The Best Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Madrid

Do use our interactive map with the best family-friendly neighborhoods

Do use our interactive map with the best family-friendly neighborhoods

You have decided to move to Madrid. Now, what is the best neighborhood choice for you if you have kids ?

As always, choosing in which neighborhood to live in Madrid depends on your lifestyle and needs. And having kids, at least suggests a few lifestyle orientations. I will then underline the key criteria to have in mind when flathunting and then at the end give a shortlist of the neighborhoods I advise you to consider to live with your family.

 

Safe and quiet surroundings

Madrid is a very safe city. Compared to other capital cities I have visited or lived in, Madrid is by far the one in which you feel the safest. One reason is Madrid and Spain in general has the highest policeman to civilian ratio in Europe. Another one is the metro is very secure, clean and modern. The last reason would be that the Spanish lifestyle of staying out late makes that there is always lots of people on the streets when you come back at night, so you always feel safe.

As for quiet, here Madrid is not the best city of all. Again, the Spanish lifestyle implies that people party on the streets and have a different perception to noise that many have. Madrid has declared war to “noise pollution” and things are improving quickly. In general, you will have no issues if you live out of the party streets in Malasaña and Chueca. The best advice is to go by your potential future flat at night and have some drinks to see if party-goers gather under your window. Of course, some neighbourhoods are also quieter than others, and I will present them in this post.

Access to the best education

From preschools to best MBAs in the world, Madrid has all you need in terms of education. Depending on your needs, some neighbourhoods will have more to propose you: for instance, all MBAs are near the business district and to the upper-class Salamanca neighbourhood. Private bilingual preschools are found in majority n some affluent modern suburbs, whereas quality public bilingual schools will tend to be more towards Madrid center. To be sure if the neighbourhood you are considering is close to good schools, check this interactive map of the Best Expat Schools in Madrid and do a quick “Get directions” search to evaluate the time to get from the center or your favorite neighbourhood to the school.

 

Green spaces and/or playgrounds nearby

The center of Madrid has one great park: the Retiro. There are also plenty of little square with playgrounds, and the major Fuencarral street is closed every sunday and bank holiday to cars and filled with activities for children.
Of course, living in the center in a flat is not at all the same thing as living in a house in the suburbs with lots of space. Depending on your lifestyle and the age for your children, you have to choose the right mix between living right in the middle of the bustling life of Madrid and having space for yourself and your family.

 

Real estate prices which enable you to have the space for all your family and a parking

Prices in the center of Madrid are expensive compared to the purchasing power of Spaniards: 15 € / m2 / month to rent, 4500/ m2 to buy as an average. If you go out of the center or to less trendy neighbourhoods, prices can go down very quickly by 20 %, and you can find 10 €/m2 & 3000 € prices if you go to some great quality to price ratio neighbourhoods out of the center.
Take into account that if you live in the center of Madrid and that your kids are old enough to walk, you can really live without a car. This is the great thing about living in the center: you can walk to the school, to do your shopping and then make it delivered home, walk or take the metro to all kinds of entertainments and parks like the Retiro…
My advice would be to first set your budget, compare it to the minimum space you need for your family, and see if you can afford the 15 €/m2/month to rent or 4500 €/ m2 to buy prices. If you can, then you can afford to live even in some pricey neighbourhoods. If you can’t, than you will have to aim for better quality to price ratio neighbourhoods with cheaper real estate.

 

My selection of top neighbourhoods for foreign families moving to Madrid

There are 3 types of neighborhoods to consider, depending on your lifestyle, budget and needs (refer to this interactive map of Madrid Family Friendly neighbourhoods I made to see where these places are) – the furthest you get from the centre:

