Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1562 and is located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, in the very center of the plateau known as the meseta, at an altitude of 650 m above sea level. The Manzanares River crosses the city on its way to join the Jarama.

Madrid enjoys a continental Mediterranean climate. This means that the temperature can be quite extreme. In winter, it can get very cold and it can be very hot in summer. There is not much of rainfall, except in spring and fall, when it can be quite heavy.

A cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic city, the capital is home to over 3 million people, to which we have to add another 1 million commuters. It is a bubbly city, a business center and headquarters of the central public administration, the National Government and the Spanish Parliament.

Madrid is characterized by its intense cultural and artistic activity and a very active night life with pubs, theaters, and cafes offering late night performances, and discos open until the early hours.

The Districts

    1. Centro
    2. Arganzuela
    3. Retiro
    4. Salamanca
    5. Chamartín
    6. Tetuan
    7. Chamberí
    8. Fuencarral
    9. Moncloa (Campus USP CEU)
    10. Latina
    11. Carabanchel
    12. Usera
    13. Puente Vallecas
    14. Moratalaz
    15. Ciudad Lineal
    16. Hortaleza
    17. Villaverde
    18. Villa de Vallecas
    19. Vicálvaro
    20. San Blas
    21. Barajas

Cost of living

The cost of living for a student in Madrid is around € 700/month (depending on the type of accommodations chosen). These costs are approximate.

  • Accommodations in a shared apartment: this varies greatly depending on the area but you can find rooms for rent in shared apartments for € 400
  • Subsistence: € 150/month
  • Books: € 90/year
  • Clothes: € 240/year
  • Public transportation pass: 20 € a month for all zones from A to E2
  • Pocket money: € 100
  • Movies: € 8
  • One-way bus journey: € 1.50
  • One-way journey on the subway (Metro): € 2
  • Taxi trip: € 7
  • Lunchtime set meals: between € 10 and € 14
  • Set meal at the Montepríncipe and Moncloa Campuses: between € 5 and € 10. The cafeterias provide microwaves for students who wish to bring their own meals from home.
  • Coffee in a bar: € 1.50
  • Beer in a bar: € 2 for 33 cl bottle (“tercio”)
  • Medium drink at a pub or disco at night: € 7
  • Soft drinks from dispensers: € 1
  • Admission to museums: between € 3 and € 12
  • A newspaper: € 1.50
  • Taxi ride from the airport to the city center: € 30 for a trip lasting about 20 minutes

Public Transportation

Madrid is a very well communicated city thanks to its extensive public transportation network. You can consult the whole network on the website of the Madrid Regional Transportation Authority (Consorcio Regional de Transportes en Madrid).


At Metro stations and tobacconists’ you can buy 10-journey tickets that are valid for travel on the subway (Metro) and city buses. For one-way journeys, you have to buy your ticket on entering the bus or at the Metro turnstiles. All the possibilities and their prices can be found here: https://www.metromadrid.es/es/viaja_en_metro/tarifas/billetes/

There are also monthly or annual season tickets valid for all forms of public transportation within a given area.



One of the most convenient ways to get around the center of Madrid is by Metro (subway). However, you must remember that Metro stations close at 1:30 in the morning and you will have to resort to the night buses (“búhos”) or a taxi after that.


To travel further afield, outside the City Center, you can opt for the “light rail” train service, which you will need to take if you want to go to the Montepríncipe campus.


Spain’s national rail company is called Renfe (short for “Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles”). The two most important train stations in Madrid are Atocha (in the south) and Chamartín (in the north). www.renfe.com

Renfe provides a network of suburban trains called “Cercanías”. These provide commuter services to the outlying districts and the towns in the province of Madrid, as well as enabling you to travel to interesting tourist attractions such as the monastery in El Escorial. Timetables: http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/madrid/

The high-speed rail service is called the AVE (from “alta velocidad”). It is the most comfortable way to travel long distances across Spain, for instance to visit cities like Seville, Valencia or Barcelona. http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/larga_distancia/productos/


Cycling is an option for getting around Madrid. Madrid City Council makes electric bicycles available at stands around the city through a service known as BiciMAD.


