Ambassadors' Fact Sheet: Madrid, Spain

Facts & Tips for Living in Madrid, Spain

To help our students and graduates make a smooth transition to their new lives teaching English abroad, we've enlisted our ITA Ambassadors to provide us with insider facts and tips for making the most of life in major cities around the globe like Madrid, Spain.

Click here to download this fact sheet as a PDF file.

Whether it's finding an English-speaking doctor, opening a bank account, or simply finding a supermarket where you can find the odd comfort food from home (peanut butter!), our ambassadors have actionable on-the-ground-tips to help you feel at home in your new home city.  Please note that things change and we will do our best to keep these "Fact Sheets" updated over time and that current and future ambassadors will continue to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information possible.

Meet our Madrid Ambassador!

Meet our Madrid Ambassador

City Madrid
Country Spain
Visa Type Student Visa
North American Comfort Food Locations  

You can surprisingly find peanut butter at a lot of the markets here, but it's a bit pricey at around €5 a bottle. But there's one store I highly recommend for American comfort food such a Jiffy peanut butter, BBQ sauce, A&W Rootbeer, maple syrup, a variety of cereals, and so much more! That store is called "Taste of America" and there are at lease four different locations in Madrid. The most convenient location is located in the center, in the Chueca neighborhood.

Taste of America (Chueca location)
Ribera de Curtudores, 39, 28005 Madrid
Typically open from:
11am - 9pm (Mon - Sat) / 11am - 3pm (Sun)

Another local store I would highly recommend where you can find a lot of different comfort food and also other items such as housewares, electronics, books in English, fashion and sports is "El Corte Inglés". It's headquartered in Madrid and it's the largest department store group in Europe and ranks 4th worldwide. There are several locations all around Madrid but I like to go to the one in the center near Sol.  Fun fact: If you go to the top floor of this El Corte Inglés, you will find a tasty food court with beautiful panoramic views of Madrid. Go during sunset for some amazing photos!

El Corte Inglés 
Plaza del Callao 2, 28013 Madrid
Typically open from:
10am - 10pm (Mon - Sat) / 11am - 9pm (Sun)

Practical tips for living in Madrid, Spain

Transportation

One of the main reasons I chose Madrid was because of its central location. Being at the center of the peninsula makes it a major logistical base for convenient travel.

Metro: Second largest metro system in Western Europe (First is the London underground).
- Consists of 238 stations, it has 12 lines plus 4 "light metro" lines. 
- Runs everyday from 6am - 1:30am.
- Several ticket and pass options:
          - 1 single ticket cost €1.50.
          - 10 journey ticket cost €12.20 (includes bus rides as well).
          - Monthly transport pass (Abono card if you're over 26) for Zone A
             (main zone) cost: €54.60 for unlimited rides per month.
          - Monthly transport pass (Youth Abono card if you're under 26) for ALL
             zones cost: €20 for unlimited rides per month.

BiciMAD: Public transport system available in Madrid comprised of over 2,000 electric bicycles.
- 165 points around Madrid to pick up a bike, but you have to sign up firs at
   biciMAD.com.
- You can purchase an annual subscription or a sporadic one.
- Rates vary depending on subscription but it's between €1-€2 per hour.

Buses: These operate from approx. 6am - 11:30pm M-F / 7am - 11pm Sat & Sun. The buses in Madrid are the only public transport system available 24 hours, as the metro closes down during the night hours. The night buses, also known as "buhos" (owls) run from 11:45pm - 6am. Bus routes and their frequency are displayed at the stops and you can purchase single tickets on the bus with the driver, or you can use your monthly transport pass (Abono card).

Train (Renfe Cercanias): To get to Madrid's suburbs and surrounding areas, you can use the bus or train. The train runs from 6am to around midnight and offers frequent daily services to places such as Alcala de Henares, El Escorial and Aranjuez for an affordable ticket price (free if you have the Youth Abono card). The main rail terminals are Atocha in the South and Chamartin in the North. Consists of 9 lines and 98 stations.

Taxis: Many people prefer the comfort of taxis when traveling at night. Taxis in Madrid run all day and night and can easily be hailed in the street if the green light is on. Rates are fairly reasonable.

Uber/Lyft/ Bla Bla Car: All available throughout Madrid if you download their apps. 

AVE Highspeed Railway: Super fast train that can take you to many cities in Spain in half the time such as Barcelona and Sevilla (approx. 2.5 hours).

Madrid - Barajas Airport: Spain's busiest airport and the main hub of Iberia Airlines. Serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America, and the rest of the world. Located in the city limits of Madrid, and easy to get to by Cercanias or Metro. 