  • Family-friendly neighborhoods in the centre:
    • Pros: no need to take the car, all services and marvels of Madrid so close, the full Madrid experience
    • Cons: For the same budget, it is much less likely to get a swimming pool, a garden or even an extra room or storage.
    • Selection:
      • Salamanca: the obvious choice for foreign families who want to live in a premium environment near the centre of Madrid – very quiet, great schools and services, small streets with large pavements, not right in the center, but very well connected, close to the Retiro Park. However real estate in Salamanca is very expensive.
      • Retiro: the Retiro neighbourhood is very similar to Salamanca, located just south of it, and is defined by this very large park perfect for strolls and playing with the kids. It is less expensive than Salamanca, but not as well connected and thus a but further from the center.
      • Chamberi: This neighbourhood is really just next to the center, south-west of Salamanca. It is a traditional madrid neighbourhoods, with many services for families, and for instance its major street, Calle fuencarral, and its major square, Plaza Olavide, are closed every sunday until 14:00 and filled with playgrounds and activities for kids. In fact Calle Fuencarral has kid playgrounds installed and available at any time. It is better located and less expensive than Salamanca, but not as upper class and quiet, but still very family friendly and traditionally Madrid way of life.
  • Family-friendly neighborhoods in still urban environments, but not in the centre,
    • Pros: more zen than in the centre, while still having access to services close-by, and you can still  do without a car, even if it’s not as easy as in the centre
    • Cons: usually very residential, lacks the distinctive Madrid character of the centre.
    • Selection:
      • Conde de Orgaz: a neighborhood with a very strong expat community, especially French speaking since it includes the Lycée Français.
      • Arturo Soria: a favorite for professionals who work in the north eastern area of Madrid, many private or semi private schools around and easy access to the airport.
      • El Viso: a secret, and in fact the only neighborhoods with the closest villas in Madrid to the centre. Such a secret that prices and properties are luxury, and the market is very closed, with very little movement.
      • Puerta de Hierro: at the limit of Madrid, with mostly modern design properties, the solution if you want to be an exclusive but modern environment, and still very close to the centre.
      • Mirasierra: just north of Puerta de Hierro, slightly less exclusive, a residential neighborhood of Madrid, mid-way between suburbs and the centre, in terms of location and style. It has the metro, you can walk to shops, but still it a neighborhood of houses. Its style is very much alike what you would see in South London districts.
  • Family-friendly neighborhoods in affluent suburbs
    • Pros: you get quality properties for the same budget: swimming pool, garden (private or shared), more space, storage, more light.
    • Cons: you have to drive most of the times. Of course, there is still public transport, and can still go to your cafe by the corner, but you do need a car. Suburbs look mostly like other affluent suburbs.
    • Selection:
      • Around Madrid, just out of the limit of the circular metro line #6, and the circular road M30, are Pozuelo and Aravaca. They are the typical places where affluent families go and live to have more space than in Madrid, with a very high quality of life and flats of way better quality than in Madrid. Plenty of supermarkets, schools and services. The best of all is that it is only 1 station from Madrid, that the big forest of the West of Madrid is just close to you so you can also enjoy a stroll and quiet time with your family, and maybe you can afford a house in these neighbourhoods. In a nutshell, I would recommend Pozuelo, Majadahonda, Aravaca, Las Rozas, in the north-west, and La Moraleja in the north-east, Pozuelo and la Moraleja having the most exclusive properties and communities. Cristiano Ronaldo and Mourinho live in Pozuelo for instance…

Of course, “your mileage may vary” and this selection is a reduction of reality : it is intended to simplify your search and give you useful tools and insights to feel safer and more confident about your move to Madrid.

 

And if you prefer specific answer to your unique case, with experienced professionals to help you choose the best neighborhood, for the best schools and properties for your familu, and know what are the dangers to dodge in Spanish contracts:

Get Now your Free Moving2Madrid Consultation

 

If you need help to move to Madrid zen, do not hesitate to send us an email !

