Madrid City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2008

movingtospainIMAGE200Madrid is a city in Spain that is both the country’s capital and its largest city. Considered a major financial and business center, many of Spain’s largest and most important companies are located there. Amongst these companies are Telefónica, Endesa and Repsol-YPF. These three companies are included in the list of 100 largest companies in the world. Madrid is located on the river Manzanares in the center of both the country and the Community of Madrid.

In spite of the city’s economic and political significance, it has managed to retain much of its historic and cultural legacy, and to this day many examples of its impressive classic architecture exist side by side with its more modern urban structures.With its modernity, living in Madrid’s has become expensive as shared in a post at the Spain Expat Forum last June 5, 2009:

The cost of living here isnt particularly cheap here anymore. Food and household stuff is about the same as the UK, council tax is cheaper, petrols a little bit cheaper, cigs and booze are cheaper. Cars and electrical goods are more expensive. Electricity is about the same.

Residential Places in Madrid

Out of all the major cities in Europe, Madrid has one of the lowest numbers of properties for rent. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that rental prices in the city are much lower than they are in other capital cities such as Berlin or Paris. Depending upon the location, be it in the Primera Corona or Segunda Corona, properties are priced differently. Whatever the reason, demand for rental property in Madrid is extremely high and for every house, condo or apartment unit that becomes available in the market, there could be up to five or more people eager to snap it up as soon as possible. Interestingly, only about 14% of the properties offered in the Madrid real estate market are for rent–which comes to around 300,000 units–although it has been estimated that there are currently about 350,000 units that are unoccupied. Some of the rental prices that you can expect to pay in central Madrid are: €1,600 for Salamanca, €1,400 for the Chamberí district, €1,300 for Retiro, €1,200 for Moncloa, and €1,000 for Centro.

In comparison, purchasing a flat in Madrid will require about €66,000 for the deposit (which comes to about 20% of the total property cost), and about €33,000 for taxes and various registration and legal fees. With a mortgage period of 30 years, you can expect to pay about €1,475 every month, €1,100 of which will go to monthly payments with the rest going to community fees, council taxes and maintenance costs.

Hospitals and Universities of Madrid

One thing you will have no trouble in finding in Madrid is a hospital. A huge number of private and public hospitals can be found in the city, as well as smaller clinics and specialty medical care establishments. The quality of health care services and facilities in Madrid–as in the rest of the country–is generally very good, and many of the larger hospitals will have someone on staff that can speak English. Some of the larger hospitals are the Cardiología Hospital Gregorio Marañon, Centro Clínico el Bosque, Clínica López Ibor, Grupo Hospitalario Capio Sanidad and the Hospital Alcorcon.

Commercial Places in Madrid

Upon first visiting Madrid, you will quickly realize that one thing that the residents of this city love to do is to eat! There are quite a few local delicacies that are always a part of the menu in any Spanish restaurant, but the ones that stand out in particular are paella and tapas. One of the best places to sample paella in is the appropriately named La Paella de la Reina, which you can find at the Grand Via near the Chueca stop of the metro.

As for tapas, you can do far worse than to go to La Taperia at C/Huertas, where they have a huge selection of delicious tapas at very reasonable prices. Another place where you can have your fill of tapas is Bar Tapas, which is at the northern end of Chueca, near Plaza Alonso Martinez. There are also several bars and other dining establishments around this plaza to choose from.

Another truly Madrilenan activity is clubbing in the city as the nightclubs in Madrid are open early in the evening until early hours of the morning to serve its youthful clientele.

Service Establishments of Madrid

Previously, the entire country was serviced by only a few major electricity providers, among them Grupo Endesa, which is the largest one in the country, Iberdrola, Union Fenosa and Hidrocantábrico. The liberalization of the energy laws in January of 2003 however allowed consumers to choose which company they want to purchase electricity services from. Currently, the main electricity provider in Madrid is Hidrocantábrico. You can call them at 902-860 860 or you can visit their website at Some other electricity providers in the city are Iberdrola, which you can either call at 901-202 020 or contact via their website at, and Unión Fenosa, which provides electricity to Madrid as well as other areas in central Spain. You can call Unión Fenosa at 901-404 040 or visit their website at Only a few areas in Spain have mains gas although plans are underway to pipe gas from Algeria and Libya. Most every household in Spain relies on bottled gas delivered by the main gas distributor, Repsol Butano, or a smaller authorized local distributor. A 12.5 kilogram bottle of gas typically sells for €12.50, although prices tend to vary depending on current fuel prices in the world market. A 12.5 kilogram bottle will last an average sized family about 6 to 8 weeks.

For water supply services in Madrid, you can call Canal de Isabel II at 901 51 65 16 and Hispanagua at 91 845 70 86.

Embassies in Madrid

For consular assistance in Madrid, you can contact the office of the British Embassy at C/ Fernando el Santo, 16, 28010 Madrid. You can call them at (34) (91) 700 82 00 and at (34) (91) 524 9700 for consular services. You can also email them at [email protected] or at [email protected], and you can visit their website at

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Maureen August 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm

We live in Madrid and want to book a winter holiday to either Dominican Republic, Cuba or Mexico, can anyone advice how to go about this and find a travel agent that speaks reasonable English in order for us to discuss all the options for flights etc.


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