Madrid is the capital of Spain and one of the most welcoming and diverse cities in the country. Moving to Madrid is saying yes to an inspiring experience in an international environment. Madrid is one of the most International cities in Spain, where you can still taste, feel, and get to know the Spanish culture. 

City overview 

Madrid is the biggest city in the country of Spain. Madrid is known as the ‘Villa del Oso y el Madroño’ (The City of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree’). The inhabitants of Madrid are called ‘Madrileños or Matritense’. Madrid has a population of 3.2 million people and is 604.3 km2 large. Madrid is a very safe city to live in and has many different kinds of neighborhoods. Every neighborhood has its personality and characteristics. 

Here is a list of a few examples:

  • La Latina This is the most traditional area of Madrid. You can feel the culture and essence of the city when you are walking around through the streets and squares. This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city with lots of hidden spots like bars, gardens, and cozy squares. 
  • Chueca Is Home to the LGBT community in Madrid. Diversity with a great party atmosphere the whole year is what identifies this neighborhood. 
  • Malasaña Modern and bohemian area in Madrid with traditional bars restaurants and a great atmosphere.
Madrid City Overview
  • Salamanca A more luxurious area in Madrid is Salamanca. Here you will find classic modern buildings and luxury shops. This area is a paradise for shopaholics. 
  • Barrio de las Letras This area was home to many authors in the 16th and 17th centuries. Famous books are written here. Many verses or parts of books are written on walls and floors. The streets are often named after authors’ names. 
  • Lavapiés Very multicultural neighbourhood. Located in the center of Madrid with old traditional buildings and international bars and restaurants. This neighborhood brings you back to the origin of Madrid with the irregular and narrow streets.

Fun facts about Madrid:

  • Real Madrid is the world’s most successful football club of the 20th century.
  • A lot of people think that the weather is less sunny in Madrid than in other cities in Spain. But actually, Madrid has more cloudless days than other cities in Spain.
  • Madrid’s population has grown by 2 million people since 1900.
  • Madrid is the highest capital in Europe with 700 meters altitude.
Madrid, Real Madrid, Fun Facts (1)


Madrid has a Continental Mediterranean climate and lies at the geographical heart of the Iberian Peninsula. This location is also partly the reason for the extreme temperatures in summer and winter. In winter you can expect colder winters than in the rest of Spain, with a cold wind but snow is not common here. In contrast to winters, are summers very hot with temperatures around 35 degrees, just like in the south of Spain. In Spring and Fall, the temperatures are very nice.

Madrid is a beautiful city with lots of things to see and do. In the chapter Culture, you can read more about this. Madrid is not only the name of the capital but also the name of the province. If you want to escape the big and busy city, there are lots of options.

Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

This park is located about one hour away from Madrid and offers the best examples of Iberian Nature. This park consists of extraordinary wildlife and mountains over 2000 meters high.

Another place outside Madrid worth visiting is Segovia. The entrance of the city is marked by an impressive aqueduct built during the Roman Empire. The old quarter of Segovia and the aqueduct are a World Heritage Site. It is worth visiting Segovia, where you can stroll through the narrow streets. You can enjoy the magic even more from the viewing points in which you see the city from a distance.

Madrid, Sagovia, Aqueduct, Roman Empire

Culture & Nightlife


Madrid is a city full of culture and spirit. The city has many places worth going to. Think about the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is a former Moorish Castle, built in the 18th century. A symbol of the city is Plaza Mayor Square. This has been the setting for many public events like bullfighting, fiestas, inquisitions, executions, and theaters. The Prado Museum has many masterpieces of great artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt. In the heart of Madrid, you can find the Buen Retiro Palace. This park is declared as a garden of historic artistic value. The entire area of the Retiro Palace, Paseo del Prado, and the Jerónimos district together are called the landscape of light. The landscape of light is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Madrid has many traditional tapas bars where you can feel the Spanish culture flowing over you. Next to the tapas bars the city is also famous for its gourmet places like the San Miguel market. You can always enjoy the lively atmosphere here.

Madrid, Cultural Heritage UNESCO


Madrid is the city that never sleeps. You are always able to party in Madrid when you are feeling like it. Nightlife in Madrid varies from many bars, pubs, and flamenco, but also big clubs.

You can go to bars and pubs in the afternoon and early in the evening. Clubs often open around midnight or even later. This city is known for partying until the sun comes up. Night clubbing often ends with a bite of churros and hot chocolate in the early morning before they go to bed or start their day. The best areas for nightlife here are Huertas and Chueca.