Another option is to buy a second-hand bike. Here are some web pages that might help you find what you are looking for:

City buses

You may choose to get around by city bus. There is even a night service of “búhos” throughout the night. You can calculate your itinerary through the interactive map available at this link:


The ALSA bus company can take you to cities further away and tourist attractions at affordable prices. Among other destinations, it provides long-distance services to Toledo, Segovia and Barcelona.


“Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez” airport is located in the eastern part of the city of Madrid center. There is a free transfer bus that enables you to change terminals within the airport complex. To go into the city center, you can choose between taking the Metro (Terminal 2), a train (from Terminal 4 to Chamartín or Atocha), an Express coach, a normal city bus (into Avenida de América) or a taxi (flat rate of 30 euros). A one-way ticket on the Metro costs approximately 5 euros to/from the airport.


How to find accommodation

Advice Accomodation

Madrid offers many accommodation options. Lots of students choose to rent a room in a shared flat, but you can also live at a student´s residence or rent a flat on your own.

Student Residences and Halls of Residence

List of ado student residences and halls of residence

Student residences and halls of residence

Agencies for letting rooms in shared flats

With the help of an agency specialized in accommodation for students, you can easily find student accommodation before you even arrive in Madrid. Agencies usually charge one month’s rent for their services.

Renting a flat

The most economical way to find a flat is to look for it yourself. This will let you see and compare various different rooms and flats before you decide. However, it tends to take longer. Here are some useful links for finding accommodation:

We also suggest that you have a look at Facebook groups to search for an apartment, like for instance Pisos y habitaciones en Madrid.

Do’s and Don’ts when looking for accommodation

Find Out all you can about the district, the prices, expenses, etc. Don’t blindly trust the photos on the internet
Place an ad on the social media, platforms, faculty notice boards, etc. Don’t hand over any money until you sign the contract
Choose a district you like Don’t sign a contract until after you have seen the room / flat
Find out how easy it is to get to university on public transport Don’t take rash decisions on a whim
Make a list with the most important questions and ask them all
Take your time when looking around a room or a flat
Get to know your future flatmates before signing the contract
Compare different rooms
Take photos when you move in so that you have a record of the state the Flat / room was in when you arrived

Frequently asked questions about accommodation

In general, how much does it cost to rent a flat in Madrid?

This will depend on the area you choose and the kind of flat you are looking for. A room in a shared flat close to the Moncloa Campus usually costs between 400 to 600 euros a month. A flat on your own would cost you much more.

How long does it take to find accommodation?

It doesn’t usually take long as there are a lot of flats and rooms available. We recommend you budget to stay at a hotel or hostel for the first week or so of your stay so that you have time to look around, compare what’s on offer and, above, see the options for yourself.

Which part of Madrid is most recommendable for living in?

Although Madrid city is varied enormously and every district has its own personality, it is true there are some areas it might be better to avoid. The best advice is to look for a flat in an area where lots of other students live, as this means you will probably have the services you will need for your university life. It is also important to check how you can get to the University easily and/or quickly. The Metro is the safest and fastest form of public transport.

Typical student districts: Moncloa, Argüelles and Chamberí.

City centre districts: Universidad, La Latina, Justicia, etc. Prices tend to be higher and the apartments smaller in these areas. The streets are always busy and lots of events going on, bars, etc. The advantages are that these areas are well communicated and you can find many of the services you need only a few minutes’ walk away.

Areas to avoid: Lavapiés and Sol. These areas typically receive lots of tourists all year round and it may be difficult to find the peace and quiet you will need to study.

I need a hotel for the first few days. Where should I stay?

We offer below some information and approximate prices about hotels and hostels where you could stay during your first few days in Madrid if you have not yet arranged accommodation, or if you are just coming to visit and want to stay somewhere close to the University.

