Moving to Madrid
Expats moving to Madrid will find a manageable, old city striving to become comfortable in its new modern garb. This commercial and political capital still has deep Spanish roots, and though the centre is convincingly international, foreigners have no need to fear the pressures of a high-speed lifestyle that are so often attached to similar Western European destinations, like Paris, London and Rome.
While retirees searching for sunnier shores and a relaxing descent into their twilight years may not exactly relish the prospect of emigrating to Madrid, it’s beyond a doubt the place to go for those looking to further their career, while capitalising on an attractive quality of life.
It’s true that the economic climate in Spain has been ravaged at the hands of recession, but nonetheless, Madrid is still the best city to find a job in the country, boasting both large multinationals and a fair amount of direct foreign investment.
Not to mention, Madrid is considerably less expensive than many of its counterparts (again, London, Paris and NYC); its cost of living ranked more closely on par with African and Middle Eastern capital cities. Furthermore, the user-generated data site, Expatistan.com, shows Madrid to be between 25 and 35 percent less costly than the aforementioned locations, with eating out and drinking being significantly cheaper.
That said, expats should realise that average salaries are on the inferior side, and they don’t look to be improving anytime soon.
In terms of accommodation, expats will find that quality housing in Madrid is hard to find for a good price, and it’s important to know where to search, how to negotiate and how to make a deal quickly, knowledgeably and efficiently.
The healthcare system is considered one of the best in Europe, with a high-standard public system available for free for employees in Spain or EU citizens, and private coverage systems on offer for others.
Furthermore, expat families will find an impressive number of private schools (over 40) with bilingual or full English curricula, and Madrid’s appealing weather (it’s pleasant enough to have drinks on the terrace from March to November) means that kids have plenty of opportunity to entertain themselves outdoors. Do note that August can be very hot, air conditioning is a must, and winters are cold, with the occasional snowfall drifting down every other year.
Additionally, expats will find a sizeable overseas community already established in the centre, with figures gleaned from the 2008 census citing that nearly a fifth of the city’s inhabitants have immigrated from abroad.
On the whole, expats living in Madrid will find that the city’s rich history and youthful enterprise makes for an exciting opportunity for individuals and families, alike.