People living in Madrid are proud to be part of such a cosmopolitan city. There are 3.3 million people living in Madrid proper while the entire metropolitan population amounts to 6.5 million. Due to the countless number of annual visitors, most people are used to tourists and foreign residents asking for directions or general information about the city. The proud madrileño may even launch into a brief history of their city!
Since Madrid is both the capital of Spain and its largest city, the head of government as well as the Spanish royal family are living in Madrid these days. Despite the crisis, it is still a major financial center in southern Europe, a hub for trade and industry, as well as Spain’s center of fashion, music, arts, and culture. With all these accreditations, it is no surprise that Madrid boasts a high standard of living for expats.
If you are considering living in Madrid but are afraid of the relatively high crime rate that one would expect in such a large city, you need not fret! For most people in Madrid, crime is not a major concern. Of course, as in many larger touristy cities, there are lots of pickpockets in Madrid. However, if you keep an eye on your personal belongings and are weary of the skilled pickpockets, you will find life in Madrid not particularly risky.
Moreover, the standards of medical care in Madrid are relatively high. As far as vaccinations are concerned, doctors only recommended keeping the standard ones up to date and maybe getting a hepatitis shot before your move to Madrid. You should also be prepared for a climate with fairly cold winters and rather hot summers, and pack appropriate clothes.
You will quickly realize that driving is not the most efficient means of travelling from one location in Madrid to the next. Traffic is horrendous as madrileños drive by their own rules, and it’s almost impossible to find a parking space. Although Spanish people love biking, you should avoid cycling while living in Madrid. Due to most motorists’ hectic and accident-prone driving style, commuting by bike is stressful and dangerous.
Taking taxis on a regular basis while living in Madrid can become quite expensive. When used infrequently and in emergency cases, they are, however, a good way to get from point A to point B. Ultimately, the best way to get around is using public transportation, even for your daily commute. The Madrid Metro is one of the best public transit systems in the world, with a subway line running in almost all directions, making it the eighth longest underground network in the world in 2013.
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