Yours madridly,
Pierre Waters – Moving2Madrid

 

This post is also available in: French

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses to “The Best Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Madrid”

  1. Dave Wojtkowski January 27, 2013 at 07:04 #

    Great website. Are there communities outside of Madrid that would recommend for a large family to stay in during vacation? We have young kids so would ideally like something that’s a bit more out in the “country” with restaurants/cafes/pubs but still accessible to Madrid. Thanks. Dave

    • Pierre Waters January 28, 2013 at 12:52 #

      I would recommend Villalba, just next to the mountains of Madrid but still 30 mins from the city.
      for instace, I recommend this friends’ house, which I help promote for its amazing quality: https://fr.airbnb.com/rooms/147523
      All the best,
      Pierre

  2. Mohammad April 8, 2014 at 18:14 #

    Hello Pierre,

    I will move with my wife and baby daughter on early May to work at one of the institutes at the UAM campus. I have reserved a campus housing for a month. I noticed that Alcobendas is a close town to the campus. Do you think I can find a decent 2BR/1Bath, furnished flat (queen bed, TV, a sofa, a dining table with chairs, probably a baby crib, kitchen appliances and utensils) for around early June? My budget is around 800 Euro. Please advise.

    Again, your helpful blog deserves high commendation.
    Mohammad.

    Again, I would like complement your helpful blog.

    • Pierre-Alban Waters April 10, 2014 at 15:49 #

      Hello Mohammed,

      Clearly it’s a low budget for Madrid centre, and will be easier to get more space for your budget in the apartments close to campus.

      Cheers,
      Pierre

  3. Lucia May 6, 2014 at 23:05 #

    Hi Pierre, your blog is great! Wanted to know your opinion of the neighbourhood Mirasierra? I see you do not mention it anywhere… but have heard it can be family friendly too, what do you think?

    • Pierre-Alban Waters May 8, 2014 at 13:11 #

      Hi Lucia,
      Thank you for your nice comments.
      Yes, it is indeed a neighborhood we consider in some cases.
      I have added this description to our map so you can have everything there:
      A residential neighborhood of Madrid, mid-way between suburbs and the centre, in terms of location and style. It has the metro, you can walk to shops, but still it a neighborhood of houses. Its style is very much alike what you would see in South London districts.
      If you need specific help, do not hesitate to comment here or send us your questions to email (at) moving2madrid.com. We’d be happy also to answer your questions in a free consultation and see if we can help you.
      Cheers, Pierre

  4. Susana June 9, 2014 at 20:09 #

    Dear Pierre,
    Congratulations! I am from Madrid and is amazing how well you described the real flavour of each area of this city. There is another Ffamily neighborhood which is Torrelodones, just 29km far away and its perfect for those families with babies and teens who need safe and young and healthy area close to the city. Thanks again Pierre for that so great description of my city. Susana

    • Pierre-Alban Waters June 13, 2014 at 12:52 #

      Hi Susana,

      Torrelodones, Villalba and Galapagar are all nice towns where I have friends.
      Truth is though that they are all 30 min out of Madrid entre, 15-20 minutes further minimum than Pozuelo for instance.
      Most of our clients find Las Rozas too far already, as they are looking to discover Madrid !

      • chris November 3, 2014 at 18:31 #

        We lived in centre of Madrid for first 2 years here. Was great but as the children grew bigger (and more of them) we quickly needed more space and headed out and now live in Torrelodones after living first in Galapagar/Colmenarejo. It is a great place to live if you have kids of any age, loads to do and a lovely village feel, very close to the lovely mountains around you. You can be in the centre of town in no time at all (30 mins) and yet be doing serious mountain hiking the same day. Some winters you can even ski in Navacerrada and Valdesqui…

        Center of Madrid is fantastic but if you are a family like us that needs space you are going to quickly look outside. Luckily there are loads of great options. Las Rozas, Pozuelo, Majadahonda, Pozuelo are all great suburbs (but read carefully “suburbs” in UK term). Lots of newly built estates, semis and flats mostly. Is all very modern but a bit soulless for our taste. But then it takes all sorts. If you´re here short term, central areas are best… if like us you come for 2 years and end up staying for more than 10 you´ll probably love living in these gorgeous mountains so close to the city. Surprising number of expats in all the towns mentioned too. Mostly with kids.

Leave a Reply