Moving to Madrid

Madrid is the largest city in Spain and a very densely populated city. Madrid combines the traditional Spanish lifestyle with the dynamism of a major European business city. The city is truly unique in every way, with that in mind Sirelo has made a useful guide about moving to Madrid to make it more accessible to you. This page will feature the following:

Moving to Madrid

Price estimates for a door to door move

When it comes to moving to Madrid there are a whole host of factors to consider. Primarily, these include: how you want to transport your belongings and the amount of belongings you want to move.

The most cost effective and popular mode of transport is to use a service with a removals van or lorry who transport your goods through the channel tunnel or ferry through France to Spain. Other ways of moving to Madrid include renting a container and shipping your belongings port to port. The cost of a port to port move tends to range from £660 – £1,702.

For price estimates of moving your home to Madrid with overland transport look at the table below.

Size of houseCost
1 bed flat£1,500 – £2,500
3 bed house£3,500 – £5,000
5 bed house£5, 500 – £7,000

Please bear in mind that these are just estimates and that you can find a more accurate quotation by clicking on the banner below.

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Handy tips for a move to Madrid

Don’t go to Madrid with no idea of what you’re getting yourself into. Here are some top tips for you to bear in mind for when you move.

  • NIE – Your NIE is your tax number. As boring as this may seem it is an important part of moving to Spain as it is your ticket to a bank account and employment.
  • Abono – an abono is a metro subscription. If you’re planning on getting the metro to work everyday this will save you a lot of money. The system is already cheap and efficient but being a savvy consumer can save you even more money that you might just want to spend on a few glasses of Sangria.
  • “Ocho meses de invierno, cuatro meses de inferno” – Eight months of winter, four of hell. Don’t assume that Madrid shares the same climate as the rest of Spain. Winter in Madrid can be as cold and bitter as back in the UK (although with somewhat less rain). The summers are HOT. Think of holidays to the south of Spain but without a pool or a beach to cool off in.
  • Sim card – When it comes to a Sim card in Spain think smartly about what you’ll be using it for. Whatsapp is the most useful communication tool in Spain. Do you really need to get a plan with calls and texts or can you use Whatsapp to do the same thing?

Finding the right home for you

Finding a home is a frustrating part of moving to any new city and even more frustrating when moving to a new country. Going through an estate agent is a great start to finding a home. Additionally there are some really helpful websites that you can use to find a home such as Idealista and roomgo. Both of these are popular amongst expats and locals alike.

There are 21 areas in Madrid, all of them offer something different. Different parts of Madrid suit different lifestyles. Whether you’re moving a whole family or just yourself we have you covered. Below you can find the best neighbourhoods or barrios to live in which suit your situation.

Moving to Madrid


Most families opt to live in the suburbs, as they have a lower crime rate than the centre and have a more favourable environment for children to grow up in. The best barrios for families are Salamance, Retiro, Chamberi, Nuevos Minesterios and Chamartin.

Chamberi offers a traditional Madrileño lifestyle with typical Spanish markets close to the vibrant city centre. Whereas Salamance, Retiro and Chamberi are a little bit out of the centre and more quiet after working hours, they still have great transport links to the centre so in terms of practicality you’re not that far away.


For professionals Madrid also has a lot to offer. Accessibility is a key aspect for professionals so most people prefer to be more central. The most popular barrios are Sol, Chueca and Malasana. Sol is in the beating heart of the city situated next to El Corte Inglés. Chueca and Malasana are slightly more residential areas, but take nothing away from the busy ambience that you can find here.


When it comes to students three things are a priority: proximity to classes, good nightlife and cheap rent. The parts of the city offering these are La Latina, Malasaña, Lavapies and Moncloa.

Additionally Gran Via is another great option for students that might want to spend a bit more money due to the great location in the city.

Other information about and cultural differences with Madrid

As Madrid is the capital city of Spain you will also find that it is the most efficient and similar to the rest of Western Europe. Madrid doesn’t have the same working environment as the rest of Spain when it comes to the famous siesta after lunch (and everything closing during the afternoon). However it is still common to find an 8 hour working day structured around a longer lunch break. For more information about this topic visit our working in Spain page.

Despite starting their days at the same time Madrileños tend to stay out later. Eating dinner can be as late as 11′ o clock and parties don’t really get started until 2 or 3 am. With this in mind it is much easier to understand the need for a Siesta now!

Moving to Madrid

Finding a job in the struggling Spanish job market

Finding a job in Spain is likely to be one of the most difficult tasks you will find. There is high unemployment in Spain meaning that the job market is fiercely competitive. The good news is that Madrid has the best employment opportunities in Spain – especially for English speakers. Having said that, at least some knowledge of Spanish will go a long way when it comes to a job hunt.

Realistically, we advise you to go to Madrid with a job already lined up to save a lot of hassle. Failing this, it is important to have a plan in place to lower the risk of having to return home prematurely.

A popular choice for expats is to offer English classes as a means of making money. You can earn up to €20 per hour for a 1-on-1 class. This is also a good job for the meantime if you are looking for money to make ends meet.

Transport in Madrid

As Madrid is a capital city of a large country you would expect to have a fully functioning transport system. Madrid lives up to these expectations and then some. The city’s transport system has won many international awards for a variety of things including for being efficient, environmentally friendly and accessible to the disabled. Another feature of the Madrid transport system is that it is cheap and great value for money, even more so when you consider that it is a capital city. Monthly subscriptions start at €54.60 for adults but there are significant discounts for pensioners, students, youths and families.

The easiest way around the city is with the metro, however there are also frequent buses and a public bicycle sharing system (Bicimad) making the city accessible in a variety of ways. The Bicimad system very accessible but be warned that cycle lanes in the city centre are few and far between, meaning it takes a brave cyclist to tackle the Spanish streets.

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