Literally meaning “wash feet”, the city’s former Jewish quarter is now home to its largest immigrant population, given the area a bohemian and multicultural air. Many visitors, and even some locals, tend to miss out on its cultural offerings, which are more numerous than you might first think.
There are a number of alternative bars, restaurants and bookshops, and it’s the best part of the city to head to when looking for Asian or Middle Eastern cuisine. If you’re up for a challenge, try the enormous zapatillas at Melo’s: huge sandwiches stuffed full of thick lacón ham and melted cheese. A whole one will easily feed four. La Casa Encendida on Ronda de Atocha is a fascinating cultural centre with exhibitions, concerts, classes and a library. Or visit Gaudeamus, which boasts a fantastic library and exhibition centre, but is mainly loved by locals for its rooftop terrace with stunning views over the city.
This is an area best suited for younger travellers who enjoy staying somewhere a little different in the city. There are still some areas which more cautious travellers may wish to avoid, so it might be worth checking with your accommodation about this after you’ve booked.