Living In Madrid | Everything You Need To Know About Spain’s Capital

Living In Madrid | Everything You Need To Know About Spain’s Capital

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

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There are just so many things to love about living in Madrid. The architecture, the cosmopolitan environment… But, above all, there’s its quality of life. We assume you’ve already fallen in love with the city’s charm. Still, there are many things you may not know yet. That’s why we have prepared this blog post for you.

We know moving to Spain is not that simple. Additionally, you may be feeling a bit indecisive because you don’t have all the information. In that case, you have come to the right place. Here, we will fill you in on the costs, requirements, and options for living in Madrid. Furthermore, we have added some local advice to enjoy your stay to the max.

7 Reasons for Living in Madrid

Reasons for living in Madrid

We suppose that, if you are reading this you are at least already planning to make the move. But, if you aren’t that convinced yet, here you have our 7 reasons why it is a great idea. Come along!

Quality of life

Madrid has the 6th place for quality of urban life in Europe. This is because the crime rate is low, it offers a good climate, and there are free public services. The transport system is very efficient with trains, buses, and the subway facilitating mobility.

Therefore, life expectancy exceeds the European Union average for over 4.5 years. So it happens that many Spaniards live about 85.5 years or so.

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. You will work to live instead of living to work.


There is much to see in Madrid. For example, the post-medieval town of Madrid de los Asturias and the Plaza Mayor, with exquisite Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

Also, there is a very interesting cultural offer. There are about 30 museums. Among which the Reina Sofía, Prado, and the National Archaeological Museum stand out. They house jewels by Picasso, Velázquez, and Goya. And collections of incredible Egyptian artifacts.

Likewise, there are exhibition halls, libraries, art galleries, social centers, open-air festivals, and concerts throughout the year. Oh, and theater presentations at the Matadero which you should not miss.
Madrid is a city where sports have a lot of value too. Although that is no secret since Real Madrid is one of the most important teams in the world. So don’t miss a game at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Nightlife in Madrid

Of course, the nightlife in Madrid has no comparison. Neighborhoods like La Latina, Chueca, Malasaña, and Salamanca have a huge offer of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Here you can have a beer or dance until you feel like you have to take your shoes off.

If you’ve already found a sweetheart, be sure to visit Teatro Kapital, with cozy spots, karaoke, and a movie screen. Now, for live music, there’s nothing like the Marula Café and the Café Central, both are quite worth a visit. But, the crown jewel is perhaps the Museo Chicote, which has been the scene to epic nights out since 1931!

High-Level Education

One of the benefits of living in Madrid is the educational quality since the standards are very high. This is reflected in institutions such as the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Complutense, and the Polytechnic. Which hold top places in the global rankings of the best universities in the world.

Therefore, Spanish degrees have wide international recognition. Besides, there is a wide academic offer and scholarship programs for outstanding students. These programs are also useful to obtain a job after graduation.

Yet another aspect that attracts many foreign students is the possibility of doing internships. Many institutions in the capital have internship agreements so that future graduates gain work experience. And, why not, already have a job after finishing their studies.

Of course, another excellent option is to take Spanish courses. As the birthplace of this broadly spoken language, Madrid offers great learning opportunities.

Gastronomy in Madrid

Gastronomy is one of the great reasons why you will want to live in Madrid. Because the dishes are delicious and, here, you have some examples that are cheap and you will love them.

  • Madrid stew
  • Madrid tripe
  • Squid sandwich
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Chickpea stew
  • Grilled ears

They sound somewhat strange. But these typical foods have very good and almost unique flavors. However, if you don’t fancy them, don’t worry as Madrid is a cosmopolitan city. So you will find restaurants from all over the world in its streets.

And we mean it literally, there are Georgian, Cantonese, Senegalese, Japanese, Ethiopian establishments, among others. We assure you that it is difficult to find such a varied gastronomic offer in another city. Except, perhaps, while living in Barcelona.

Employment opportunities

You will not have major problems working when living in Madrid, because the unemployment rate is quite low: 9.8%. This is a city that never stops. And so, news jobs are created constantly.

Another thing: famous companies in the world such as Amazon, Apple, and Samsung are based in Madrid. They are always looking for qualified employees eager to work. Therefore, you have good business opportunities in the world of technology.

There are other options since the hospitality industry has a lot of weight in the capital. So you can find employment in hotels, bars or restaurants. Also, if you have experience in trades as a plumber or electrician, you’ll be sure to find a spot.

Weather in Madrid

The climate of Spain is quite consistent, with an ever-present sun and fairly marked annual seasons. The climate of Madrid is characterized by being dry and without humidity. Additionally, it has intense blue skies and not too much rainfall throughout the year.

The temperatures are very pleasant too. Winter in Madrid is moderately cold with temperatures ranging from 6 to 15 ° C. Although the summers can be very hot like you have no idea. There are days when the thermometer reads up to 35 ° C.

The good news is that the weather becomes more pleasant as spring approaches. The temperature varies between 17 and 28 ° C. And when autumn arrives, the weather turns colder, and the thermometer drops to 11 ° C.

Where to Live in Madrid

neighborhoods for living in Madrid

Before you leave, you have to choose where you will be living in Madrid. For this, it is important to take into account your budget and your lifestyle... So, we prepared a list with some neighborhoods in Madrid that could be what you are looking for.

