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The Best Erasmus City in 2016: Madrid

Madrid is a city that sparkles, has a 90s style grunge that gives it a special kind of charm, is metropolitan and down to earth, fancy and “punky” at the same time, electric and relaxed… It is one of those places that grabs you and never lets you go; a city with a soul all its own. Movies like “El día de la bestia,” music like “Héroes del Silencio” (although they’re actually from Zaragoza – for me they are the essential soundtrack to Madrid), Alaska y Dinarama, or experiences like sitting down at a terrace in the hot sun with a very cold caña and a plate of jamón serrano give you a special look into the heart and soul of the city; tell you a little something about its essence. So it’s no wonder Madrid has been voted the best Erasmus city in 2016. But let’s take a closer look at why students love Madrid so much specifically. Here are just a few of the best reasons, a little taste, just to whet your appetite:

oso-madrono

Nightlife

Yes, we said it, Madrid has an incredible nightlife. No matter what day of the week it is you can see people walking home at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8… in the morning. Yes, some of the people out and about may be early risers, but many of them are city-that-never-sleepers coming home from a night out on the town. From cultural activities and live music, to restaurants from the swankiest of swank to the smallest holes in the wall, to bars and clubs of all shapes, sizes and colors, there is never a dull moment in Madrid after dark (and, really, at any time of day)!

Weather

Madrid is not your town if you’re looking for a tropical paradise, but if what you want are beautiful seasons and plenty of sun, this is the city for you. The winter is chilly but not too cold, and perfect for Christmas spirit and for enjoying some of the best Spanish treats like hot broth at the counter at Lhardy, a Madrid classic that will warm you to the bone on chilly winter days in the center, or chocolate con churros at places like the famous Chocolatería San Gines. In the fall beautiful leaves color the city, and especially its lovely parks; in the spring the city glows green and fresh; and in the summer the streets sizzle and everything slows in the transcending heat. But most importantly it’s sunny all the time!

retiro fall leaves

Quality of Life

Even though Madrid is a big city, people here hold doors open for each other, say hello when they walk into a waiting room, and chat with complete strangers while they think about what to order at a sunny restaurant terrace. It is a city with incredible cultural opportunities, great public transportation, activities for all budgets, beautiful parks (that you can walk through even after dark). It is a city that feels safe at any time of day or night, and one where families, youngsters, the elderly and everyone in between intermingle creating a community and cohesion, and a city that feels very livable.

Culture

Madrid has got it all when it comes to culture. There are master works of art sprinkled throughout incredible museums (see: Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía), restaurants from the most cutting edge to the most comfortable, music from the best opera (see: Teatro Real) and zarzuelas (Spanish style opera) at some of the most breathtaking theaters to in your face live music at little underground bars, theater from the biggest broadway-esque spectacles at extravagant theaters (see: Gran Vía) to micro theater where you can literally feel the breath of the actors on your face you’re sitting (or standing so close). And even simpler than all of that, the city is bursting with culture everywhere you look – a walk through the center, a trip to a market or lunch at a traditional restaurant, a stroll through one of its many cultural centers (see: Matadero Madrid, Conde Duque), will all pour Spanish culture and tradition out at you.

cibeles

We understand why Madrid has been declared the best Erasmus city in 2016! It is a city full of energy and life, class and grit, traditions and the avant-garde. Madrid is a city to experience. But if you’re not convinced, why not take a look at some of the six other Spanish cities that made the top 20 Erasmus cities list this year! Seville, Barcelona, Granada, Valencia, Cadiz, Salamanca are all there, giving Spain 7 out of the 20 spots on the list (not that we’re bragging). It has never been clearer, Spain is the perfect study abroad destination. So jump on a plane, see for yourself and tell us all about it!

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