Here is a list of famous places you can go to when you want to party or just enjoy the nice atmosphere.

  • Teatro Kapital – The most famous Madrid Nightlife area known for its party nights. 
  • Palacio De Gaviria – 19th-century palace which has been converted into a nightclub. They also organize special nights for foreigners. 
  • Sala El Sol – Amazing Salsa club
  • La Vía Láctea – A hip bar for all age groups. You will often hear music from the 1980s here. 
  • La Corolla – Live music gigs and Flamenco performances. 
  • Joy Eslava – One of the city’s oldest clubs located very close to Puerta del Sol.
Madrid, Nightlife, Flamenco, Live Music

Public transport

Public Transport in Madrid is organized very well. You can choose between the metro, train, bus, and taxi if you want to go somewhere.

They also have a bicycle renting system called BiciMAD. A subscription for this costs €25,- a year. For the first 30 minutes, you use the bicycle, you pay €0,50. For the next 30 minutes, you will pay €0,60. If you use the bicycle for more than 2 hours, you have to pay €4,- for every extra hour. You don’t have to get an abonnement for one year, you can also choose to just pay for one or two hours. The prices for one hour are €2,- and for two hours will be €4,-. If you are planning to use the bikes often, it is cheaper to go for an abonnement. More information can be found on the website of BiciMAD.

The bus runs from 6 am to 11.30 pm. Night Busses run from 11.20 pm or 11.45 pm to 5.30 am or 6 am and until 7 am on Saturday nights. If you want to go to another town in the region, you can take an intercity line.

The train which is called ‘Cercanías’, covers the whole city and will also bring you to neighboring towns. The train runs from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm. On the website Renfe, you will find the fares for each ticket. If you have to travel by train every day, taking a monthly pass for the zones you have to travel in might be a good idea.

The metro covers the whole city and neighboring towns as well, just like the train. The metro runs between 6 am and 1.30 am every day. More information about the metro lines and prices can be found on the website

Of course, just like in almost every other city, you can make use of a taxi. The taxis in Madrid are often white with a red stripe.

Madrid, Metro, Public Transport


Finding an apartment in a big city, when you are not even there yourself, can be a hard job. There are so many websites providing apartments, that it sometimes even feels like too much. Here are some tips.

First of all, is choosing a neighborhood where you want to live an important action. The neighborhoods in Madrid are very diverse, from the multicultural Lavapiés to the LGBT district of Chueca. You can read more about the different neighborhoods in the Chapter City Overview. Apartments in Madrid don’t stay on the market for long. Therefore it is recommended that you act quickly when you see an apartment that you like. Calling is always better than mailing for a quick response.

Good websites to check out are:

The prices of the apartments depend on the neighborhood you live in (outside of the city center) and how large the apartment is. Of course, sharing an apartment is always cheaper than living alone. The average rental price for an apartment was €15,90 a month per square meter in 2020. The prices keep slowly rising. Another tip is choosing a real estate agent. Real estate agents often offer the best apartments, but you will also need to pay for using a real estate agent.  And last but not least. The temperatures in Madrid can be very hot in Summer and cold in Winter. Therefore it is recommended to check if the apartment has a heater/air conditioner. 

Madrid, Housing


When you move to a city in Spain, you will have permanent access to free healthcare. The one thing you have to do to get access is to Social Security. This payment is often arranged by an employer as a deduction from the salary. If you are self-employed you have to pay for this yourself. Emergency treatment is for everyone guaranteed in hospitals. 

There are a large amount of healthcare centers and pharmacies in Madrid. A lot of people who move to Madrid prefer private healthcare because of the long queues in public healthcare. When you choose private healthcare, you have to get private insurance. 

Here is a list of hospitals that the majority go to. 

  • Hospital Universitario La Paz
  • Gregorio Marañón
  • Ramón
  • Cajal. 

You can get your medicines from a pharmacy (Farmàcia). These pharmacies are located everywhere throughout the city and are indicated with a green cross.

When you are having an emergency, you can always call the national emergency number 112 or 061 for the ambulance. Here is a list of a few extra emergency healthcare contact numbers.  

  • Emergency doctor: 1003
  • Emergency dentist: 961496199
  • Health and pharmacy information: 900161161

Some words to get you started

English Spanish
Buenos días Good morning
Buenas tardes  Good afternoon
Hola, me llamo … Hello, my name is …
¿Cómo estás? How are you?
Yo no comprendo I do not understand
Por favor, habla más despacio Would you speak slower, please
¿Dónde? Where?