Moving to Madrid

You’d be amazed at how many times you can relocate, move country and generally uproot your whole world - and every time it’s just as nerve-wracking and intimidating as the first! Sure it’s exciting too, but everything is always so different from what you're used to, and that can make moving difficult.

And there are bigger issues too. What’s the best way to go about finding housing in Madrid? How do you open a bank account? Do you need health insurance?

These questions - and many more - are answered in our Madrid guide. Everyone who works at Housing Anywhere has experienced living and travelling abroad, so we’ve pulled everything we’ve learned together so that you can focus on exploring, meeting new people and enjoying yourself.

Let us worry about estimating the cost of living in Madrid and the best way to use the public transport system - you focus on having a great time and getting to know one of Europe’s most dynamic and exciting cities!

Welcome to Madrid.

About Madrid

Madrid is the capital city of the Kingdom of Spain and has a rich, diverse and exciting history. It’s also absolutely massive - the city itself holds over 3 million people, with the surrounding metropolitan area twice as large. It is smack in the middle of Spain, which means you get the good weather and easy connections to the rest of the country.

Despite being a modern city (the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid is the top-ranked technical university in the country!) Madrid has managed to preserve a historical feel to many of its streets and suburbs. Combined with its many art galleries and museums, Madrid truly feels like a city which is alive and full of culture.

Known as the political and economic centre of Spain (which is undoubtedly true), the city has an underrated gastronomic scene. The food and drink in Madrid is as varied and high quality as anywhere in Europe, with everything from traditional Spanish tapas to modern, vegan-friendly cafes.

Finally, though Berlin may disagree, it is quoted as having some of the best nightlife in the whole of Europe. The people are up dancing until mid-morning the following day, and the diversity of bars and clubs is such that it caters to all tastes. The Madrid lifestyle is a unique one, but you’re bound to fall in love with it before long.

Spanish language

Unlike in Barcelona or the Basque Country, the official language in Madrid is simple, soft-C Spanish. If you don’t speak any Spanish yet, you’d do well to get practising before you head out. Madrid is not a bilingual city and you can’t expect locals to understand English like you can elsewhere in Europe.

Of course if you are an energetic gesticulator you can get pretty far, but learning even A1 level Spanish will make your life so much easier. It’s also a bit rude to move country and not at least try to grasp the local tongue, and you don’t want to be that person.

Weather in Madrid

Madrid is all about blue skies all year round, which means toasty summers and idyllic (but cold) winters. Rain is pretty uncommon in Madrid, so while you should pack a raincoat, you’ll not need it too often. In summer you’re looking at up to 25oC or so through July and August and dropping to 5-6oC in winter during the day.

If you arrive for uni around September the weather will have softened and cooled a bit, but you’ll still have a solid month or or two of warm, pleasant weather before it gets chilly.

Public holidays in Spain

Something you don’t really consider when you move to a new city, is that the holidays are all different! You’ll mark your calendar with all the holidays and important events of home, and over here no one knows what they are. In Madrid, there are a bunch of holidays which are unique to the city, and are just ordinary days for the rest of the country! Here’s an overview of all the national and regional days off, so you can keep track.

Facts about Madrid

  1. The Spanish capital is home to an astonishing number of students, somewhere over a million in total.

  2. La Casa Botin in Madrid is considered the oldest restaurant in the world, opened in 1725 and frequented by celebrated names like Ernest Hemingway.

  3. As a gift from Egypt, the famous Temple of Debod was deconstructed and moved to Madrid. It is over 2,000 years old - the oldest building in the city by some way!

  4. Only London and Berlin (within the EU) are larger than Madrid - the city’s metropolitan area has about a million more inhabitants than Scotland!

  5. While Madrid is the capital city of Spain, it is also one of the 17 federal states or provinces which were created in the 19th century to help form a centralised government.

  6. The city sits around 700m above sea level.

  7. Madrid has been the capital city of Spain for over over 450 years, a decision taken by the then-monarch King Felipe II.

  8. One of the city’s two exceptional football clubs (Real Madrid FC) is generally considered the most successful club in the world.

  9. The city (though not as we know it today) was founded at around 800 AD, by Muhammad I, ruler of the Arabic region of Córdoba.

  10. The Royal Family doesn’t actually live in the Royal Palace of Madrid, hence it can be visited and explored by the public.

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