Plaza Santa Ana, popular day and night (© Photonaj/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)
This square, flanked by restaurants, bars, theatres and hotels, has been the heart of the Barrio de las Letras for centuries. It’s been overhauled a dozen times and the latest restoration confirms Madrid’s predilection for public squares. The square’s charm lies in its vibrancy and constant animation; the pavements are lined with dozens of tapas bars complete with turn-of-the-20th-century fittings and it’s one of the most popular places in Madrid for a tapas crawl (tapeo). On summer nights the pavements are dense with tourists, locals walking their dogs and elderly Madrileños sitting on benches. This neighbourhood was once home to great writers of the Golden Age.