandoned houses built in the post-war period) and the newly-constructed apartment buildings; snapback-wearing youths walking alongside pensioners, second-generation Spanish-Indians and Chinese people and modern eateries dancing along traditional Spanish bars and restaurants.
Vibrant. Multicultural. Multidimensional. Has character. This is Tetuán, and it is certainly growing in popularity as an easy-on-the-pocket area to both live and play for nomads and expats.
The versatility of this area means that it offers a lot more than you think, and it is a worthy rival to Madrid´s fancier and pricier neighborhoods. The following guide offers tips on what to do, what to see, and where to drink/eat suited for those who are curious, moving to, or living in this district filled with treasures!
Culture and history
Madrid Central Mosque
Calle Anastasio Herrero, 5 y 7
Located in the Cuatro Camino neighborhood, built in 1988 and designed by the renowned architect Juan Mora, Madrid’s first Islamic mosque since the Moors left rule is a testament to the legacy of the past and serves the city’s Muslim community with the provisions such as Iman training, a library, and even a creche. The building is spread over four floors and replete with Islamic decor in its interior which is a feast for those interested in culture.
Begin at the intersection between Calle Genciana and Myosotis
Walking around the streets of Tetuán, you will see further links to the Moorish past in the architectural movement of Neo-Mudejar with its stylish features adorning the façades and brick exteriors reflecting the working-class roots of the area. In recent years, these mainly abandoned buildings have been demolished to make way for similar sights in other gentrified parts of the city, such as newer high-rise apartments to supply the demands of a growing international or affluent clientele. Therefore, it is an absolute nostalgic MUST that you embrace walking these streets of this Northern part of Madrid – even a coffee in hand from one of similarly decreasing local cafes – as in the future, this historical architectural style might possibly totally disappear.
Calle Vía Límite, 51
This park is the green lung of the area where you can find a leafy spot of heaven not far from your house (if you live in Tetuán). Surrounded by giant pine trees, a 1.5km leaf-lined footpath, and areas to practice sports such as a tennis or just a chill picnic with flatmates and friends. You will marvel at this green wonderland in which to relax and breathe after a long day in front of the computer…or just a looong day… amidst the urban sprawl of the city.
Axe Throwing at El Hachazo
Calle de Hernani, 26
Unleash your inner viking in the area by bringing a date (guaranteed to make you seem fun!), friends, or even team bonding at the first axe throwing range opened in Spain. Since 2018, the staff at the Cuatro Camino branch have been guiding nervous participants in the art of axe throwing, safely. You do not have to be skilled but you need to be up for a good time! Alcohol is also on sale, and non-slip shoes are definitely advised. Take advantage of offers such as axe-throwing for couples ( Monday -Friday 15% off; Sunday 30% off) and student discounts (25% off).
Escape Room at 59:59
Calle Fortunata y Jacinta, 5
Another fun-filled way to spend an hour or two in the company of friends and family, flatmates, and dates. Located in the Cuatro Camino area, it offers a range of thematic stories with puzzles, games, and challenges led by both Spanish and English-speaking game masters. This is an ideal way to don your Sherlock Holmes Caps as you work your way out of the hour-long game, hopefully with more than one minute to spare.
Calle de Hernani, 75
This is where you go for a fantastic night out in the area.
This club has the wildest and coolest underground aesthetic, with neon lights, graffiti, strobe lights, and the occasional glitterball for that nostalgic hit. There are several spaces in the club, with each space playing a range of music from reggaeton to commercial to electronic with the DJ sessions being a highly- recommended evening, night, and morning-after event too. The nightlife on offer in Tetuán might not yet rival other neighborhoods in the capital…yet, but this club is a stomping start of what is to come.
Where to eat and drink
Calle Bravo Murillo, 122
If you are a world-cuisine lover, Tetuán is heaven on earth. (Global cuisine and the lack of offerings available in Madrid had been the common complaint by foreigners when comparing the Spanish capital to say cities like London). The “Market of Wonders” truly is more than seven wonderful flavors of the world with cuisine options from East Asian, to South Indian, to Central and South American, and this truly reflects the multicultural and diverse community of the area. Where else could you go for a night of tacos and then the next night chow mein?
Calle de Ávila, 14
Great sushi and an authentic Japanese food bar experience are found at this spot. You will sit at the bar and watch the chefs lovingly prepare your sashimi or tempura or miso soups and feel as if you are in Tokyo, rather than Madrid. There is a rustic authenticity to this place that is distinctly lacking in the sushi franchise chains that might populate other parts of the city, therefore this is a must for a real feel of Japan.
Taberna La Parra
Calle de Tablada, 39
A touch of classic Spain in this very classic-looking local bar with its no-frills and simple menu approach. One of the great things about this bar is that you would most likely bump into a local of Tetuán from years back who might even regale you with a story or two about the development of the area and their fears of modernization. Offering authenticity, simplicity, local characters, a beer, and a generous portion of tapas for a pocket-friendly price – it’s a decent option for those casual days. If you are around in the cold Madrid winter, try the broth to warm you up and leave you feeling filled and fulfilled.
Calle Pintor Juan Gris, 2
Featured on our Cohabs site as a spot to eat, this restaurant´s standout features are not only the outstanding food, cocktails, and amiable service but also the lush garden terrace in which you can unwind and relax. Very often, working professionals taking a break from the Castellana district will find respite here, sitting alongside digital nomads on their laptops with an aperitif and the romance-lit evenings in the garden is a majestic option for an intimate dinner.
Calle San Leopoldo, 8
Give them eggs. That is the motto of this restaurant which has been featured in the lists of the best tortillas in the city (and that is no easy feat, trust me). A classic place in which to enjoy a highly-scrumptious, runny tortilla with a beverage and really dig into Spanish culture, right in Tetuán. If you and your friends are on opposite sides of the with-or-without-onion debate, then you can opt for individual tortillas and a sharing platter, and enjoy a full menu that has sweet and savory options.
Tetuán is a successful example of a modernizing and multicultural possibility for a country that has evolved from its painful history to open its doors, embracing new and old cultures and flavors whilst also retaining a distinct classical Spanish touch. It is an area that offers a lot to the wandering nomad and those curious to settle into life in Madrid. If you’re looking for a new home in Tetuán, be sure to check out our international and welcoming community at the Leis 8 house!