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Map of the best neighbourhoods to move with your family to Madrid

Map of the best neighbourhoods to move with your family to Madrid

Recently, I have been getting questions about neighbourhoods to move with your family to Madrid. And the questions of parents organizing a move to Madrid are quite different to the questions of expats moving alone or as as couple. To make their search easier and give them a simple and visual guide to decide which neighbourhood would be the best for them, I created this interactive map of family-friendly neighbourhoods:

The best family-friendly neighbourhoods in Madrid have been indicated, with a short description, with also rental prices for those in the center of Madrid where prices are quite uniform.

I advise you do the following:

  1. Take a look at the map, first to get used to how Madrid is distributed and what are the options.
  2. Then try and calculate thanks to google how long would it take to go to work and to the very center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol.
  3. Check if the rental prices comply with your criteria
  4. Check detailed posts of these neighbourhoods: Salamanca, Retiro, Chamberi. As for the suburbian neighbourhoods, as they are so diverse, do a search on google images and do some google street view to get an idea of what it’s like to live there.

Of course, “your mileage may vary” and this selection is a reduction of reality : it is intended to simplify your search and give you useful tools and insights to feel safer and more confident about your move to Madrid. I know many happy families in other neighbourhoods and if you have any question, do not hesitate to contact us, or get in touch with one of our housing partners (such as Madrid Home Stay,which is also great for individuals and couples).

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Dogs are not deal breakers in the short-term Madrid

Dogs are not deal breakers in the short-term Madrid

Guiri Guest Angie is a graduate student who is planning her move to Madrid.  She will be moving to Madrid with her husband who serves in the US Army. Angie has a love and passion for traveling and is up for almost anything. She looks forward to learning Spanish, running-half-marathons, cooking, photography and eating while in Madrid.


Hola! My name is Angie. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m moving to Madrid in four weeks! My husband and I got the official call in March that we have been assigned to be stationed in Madrid, Spain. Initially, we were both beyond excited, but then it really started to sink in that not only would we be moving to Europe but also to a major, metropolitan city.

As the initial shock and excitement began to wear down and reality sunk in, I began to think about what to do with our two wonderful, yet sheltered babies.  Of course, I’m not talking about children, but fur babies.  Our two Pomeranians are just as much a part of this move as we are.  After all, they’re family.  We have always lived in small, quiet neighborhoods with big backyards, but how would they react to such a huge change in environment?

I’ve heard that Madrid, like much of Europe, is a very pet-friendly city.  I wondered though, would it be difficult to find living arrangements that welcome dogs?  Naturally, my first concern with moving overseas was getting my dogs used to the city life.  I needed to find a place for us to stay while getting my dogs integrated into the city.  First things first, I had to find accommodations for my husband, my dogs and myself in Madrid while we discover the city and find permanent living arrangements.

While I loved many temporary apartments I found, they unfortunately, did not accept pets.  After doing lots of research and getting tips from places like Madrid Rent Flat, in finding a place that we may have to inhabit for the next four to eight weeks, I found a great place that’s perfect for our needs.

Not only is it modern, furnished, and centrally located, but it’s also pet-friendly!  I am so excited that we will be able to introduce our sheltered animals (who are used to their own little haven) to the sprawling city life in our cute and clean hotel apartment – a place we can call (temporary) home!  I can’t think of a better way for my husband and I to transition into our new life together in Spain than with two happy fur babies!

Neighborhood: Goya

Neighborhood: Goya

I live in the Goya barrio, which is part of the district of Salamanca, here in Madrid. More specifically, it’s basically a giant square bordered by Principe de Vergara, Calle O’Donnell, Calle del Doctor Esquerdo, and Calle de Don Ramon de la Cruz.

When we first moved to Madrid and were thinking about where to live we were admittedly a bit overwhelmed. Do we want the hustle and bustle of Sol? The twisty streets of La Latina? The gritty yet cool area of Chueca? Or do we head out of the center altogether? We decided on Goya for a variety of reasons. It’s very close to Retiro, a quick one-line ride into Sol on the red line, is rather upscale without being pretentious, and is pretty close to IE, my husband’s university.

I’d say one of the most awesome things about Goya is living near the Palacio de Deportes. I’ve never actually seen a concert here, but I’ve been entertained on many evenings by the happens in Plaza San Felipe II, right next to the venue. People lined up for concerts, food stalls, sometimes even music that’s being played outside of the Palacio de Deportes makes for an entertaining evening. If Shakira comes back to Madrid I will certainly have to secure a ticket and see her from a proper seat. On the other side of the Palacio is the Real Casa de la Moneda, which is basically a big money museum.

For food shopping there are plenty of options in Goya. There is a large supermarket at one of the two giant Corte Ingles buildings at the Goya/Alcala intersection. The other Corte Ingles building houses a level dedicated to luxury and gourmet goods, along with a stocked papeleria with a small greeting card section. A decent-sized Carrefour is located on Calle Conde de Penalver, not far from the Correos, and a KFC (hey, you might be hungry after waiting 45 minutes to post something). There is also a row of fantastic local shops (a butcher, fruit/veggies, and a fish guy) located on Hermosilla, if you’d like some local flavor instead of the big brands.

