Whether you´re with us for a fleeting week, or the whole summer, here´s a list of the first 10 things that´ll surprise and impress you when moving to the Spanish capital…1. Everyone dresses so well
Madrilenians know exactly how to put together an effortlessly chic outfit. Maybe it´s just the tan that goes well with everything but these Spaniards always look good. It´s obvious that looking cool is far more important than staying cool in this city, so I´d recommend heading to those Zara sales pronto. (Ps. biggest Zara in the world located at Nuevos Ministerios.)
2. They eat so late
SO LATE. If you´re only here for a week then good luck adapting. I´m a month in and I´m still feeling light headed come 1pm when lunch hasn’t even been mentioned. Sure, it kind of makes sense with the weather but still… dinner at 10pm. No gracias.
3. It´s so walkable
Yes the metro is cheap (€20 a month if you´re a student!), but you won’t be needing it that much because everything worth seeing in Madrid is within walking distance. A stroll from Retiro to Sol won’t take you any more than 15 minutes, Rastro to Plaza Mayor a mere 10, Malasaña to Chueca? Cross the road!
4. Everyone is super friendly
If you´ve ever done Barcelona, this, (other than the lack of beach) was what struck me most about Madrid. Expect to smile and wish everyone a buenos dias. From the neighbour in the stairwell to the guy serving you in Carrefour. Tip: add a guapo/guapa to sound extra local.
5. Tinto de verano is a way of life
If you haven’t had one yet, you haven’t done Madrid right. It´s the drink in Madrid. Not dissimilar to sangria, but better. Red wine topped with lemonade, and a slice of fruit. The perfect refresher to take the edge off the day in the dry summer heat.
6. … as is Tapas
Not actually a Spanish cliché it turns out. Plazas and streets throughout Madrid are lined in the evenings with locals sipping cañas and tintos with an array of different tapas on the table. Don’t expect to go more than a couple of days without a pincho de tortilla, some stuffed olives, or some garlicky prawns.
7. It’s always sunny!
Ignore last weekend (apparently an anomaly). Madrid is officially the sunniest capital in Europe. Stunning blue skies have become the norm, as has continuously sourcing shade. Don’t forget your sunglasses!
8. … and therefore roof terraces are a big deal
From the most incredible panoramic view at Circulo de las Bellas Artes to the classic roof top vista at The Hat, Madrid does roof terraces very, very well. You´d be silly not to spend an evening admiring the city from above. Some charge just for entry, before you´ve even had a drink, but it´s usually worth it. Take friends to the one of top of Mercado San Anton in Chueca as it´s got the atmosphere más chula, but if your parents or girlfriend are visiting then the one right next to the school at The Principal Hotel is rather special.
9. Dogs, dogs everywhere!
Spaniards love their dogs, and Madrid is no exception. From adorable bichons to smiley labradors; sit in any plaza or walk down any street and enjoy some of the best dog watching on the continent.
10. There is no sense of urgency, ever
Be it when queuing in the supermarket, or getting something repaired, don’t get your hopes up. I went to pick up a parcel from the post office the other day, was first in line, but it still took 10 minutes for the guy at the desk to finish his personal call before getting round to finding my parcel. Tranquilo… embrace it!
Y está! There you have 10 of the first things you´ll notice when you move to this wonderful city. And I wouldn’t change a thing!