Are you excited about coming to Madrid? We bet you’re counting the days till your arrival! Madrid is a big city and there are lots of things to do. But first things first, lets explore a couple of things so that you can then relax and enjoy your experience in this capital to the fullest. Here are some tips on how to get set-up in Madrid…
When you arrive to a new country, it’s essential to get connected – new city, new sim card! Get your spanish digits (+34) so you can call home, friends to keep in touch and also explore Madrid. You have 2 options in Spain: getting a pre-paid sim card, or signing a contract.
The first option, a pre-paid SIM card, is available through our BeMadrid office (service is offered with Orange mobile network operator).
The second option varies, you are able to choose from different companies including Yoigo Lycamobile and others depending on your specific phone needs. These are two of the most convenient and affordable operators in Madrid!
Transport in Madrid
Being in the capital, it’s no drama to travel around. Everything in the centre is pretty close, but for when you do want
Being in the capital has its perks! Everything in the city center is pretty close, however using public transport to travel around the city is practical; buses, trains and metro services are extremely efficient and reliable.
When you arrive at the airport, you can chose to take the metro, bus, taxi.
Taking the metro from the airport would approximately cost 5 euros.
However, if you prefer (since you are carrying heavy luggage!) use a TAXI app (Cabify or Mytaxi) to order a ride at time you might get lucky and even receive free ride! Furthermore these apps will be handy for the rest of your stay in Madrid (Note: Though you can try Uber at the airport, normally there are not that many cars available as there are in the city). Good luck with your first travel!
Metro Travel Cards: Upon arriving to your new place, consider getting a metro card it is simple and cheap. For people under 26, the card approximately costs 20 euros a month and can be used for all mediums of public transport. Travel to any zone in Madrid and dare to travel all the way up to Toledo! Fantastic value right?! If it interests you get your card through BeMadrid. It is quick and easy, just come to the office for the consultation and we do the rest, we are here to help you!
Get your bank account
We know how difficult it can be to open up a bank account in a foreign land. But please don’t stress! Here in Spain, setting up your finances is straightforward unlike other European countries.
Although this task can be done before arrival, it is easier to do this once you are here in Spain. Most banks accept non resident accounts and are processed within 1-5 days!
The annual fee for a current account (cuenta corriente) in Spain is normally 15-30 euro fee in Santander, Banco Popular, Bankia and La Caixa. To open an account we highly suggest to schedule an appointment at your chosen bank (might be possible to request an English speaking advisor), and all the requested documentation. Requiered documentation typically includes proof of identity, proof of address, and proof of resident status (e.g. student card or employment contract). See it simple and easy… you are so close on getting all set to live up this incredible city!
Even though it can be daunting moving to a new place specially country, where they different language from you, do not worry Madrid is an extremely safe and friendly city. This capital is a perfect host for the international community! Keep in mind tha as with any new place you need to be careful with the obvious street pick-pockets (don’t leave your phone on the table when sitting out on a terrace!). As Spaniards would advice: Cuidate. Use common sense as you would anywhere else. Madrid is a wonderful, open minded and fabulous city, full of friendly faces and fun places.
A few final essentials…
Once orientated, start exploring the city and organize your Spanish routine. Here are few important tips…
Packing your bags/ weather: Something to bear in mind when packing your bags, is that when Summer comes around, Madrid gets HOT! Undoubtedly it depends on the season of the year, but don’t take many sweaters, hats, gloves and other warm weather items. Even in winter you are not going to freeze – but don’t expect to see people wearing T-shirts during the whole year round! We advise you to take more light clothes but also a leather jacket and warm winter coat. As for the summer, the temperature varies between 20 to 35 degrees and there is almost no wind – so don’t forget your bathing suit! In Madrid there are many outdoor swimming pools open from May until September, and also there are lakes nearby.
Supermarkets: There are many supermarkets allmove the city. Usually open until 10 pm, and others such as Supercor remain open until 11. Though Supercor it is slightly more expensive it provides a greater quality on products such as humus, fresh meat, or typically spanish salmorejo and gazpacho. Supermarkets Lidl, Dia and Mercadona are the affordable ones, just check which one is closest to you!
Water: Here in Spain you can drink water from the tap. It’s tasty, clean and safe – though as with anywhere you may appreciate investing in a Brita water filter for an extra pure taste!
Pharmacies: Farmacias are abundant, you can always catch one at the end of the street! As with many European cities, just look for the flashing green cross and make sure that there is another sign indicating that it is open. These operate within the normal opening times, but there are also many across the city that are open 24 hours. Here we have listed a few close to the centre, but they are not hard to find. There are even lists in the street outside some pharmacies indicating the opening hours of those nearby! Something to bear in mind is that although late at night some may appear closed with the windows barred, if labeled as 24 hours and the green cross is illuminated, then it is open. Simply ring the doorbell and after a couple of minutes someone will appear to help with your request! A small additional service charge may apply.
- Farmacia Lopez Laguna (Calle Velazquez, 70, 28001 Madrid, Barrio: Salamanca)
- Farmacia Sexta Avenida (Avenida de la Victoria, 2, Centro Commercial Sexta Avenida, El Plantío – 28023 Madrid, Barrio: Centro/Sol)
- Farmacia 24h Goya 89 (Calle Goya, 89, 28001 Madrid (Madrid), Barrio: Salamanca/Goya)
- Farmacia Astura 24h (Calle Francisco Silvela, 36, 28028 Madrid, Barrio: Lista/Guindalera)
- Alcala 173 (Calle Alcala, 173 – Corner of Montesa, 28009 Madrid, Barrio: Goya)
Get out, meet and mingle – any day, any time!
Madrid absolutely thrives day and night with energy and culture – we are not exaggerating when talking about it’s fantastic and vibrant nightlife! So upon arrival, do not hesitate to get involved! It is beyond easy to meet people with the countless activities around the city, any day of the week. You may ask how you would make friends as soon as you settle in Madrid. It is easy. One or many of the Facebook groups but also here in Be Madrid we offer daily activities ranging from tapas, salsa classes, and meet and greets!
As this wasn’t enough to keep you entertained in this city you can also explore the rest of the country, and other part of Europe. Madrid, is a transport hub with fantastic route links, so don’t miss the chance to explore the rest of mesmerizing Spain with cities like Valencia, Sevilla and Granada! And don’t stop there, with Be Madrid you can also travel easily across this diverse and varied part of Europe with Portugal, and Morocco only a stone’s throw away!
So now you know the essentials about getting started and settled in Madrid, from packing your things in your hometown, to getting out and exploring this vibrant city and meeting new people! Don’t worry, it’s simple and at Be Madrid we are here to help you with any issues you may have. So for now, hasta pronto y buen viaje!
By Ksenia Vosnesenskaya and Heidi Edwards
If you need help at your arrival , just look at these services!