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Your guide to moving to Madrid: everything you need to know

Are you thinking of moving to the Spanish capital? Studying at university there or getting a new job? Or, maybe you just want to relocate because you’ve got itchy feet and feel like a change of scenery? Whatever your intentions might be, we’re here to help you along the way and tell you everything you need to know about moving to Madriz.

Naturally, it’s important to recognize that – especially if you’re coming from a small town – moving to a city like Madrid will definitely feel like a big change. Yet, although the distances between places, the bustling crowds and groups of tourists waving around selfie sticks can seem overwhelming at first, know that this will pass and after some time, finding your balance shouldn’t be too hard.

Speaking from experience, we’ll share tips and tricks on how to get to know your new city, and provide you with pointers on how to cope during your first weeks. So, without any further hesitation, dive right into our essential guide to Madrid and see for yourself just how quickly you can make it your adoptive home.

A warm welcome

Madrid is considered to be a friendly city that tends to welcome everyone with open arms. And although the people here may refer to you what they call "provincials” or "guiri" at first – meaning anyone from outside of Madrid – it's affectionate, don't worry.

Getting around Madrid

As already mentioned, Madrid is a big city with longer distances between locations than your average town. Usually, and of course this depends on where you are, it takes at least half an hour to get from A to B. While this may seem like a lot at first, you quickly get used to it – and most of the time, it’s simply a case of better time management and knowing how to organize yourself.

Tip: Thankfully, if there's one thing that works in Madrid, it's public transport. Metro, train and bus connections are reliable and service all areas of the city. To familiarize yourself with timetables and routes in real time, we recommend that you download the Madrid CRTM Transport app.

The price of a monthly pass is around €50 depending on the area. If you’re under 26 years old, this rate is reduced to just €20 and includes the entire network. So, if you want to go as far as Aranjuez, you totally can. Plus, in order to be as prepared as possible in advance, you can even apply for the pass before you arrive – it will then be sent to you by post.

Additionally, Madrid boasts a variety of bike rental options such a BiciMAD. These have become very popular in recent years – just remember not to ride without your helmet on, or you could get a fine.

A city full of people

As the country's capital and most populous city, Madrid is home to more than 3 million people. Don't panic, though – they won’t all be taking the metro at the same time! If you don’t feel super comfortable being surrounded by crowds, you can always avoid the busiest, most touristy areas like Gran Via or Puerta del Sol at rush hour. These places are usually brimming with people sitting in cafés, eating in restaurants and perusing the shops so they’re worth avoiding if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.

Tip: If you’re looking for a more low-key shopping experience, try Nuevos Ministerios or Goya.

Find your place and your people

Of course, just because a city may be full of people doesn’t mean that you won’t feel lonely from time to time. After all, moving anywhere new is always difficult and even more so if you don’t know anyone. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t stay at home and try to get out and about as much as you can – from Facebook groups to meet-up apps, there are many ways to find like-minded people and make friends.

Even though it may be difficult at first, remind yourself why you decided to move in the first place. Experiencing and exploring a new city serves you the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.

What’s the deal with money?

As you would expect, prices in big cities are higher than those in the rest of Spain. Yet, in your day-to-day life, you’re most likely to see that spike in costs in your accommodation. According to the Fitch agency, the price of rents in the Spanish capital are constantly on the rise, and it is estimated that these will increase by 10% this year and by 9% in 2020.

With that being said, most of your other expenses shouldn’t serve such a dramatic blow to your budget. And if you want to find a way to manage your finances without wasting your precious time queueing up in a local bank branch, N26 will help you control and track your spending from your smartphone.

Tip: Avoid "a relaxing cup of café con leche in Plaza Mayor” unless you want to suffer the consequences of an astronomical bill afterwards. Instead, we recommend popping over to a cafeteria in your local neighborhood for a cheaper, more authentic alternative.

A city of culture

When you live in smaller towns or villages, there’s much less available when it comes to finding things to do. You won’t come across this problem in Madrid. From museums and concerts, to festivals and local openings, there’s a lot on offer in the Spanish capital when it comes to culture – and the best thing is that most of the attractions or events are often free!

Tip: Take a look at Eventbrite to familiarize yourself with what’s happening in the city. Using the search filters, you can choose the options that best suit your interests. There’s even an app you can download so you can keep an eye on the selection while on-the-go.


Although moving to a big city like Madrid can seem like quite a challenge at first, the capital offers a world of new opportunities and unforgettable memories. At N26, we’re determined to help you manage your day-to-day finances so that the only thing you have to worry about is exploring your new home.

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