  • Lavapiés: located 10 minutes from downtown, so rents do go below € 900 monthly. But it is very cosmopolitan and cultural.
  • La Latina: a very old neighborhood with narrow and picturesque streets frequented by tourists.
  • El Centro: one of the best areas to live in Madrid, though the rents are not cheap. However, you have all tourist spots and nightlife as your backyard.
  • Chamberí: a quiet residential area with last-century architecture.
  • Las Letras: A bohemian area with an excellent gastronomic offer.
  • Retiro: a quiet area famous for its park, the green lung of the city, and its cultural offer.

Living in Madrid as a Foreigner

Living in Madrid as a foreigner

Spain is considered one of the best countries for foreigners who want to start a new life. Thanks to the initiatives created by the Madrid government in favor of immigrants and the accessible cost of living.
Next, we mention some benefits of living in Madrid that could be the decisive factor for you.

  1. The basic food basket is accessible. You can cover it with € 100 to € 120 monthly.
  2. Migration policies are flexible.
  3. There are many foreigners living here. So you have the possibility to meet expat siblings wherever you go.
  4. Accommodation is adapted to your needs and your budget.
  5. The culture and nightlife are very diverse, so you will always have something to do.
  6. Madrileños are very tolerant, hospitable, and they love to make friends.
  7. The health system is first class.

Speaking of the medical system, don’t forget to hire your international insurance before you come!

Cost of Living in Madrid

Costs of living

Although the cost of living is not as high as elsewhere, living in Madrid is still costly. So, it is essential that you manage yourself well and save whenever possible. Here, we describe some aspects of life in the capital.

  • The rent varies between € 800 and € 1,400 monthly depending on the area.
  • A room in a shared apartment can cost around € 250 to € 400 monthly.
  • Purchasing food is about € 120.
  • Heating, air conditioning, and other services are about € 115.66 per month.
  • A bus ticket costs € 1.50 more or less, so it is about € 56 per month.
  • Accessible phone plans cost about € 11 per month. Landline internet and unlimited calls range from € 30 to € 50.

Keep in mind that these costs of living in Madrid are approximated.

Requirements for Living in Madrid as a Student

City students

If you’ll be living in Madrid as a student, you must take into account your nationality. Because, for example, citizens of the European Union don’t need any visa or authorization to stay in the country.
Likewise, citizens of some Latin American countries can enter the country for 90 days without a visa. But, if they want to stay longer they must apply for the corresponding visa.

On the other hand, there are countries that must apply for a visa to study in Madrid. But this depends on how long they want to stay since there is a short-term visa and a student visa. Next, we explain it better.

Schengen or short term visa

If your course doesn’t last more than 90 days, this is your visa. The requirements are:

  • Schengen visa application form.
  • A passport valid for 6 months at the time of processing your visa.
  • Copy of your identification document.
  • 1 white background photo.
  • Copy of round trip tickets.
  • 1 hotel reservation or 1 invitation letter from a family member or institution in Spain.
  • Proof of medical insurance with a minimum coverage of € 30,000.
  • Document proving that you have financial means to support the trip (minimum of € 810)
  • If you study or work in your country, a labor certificate or from your study center proving your condition.
  • Payment of the consular fee.
  • Accreditation that identifies you as a student of a school in Madrid.

Depending on your nationality, you might need other documents. So it is better to visit the official website of the Spanish government for more information.

Student Visa

With this visa, you can study and work in Spain for more than 3 months. But the job must be compatible with your study program and part-time. The requirements are:

  • 2 student visa application forms.
  • A couple of recent color photographs in passport size.
  • Valid passport throughout your stay.
  • Immigration status if you live in the United States without citizenship.
  • Proof of residence in your country.
  • Certificate of admission issued by a school certified by the government.
  • Proof of economic solvency. Minimum € 500 per month.
  • Payment of the consular fee.
  • Medical insurance.
  • A certificate that accredits your optimal state of health.
  • If you are of legal age, criminal record from your last country of residence.

More information on the official website of Immigration. You have to process the visa 3 months before the start date. Also, do not buy the plane ticket until you have been granted the visa.

Work and Study Opportunities in Madrid

young woman working

It is true that you can work and study while living in Madrid. But you must take into consideration these things:

  • The job must be related to your studies. Therefore, you are only authorized to obtain an internship agreement.
  • Your work activities cannot interfere with your classes.
  • Your working hours cannot exceed 20 hours a week.
  • The salary you earn cannot be used to cover the costs of living in Madrid.
  • Your employment contract must be signed by you and your employer and cannot be longer than the duration of your visa.

Keep in mind is that not all internship agreements are remunerated. But there are companies that offer collaborations ranging from € 200 to € 600.

However, there are cases in which you may not have to apply for a work permit. Some universities in Madrid include internship periods in their study programs. Or, you can try freelance work.


About the author

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Hey there! My name is Charlotte, and I'm working as an International Project Manager at GrowPro Experience. My goal is to help students all around the world to live the experiences of a lifetime 🙌🏽. I'm trying to inspire students by means of telling the story of former growers, showing what we are doing at each destination and writing about our cities and tips on our blogs. I got a big passion for adventures, doing sports in the park, learning new languages and seeing new places 🌏. That's one of the reasons why I studied European Studies and why I currently work for GrowPro, to expand my horizons. Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!

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