Welcome to Madrid: capital city of Spain, world-class provider of fine cuisine, and haven for nightlife that is second-to-none. Madrid is the perfect city for the international student with a strong sense of discovery. Exploring Madrid can be a full-time job, and the daily routine in Spain may be very different than what you’re used to at home. Read on to learn what to expect from a typical day and night in Madrid.
Similar to other Europeans, Spaniards wake between 6 – 8 AM on work or school days. But that’s where the similarities end. Breakfast is typically on the light side. A small snack follows in the late morning or early afternoon, tiding you over until lunch, which does not start until 2 PM.
After lunch, Spaniards like to take naps known as siestas. Try making time for a siesta or two — you will enjoy it. After siesta, it’s common to enjoy merienda, a small meal such as pastry and coffee, to fill the gap between lunch and dinner. Dinner takes place late, between 8 and 11 PM.
After dinner, some international students opt to turn-in early, missing out on the late-night festivities. If you choose to sample Madrid’s nightlife, be sure to pace yourself and avoid overeating. Many markets and restaurants are open all night; that hole-in-the-wall chicken kebab place you spotted early in the evening may well become your favorite 2 AM delight.
Before heading out to the bars and clubs, it’s a good idea to plan your stops instead of wandering in search of the perfect venue. Some clubs don’t open until 12 PM or even 1 AM, and some areas of the city are not popular at certain times of night. Many clubs run promotions on certain days of the week, including free drinks and free entry up to a certain time. Club entry fees are typically 20 Euros, and drinks can be 10-14 Euros each, so watching out for these promotions can save quite a bit of cash. Theme nights are also quite popular, so keep an eye out for those.
The best way to learn about and keep track of Madrid nightlight is through social media, especially Facebook. Club promoters update their social media pages frequently. Following these nightlife updates is the easiest way to to know what’s happening in-the-moment.
Madrid is incredibly exciting and the people are exceptionally friendly, but be advised that pickpocketing can be a problem. For women, it’s best to keep your purse strap over shoulder instead of on your arm. Better yet, find a bag that with a strap that goes across your body. For men, keep your wallet in your front pocket, or leave your wallet at home and bring only cash and your ID.
With these tips in mind, you’ll have the time of your life traversing Madrid’s small, weaving side streets and grand courtyards packed with dancing crowds, food, and festivities. Good luck, and have fun!
Author Bio: Jack Wheeler is a junior at Suffolk University double majoring in Print Journalism and English. He is currently interning at peerTranfer and in his free time enjoys surfing, writing short stories, and exploring new places.