live in madrid
Is Madrid the right place for you? Let’s find out!
Madrid is located in the heart of Spain and is not only the capital of the country, but also a bustling social, cultural and economic center.
The vibrant metropolis is home to a Royal Palace, world-renowned art galleries, an incredible nightlife and cultural scene, as well as countless job and economic opportunities and excellent transport links both domestically and internationally.
What is it like to live in Madrid?
Living in Madrid is living in a sprawling, modern city with the history and Latin charm you’d expect from the Spanish capital.
The people, known locally as madrileños, are welcoming and open. Madrid is home to beautiful boulevards and classical architecture, as well as many cultural and social attractions.
The climate is pleasant, especially in summer, with an average temperature of 25C. You’ll still need to pack a coat, though, as the average temperature can drop as low as 6°C 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 a great place if you are looking for all the fun and bustle of a big city, without the hectic pace of places like London. Spain is the home of the siesta after all!
Although the traditional siesta is very different, especially in big cities like Madrid, the value placed on time spent with loved ones is still very much ingrained. In Madrid, people work hard and have a lot of fun, so expect to spend late nights laughing, eating and drinking with friends on a regular basis.
Is it expensive to live in Madrid?
In general terms, it is considered that living in Madrid is cheaper than in other major cities such as 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 about €30-40 at a market or grocery store. One thing to note is that there is a huge “going out” culture in Madrid, so expect to eat out regularly.
Big lunches are the trend, and many restaurants outside the tourist hotspots offer specials for as little as €10-12, often including a glass of booze, a large starter, main course, dessert and coffee.
Small tapas or tapas plates can be 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 when you order drinks so you don’t pay directly for the food (amazing right?).
Madrid is considered one of the most expensive places in Spain for property. Given the city’s population density, apartment living is the norm. A one-bedroom apartment outside the city center can cost as little as €550 a month in certain areas. However, as with any major city, the more fashionable the area or the closer to the center it is, the more expensive it will be, usually between €900 and €1,200 per month. Utilities will cost between €15 and €40 depending on usage.
Transportation is very affordable and efficient, taking you almost anywhere in the city with ease. A single trip by metro or bus will cost €1.50. However, there are alternatives such as a 10-trip ticket (€12) or a monthly transport card (available for residents of Madrid) that will cost €20 per month for students and up to €54 per month for non-concessions. These cards offer unlimited travel on the metro/buses.
Where can you find accommodation in Madrid?
The best thing 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 are a few websites where you can find your accommodation in Madrid:
Accommodation for students and families
Short stays: B&B, hotels
Plaza de Cibeles
5 essential tips for living in Madrid
- Get your NIE (Alien Identification Number or Tax Identification Number) as soon as possible, especially if you are looking for work. This unique number tracks all of your financial and legal activity in the country.
- Find a furnished living space. They are widely available in Madrid and make moving easy. Not only will you save money on buying or moving furniture, but it will also make installation easier.
- Open a local bank account as soon as you can. This will make things like paying bills much easier. You will have the option of having a resident or non-resident account, depending on how you obtained your NIE. Before receiving this number, you will be eligible for a non-resident account, then you can change once you have your NIE.
- Improve your Spanish. This will make life a bit easier (dealing with anything official, meeting local people), but it will also help you grow as a person, meet new people, and immerse yourself even more in your new home.
- Say YES more. You don’t move to Madrid just to sit in an apartment. Be open to trying new things, meeting new people, and having new experiences. This way you will make the most of your expat life in Madrid.