place for Spaniard’s work-life balance in the OECD ranking
in Monocle magazine’s quality of life ranking
green space m² per inhabitant
minutes average commute to work
There’s more to life than just work! What’s your pick: football, high culture or shopping? With its world-class quality of life, Madrid is a tolerant, smart, green and liveable international city.
International quality of life rankings rate Spain and Madrid as two of the best places for living. According to the OECD Spain is 4th in its work-life balance ranking, comparing hours at work to personal life, ahead of countries such as the USA, Germany, UK, Sweden and Russia. This surely contributes to Monocle magazine’s quality of life ranking placing Madrid in 10th position above Barcelona, Helsinki, Vancouver and Düsseldorf in terms of economic development. Expats also value Spain’s world-class quality of life listing it as their 1st choice when talking about health or social life, and their 2nd most preferred country to live in, according to an HSBC survey.
Cost of living in Madrid is far below other main capital cities in Europe such as Paris, London, Dublin or Frankfurt, not to mention expensive global cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Seoul. It rates a low 34th in the cost-of-living ranking, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
For tourists and Madrileños alike, there’s never a dull moment in Madrid! Whether you’re a football fan, world-class art galleries or high street shopping precincts, the entertainment offer in the city is very affordable with tourists spending an average of €190 to €250 per day.
As one of the most exciting cultural destinations worldwide, Madrid is home to the icons of the Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Just 10 minutes walk from each other, together they see over 7 million visitors annually, including many from overseas (60% of Museo del Prado’s visitors).
Less than one hour from Madrid city (sources)
Beyond museums, Madrid’s dynamic art scene is populated by major exhibitions. ARCO is one of the most important contemporary art showcases worldwide with over 200 exhibitors. Art Madrid and Estampa are significant for modern art, whereas Feriarte and Almoneda display precious antiques. 22% of the galleries of art and collectibles in Spain are located in Madrid.
So many choices: what will you do?
And let’s not forget the shopping! The Globe Shopper Index rated Madrid as the 2nd preferred shopping destination worldwide (it was rated 5th for hotels and transport). Madrid’s retail tourists travel here from around the globe, traditionally from the USA and Europe, but in recent years it has also welcomed an increasing number of visitors from Northern Europe and Asia, especially India, China and Japan. Shoppers head for the city centre, in particular the high streets of Salamanca, as well as the outskirts of the city where there are four big outlet malls only 20 minutes drive from the centre.
The high proportion of foreigners in Madrid injects it with a lively international, culinary and cultural diversity. One in seven Madrid residents is a foreigner, totalling over 400,000 plus foreign residents with that number growing each year.
As a capital city, Madrid plays host to many embassies, consulates and also private associations that provide support services to foreigners. They help to navigate bureaucratic procedures, as well as to soften the landing through social groups and cultural activities (exhibitions, films, live music, conferences) involving fellow compatriots and Spaniards.
Foreign Residents in Madrid
With its high tolerance towards immigrants, religions and lifestyle choice, Spain ranks 10th worldwide for tolerance, according to the Social Progress Index. A Pew Research Center survey in 2013 showed that Spain had the most tolerant attitude towards homosexuality of all countries. A second survey by IPSOS in 16 countries stated that Spain was also the most inclusive society for transgender people.
Commuting in Madrid is simple due to excellent public transport, road links and the fact that Madrid is a walking city. According to TomTom’s traffic index, Madrid ranked 6th in avoiding bottlenecks within 140 capital cities in the world. An average work commute in Madrid only takes 31 minutes (Urban Audit).
As a smart city Madrid residents benefit from intelligent services such as shared transport (cars, motorcycles and bikes), updated public transport information, an open data website, etc. The MiNT project, with IBM technology, allows the city council to efficiently manage parks, public spaces, cleaning services, garbage collection, waste treatment, street lights and traffic.
In recent years the city council has focussed on creating a green, healthy city for residents through: several ambitious pedestrianization plans, with more on the way; adapting to, and reducing the effects of, climate change through the Madrid+Natural plan which proposes multiple green solutions; and delivering over 20 green space per m² for each Madrid resident.