Living in Madrid

Is Madrid the right place for you? Let’s find out! 

Madrid is located in the heart of Spain and is not just the country’s capital, but a bustling social, cultural and economic hub as well.

The vibrant metropolis houses a Royal Palace, world-renowned art galleries, amazing nightlife and cultural scene, plus countless job and economic opportunities and excellent transport connections both domestically and abroad.

What’s it like to live in Madrid?

To live in Madrid is to live in a modern, sprawling city with the history and Latin charm that you would expect from the Spanish capital.

The people, known locally as Madrilenos, are welcoming and open. Madrid is home to beautiful boulevards and classic architecture, as well as many cultural and social attractions.

The climate is appealing, especially in summer, with an average temperature of 25C. You will still need to pack a coat however as the average temperature can get as low as 6C at the peak of winter.

The cost of living is generally cheaper than in the UK, especially when it comes to everyday items and going out.

Madrid is an excellent place if you’re looking for all the fun and bustle of a major city, without the frantic pace of places like London. Spain is the home of the Siesta after all!

Although the traditional siesta is very different, particularly in major cities such as Madrid, the value placed on time spent with loved ones is still deeply rooted. In Madrid, people work hard and play hard, so expect later nights spent laughing, eating and drinking with friends on a regular basis.

Sorolla Museum

Sorolla Museum

Sorolla jarden
Sorolla Studio

Prado Museum

Prado interior

Is living in Madrid expensive?

Generally speaking, Madrid is considered cheaper to live in than other major cities like London. 

Everyday items are affordable, with fresh bread costing 50 cents, and a bottle of wine between €3-4. On average, you can expect to get a week’s worth of meals for roughly €30-40 from a market or grocery store. One thing to note is that there is a massive “going out” culture in Madrid, so expect to eat out regularly.

Big lunches are the trend, and many restaurants outside of tourist hotspots do specials for as little as €10-12, which will often include a glass of alcohol, a large starter, main, dessert and coffee.

Small tapas, or tapa plates can cost as little as €3-4 and a bottle of local beer will cost the same. It’s also worth noting that many tapas bars will give you small plates as you order drinks so you won’t be paying directly for the food (awesome right?). 

Madrid is considered one of the most expensive places in Spain for property. Given the population density of the city, apartment living is the norm. A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre can cost as little as €550 per month in certain areas. However as with any major city, the trendier the area or the closer to the centre it is, the more expensive it will be – typically in the range of €900-€1200 per month. Utilities will be roughly €15-40 depending on usage. 

Transport is very affordable and efficient, getting you almost anywhere in the city with ease. A single journey on the metro or bus will cost €1.50. However, there are alternatives such as a 10-journey ticket (€12) or a monthly transport card (available for residents of Madrid) which will cost €20 a month for students and up to €54 a month for non-concessions. These cards provide unlimited travel on the metro/buses. 

Where can you find accommodation in Madrid?

The best part is that, compared to other cities in Europe, living in Madrid is quite affordable. Spain has one of the best balances between work and quality of life. Here you have a few websites where you can find your accommodation in Madrid:

Prado Museum

Prado Museum

Madrid Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles

Atocha station

Atocha Station

5 essential tips for living in Madrid

  1. Obtain your NIE (Numero de Identificación de Extranjero or Tax Identification Number) as soon as possible, especially if looking for work. This unique number tracks all your financial and legal activity in the country.
  2. Find a furnished living space. They are widely available in Madrid and make the move easier. Not only will you save money on buying or moving furniture, but it also makes it easier to get settled.
  3. Open a local bank account as soon as you can. This will make things like paying bills much easier. You will have the choice of a resident or non-resident account, depending on whether you have obtained your NIE. Before receiving this number, you will be eligible for a non-resident account, then you can change once you’ve got your NIE.
  4. Brush up on your Spanish. This will make life a little smoother (dealing with anything official, meeting locals) but will also help you grow as a person, meet new people and immerse yourself further in your new home.
  5. Say YES more. You aren’t making the move to Madrid just to sit in an apartment. Be open to trying new things, meeting new people and having new experiences. This is how you’ll make the most of your expat life in Madrid.