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Madrid is a bustling city, with a decidedly historic feel mixed in with everything that this cosmopolitan destination has to offer. The capital of Spain, Madrid is diverse, exciting and is home to over three million people, along with twice as many residents in the neighboring suburban areas — topping out every city in the European Union except for London and Berlin.
If you’re looking for a true European capital city, Madrid is the perfect example of what this rich continent has in store for those relocating to study abroad, find an internship or kick off a lucrative new career. In fact, it’s the perfect place to settle down, find a room or a one- or two-bedroom apartment for rent in Madrid, and begin to explore!
Madrid is a city that can offer a thriving mix of opportunities for both international students on exchange and young professionals alike, with many conveniences to make your life easier. It’s simple to get around this massive city by public transportation or, as many like to do in Europe, you can rent a bike to see even more of Madrid’s beautiful landscapes. One minute you can be seeing the sights in the lively city center or having lunch in your furnished apartment in Madrid, and within minutes, you can be relaxing in West Park or Madrid Rio.
And the good news is that the weather is usually on your side. Madrid is known for its blue skies and mild climate, with less rain than along the coastal regions. It can get cold in the winter, but temperatures aren’t extreme.
Now, you may have already guessed that the official language is Spanish. In many areas of Europe, you can typically get by with a few phrases of the native language and a good grasp of English. However, in Madrid, you should be prepared with a good base of Spanish phrases.
You’ll quickly discover that Madrid has a fantastic food scene, offering up just about as much variety as you could possibly imagine. You can enjoy traditional Spanish tapas, or stroll along a trendy street, taking your pick from one of many hip vegan cafes.
This locale is known for its great nightlife, especially for its late-night clubs. It also offers a diverse array of options, whether you’re looking for a place to have a drink and chill, or dance until early morning.
Madrid is right along the average price line for accommodation in Europe, meaning that you can usually rent a room in a shared apartment for between €300 and €600. If you are hoping to rent a large space with a few friends, a three-bedroom apartment in Madrid generally runs between €1200 and €1500 per month. Be sure to always check if utilities are included in the rental price, or if they will be additional. Both types of rental contracts are common in Madrid.
When it comes to actually renting a room, a flat or a house in Madrid, you may initially find that the rental market may be a little difficult to break through, mostly due to the fact that accommodation is generally in high demand any time of the year. Therefore, it’s very important to discover the best ways to find housing in Madrid before you spend too much time or money on methods that won’t bring good, fast results.
Many incoming international students or young professionals relocating to Madrid for a career opportunity may feel that they immediately need to reach out to an agent with a real estate company. However, one important thing to keep in mind, especially when you’re trying to stick to a budget, is that these agencies typically charge very high commission rates. You may find that you’re paying the sum of an entire month’s rent in fees, which can be especially difficult when you’re about to move to a completely different company and are working with a limited budget.
So some expats take notice of these high rates and begin to search on their own for cheap flats in Madrid. Yet, this requires a lot of time, persistence and even luck. With housing in Madrid in such high demand, a nice two-bedroom apartment in Madrid close to the university or a thriving business area could rent out an hour after it’s posted. Have you heard the expression “being in the right place at the right time?” That can definitely apply to finding accommodation in Madrid! If you decide to take this on alone, sign up for Facebook groups, and try to stay on top of any posts that are made to community boards or classified sites. Just be sure to read the fine print and don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re 100 percent certain of your decision.
However, if you want to explore what many consider to be the best method of searching for temporary or long-term housing in Madrid, then you should consider signing up with a trusted housing platform. These sites will obtain all of the right information from you so that they can alert you when a property matching your preferences is listed. Pretty cool, right? Additionally, all of the landlords are thoroughly researched, so scams won’t be an issue, which are definitely on the rise.
