Madrid Housing Guide

Tips for how to find housing in Madrid.


Finding an apartment can be an exciting time, but also stressful. Many of you are probably thinking “Where do I begin?”, “What neighborhood is best for my commute?”, “What options are available in a foreign country?” The list goes on and on, but with Smart Insider’s Housing Guide a lot of your questions will be answered. Ready. Set. Apartment Hunt!

What’s the best district for me?



Also known as the university district, Argüelles is located northwest of the city center. This is a great option if you are younger or are studying abroad.


Malasaña is an artsy and alternative neighborhood. The streets are very colorful and filled with cafés, restaurants, and great artisanal shops. Here you’ll find a mix of people at any hour of day or night.


This neighborhood is walking distance from Gran Vía and is full of bars, restaurants, and cafes. If you’re looking to experience the nightlife this is one of the best places to go out in Madrid.


Puerta del Sol is center of the city and home to Madrid’s most popular meeting-point and great for commuting. If you’re new to the city it’s a great way to dive in.


Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor is in the center of Madrid and right next door to Puerta del Sol square. If this is your first time living in Madrid it’s a great location to be close to all the tourist attractions.



This neighborhood is walking distance from Gran Vía and has many theaters, restaurants, and shopping. You’re in the center and can easily walk to other popular neighborhoods.


This neighborhood is next door to Argüelles and is another great option if you are a student. This is a quieter option compared to Sol and other areas in the center.



Palacio (Palace) is a district next door to Malasaña that contain neighborhoods of La Latina and El Madrid de los Austrias. Here you will find many of the historic buildings in Madrid.



Being a more elegant neighborhood, you will find older residents and families. Here you will see beautiful architecture, museums, and some of Madrid’s governmental buildings.

What types of housing are available?


Madrid is a big city, and if you’re a young international student or auxiliar you have many options. The most common option is renting a room in a shared apartment. If you’re studying you might want to consider living in a student residency to have more in common with your surrounding peers. Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous and want to dive into the Spanish culture then we recommend trying to live with a Spanish family also known as a homestay.

Shared Apartment

  • Social life
  • New Friends
  • Noisier
Studio Apartment
  • Peaceful
  • Independence
  • More Expensive
  • Secure Residence
  • Spanish Culture
  • Strict Rules
Student Residency
  • Meal Plans
  • Support
  • Strict Rules

What is a housing contract?


Understanding the responsibilities and any housing related expenses is really important. Before renting you need to make sure you understand the details of the contract. Since we are in Spain the contract may be in Spanish which can make things more complicated so make sure to have a friend translate or do it yourself. Some of the most important things to look into are the contract cancellation period, refunds, deposit, and other monthly expenses in addition to the rent like heat, water, and gas. Important: If you’re becoming Empadronado a contract is a must so make sure to arrange a contract with whoever you’re renting from.

Where can I search?


Some platforms are free but but be cautious of scams because they do happen! Also, there are some great rental agencies that offer reliable service the entire time you are residing in the city. If you’re looking for other secure platforms this will allow you to search for an apartment but you will have to pay a reservation fee when you book the room of your choice. If all else fails there is always social media. There are some great Facebook groups for apartment listings and people searching for roommates.


Free Platforms


Secure Platforms

  • Rookie In Town (For a 25% discount on the commission fee use the code: #ROOKIEINSIDERS19)
  • Vive y Estudia (Say that you are coming from Smart Insiders and you will get a 20% discount in the commission fee)

Smart Insiders is here to help.


If you are a student we help you to find the apartment that best suits your budget and what you are looking for, just complete the following form. If you you are looking for someone to fill a room you can fill out the form under “Offer Housing”.

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