Make reservations for summer visits. Expect to pay ‚17-‚50 per person, depending on location, amenities, and season. Tourist offices provide information about the 13 or so campsites within 50km of Madrid. Centro, the triangle between Puerta del Sol, Opera, and Plaza Mayor, is full of hostales, but you'll pay for the prime location. The cultural hotbed of Huertas, framed by C. San Jeronimo, C. Las Huertas, and C. Atocha, is almost as central and more fun. Festive Malasana and Chueca, bisected by C. Fuencarral, host cheap rooms in the heart of the action, but the sleep-deprived should beware; the party doesn't quiet down for rest. Hostales, like temptations, are everywhere among Gran Vfa's sex shops and scam artists.
EL CENTRO: SOL, OPERA, AND PLAZA MAYOR
Hostal Paz, C. Flora 4, 1st and 4th fl. ( 915 47 30 47). M: Opera. Located on a quiet street, parallel to C. Arenal, off C. Donados or C. Hileras. Peaceful rooms with large windows are sheltered from street noise and lavished with amenities. Reservations advised. Singles ‚20; doubles ‚30-36; triples ‚45. MCV.
H Hostal-Residencia Luz, C. Fuentes 10, 3rd fl. (915 42 07 59 or 915 59 74 18; fax 42 07 59), off C. Arenal. M: Opera. Neck and neck with Hostal Paz for the best digs in Madrid. Newly redecorated rooms with hardwood floors and elegant furniture ooze comfort. Singles ‚15; doubles ‚34-39; triples ‚39-45.
Hostal-Residencia Rober, C. Arenal 26, 5th fl. (915 41 91 75). M: Opera. Brilliant balcony views down Arenal. Singles with double bed and shower ‚24, with bath ‚34; doubles with bath ‚39; triples with bath ‚59. Discounts for longer stays.
Hostal Valencia, PI. Oriente 2, 3rd fl. (915 59 84 50). M: Opera. Narrow glass elevator leads to elegant rooms. Singles ‚42; doubles ‚72; master suite ‚92.
Los Amigos Backpackers' Hostel, C. Campomanes 6, 4th fl. (915 47 17 07; www.losamigoshostel. Com), off PI. De Isabel II. M: Opera. One of very few standard hostels in Madrid. Brightly decorated dorms and clean shared baths. Kitchen and festive common room. Breakfast included. Sheets ‚5. Laundry ‚5. Internet ‚1 per 30min. 24hr. Reception. Dorms ‚15 (includes breakfast). MCV.
Hostal Oriente, C. Arenal 23, 1st fl. (915 48 03 14; www.hostaloriente. Com), just off PI. De Isabel II. M: Opera. Classy newly renovated hostel with friendly owners and inviting reception. 14 spotless rooms have TV, telephone, AC, safe, and private bath. Singles ‚33, doubles ‚50, triples ‚66.
Hostal Esparteros, C. Esparteros 12, 4th fl. (sfax 915 21 09 03). M: Sol. Sparkling rooms with balcony or large windows; some have private bath. English-speaking owner. Laundry ‚7. Singles ‚25; doubles ‚35; triples ‚42. 10% discount for longer stays.
83 Hostal Gonzalo, C. Cervantes 34, 3rd fl. (914 29 27 14; fax 914 20 20 07). M: Anton Martin. Off C. Leon, which is off C. Atocha. A budget traveler's dream: renovated rooms, pristine baths, TVs, and fans in the summer. Singles ‚38; doubles ‚47; triples ‚60. Hostal Internacional, C. Echegaray 5, 2nd fl. (914 29 62 09). M: Sol. Rooms renovated in 2002. Nice common room. Singles ‚25-30; doubles ‚40. Hostal-Residencia Lido, C. Echegaray 5, 2nd fl. (914 29 62 07). M: Sol or Sevilla. Across from Internacional, Lido showcases new rooms with comfy beds, TVs, and complete baths. Singles ‚22-25, with bath ‚25-30; doubles ‚35-40.
Hostal Villar, C. Principe 18, lst-4th fl. (915 31 66 00; www.arrakis. Es~h-villar). M: Sol. From the Metro, follow C. San Jeronimo and turn right on C. Principe. Feels secluded despite its busy location. Singles ‚22, with bath ‚25; doubles ‚3040; triples ‚4256.
Hostal Aguilar, C. San Jeronimo 32, 2nd fl. (914 29 59 26 or 914 29 36 61; www.hostalaguilar. Com). M; Sol or Sevilla. Clen and expansive rooms with AC and safe. Hemingway purportedly spent many nights in room 107. Singles ‚33; doubles ‚45; triples ‚60; quads ‚73. MCV.
Hostal Sardinero, C. Prado 16, 3rd fl. (914 29 57 56, fax 914 29 41 12), a few blocks from Plaza Santa Ana. An upscale hostel with all the creature comforts of a hotel, sparkling rooms have AC, TV, safe, and private baths. Singles ‚50; doubles ‚60. 24hr. Reception. MCV. O
Hostal Armesto, C. San Agustin 6, 1st fl. (914 29 90 31). M: Anton Martin. In front of PI. Cortes. This hostal offers exceptional hospitality and a quiet night's sleep. All rooms with private bath and AC. Older crowd. Singles ‚45; doubles ‚50; triples ‚54.
Hostal A. Nebrija, Gran Via 67, 8th fl. Elevator A (915 47 73 19). M: PI. Espana. Pleasant, spacious rooms offering magnificent views of the city landscape. Singles ‚26; doubles ‚36; triples ‚49. AmExMCV.
Hostal Santillan, Gran Via 64, 8th fl. (fax 915 48 23 28). M: PI. Espana. Friendly management. Simple rooms all have showers, sinks, TVs, fans, and safes. Singles ‚30; doubles ‚45; triples ‚60. MCV.
Hostal Margarita, Gran Via 50, 5th fl. (fax 915 47 35 49). M; Callao. Simple rooms with large windows and TV; most with street views. Singles ‚25; doubles ‚36, with bath ‚38; triples with bath ‚48. MCV.