Hotel Exe Moncloa**** Address: Arcipreste de Hita, 10, Chamberi, 28015 Madrid
Double room with one or two beds: 85-90 euros/night
Single room: 78 -87 euros
NH Madrid Alberto Aguilera*** Address: Alberto Aguilera, 18, Chamberi, 28015 Madrid
Double room from 79 euros/night
NH Madrid Argüelles*** Address: Vallehermoso, 65, Chamberi, 28015 Madrid
Double room with one or two beds: 80-90 euros/night
Single room: 70-80 euros/night
Husa Princesa**** Address: Princesa, 40, Madrid Centro, 28008 Madrid
Double room with one or two beds: from 85 euros/night
Triple room: from 119 euros/night

Hostal Ártico *** Address: Donoso Cortes, 69, Chamberí, 28015 Madrid
Double room with one or two beds: 65 euros/night
Single room: 40 euros/ night
T3 Tirol *** Address: Marques de Urquijo, 4, Moncloa-Aravaca, 28008 Madrid
Double room: from 54 euros/night
Triple room: 97 euros/night
Hostal Moncloa** Address: Hilarión Eslava, 16, Chamberí, 28015 Madrid,
Double room: from 45 euros/night
Single room: from 40 euros/night
Room for 3 people: from 55 euros/night
Hostal Angelines* Address: Hilarion Eslava,12, Chamberí, 28015 Madrid,
Double room: from 45 euros/night
Single room: from 40 euros/night

Apartamentos Argüelles Address: Vallehermoso, 3 Chamberí, 28015 Madrid
Bedsit for 2 adults: from 44 euros/night
Bedsit for 3 adults: from 51.30 euros/night
Aparto Suites Muralto *** Address: Buen Suceso, 3, Moncloa-Aravaca, 28008 Madrid
Apartment for 3 adults: 105 euro - 146 euro/night

Youth hostel
Albergue Juvenil Santa Cruz de Marcenado Address: Santa Cruz de Marcenado 28, 28015 Madrid (Centro)
From 14 euros/night
Room 007 Room 007
2 hostels:
Calle Ventura de la Vega 5, 28014 - Madrid
Calle Hortaleza 74, 28004 - Madrid, (Chueca)
From 16 euros/night


You may find these interesting:



Blogs about Madrid:www.madridbloggers.com

Visit the Facebook pages devoted to Madrid as well, such as ‘Time out Madrid’ and ‘Citylife Madrid’.

Important Telephone numbers

Tel.: (+34) 902 404 704/ (+34)91 321 10 00
Madrid City Council
Tel.: 010
Fire Brigade
Tel.: 080
Madrid Regional Government
Tel.: 012
Condition of the Roads
Tel.: 011
Emergency Services
Tel.: 112
All-Night Chemists / Pharmacies
Tel.: 098
Municipal Police
Tel.: 092
National Police Force
Tel.: 091
Radio Taxi service
Tel.: (+34)91 540 45 00
Independent radio taxi service
Tel.: (+34)91 405 12 13
Tel.: (+34)902 24 02 02
Taxi for people with reduced mobility
Tel.: (+34)91 547 86 00
Tel.: (+34)91 445 90 08
Public Transport
Tel.: (+34)91 580 42 60 / 012
Serious medical emergencies
Tel.: 061
Freephone numbers to block Credit Cards
900 971 231 (Mastercard)
900 991 124 (Visa)

Useful Information


The archetype of a Spaniard is an open, welcoming, talkative person. Spaniards tend to be less reserved that Northern Europeans.

But it must be said that these characteristics of a ‘Spaniard’ vary greatly from one region to another within Spain. Thus, people from Madrid (“madrileños”), the Basque Country (“vascos”), Galicia (“gallegos”), Valencia (“valencianos”), Catalonia (“catalanes”) and Andalusia (“andaluces”) are all marked by their own regional peculiarities and customs.

Nonetheless, we must remind you that everyone is a world unto himself or herself.


