Discover Madrid – 5 Things to Know Before You Go

By Jesse Reitz, ISA Program Advisor

So, you’re thinking you want to study Spanish in a big city in Europe, eh? Well in that case, let me introduce you to my good friend Madrid. Madrid is the capital city of Spain and is a great option if you want to experience a little bit of everything. From a solid selection of academic programs to colorful history to a thriving nightlife full of delicious food and fun events, Madrid has it all. Excited yet? If not, here are five things to know about it before you hop on that plane:

The Spanish might sound different

It may or may not come as a surprise that Madrileños (people from Madrid), and Spaniards in general, have their own way of speaking the Spanish you’ve come to know and love. While it may take a few days to get used to hearing the vosotros form of verbs and the unique way Spaniards pronounce their Cs and Zs, you’ll be speaking like a local in no time, tío!

The food is incredible

As the capital and geographic center of Spain, Madrid acts as a bit of a melting pot for Spanish culture, especially when it comes to cuisine. In Madrid you can find all sorts of food from around the country. From gazpacho to paella to jamón ibérico (Spanish ham) to churros con chocolate you’ll find yourself in a food-lover’s paraíso.

Churros con Chocolate
Churros con Chocolate

It’s hard to get lost on the metro

Madrid has one of the fastest, cleanest, and easiest to use metro systems in the world. Just follow the easy-to-read maps and station signage and you’ll get to your destination before you know it! Plus, it’s cheap! Most trips cost less than two Euros and are even less if you get a multi-ride or long term abono pass.

But that shouldn’t stop you from trying

From the Puerta del Sol plaza located directly in the center of the city to Retiro, a historic neighborhood containing the beautiful Parque de El Retiro, to Chueca, Madrid’s beautiful and lively gay district which rivals those of San Francisco and New York, there’s so much to explore in Madrid. Oftentimes your best bet is just to get on the metro and let it take you somewhere new!

Soccer is a way of life

Whether you choose to root for Real Madrid or Madrid Atlético, you can be sure you’ll be surrounded by passionate fans who take fútbol very seriously. Going to a soccer match in Madrid is one of the most high-energy and exciting experiences you can have in Spain. As a bonus, if your team wins a major title, get ready for a huge celebration! Real Madrid fans celebrate at the Cibeles fountain while Atlético fans make their way to the Neptuno fountain when their team wins, completely shutting down their respective areas for a night of celebration.


Madrid is an incredible city full of incredible people doing incredible things.

Are you ready to join them?

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