La Latina can feel like a maze of twisty turny streets lined with terraces, offering up those infamous Spanish tapas. While no one can dispute La Latina’s bumping night life, it is also one of the most historic barrios of madrid. Contained within the original city walls established by the muslims, La Latina is often ignored, but worth a walk through one of Madrid’s oldest barrios.
Located behind the muslim wall, La Latina is within the original city limits established by the muslims in the 9th century. The Royal Palace and the Aqueduct of Segovia border the barrio on the west. In its center is Plaza Cebada, a centuries old market that provided wholesale good since the 16th century. Now it serves as the barrio mercado, as well as a community space where with a couple of cañas in hand you can hang out with friends or enjoy a normally free performance. El Rastro is a must see if you are in Madrid on a Sunday afternoon. The whole barrio turns into a street side flea market where you can find anything from cheap tourist stuff to kitchen knives, jewelry, or second hand clothing. Plaza de Paja is littered with a wide range of delicious restaurants serving up everything from typical Spanish fare to vegan deliciousness. All of which can be enjoyed on the terrace like a true madridleño. Finally hit up both calles Cava baja and Cava Alta, for even more tapas and shops. No matter where you go you will be surrounded by, what I believe to be the most beautiful architecture Madrid has to offer.
My tour starts randomly just east of San Francisco el Grande Basilica on calle de Bailen, then up calle Cava Alta to plaza de Puerta Cerrada. Finally, I hike it up calle de cuchilleros entering Plaza Mayor through my favorite gate, finishing up in Sol.by