The life of a digital nomad is without a doubt appealing, essentially you are the author of your own work life. You can live where you want, work from where you want, easily move between cities, countries, and time zones all while making an income. As this lifestyle becomes more and more popular, aspiring and current digital nomads are catching on to the fact that Madrid is one of the best places to be as a location independent worker. A digital nomad in Madrid can enjoy the many joys of living in Spain, in a creatively energetic environment. We’re laying out your step-by-step guide to becoming a digital nomad in Madrid.
First things first, how do you stay in Spain? Just like other Schengen countries, the visa guidelines vary from country of origin. For digital nomads coming from America, you can enter Spain on a tourist visa which is valid for 90 days. After that, you have to leave the Schengen zone for at least 180 days to return on a tourist visa. For those interested in a longer stay, check out these guidelines on how to get an autónomo visa in Spain.
5.) Why choose Madrid?
The vibrant capital of Spain has long attracted expats to its borders. Between the appeal of the Spanish way of life, and the plethora of opportunities for English-speakers, Madrid is one of the top destinations in Europe for digital nomads.
Spain is known for its year-round sun and good weather. This is generally true for southern Spanish cities like Sevilla and Granada, but Madrid still has relatively great weather. While Madrid, which is situated in the center of the country, does have cold winters, they are mild compared to neighboring European countries to the north. During the winters the average is 43-46 F and during the summer temperatures creep up to 87-100 F. To avoid the crowds of tourists but still take advantage of the great weather in the city, the months September-December and March-June are ideal.
Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, it recently became the world’s number 2 tourist destination. With the rich history, delicious food and wine, and amazing festivals year-round, Spain continues to attract people to its lands. Besides all of the touristy things to see and do in Madrid, the slow way of living will draw you in. Although Madrid is a busy city filled with 3 million people, Spanish culture remains close and family-oriented. Many Madrileños still enjoy big meals with their families and enjoy a caña (small beer) on the many terrazas in Madrid. The Spanish work hard, but still know how to slow down and enjoy life, and it’s definitely contagious.
4.) Cost of Living
Many remote workers choose locations where they can stretch their money. Destinations in Western Europe may not be at the top of your list if you’re looking to stretch your dollar, but compared to countries like Germany and France, Spain is a lot more affordable. While other cities in Spain may be better for those looking to save on the cost of living, Madrid is still considered an affordable European city to live in for expats.
Housing in Madrid has been hitting peak prices in the past few years due to the prevalence of Airbnb and tourists. But even with that, rent prices in Madrid will be attractive to many Americans coming from cities in the US where rent can climb over $1000 for a room. If living in the center is important to you, you’re looking at about 400-500 euros per month in a shared apartment. Neighborhoods like Malasaña and Chueca are popular areas to explore due to the hype and nightlife.
A smarter option for those who wish to save on rent would be heading outside of the center, where you could find a room for as low as 300 euros monthly. Don’t worry about missing out on Madrid’s amazing nightlife either, the city is extremely well-connected by its public transportation system.
Madrid is filled with several grocery stores that have food prices low enough to keep you spending no more than $20 per week, depending on your eating habits. For fresh fruits and vegetables be sure to visit the local frutería. If you’re looking for good international ingredients, neighborhoods like Lavapiés are filled with food and products from all over the world.
3.) CoWorking Spaces & Cafes
Madrid has its fair share of startups, freelancers and digital nomads looking for areas in the city to work at. In Madrid, it won’t be hard to find a good place with a reliable wifi connection and sip on a café con leche at the same time.
There are over 100 coworking spaces in Madrid where you can truly hone in your productivity. Below are a few honorable mentions.
- Minihub – Free with reservation and sign up
- La Piscine – 15/day
- TheShed Coworking – 15/day
- Espacio Muttante – 190/month
Cafes To Work At
Cafes are great places to get work done and also meet other travelers. All of these cafes are cozy, with plenty of table space, wifi and delicious coffee and food.
2.) Cheap Travel
During your time in Madrid, you’ll probably want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city every once in a while. You’re a digital nomad, so travel is a lifestyle, and you’ve got places to see. Lucky for you, Madrid is located in the center of Spain which provides optimum and cheap travel, both within Spain and out of the country. Spain is quite a big country, with 17 diverse regions and 5 official languages full of their own unique cultures and traditions. If you book them in advance, you can purchase affordable train tickets through Goeuro. Another convenient and often cheap option is the popular ride-sharing service called Blablacar, (think long distance Uber).
1.) Expat and Digital Nomad Community
Once you’ve been to Madrid, you’ll easily fall in love with its infectious energy. The people of Madrid are driven and social, so it’s not hard to find a network of locals and other expats. Seasoned digital nomads like Cepee Tabibian, fell in love with the city over 11 years ago and hails Madrid as a digital nomad haven.
“I’ve always felt at home here and being a digital nomad and blogger I have been pleasantly surprised to find so many like-minded people who have inspired and influenced me and have helped me grow professionally.”
An important part of your experience is fostering a community wherever you are. Meeting other digital nomads or locals who are in your field can bring you a wealth of support and growth. That’s why seeking groups like Cepee’s Madrid Blogger Network are vital to being a digital nomad in Madrid and any city.
Facebook groups are a good place to start when it comes to questions, resources and meeting people in general. In addition to the Madrid Blogger Network, there are several groups and organizations to join.
- Intercom Spain – For anyone working in communication, marketing, journalism, and translation
- Las Morenas De España – Platform for women of color traveling, living and working in Spain
- Guiripreneurs – For entrepreneurs in Spain
- Madrid: Girl Gone International – Madrid chapter of the worldwide platform to connect globally minded women around the world.
Are you interested in digital nomad city guides? Check out Lisbon Digital Nomad Guide.