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Education and Housing in Madrid

Life in Madrid is exciting and very diverse. As the fourth most populous city in Europe, it is also a popular expat destination. InterNations provides you with plenty of information on living in Madrid, including advice on health and safety, education, and accommodation.

The Multicultural Classroom

Even though the public school system in Spain is very good and free of charge for all children up to the age of 16, many expats living in Madrid prefer to send their children to private international schools. Madrid has a wide range of international schools to offer its foreign nationals. The most popular and abundant are English-language schools, followed closely by education catering to the German and French communities.

A prominent American school is the American School of Madrid, located about 15 kilometers northwest of downtown Madrid in Aravaca. It provides an education to children between the ages of 3 and 18. A highly regarded British school for expats in Madrid is King’s College. Offering options for both day-school children and boarders, King’s College has three campus locations in Madrid for the various age ranges (i.e. kindergarten, primary school, secondary education).

German schools are also common with Spain being a favorite destination among German expats. A type of school that can thus be found in almost all larger Spanish cities is the Deutsche Schule. Located directly in the heart of downtown Madrid, it offers its students the German Abitur (German high school diploma). The Lycée Français de Madrid offers French families the opportunity to send their children to a school based on the French education system. The lycée enables graduates to meet the criteria necessary for a smooth transition into French universities.

The Barrios — Unique in Their Diversity

The many neighborhoods making up each come with their own unique flair. Depending on preference, income, and proximity to your work or school, Madrid’s various neighborhoods will have something meeting everyone’s needs and taste. Almost every area hosts numerous cafés, bars, and small restaurants, where madrileños sit on the terraces late into the night. If you’ve been to Madrid or anywhere else in Spain, for that matter, you will have noticed that this form of socializing is a firmly-entrenched part of Spanish culture.

Central and downtown Madrid, including the Sol, Opera, and Las Cortes areas, is very crowded and noisy, with lots of tourists running about admiring Madrid’s many famous monuments. Salamanca is a trendy and wealthy neighborhood, something which is reflected in its prices. It also contains the famous Parque del Retiro, which is a favorite weekend destinations for families and those looking for a place to exercise.

Residential Areas for Expats

Nuevos Ministerios, Ríos Rosas, and Chamartín are residential areas where the relative lack of cafés is compensated for by a more-oriented atmosphere. The International School of Madrid is also located in Chamartín, drawing in a lot of foreign families. Chueca has been claimed by the younger cosmopolitan crowd and is more of a hotspot for bars and clubs. In recent years, it has also emerged as the gay neighborhood of Madrid. La Latina is a neighborhood with very old and beautiful architecture reminiscent of a more traditional Madrid.

Moncloa and Argüelles are home to the largest university in Madrid, the Complutense. It is not only students that live here, though: others also enjoy the escape it provides from the bustling city center, which is only a short metro ride away. The two parks in Complutense offer some shelter from the hectic life in a large metropolitan city. Do keep in mind, though, that students dominate the nightlife in this neighborhood.

This is only a small percentage of the many barrios in Madrid. It’s best to visit Madrid before actually moving there to scope out which area best suits you and your lifestyle.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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Jacques Paillard

"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

Katharina Berbner

"Thanks to InterNations, I found a good language school for expats to take intensive classes in Spanish and socialize a bit more. "

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