The official language of Madrid is Castilian Spanish, but it should be remembered that six of the seventeen administrative regions of Spain also have another co-official language alongside Spanish: catalán (in Catalonia and the Balearics), gallego (in Galicia), valenciano (in the Valencian region) and euskera (in the Basque Country).

One of the support services available for international students is the organization of a 20 hour intensive Spanish course as soon as you arrive.
*Service included in International Support Services.


As Spain forms part of the European Union and the Monetary Union, its national currency is the euro. Depending on your country of origin or residence, the value of your currency may fluctuate with regard to the euro. If so, be sure to find out about the exchange rates before you arrive in Spain.

A currency converter could be useful to give you an idea of the differences with regard to the value in euros.



What is the European Health Card?

The European Health Card is only available to students from one of the 27 countries in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This card entitles them to use Spain’s public health system.

Further information at:


If I am not from Europe, how can I get medical attention?

You will need to take out private medical insurance. In Spain, there are several companies offering private insurance. Here are some of them:
  • Sanitas
  • Adeslas
  • Asisa
  • Cigna

Should I take out private medical insurance?

If you are not European, it is compulsory. If you are from Europe and have access to the public health service in Spain, you do not need private medical insurance, although it may be worth reviewing the cover provided under private medical insurance if it covers hospitalization expenses, medication, or specialist medical care that may be of interest.


Is the power supply in Madrid the same as in my country?

The standard format for electricity in Madrid is 220-240 V at 50 HZ. If you are bringing your own electrical appliances with you from your own country, you should make sure that they are going to work in Spain or else bring a suitable adapter.


What are the normal mealtimes in Madrid?

In Spain, people generally eat lunch much later than in the rest of Europe: breakfast is served between 7:30 and 10:30 and lunch between 1:00 and 3:30. We do not normally have dinner before 8:30 in the evening.

This timetable also affects leisure activities, so it is normal to go out for a drink at night to pubs that close at 3:30 in the morning or even later.

What are the normal opening hours in Madrid?

A normal office worker starts at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. and finishes between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Some services (such as banks) are not available in the afternoon and public offices (e.g. the City Council) normally close at 3:00 p.m.


Is it normal to pay with a credit card in Spain?

In Spain, it is possible to use a credit card for almost anything, including cab fares. Some retail outlets apply a minimum of around 10 euros before accepting electronic payments. All the main credit cards are accepted, such as Visa, MasterCard, 4B, American Express or Diners Club.

Do I need to open a Spanish bank account?

One of the support services available for international students is the opening of a bank account.
*Service included in International Support Services.


Am I likely to run into food-related problems in Madrid?

In the large department stores, it is more and more common to see products from other countries, so if you miss the typical food from your home country, see if you can find what you are looking for in one of the city’s large supermarkets as you just may find it. One of the good things about Madrid is that you can find almost anything.

Spanish cuisine is very famous around the globe. You will be able to shop at numerous supermarkets (Simply, Ahorra Más, Mercadona, Carrefour, …) and also at small local shops near where you live.

Where can I pick up second-hand goods, such as a microwave?

The website www.segundamano.com offers an extensive range of all kinds of second-hand items.

For furniture, a pillow, or other household items, you can try going to Ikea, the Corte Inglés, Leroy Merlin, and so on.


Which are the main mobile telecommunications operators?

The cheapest telecoms operator is called Yoigo and offers contracts from 6 euros per month. Another attractive operator is Pepephone. You could also resort to Vodafone, Movistar or Orange, for example, although they tend to be more expensive.

There are many different types of contract. As many young people in Spain communicate via WhatsApp, data and Internet contracts are the most popular among students. Optionally, you can add 1 or 2 euros per month to the bill to cover phone calls or send text messages from time to time.

Is Wi Fi available all over Madrid?

In many public locations, such as bars, hotels and youth hostels, you will find Wi Fi Internet access. In addition, the municipal buses (EMT) provide Wi Fi access. With regard to accommodation, we recommend you find out exactly what type of Internet access is available, if any. Wi Fi or Fiber Optics? Does the rental include the cost of Internet surfing?