Visiting the Barrio de las Letras in Madrid is like taking a trip to the Golden Age of Spanish literature, walking the same streets that some of the main writers in the history of Spain walked and visiting the houses where they wrote some of their works.
The Barrio de las Letras is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Madrid, not only because of its past but also because of its atmosphere, its streets, its buildings and all the wonders that we can find in it.
If you want to know what to see in the Barrio de las Letras, here we propose a route that you will surely love through one of the best places to see in Madrid.
A walk through the Barrio de las Letras
Jacinto Benavente Square
In the Barrio de las Letras, the names of its streets and squares remind us of the neighborhood’s literary past. And one of them is Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, just a few meters from Puerta del Sol.
In the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente is the famous Calderón Theater, the Ideal Cinema and stands out for a statue dedicated to the street sweepers of Madrid, with a uniform from the 60s. From there we can enter the neighborhood until we reach the Plaza del Ángel.
In the Plaza del Ángel we highlight the Café Central and the Palacio de Conde Tepa.
The Church of San Sebastián and Calle Huertas
From the Plaza del Ángel itself we can admire the Church of San Sebastián, one of the most beautiful in Madrid and a reference church for the neighborhood’s writers. Lope de Vega is buried there, although the exact place is unknown.
Other famous writers linked to this church are Tirso de Molina, Leandro Fernández de Moratín and Ramón de la Cruz, who were baptized in it; José de Espronceda or Miguel de Cervantes, whose funeral was held here; or Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, who got married in this church.
From there, Calle Huertas starts, our next destination. It is one of the most popular nightlife streets in Madrid thanks to its bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues. Every few meters there are engraved on the pavement some of the most famous quotes from Spanish literature.
The streets of Cervantes and Lope de Vega
Parallel to Calle Huertas are two of the streets of the Barrio de las Letras with the most history and with some of the main points of interest along the route.
On Calle Lope de Vega we find the Baroque-style Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas, which stands out because it contains the tomb of Miguel de Cervantes, whose remains are found in his church.
In Calle de Cervantes we find two important places. On the one hand, the house where Cervantes lived with a plaque that reminds us of him, and on the other the Lope de Vega House-Museum, which can be visited and learn about the place where he lived for the last 25 years of his life.
As you can see, these two bitter enemies lived just a few meters from each other.
The Basilica of Jesus of Medinaceli and the Plaza de las Cortes
At the end of Lope de Vega Street is one of the best known and most visited basilicas in Madrid, the Basilica of Jesus of Medinaceli. One of the five basilicas that we can visit in Madrid. Do not miss the imposing statue of Jesús Nazareno in one of its corners.
Going up the Calle del Duque de Medinaceli we arrive at the Plaza de las Cortes where the Congress of Deputies is located, the seat of political power in Spain, which highlights its front, its staircase and the two lions that flank it.
In the center of the square, triangular in shape, is the Statue of Cervantes, and at one of its ends the Plus Ultra Building.
Santa Ana Square
From there we can walk along Calle del Prado, where the Ateneo de Madrid is located, until we reach Plaza de Santa Ana, the main square in the Barrio de las Letras and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Madrid, thanks to its atmosphere. and great charm.
Around the Plaza de Santa Ana we can find numerous bar and restaurant terraces and in its center two very different but also important statues. One, dedicated to Federico García Lorca, and another dedicated to Calderón de la Barca, both looking towards the Spanish Theater.
But the main point of interest in the square is the Hotel Reina Victoria, the most recognizable building in Plaza de Santa Ana. An eclectic and modernist style building that you won’t be able to take your eyes off.
From Plaza de Santa Ana we can go down Calle del Príncipe to the last of our destinations on this walk through the Barrio de las Letras, Plaza de Canalejas. To say that the first comedy pens in Madrid were opened on Calle del Príncipe and the Café del Príncipe is located there, a meeting place for romantic writers.
The Plaza de Canalejas is an authentic architectural work of art thanks to the buildings that surround it, all of which are impressive. Among them are the Banco Hispano Americano, from the beginning of the 20th century, the Casa de Allende, with its wooden gazebo, and the Meneses Building.
From here you can also admire one of the sides of the Palacio de la Equitativa, the former headquarters of the Banco Español de Crédito, with which we end the tour of the Barrio de las Letras.