Plaza de Santa Ana

Top choice in Madrid

Open-air cafes on Plaza de Santa Ana.

Plaza de Santa Ana is a delightful confluence of elegant architecture and irresistible energy. It presides over the upper reaches of the Barrio de las Letras and this literary personality makes its presence felt with the statues of the 17th-century writer Calderón de la Barca and Federíco García Lorca, and in the Teatro Español at the plaza’s eastern end. Apart from anything else, the plaza is the starting point for many a long Huertas night.

The square was laid out in 1810 during the controversial reign of Joseph Bonaparte (elder brother of Napoleon), giving breathing space to what had hitherto been one of Madrid’s most claustrophobic barrios. The plaza quickly became a focal point for intellectual life, and the cafes surrounding it thronged with writers, poets and artists engaging in endless tertulias (literary and philosophical discussions).