“Madrid has none of the look that you expect of Spain… yet when you get to know it, it is the most Spanish of all cities, the best to live in, the finest people, month in month out, the finest climate… “
– Ernest Hemingway

La LatinaThere is indeed something enchanting about the whole city of Madrid; the intoxicating smells and tastes, the delights of walking the winding cobblestones, of seeing charming neighborhoods with gorgeous Spanish tile decorating ancient facades. The Latin Quarter, or La Latina, a is one of the most popular and oldest neighborhoods in Madrid. It’s southwest of Puerta del Sol, which is itself famous for being the point where all the streets in Spain part. La Latina is characterized by its tiny streets, beautiful old buildings and plazas, open air squares fringed with shops, bars, restaurants and homes.

La Latina is best-known as having one of the best concentrations of tapas bars (particularly on the Cava Baja and Cava Alta). Cava Baja has a reputation as one of the tastiest streets in Madrid, and it is lined with tapas bars that range from the traditional to the experimental. Every Sunday night locals and tourists pack the windows fronting the street, enjoying every imaginable concoction on a bruschetta! In warmer months, try the “Red Wine of Summer” (Tinto de Verano en Espanol),which is red wine served with either lemonade or tonic and fresh lemons). You’ll find it on tap at many of the tapas bars on Cava Baja, which you will visit on your way to all the tapas bars on Cava Alta!

No trip to La Latina would be complete without checking out “El Rastro” (also known as the Trail Fair). It’s the most popular open-air flea market in Madrid, held each Sunday. The Trail Fair is distinguished by the number of blocks that it runs and all the things you can find and buy at phenomenal prices. Indeed, my own experiences at all the flea markets in Madrid were that they were exceptional and quite flexible in price, and I brought some wonderful things back home.

Join us on our tour of Madrid, October 26 – November 6, 2012!  Tilting at Windmills – Wine, Tapas And Tales In Madrid.