In Spain, all roads leads to Madrid, the culture and finance capital, and home to a warm and welcoming population. As a tourist, there’s much to see – from modern art galleries to royal palaces – but as a resident coming from abroad, does the city offer everything you might need?
Choosing the best place to live in Madrid isn’t a simple process, but with enough research, you’ll soon discover the most appropriate neighbourhood for you. Essentially, it largely depends on where your passions lie.
Where to live in Madrid if you’re a food lover
We all love food, of course – in fact, there’s a high chance you’re moving to Spain because the food has finally tempted you – but if you’re a ‘foodie’ who follows their nose and palate when travelling abroad, then Madrid’s tapas scene should be at the forefront of your mind.
Nothing is more Spanish than spending an evening hopping from one tapas bar to the next, to sample as many tapas as possible. In Madrid, there are several quarters where the tapas is known for being outstanding. The most popular of these is arguably Lavapies, where you’ll find cuisines ranging from traditional Spanish to Greek and Indian. That’s right, you can even enjoy ‘curry tapas’ here. And then there’s La Latina, another of Madrid’s most popular quarters, where all manners of fusion tapas restaurants can be found. You’ll also find some excellent wines at very reasonable prices in these areas.
To familiarise yourself with Madrid’s tapas culture, it’s worth trying out a tapas tour, led by a local guide who knows all the best places to go. These tours normally start in Santa Ana Square. If you’d rather have all your meal on one plate, you can always order a paella.
Where to live in Madrid if nightlife is your top priority
Madrid has more than its fair share of bars and clubs. They are scattered all around the city centre, but the majority of those that stay open until late are clustered together in Huertas, the centre of Madrid nightlife.
This neighbourhood encompasses Santa Ana Square, stretching from Cruz Street to Huertas Street, and the streets that run parallel (it’s just a short walk from Puerta del Sol). Most of the clubs here close at 03:00 AM, but some of the bigger venues stay open longer.
Those with more traditional tastes when it comes to song and dance should look no further than Corral de la Moreria – one of Madrid’s most famous flamenco tablaos. It plays regular host to intense and spectacular Flamenco shows, performed by the art’s most talented musicians and dancers. The restaurants also offers a set-course menu to enjoy before or after you watch. Shows run from 18:00 to 22:00 PM, so you can choose to eat at whatever time suits you.
Where to live in Madrid if you’re a history buff
Spain has its own Royal Family, whose official residence is the Royal Palace at the centre of Madrid. These days, the royals are only ever seen here for official ceremonies such as coronations royal weddings – the rest of the year, the palace remains open to the public, who are invited to explore its countless rooms, hallways and corridors on a guided tour. All in all, seven centuries of history can be accounted for within the walls of this grand building, which stands as the largest Royal Palace in Europe.
Where to live in Madrid if you’re a football fan
Madrid lives and breathes football, and the beating heart of this culture is undeniably the Santiago Bernabéu, home to Real Madrid football club. This great stadium contains over a century’s worth of footballing history, and has witnessed some of the game’s greatest ever players step out onto its immaculate pitch. Until his recent departure from the club, Cristiano Ronaldo was practically a God for most young Real Madrid fans. He and the likes of Raul, David Beckham, Di Stefano and Luis Figo have all plied their trade here, sending thousands of fans into wild raptures of applause time and time again.
There’s no sensation quite like the one you’ll feel when the ‘Galacticos’ march onto the pitch to the roar of over 80,000 screaming fans, but if you can’t find tickets to see a match, then you can always take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium. The tour includes access to the players’ changing rooms and the pitch itself.
Santiago Bernabéu is located in the district of Chamartín, encompassing the Paseo de la Castellana and the streets of Concha Espina, Padre Damián, and Rafael Salgado. If you are mad about football, this is certainly the best place to live in Madrid.
Madrid is the culmination of everything Spanish. For the best experience, you should live wherever your passions lie, but no matter where you choose to live in this diverse and lively city, you’re almost certainly never going to want to move anywhere else.