Lifestyle in Madrid

► Buy the Expat Guide to Madrid in PDF format.




Lifestyle in MadridA blend of old-world charm and contemporary chic, although the landlocked capital lacks sun-soaked beaches, expats can still look forward to a host of entertainment options and a fantastic lifestyle in Madrid.
 
There are plenty of historical attractions in Madrid but the city also has a wide selection of more recent attractions to offer residents. 
 
New arrivals to the city will find that the Spanish siesta is slowly dying out, but the nightlife that traditionally accompanies it is still as active as ever, with Spaniards sleeping on average an hour less than the rest of Europe.
 
The Spanish capital is filled with charming sidewalk cafés, restaurants, cutting-edge bars and nightclubs. There are several much-anticipated annual events in Madrid as well as excellent shopping options and a number of cinemas and theatres which put on productions all year.
 
Expats with kids in Madrid will also have no problem finding something to do, with everything from the Madrid Zoo to an urban beach to keep the children entertained.
 

Shopping in Madrid

 
Opportunities for shopping in Madrid abound. Expats can find a wide variety of quality goods from various stores, markets and malls.
 
The Salamanca district in the northeast of the city is where leading Spanish and international designers display their wares, while Chueca is a popular part of town for boutique stores and high-end bargains. For high-street fashions and regional foods try El Corte Ingles, while the Rastro market is good for antiques and jewellery. 
 

Nightlife and entertainment in Madrid

 
The long siesta dividing the Spanish work day has traditionally meant later hours and a populace that is especially active at night. Although this tradition seems to slowly be changing, many of the people who work in Madrid still take an extended lunch break and leave the office at around 7pm or 8pm and have dinner at around 10pm.
 
Many of the restaurants in Madrid cater for this, staying open while everybody else is on siesta and closing when everybody returns to work. Restaurants that do close for an evening break generally open after 8pm, with the busiest time for the city's favourite spots being about 10pm.
 
One of the ironies of life in Madrid is that expats will be able to order some of the best seafood dishes in Spain, despite the city's landlocked location. 
 
In addition to typical local delicacies, expats will find that dishes popular in other regions of Spain are easily available. Although cheap street vendors abound, the best food in Madrid is generally found at sit-down restaurants.
 
The nightlife in Madrid is among the best in the world, and a variety of vibrant cafés, bars and nightclubs are there for expats to explore. Some of the most popular nightlife venues borrow from local influences such as traditional tavernas and flamenco dancing. There are also plenty of more conventional venues for expats to let their hair down in.
 

Outdoor activities in Madrid

 
While it may be better known for its man-made structures, the city has a fair amount of green spaces that facilitate a host of outdoor activities in Madrid.
 
The best known among these is arguably Buen Retiro Park at the edge of the city centre. It used to be a royal garden in the 17th century and first opened to the public in 1800. Now, residents can be seen jogging, having picnics and sailing on its magnificent lake.
 
It is also a sporting city, hosting world-famous football (soccer) teams Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in their respective stadiums. Tennis fans will enjoy watching the Madrid leg of the ATP Masters Series, while expats who want to experience more traditional sporting fare can watch a bullfight at the famous Las Ventas bullring. 
 
Active expats will be able to join one of the local sports clubs in Madrid, go running in one of its many parks or conquer the hiking trails just outside the city.

Search Expat Arrivals


Become our local expat expert for your area!

Become our local expat expert for your area! We are looking for contributors to help make this the ultimate guide for expats. Get in touch if you can provide useful info on your city or answer forum questions from new expats.
Find out more.

Got a question about your new country?

X
Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)
, after login or registration your account will be connected.