Why Madrid is the best European city for expats

Are you thinking of relocating to Europe? Or perhaps you already live on the continent but are looking for a place with better weather, a more affordable lifestyle or a better social life. If you are considering a move abroad, you can’t really go wrong with Madrid. Keep reading to learn why The Huffington Post, and others, have ranked Madrid the Best European City for Expats.

Gorgeous Weather

Madrid has a “warm-temperate subtropical climate.” This means it is perfect for people that enjoy the change of seasons, but don’t want anything too severe.  Spain is the sunniest country in Europe, and Madrid sees many winter days with full, bright sunshine. You may get a light dusting of snow around Chrismastime, which only adds to the festive feeling. Unlike more northern European cities, even the deepest winter days are usually filled with light. In December, January and February the city averages ten hours of daylight, compared with less than eight in London. July and August can be warm, but many businesses still close and Madrileños tend to spend the days at the beach or in tranquil hill towns in the mountains north of the city.

Madrid has some of the most gorgeous sunsets in Europe, which are best viewed from a popular rooftop terrace while enjoying drinks with friends. This convivial atmosphere is one reason it is ranked the best European city for expats.

Highly Walkable

Although many people in Madrid do have cars, if you live in the Center there is no need for one. The city is filled with many tree-lined, highly walkable streets. The Metro system is clean, affordable (1.22€ for a one way ticket in Zone One, compared with £2.40 in London’s Zone One) and extremely efficient. Moreover, the Center is not that large so you can easily walk from one side of it to the other in forty minutes. Its lovely architecture makes the walking extremely pleasurable.

Madrid is filled with tree lined streets and buildings painted in Mediterranean shades. They are usually festooned with lovely white architectural details.

Excellent Golden Visa scheme

Are you considering moving abroad, but you are not a citizen of the European Union? Or perhaps you are British and are worried about losing your EU residency and/or right to work in the EU? If so, Spain offers what is arguably the best Golden Visa program in Europe. To learn more about how to obtain a Golden Visa for you and your family, read here.

Friendly people

We know many expats in cities like London or Paris that have lived there for years, but still struggle to make friends and build relationships with locals. According to Internation’s Expat Insider Study, 77 percent of expats in Madrid feel at home in the local culture. Moreover, 71 percent rate making new friends in the Spanish capital positively, compared to a global average of 60 percent.

If you like to go out, Madridleño’s love of a party is legendary. It’s a city that still values a healthy work life balance. You can go for casual tapas, enjoy a low commitment drink on a terrace or an elaborate, late night dinner. There are options for everyone.

This is the Moving2Madrid team- some of the friendliest people you will meet in Madrid!

If you want to see if the Madrileño lifestyle is for you, give one of our property specialists a call. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS where we will answer any question you may have.

Delicious Food


Spain’s high quality, reasonably priced food is another reason it is considered one of the best European cities for expats. Being the capital, Madrid has the broadest selection of restaurants in Spain. If you want a fine dining experience, there are sixteen Michelin star restaurants to chooose from (as opposed to just five in Barcelona). These range from the innovative, three star DiverXO with a circus like atmosphere that does modern riffs on Spanish food to the more traditional fare at one starred Zalacain. If you are looking for high-quality ethnic food, you can go for Japanese at Kabuki or Mexican at Punto MX, which also carry Michelin stars.


If you desire a lower key dining experience, you can go for tapas. For a more traditional experience, go to Calle Cava Baja, in the traditional neighborhood of La Latina, the oldest in Madrid. If you want a more modern take, join Madrid’s trendy after work crowd on Calle Ponzano in the equally traditional, but more family oriented neighborhood of Chamberí. When you do a tapas crawl, or tapear, rememebr that each restaurant typically specializes in one thing.  So try a small dish at each place, sampling the best on offer.

Another Madrid tradition is to have a vermouth. Many old bars have them on tap- order it “del grifo.” BONUS: It’s often only a euro.


For years, people purchased their food from individual vendors at covered local markets. As more people began to shop at large grocery stores, many of these markets were in danger of closing. However, they have undergone a bit of a renaissance. Many have been refurbished and are now filled with high-end food purveyors, chic restaurants and tapas stalls. Our favorites are Mercado de San Antón and the jewel like Mercado San Miguel.

World class culture

Madrid has some of the finest museums in the world. The Big Three: The Prado, The Reina Sofia and The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum have some of the best art in the world, ranging from pre-Roman to modern times. Smaller musuems like the CaixaForum Madrid and Fundación MAPFRE have a wide range of excellent temporary exhibitions, while the Museo Sorolla provides the opportunity to see an artist’s work in his original home and studio. Don’t miss the beautiful orange garden while you are there!

Madrid also has a world class Opera House. If you prefer dance, you can see a number of troupes from around the world at Canal Studio. The world famous, critically renowned Spanish dance company Victor Ullate performs here and tickets are extremely reasonably priced (starting at 15€).

Close to glorious vacation spots

Spain has a lot of public holidays. Some of them are regional, and Madrid is no slouch in this category. Moreover, many of them occur on a Friday or Monday, making for many three to four day weekends (called puentes in Spanish). If you want to get out of town, there are a plethora of options. You can travel to Valencia on the high speed train in less than an hour and a half, making a day trip to the beach a serious option. Alternatively, the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca) are a reasonably priced one-hour and fifteen minute plane ride away. The Costa del Sol is also easily reached, as are the mountains to the north, the classic Andalusian cities of Córdoba, Sevilla and Granada or the exotic medinas of Morrocco.

Fancy a trip to the beach? Ibiza is a short hour and fifteen minute plane ride away

If you like wine, drive north to wine country. Some of the best wines in the world are produced in the Denominación de Origenes (D.O.’s) of Ribera del Duero and Rioja- both less than a three hour drive from Madrid through beautiful countryside.

Reasonable cost of living

Although Spain has the fastest growing economy in Europe, prices are still quite low. Even though it’s a capital city, prices in Madrid are still much more reasonable than other elegant European capitals. Some things, like coffees and movie tickets, are literally half the price of similar items in London. A glass of wine in Madrid is literally a fifth, or less, of the price of one of corresponding quality in New York City.

Well priced real estate

Even though prices trended up in 2017, Madrid still offers the best priced real estate of any major European capital city. Moreover, there are still a great many “fixer uppers.” You can use this opportunity to buy a property and refurbish it into your dream apartment while watching it appreciate in value.

Cheap property prices allow for long term capital appreciation on your rental property. They also allow for investors with more modest budgets to invest.

The only down side is that sometimes, Madrid can be a tricky real estate market to navigate, particularly if you don’t speak Spanish. However, we here at Moving2Madrid are here to help! We are a buyer’s agent that specializes in, and focuses exclusively on, Madrid real estate. We help international buyers locate, purchase, refurbish, rent and manage investment properties in Madrid. Our clients typically earn 50-100% above average. CONTACT US TODAY TO LEARN HOW WE CAN HELP YOU FIND AN APARTMENT IN THE BEST EUROPEAN CITY FOR EXPATS.


Posted on 2 April, 2018 by Admin in Buy, New? Start Here


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