Monthly furnished apartments in Madrid

A great alternative for digital nomads to short term rental sites

Madrid is proving to have a siren-call for digital nomads seeking a new life in sunny Spain. The capital, it has an urban population of 3.2 million, making it the second largest in the European Union. (Just a whisker behind Berlin). And a greater metropolitan area population of 6.79 million. Again, the second largest in the EU, this time after Paris. And as you might expect, it scores highly in terms of infrastructure. It offers an extended Metro system, suburban trains and a tramway network that dates back to 1871.

This was just a few years after London opened the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway. It scores very highly in the provision of services that digital nomads seek in a survey for It is recommended by 81% of respondents. And it scores highly for quality of life, community spirit and fast internet. It also rates highly for climate and quality of air. Though do bear in mind that, while the summers can be very hot indeed, the winters conversely can be relatively cold. Snowfall occurs roughly  3 or 4 days in winter.

What is Madrid to live in?

As befits a historic capital, all life is here. Madrid is not as old as many capitals. It was founded by Muhammad I in the 9th century AD. He decreed that a great fortress should be built here on the banks of the Manzanares river. The stronghold was built in the area now occupied by the Royal Palace (Real Palacio). He named it Mayrit, a hybrid of two Arabic words meaning ‘fountain’ and ‘riverbed’. It was retaken by the Spaniards and in 1561 Philip II of Spain moved the royal court here from Toledo. Suburbs began to spring up outside the mediaeval walls. Its future was assured as the cultural and historic capital of Spain.

Fast forward to today

Palacio real

What this means is that today, Madrid is an elegant, cosmopolitan city with architectural splendours, superb galleries and museums and world-class parks. The unmissable sites start with the Royal Palace (Real Palacio). At 135,000 square metres, it is the largest functioning palace in Europe, although it is only used now for state ceremonies. The baroque fantasy is no longer the private residence of the Spanish royal family. It is as noted for its art as its architecture, with works by Caravaggio, Goya and Velazquez. It was Italianate in concept when work started on the present site in 1734. This was because the previous palace burnt down.

Later, in the spirit of the times, the inspiration was French. It is, simply, a must-visit. And if you don’t want to pay for admission, you can gawp at the architecture from outside. And don’t miss the gardens. Favourites include The Prince’s Garden – Jardín del Principe – with its perfect 19th-century neoclassical boating pond. And it’s free to visit the Sabatini Gardens, named after the Italian architect who designed them in the late 18th century. The gardens feature neatly trimmed hedges, fountains, and a dazzling array of sculptures. They are situated on a terrace that overlooks the palace and offers breathtaking views of the city. Best time to visit is at dusk to take in the glorious sunsets.

El Prado

You can visit El Prado for free, one of Europe’s greatest art galleries, by picking your times. To do so, turn up from 6pm to 8pm Monday to Saturday, or 5pm to 7pm Sundays and public holidays. The short tour means you won’t see all 1,800 works but you can single out the highlights. These include The Triumph of Death by Bruegel. The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. Memling’s Triptych of the Adoration of the Magi. Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation. Raphael’s Portrait of a Cardinal. Joaquin Sorolla’s Boys on the Beach. Las Meninas by Velaqzuez is arguably the most famous art piece in the Spanish universe. And a number of works by Goya, Van Dyck, Rubens, El Greco and Caravaggio. Check out Goya’s 36-piece collection, The Black Paintings, and his Saturn Devouring His Son. Dark stuff. You won’t regret it. 

El Retiro

And El Retiro often features in travel guides as Europe’s greatest city park. The 118-hectare park is perfect for a leisurely stroll, a picnic or a tour of the many monuments and museums. Don’t miss the monument to Alfonso XII, the Casón del Buen Retiro, and the Palacio de Cristal, built for the 1887 Philippine Exposition. The Retiro also has a rose garden, the Casa de Vacas cultural centre, and numerous fountains and statues, including the famous Fallen Angel (Ángel Caído). And the great lake is always full of madrileños and tourists who come to picnic, sunbathe or hire rowing boats. Heaven in the centre of the city.

Best neighbourhoods for digital nomads in Madrid 

There is hardly any space to pick out our favourite neighbourhood. So for monthly rented apartments in Madrid, we are going to go with three of the best.


Sited just northwest of one of the two main train stations (Atocha), Lavapiés is a vibrant, multicultural neighbourhood. It’s hipster heaven. You’ll find a glut of Indian restaurants and old Spanish taverns. It’s also contemporary, with funky art shows and events at La Casa Encendida and Tabacelera. Arguably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica – a nightmarish vision of war – lives close to here at Museo de la Reina Sofia. It depicts the destruction of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The attack came at the hands of German Nazi and Italian Fascist forces at the bequest of Franco’s nationalist forces. Don’t miss the lively San Fernando market, where vendors sell books and records, cheese and craft beer. 


Known to madrileños as Little Italy, Chamberí is a stately and upmarket residential neighbourhood. It’s typified by 19th-century and modernist architecture. A 19th-century mansion houses the Joaquin Sorolla museum and art gallery. Catch live flamenco shows at Teatro de Canal. Head for Plaza de Olavide for tapas, but don’t bother turning up until late. You’ll find a glut of bars nearby in Malasaña where the 80s Movida movement took off. Its epicentre is El Rincón, a tiny corner bar focused on music and cocktails. Madrileños don’t start till 9pm or later. And if it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, check out the nightclubs in Almagro. This is where madrileños come to party…


Abutting Lavapiés is Embajadores. Like its neighbour, this too is really multicultural. Think African and Indian restaurants on narrow, cobbled streets. Digital nomads will love the abundance of on-brand coffee roasters. Rock and reggae blares out from any number of bars. Head for El Rastro, a huge flea market. Perfect for vintage clothes and leather goods from Morocco and elsewhere. Lavapiés and Embajadores are both close to the river, where the old abandoned Atlético Madrid stadium can still be seen. And the new stadium, Metropolitano, and Real’s cathedral, the Bernabeu, are both worth a visit for the football-focused.  

Other neighbourhoods worth investigating include La LatinaLetrasSalamanca and Chueca. Avoid Entrevias – Madrid’s poorest neighbourhood is crime-ridden – unless you are on a pilgrimage after the Jose Coronado-starring Netflix series of the same name. 

Get in touch with Globexs to book your monthly rental in Madrid

Expats and digital nomads chasing monthly rentals will find what they want from Globexs, the expat relocations and rentals platform. Get in touch with us today.



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