With millennia-old streets and the tallest skyscrapers in Spain, Madrid is where tradition and innovation collide. A capital with world-renowned museums, great parks, cozy cafes, one of the world's best public transportation systems, and the oldest continuously run restaurant in the world await you. If you want to expand your business, Madrid is the country's financial hub. As a global nomad, you’ll have access to international clients, multinational corporations, and a big community of expats and locals known for being open to foreigners. There are also dozens of coworking spaces and start-up mentoring programs like the Google Campus.
As Spain’s largest city, there is a lot to uncover and explore with distinct neighborhoods that each boast their own character. For digital nomads, these are the best neighborhoods to live and work in during an extended stay in Madrid.
Centro District is the oldest part of Madrid and one of the most active and touristy. It comprises five small neighborhoods: Palacio, Embajadores, Cortes, Justicia, Universidad, and Sol. There are some minor differences between them, but they are so small and close together that it all counts as Centro. There are numerous coworking spaces, like Loom Huertas, with a great outdoor seating area, or SmartUP Coworking, open 24 hours. No other neighborhood is better connected via public transport than Sol and it's a very multicultural area where it is easy to find people from around the world, restaurants, and specialty shops.
However, you do need to stay aware when walking around Centro. Being one of the city's most touristy areas, it has become a target for pickpockets and petty theft. Expect big crowds, high traffic during the holidays and the summer, and a fair amount of noise at night.
In Centro, you’ll also find one of the best places in Spain for churros: Chocolateria San Ginés. A couple of churros, paired with thick Spanish hot chocolate for dipping, is one of Madrid's must-try treats. You'll soon discover that finishing the night with freshly-fried churros is something of a Spanish tradition.
South of the Centro District is the neighborhood of Atocha, connected to all railway lines in the Autonomous community of Madrid and all major cities in Spain. While you won’t find Centro's charming centuries-old streets, Atocha is in the middle of some of the largest parks in the capital. It’s within walking distance of Retiro, Madrid Río, and Tierno Galván parks, as well as the Royal Botanical Garden. It’s also home to multiple coworking spots, like Spaces, inside Atocha Station, or Loom Tapices, inside Spain’s Royal Tapestry Factory. There are also well-known hidden treasures, such as Atocha Station Tropical Garden, where you can bring your laptop and work in one of the cafes surrounded by 260 species of flora. If you plan to travel outside of Madrid and explore the rest of Spain, this might be a strategic place to base yourself.
READ MORE: 8 Skills You Need to Become a Digital Nomad
The only neighborhood in Madrid included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is easily recognizable on a map, thanks to the 300-acre Retiro Park. Most of it was created from the grounds of the original Retiro Park when the State downsized it to expand the city. Flats in this area sell for millions, and rent can be pretty high. Jerónimos is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the capital and while the price tag on everything from housing to food is something to consider, if you live here, you can take a break from work and go to Retiro for a quick run, a yoga meet-up, or to browse through the Cuesta de Mollano historic book stands. Within a few blocks, you can pop in at one of the numerous galleries and museums like the world-renowned Prado. Although there are not as many coworking spaces as Centro and Atocha, some are pretty impressive, including one inside the Cybele Palace that is free to use for all visitors.
West of Centro, you can find the Moncloa-Aravaca District where the neighborhoods of Argüelles and Ciudad Universitaria (University City) offer more bang for your buck than Centro or Jerónimos. You are still well-connected and have access to cafes, restaurants, or parks. This is also one of the areas where finding roommates is easier in the city, as the balance of affordability, services, and transportation makes the district a trendy spot for university students and young professionals. The official residence of the Prime Minister of Spain is in the neighborhood, adding to the district’s calmness and security, even at night.
Here, you’ll find the largest park in the capital, Casa de Campo, the Madrid Zoo Aquarium, and the Madrid Theme Park. It also contains part of Madrid Rio, a modern park on the shores of the Manzanares River perfect for running, walking, biking, or enjoying a coffee at one of the many cafés. While this is a very safe district, going to Casa de Campo at night is not recommended.
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