This fascinating city is a beautiful place to live, and it definitely boasts its fair share of neighborhoods to consider when looking for housing in Madrid. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying for a semester on international exchange, or if you’re a digital nomad taking in the scenery as your creative inspiration for a few months — Madrid has the perfect neighborhood for you! There are, however, some neighborhoods that are more popular with incoming international young people in Madrid. These areas are great places to begin your search!
Living a life fit for the movies
Salamanca is situated just northeast of Madrid’s cultural and historic center, and while it is a nice choice for international residents, it will come at one of the higher prices in Madrid. In fact, it is often known as one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in Madrid, but it is a good option for renting a house in Madrid, including one of the 19th-century buildings that line the streets, such as Calle de Goya or Calle de Serrano — but all for a premium.
In this neighborhood, you can expect to find several amenities that make this barrio on the higher-priced side, but none quite as appealing as the proximity to Retiro Park, which can be as close as a two-minute walk.
Many embassies and government buildings are located in this neighborhood, where you can find a representation of Switzerland, Italy, France, the United States and more. It’s a great place to be if you have any interest in the internal affairs of Madrid, or are following similar courses at the university.
If you have a love for high-end shopping, then you have most definitely found your place in Madrid! As mentioned, Serrano is one of the most exclusive streets in all of Madrid, and it is full of designer stores, elegant restaurants, and upscale spas and salons. If you’re hoping to spot any local or visiting celebrities, renting a room in Barrio del Salamanca is your best bet!
Student life facilities and atmosphere
Moncloa - Aravaca might just be the top neighborhood for international students in Madrid on an exchange program, so you’ll find a lot of young people living in this neighborhood. There are a few large universities in this area or in close proximity, such as the Complutense University of Madrid or the Saint Louis University. Many cheap flats in Madrid will be in walking distance of some of the universities, or just a quick bicycle ride, so student housing in Moncloa - Aravaca is a nice option.
Moncloa - Aravaca is a bustling neighborhood, filled with numerous tourist attractions and places of interest, most noticeably the Moncloa Palace, which is the presidential residence. You can also spend a nice afternoon taking a cable car to the nearby Madrid Zoo, or people watch at the Plaza España.
The neighborhood of Moncloa - Aravaca is easily connected to the city center, as well as the western side of Madrid. It adds a lot of convenience to a moderately priced area, especially for students who like the idea of being close to the university, as well as attractions, restaurants and shopping. It’s also a vibrant spot with a fun social scene, including parties and events held by the universities’ student associations. Plus, many businesses in the area may offer student discounts, so be sure to ask when shopping, dining out or having a few drinks with friends.
The hipster and trendy area
Malasaña is not quite like any other neighborhood in Madrid, and it’s the ideal place for anyone looking for an alternative to the cookie-cutter capital city neighborhoods and temporary or long-term housing in Madrid. When you’re thinking of a locale that’s hip, colorful and full of great vibes, then you’re probably thinking about Malasaña.
This neighborhood was the epicenter of what is known as today as the ”movida” movement, or the Spanish transition, which occurred after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. This movement of freedom and idealism continued through the 70s and the 80s, making Malasaña an ideal place for the hippies, artists and alternative thinkers of Madrid to work, study and live.
Today, you’ll find a young population in Malasaña, and it is a fun environment for students, young expats and artists. There are numerous bars and cafes, promoting an environment with a lot of “bar hopping” to take advantage of the great drink specials. Many people just come to Malasaña for the environment, as well as the moderately priced two-bedroom apartments in Madrid. This makes Malasaña a good idea for international living!
Home to tapas and beers
La Latina is Madrid’s traditional city located to the southwest, and this is exactly where the locals head for tapas and beers. Over the weekend, the bars and restaurants are full, making the neighborhood an ideal stop for the expats to hang out with the locals over a few drinks. If you want to save on shopping, this is also where you’ll find the city’s most famous flea market.
The housing may be on the pricier side, but it’s very convenient for international students and young professionals commuting to and from area businesses. This is also a well-known area for locals and expats to mingle, making this a fantastic cultural area to rent accommodation and experience the true Madrid!