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A city of resplendent beauty and rich history, there is more than enough for expats to see and do in Madrid.
The city’s character has been shaped by everything from medieval to modernist influences, which can be seen in landmarks as varied as the Gothic church of St Jerome and the abstract sculptures of the Museum of Public Art.
Known for being one of the world’s foremost destinations for art lovers, expats will be able to see everything from classical masterpieces to the surreal works of Salvador Dalí.
The most famous of the city's many museums are situated on the Paseo Del Prado, one of the city’s main boulevards. This includes the world-famous Golden Triangle of Art, which has three of the best-known museums in Madrid.
Madrid is not only a city for culture vultures, but offers a host of attractions that should appeal to all kinds of expats. Sports fans will be thrilled by the prospect of a football (soccer) match at the Santiago De Bernabeu, and there is an abundance of green spaces for families to enjoy.
Popular attractions in Madrid
The Prado (Museo Nacional del Prado)
The Prado Museum is one of the world's principal art galleries, housing around 7,600 paintings by artists such as Botticelli, Titian and Rembrandt.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is located in the 18th-century Palacio de Villahermosa and is home to a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, carvings and tapestries by Renoir, Durer, Van Eyck and countless others.
Reina Sofia National Art Centre Museum
The Reina Sofia museum, designed to rival London’s Tate Gallery, has an extraordinary collection of 20th-century Spanish art for expats to enjoy.
Dating back to 1619, the Plaza Mayor square is a must-see for any expat in Madrid. Once the scene of knights' tournaments and medieval rituals, the centrally located arcade is now home to cafés and spontaneous music performances.
Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida (Goya’s Tomb)
Referred to as Goya's Sistine Chapel, the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida is the final resting place of the famed artist. The ceiling was painted, and the frescoes were designed by Goya himself.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Originally the private garden of Philip IV, this central park is now a wonderful spot for expats and locals alike to enjoy the fountains, lakes and play areas, or relax at one of the many outdoor cafés.
Corral de la Morería Flamenco
To get a true taste of Madrid, expats should head to Corral de la Morería, a world-renowned tablao flamenco – a flamenco show restaurant.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol plaza is home to iconic landmarks such as the Spanish clock tower that heralds the New Year, and the symbolic El Oso y El Madroño bear statue.
National Archaeological Museum of Spain
Founded in 1867, the National Archaeological Museum of Spain is a must-see attraction for any history buff living in Madrid. It boasts everything from prehistoric and Ancient Egyptian collections to exhibits from the modern age.
Joaquín Sorolla was a celebrated Impressionist painter, and today his former home is a museum that exhibits a fantastic collection of his work, as well as paintbrushes, furniture and other personal belongings.
►What's On in Madrid gives an overview of the city's best annual events
►Kids and Family in Madrid gives information on activities for expat children
"As the nation’s capital, Madrid is home to several museums that kids will enjoy such as the Planetarium and the Museum of Illusions. There are plenty of green spaces and playgrounds for kids to play in and many parks host plays and other events in summer."
Learn more about moving to Madrid in our interview with Canadian expat Mimi.
Are you an expat living in Madrid?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Madrid. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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