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Expat Info Madrid

After moving to Madrid, you will enjoy the warm atmosphere and artistic heritage of this colorful city. No wonder Madrid acts as a magnet for expats! Are you one of them? Read all about the city, including visa regulations, neighborhoods, and healthcare, on InterNations.
The Parque del Retiro is a popular place for madrileños to relax.

The Right Location for Your New Home

Madrid is the third largest urban agglomeration in Europe and has a lot of different neighborhoods to choose from. Downtown Madrid is made up of 18 barrios or districts, which all cater to different tastes. Most housing in Madrid comes in the form of apartments, and it can be rather pricey. However, as compared to other European capitals, it is relatively affordable, and there is something to be found matching everyone’s budget.

As many expatriates moving to Madrid arrive with their families, the communities which lure in expats are those where international schools abound. These neighborhoods can be found in the western and northern parts of Madrid, as well as north of the city limits. The further away you move from the city center, the higher the rents, but, on the plus side, you are far from the hustle and bustle of the city as well.

La Moraleja, an affluent neighborhood on the northern outskirts of the city, is a favorite among European expats, due to the number of well-known international schools located here. A suburb in the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón to the West of Madrid, which comes highly recommended by expats and boasts a number of upscale international schools, is Somosaguas. Although buses and trains run almost hourly to the various suburbs, it is useful to have a car to do your shopping and be independent of set schedules.

Healthcare and Medical Services

Spain has a non-contributory healthcare system, which is paid for with tax revenues. Every legal resident living in Spain has the right to healthcare, and you will automatically receive public health insurance if you are employed. Madrid’s hospitals come very highly recommended. There are numerous hospitals and private clinics throughout the city. Dentists in Madrid are also very competent, although their services are not covered by state health insurance.

Due to the fact that healthcare in Spain is so easily accessible, many hospitals are overcrowded, resulting in long waiting periods. Most expats therefore choose to invest in private healthcare, which delivers the same medical care with less sitting around in overcrowded waiting rooms, but at a higher cost. There are a number of private healthcare companies in Madrid. One of the most popular amongst Spanish residents is Sanitas (link in Spanish only).

Passing the Hours in Madrid

Madrid is a cosmopolitan city, offering you anything from fine arts and sports to amusement parks and zoos. Museums such as the famous Prado or the Reina Sofía can quench the thirst of any art aficionado, while the beautiful mountains around Madrid can satisfy the hunger of an active athlete. Located just outside of Madrid, a paradise for hikers, bikers, and climbers welcomes any nature lover with open arms.

Take a look at the websites of the mountaineering (el montañismo) and biking (el ciclismo) federations (both only in Spanish) for more information concerning these sports. Expat families with kids will be happy to know that Madrid houses a zoo with an aquarium and dolphin pool directly in Casa de Campo located at only two kilometers from the city center.


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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