Hospitals & Doctors (English Speaking)

The three places I recommend are:

Dr. Borras Frances, Ruben Vicente: Highly recommended from the expat community, speaks flawless English. General Medicine/Family Practice. Consultation hours by appointment only: Mon - Fri 12:30 - 6:30pm.
          Calle Padilla, 20, 28006 Madrid
          Near Nunez de Balboa Metro
          Phone: +34 915 759 834

Dr. Pablo Solis Muñoz: Specialist in Digestive Diseases, Gastroenterology.
          Calle Conde de Aranda, 1, 28001 Madrid
          Neat Retiro Metro
          Phone: +34 914 351 823
          unidadmedica.com/en

Dr. Ricardo Picatoste Merino: Office Hours: 9am- 1pm and 4pm - 8pm M-T, and 9am - 1pm Fridays, by appointment only.
          Calle José Abascal, 48-7 dcha 28003 Madrid
          Phone: +34 914 412 544  //  +34 914 412 655

Beauty Supply Stores, Hairdressers & Barbers

Beauty Supply Stores:

- Sephora
- El Corte Inglés
- NYX Cosmetics

- Kiko Makeup
- The Body Shop
- HEMA
- Primor
- Gilgo
- Juteco

Hairdressers/Barbers:

- Oh My Cut!
- Corto y Cambio
- Marco Aldany

City Fact Sheets: Living in Madrid, Spain

Bank Account Location

Banco Sabadell Calle de Agustina de Aragon, 14 28006 Madrid
Phone: +34 902 323 000

Restaurants

Welcome to the culinary capital where there is so much delicious food, that it's a foodies dream! Here are just a few recommendations of typical places I enjoy eating at:

1. Takos Al PastorBest tacos in Madrid, for super cheap!
2. Tierra: The Chipotle of Madrid.
3. Alma CheliDelicious food and authentic vermut (vermouth).
4. Cereal HuntersSuper cool cereal restaurant, they literally have every cereal you could think of!
5. El Tigre: Super cheap drinks and large, free tapas.
6. Bar GalletaFantastic tapas.
7. Ojala
8. Taberna El BuoBest Spanish omelet in town!
9. VIPSSimilar to Denny's, for when you're craving an American breakfast.

Hotspots  

Some places I like to explore include:

1. Retiro Park: Largest park in Madrid where you can rent paddle boats on the lake for €6.

2. La Bicicleta Cafe: Cool coffee shop with a ton of space downstairs for studying and super tasty drinks.

3. Star Coyote 54: Fun bar/club in Madrid where a lot of locals and expats go, they also host beer pong and dance competitions.

4. El Jardin Secreto (Salvador Bachiller): Hidden bar, kind of like a secret oasis. Great for getting drinks or having brunch, but you have to make reservations first.

5. J&J Books & Coffee: English books for purchase and they host weekly intercambios.

6. Taproom: A great selection of craft beer.

7. Mercados: Any of the mercados (markets) in Madrid, they are all awesome and unique. Some of my favorites are: 
        - Mercado de San Ildefonso
        - Mercado San Anton

Madrid, Spain Fact Sheet

Permanent Housing Resources

Here's a few options you can rely on:

1. Idealista: Everyone here uses Idealista, it's honestly the best way to find an apartment here in Madrid. Try to look for "private or privado" listings as you won't have to pay an agency fee. Once you see a listing, you have to contact them right away, as all listings on Idealista disappear really fast, sometimes within a few hours!

2. BadiIt's an app used in Spain where you can create a profile and look for roommates or a place for rent. I used it and found a Spanish brother and sister to live with. I highly recommend it, if you don't mind sharing a flat with someone.

3. Spot A Home: Super cool platform that takes the hassle out of finding an apartment. Have an expert personally check all of the properties they list and provide honest feedback about the room/apartment with a video tour included. Only downside is you have to pay quite a bit more for this service.

4. Facebook: Use the ITA Alumni Spain Group and other expat groups to look for housing in the area. I did my TEFL at TtMadrid and they set us up in a larger Facebook group specifically created for housing in Madrid.  

Expat Community Resources

A few recommendations:

Internations: Set up an account and get connected with locals in the area through multiple interest groups.

TtMadrid: This is the TEFL program I went through which has a pretty large expat community that is constantly growing. 

Meetup: Don't forget about this one, there are several different interest groups you can find from running in the park, to yoga, to beer fans in Madrid.

Additional Information  

Honestly, feel free to use me as a resource. I've spent over a year living in Madrid and have learned a lot over the short time I've been here. Check out my blog for some recent posts ranging from what to pack, to things I've learned since moving here, etc. here are some other helpful websites about Madrid that I use frequently:

- City Life Madrid
- Naked Madrid
- Spanish Sabores
- Madrid Food Blog

Tips for Teaching English in Madrid

Click here to download this fact sheet as a PDF file.


Want to learn more about Teaching English Abroad?

Download your free starter guide or call 773-634-9900  to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.

Additional Resources:

New Call-to-action

Tags:

Madrid, living overseas tips, Spain English teaching, Life Abroad, Spain, banking overseas


Check Out The ITA Resource Hub!