Whatever Barcelona or San Sebastian might claim, Madrid remains the most vibrant and lively city in Spain. Prado, Reina Sofia and other museums and sights aside, it's the late-night nightlife in the bars, cafes, restaurants and terraces around the city that visitors find most compelling.

Madrid’s top bars

Madrid considers 12am early, so get ready to party into the wee hours of the night in the Spanish capital. The key to a night out in Madrid is keep things leisurely. Start out with a few post-work drinks and tapas in the neighbourhoods of Plaza de Santa Ana, Malasaña or La Latina. Anywhere near Calle Cava Baja is ideal, as the surrounding area is a real hub of activity before the night truly begins. Come 10pm it’s time for dinner, and if crowding into a narrow tapas bar isn’t appealing, not to worry – plenty of bars offer main meals as well. Le Cabrera is an ideal mix of top tapas and cocktails that pack a punch. Its sleek interior design and well curated menu draw in the crowds for a bright, lively vibe.

When the clock strikes 3, it’s time for dancing. Joy Eslava is a local institution that’s been around since the 80s and offers a night of kitschy fun and floor fillers. Kapital is housed in an old theatre and features 7 themed floors. Be sure to dress to the nines if you’re planning on dancing, as many nightclubs have a dress code! When the clubs close at 6am, grab yourself some churros and chocolate and call it a night.

See all bars in Madrid