I went to Madrid to do my internship at the Belgian Embassy. This was the best experience in my life! Madrid wasn’t my first choice, but I am so happy that the opportunity occured and that I could spend 5 months in this beautiful city. In this blogpost, I will give you 12 reasons why you should be living in Madrid as well. Believe me, it’s worth it to continue reading…
1 – Public Transport
I am used to the public transport in Belgium, which is – in my opinion – not the best in the world. I bet a lot of Belgians agree with me. But in Madrid, the public transport is soooo easy to use! You can easily get anywhere in the city in less than 30 minutes and you don’t have to wait long before a new metro/but/train arrives. A sad thing is the fact that the metro stops driving around 1.30 am, BUT there are night busses that can get you anywhere you want!
Another advantage is the fact that the public transport is very cheap! If you’re a student, you only pay €20 a month to take the metro, train and bus.
Public transport in Madrid: 10/10
2 – Madrid Nightlife
If you like to go out, Madrid is the place to be. It doesn’t matter which day it is, if you want to go out there are so many options. My favourite activity was going to language exchanges to improve my Spanish. Also, I didn’t know anyone when I arrived there, and these activities helped me meeting new people and making very good friends. My favourite organization for that was Se Habla Español. They organize weekly chill nights at cheap bars, and parties in very nice discotheques. I enjoyed every single one of these nights.
If you just want to go out with friends, you can go to local bars and/or huge discotheques. A lot of discotheques are in old theaters, which is really impressive!
If you go to a club, you will probably have to pay entrance. It might seem expensive at first, but mostly there are drinks included in the entrance price. Perfect, right?
Another thing I really liked was going to Star Coyote. This is a nice Irish pub in the center of Madrid. They organize beer pong events every single night. It’s very cheap to participate and it’s sooo much fun!
3 – Low cost of living
The cost of living in Madrid is very low. First I thought the rent was pretty high, but if you compare the rent to other capital cities all around the world, you can say that the rent is affordable in Madrid. I used to go to the supermarket with my roommate and we paid between €50 and €80 a week for our groceries without really looking at the prices. This means we only paid €25 – €40 a week per person. I don’t know about your country, but this is so cheap compared to Belgium.
Going out is also pretty cheap in the city if you avoid the big discotheques and the commercial bars. Local bars are so much more affordable and they give you the real Madrid experience. You can drink wines for a very low price!
Also, going home from a party or moving through the city is very cheap by taxi. You can stop a taxi on the street, you can order a Uber taxi, etc. The prices don’t vary that much between all the companies. If you think the taxi is too expensive (it’s always more expensive than other ways to get home), you can still take the public transport!
4 – Living in Madrid means… no boundaries
Madrid is a city full of different cultures. A lot of expats and tourists fill the city (in a good way I think). All of those cultures collide and there is nothing to be ashamed of. You can do whatever you like and everything is allowed when you’re living in Madrid! Everyone is very open minded, isn’t that super nice?
5 – Amazing views
Madrid is located (very) close to the mountains. If you decide to take the cable car, you’ll have an amazing view over the city with the mountains in the background and a great view over Casa de Campo.
Another nice thing to do in Madrid is to visit the rooftop bars. There are so many of them in the city, but my favourites are Circulo de Bellas Artes, Dear Hotel Rooftop and Gymage. That last one doesn’t offer you an amazing view, but it’s a very nice bar with a pool!
6 – The location
Madrid’s location is perfect: it’s in the center of Spain, which makes that you can easily travel around. There are a lot of beautiful cities and towns close to Madrid, and you can get there for free with your transport card. If you want to go a little bit further, then you can choose to go by plane, train or bus. Another cheap way of travelling from and to Madrid is BlaBlaCar, a very easy and cheap system to get you from point A to point B.
7 – Shopping
If you love fashion, stop doing whatever you’re doing and move to Madrid right now! The city is full of Zapshops (cheap shoes) and you can literally shop anywhere you are. There are cheap stores like Primark, Zara, H&M, etc., but if you’re more into brands, you’ll also find the right shop!
8 – “Mañana, mañana”
A famous Spanish quote and stereotype… And I understand why! If you’re living in Madrid, you’ll feel the Spanish vibe and you’ll adapt very easily to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re 1 hour late, everyone is! There is not so much pressure as in Belgium for example. No one will blame you if you haven’t finished a task today or if you’re late again, it’s a way of living!
9 – Friends from all around the world
People come and go in Madrid, but you’ll meet so many people from all around the world. You’re all in the same situation and you immediately get a strong bond that I can’t describe. You’ll have connections in every continent, isn’t that great? This way you learn a lot about world cultures and you’ll learn some basic words in other languages! And if you want, you can travel the world visiting your friends!
10 – A parc paradise!
Madrid has a lot of parcs in which you can find peace and silence. You have the famous Retiro parc which attracts a lot of visitors. BUT if you walk around in the parc, you’ll find a quiet spot where you can relax or hang out with your friends. During the summer I love to hang out at Templo de Debod. There you can watch the sunset and hang out with your friends. There are a lot of people who’ll do the same, but everyone is just so happy and relaxed! In fact, there are parcs of every size in Madrid. Just walk around and you’ll discover a parc you really like!
11 – Learn Spanish
Living in Madrid means you’ll have to learn Spanish. The level of English is still too low in the city to talk to people in English. But that’s a good thing right? This way you have some pressure to actually learn a new language. If you have any problems with something, I’m sure you’ll find a friend who is bilingual and who will be able to help you. The best way to learn a language is to speak it, believe me!
12 – “No pasa nada, no te preocupes”
As I already mentioned above, Madrileños – inhabitants of Madrid – are way more relaxed than Belgian people. They use typical phrases like “No pasa nada” or “No te preocupes”, which means “don’t you worry”. When you say you’re sorry, they immediately answer with one of these sentences to calm you down! Isn’t this amazing?
As you can see, I really loved living in Madrid and I’m going back soon for one year more (can’t wait). The city is beautiful and the people there make me very happy! Living in Madrid was the best experience of my life!