Just outside of the technical Goya zone, on the southern side, is a great little movie theater that plays English films, Renoir Retiro. Mondays are discount days. The theater only shows 4 movies at a time, and the theaters themselves are rather small, creating an intimate and friendly atmosphere. They even have a book swap book shelf on the second floor. Take a book, bring a book!

Other useful places to know: there is a hospital and a dentist’s office (a Sanitas office) on Calle del Doctor Esquerdo, and two Chinese “bazaar” shops (which are full of cheap but often useful items), one on Hermosilla, and the other on Alcantara.

Overall I really like living in Goya. It’s close to everything in Madrid, but isn’t smack in the middle of the party. Beautiful balconies, quaint European side streets, and proximity to the park and main center makes Goya a great barrio to live in. If you’d like help finding an apartment in this area, try checking in with Madrid Rent Flat or Madrid Home Stay!

Looking for an apartment rental in Madrid?

Looking for an apartment rental in Madrid?

My husband and I arrived in Madrid in early September, exhausted from our 31-day journey on the Camino de Santiago. We were on the hunt for a place to stay while we sorted out our living arrangements for our 15 month stay in Madrid. After weeks of albergues and hostels we were not in the mood for that here in Madrid. Luckily some friends happened upon Madrid Rent Flat, a company that offers luxurious Spanish apartments from stays as short as 3 days, up to a year or more.

We stayed in Ventas, which is located just down the street from the bullring. In fact, I could open the windows in the living room, stick my head out, and see it from there! I thought that was pretty cool, and the awesome location encouraged a trip to see a bullfight.

Madrid Rent Flat has apartments all over the center of Madrid, so you can chose your desired neighborhood, apartment type, price, and go from there. They offer short-term rentals (stays of three nights or more), long term rentals (whatever the length of your stay may be). We stayed in the Ventas apartment for one week but I could have stayed an entire year. The place was gorgeous. Creamy white furniture, colored throw pillows, and an amazingly comfy mattress. It was very stylish, yet also very comfortable (although I admit I didn’t stray from the dining room table with my glass of red wine!)

The high-speed internet, which didn’t fail once, was a huge plus. This is a great option instead of booking a traditional hotel. We had more space, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, internet, etc and it was at a lower cost than staying at a hotel. With all the guests you’ll have coming to see you in Madrid, this is a great option!


Barrio Hopping in Madrid: Take 3 [Las Musas]

Barrio Hopping in Madrid: Take 3 [Las Musas]

Friend of the Guiri Guide, Kathleen Hershner, has lived in Madrid now for nearly 8 years and has experienced living in many barrios. She shares with us attributes of each, with her own personal flare. This segment will have multiple installations in order to provide you with the greatest of detail as you work to select your ideal home.

I tallied up the places I’ve lived (while bored, on a flight back from Menorca), and was surprised to find that I’ve averaged one move per year during my extended ‘visit’. Some have been short-lived and some long enough to feel like a real home.  In order:


Las Musas. Nothing particularly amusing or muse-like/inspirational in this barrio, but it was efficient enough and the air currents flow more freely than they do in the center. At the time Iived there, it was the terminus of Line 7 in the east of Madrid, but has since expanded several stops farther east as a result of Madrid’s try for the 2016 Olympic Games. I replied to a classified ad in the InMadrid newspaper (great source for guiris looking for flats) and moved in with a pleasant young English woman who worked for a large U.K. publishing company.  Ruth had recently purchased a tiny, but cozy and totally reformed (American English: renovated) flat that had a HUGE triangle-shaped terrace.  My bedroom was tiny but I had my own bathroom (KEY!) and I got along well with my roommate.

The two best attributes this situation offered was a Mercadona supermarket on the ground floor – (super convenient but the built-in hazard of feeding any craving you may have during opening hours is a bit of a risk) and the O’Donnell bike path which was a 5 minute’s walk away.  This planned ring-around-Madrid was also nearing completion and I think Las Musas was its farthest outpost at the time. It was such a novelty to be able to run outside my office/bedroom for a quick burst of energy and relief from sitting in front of my computer editing books for my company. I could also ride my bike to the radio station in Barrio de la Concepción which was handy.  It was the closest thing I’ve had yet to living in the suburbs here in Madrid.  I didn’t find riding in the streets here much different than in Honolulu, except that the taxi drivers were aggressive and sometimes obnoxious towards cyclists, something that doesn’t happen in California where lawsuits aren’t covered by a Socialist healthcare system!

On an impulse, I bought my Westie puppy Scout from a pet shop on Calle Atocha and needed to move immediately because not everyone (including Ruth) thinks that puppy-rearing is ‘la ostia’. So it was time to move again…