Best activities to do with international housemates in Madrid

By Andy Sto Published 26/06/2023

In a metropolis as big as Madrid, it may feel a little intimidating when you’re fresh in the city and looking to make some new friends. Luckily, when you move into a flat with a couple of roommates, you already have some new buddies to explore the city with. Here are a few fun plans for you and your new international housemates to try out as you explore the Spanish capital together.

Enjoy some sun and a picnic in El Retiro Park

One of the most relaxing places in all of Madrid is El Retiro Park, the city’s central green oasis. Spread out over 350 acres and boasting more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro contains gardens, a man-made lake, statues, galleries, and more. Some highlights include the Palacio de Cristal, renting a boat on the lake, and checking out the art and culture displayed in the galleries. Since the park is so vast and there are many things to see and do on the grounds, you and your flatmates could easily spend the whole afternoon exploring.

While there are places to grab food within the park, why not pack a picnic that you and your roommates can enjoy together? Fill up your picnic basket with your favorite drinks and snacks and choose a sunny spot in the park to kick back and relax. It’s not unusual to hear musicians strumming on guitars and singing along to acoustic sets, so you might even get some free entertainment with your meal!

Join a language exchange to boost your Spanish skills

All across Madrid, both locals and newcomers alike participate in language exchanges, or intercambios, on any given day of the week. Many bars and hostels around the city host weekly meetings in the afternoons or evenings where participants can grab a tapa and beer and practice their Spanish, English, or other languages. Most intercambios are free apart from buying a drink or two, so this is a great plan if you’re on a budget.

Tables are usually arranged with a flag in the middle of the language that the conversation will be in. Later, the languages will be switched. You and your flatmates can brush up on your Spanish skills while getting to meet local madrileños or new friends from around the world.

Make sure to take advantage of free museum hours

Madrid is packed with museums that highlight the best of Spain’s history, culture, and art. If you and your new flatmates are looking for a cool cultural activity, plan a trip to one of the city’s top museums. The catch? Plan it out so that you can hit up these museums during their free entrance periods. Here are some of the best ones to check out.

  1. Museo Nacional del Prado: Arguably Spain’s most famous museum, this art gallery is loaded with works from Spanish artists like El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and more. The museum is free every day from 6-8 PM Monday through Saturday and from 5-7 PM on Sundays and holidays. Arrive early to make sure you get a ticket, as this is a popular Madrid travel hack!
  2. Museo Arqueológico Nacional: Here, you’ll find centuries’ worth of archeological artifacts, art, and other items that tell the history of Spain from 1000 BC through the Medieval period. Students between 18 and 25 can get in any time for free with a valid ID. Otherwise, you can enter on Saturdays starting at 2 PM or on Sunday mornings.
  3. Museo Nacional Centro de Reina Sofía: This museum houses works from Spain’s greatest contemporary artists, like Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. From Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday) you can check out the collection for free from 7 to 9 PM. On Sundays, free entrance is from 12:30 to 2:30 PM.

Binge on all the best brunch spots

A decade or so ago, you might have been hard-pressed to find a good brunch spot in Madrid. A traditional Spanish breakfast typically consists of coffee, orange juice, toast with crushed tomato and olive oil, or perhaps a small slice of tortilla de patatas. However, the brunch scene in Madrid is now booming as there are tons of places where you can score a plate of tasty eggs Benedict, a stack of fluffy pancakes, or hearty breakfast sandwiches.

As the Spanish like to eat late, you can usually score brunch well through the afternoon hours! Here are some spots to consider when dining out with your new roommates:

You’ll find that many of these places offer a mix of classic American brunch dishes with Spanish dishes peppered in here and there. As brunch is quite versatile, there’s usually something on the menu to suit all tastes.

Experience a night out on the town with new friends

You haven’t lived in Spain until you experience its nightlife. Madrid is famous for its nights that don’t begin until midnight and don’t end until the sun comes up. The amazing thing about the Spanish capital is that there’s something for everyone once the sun goes down, as this city has a vibrant nightlife scene for all tastes.

Neighborhoods like Chueca, Salamanca, and Malasaña are famous for cocktail bars and nightclubs that buzz all night long. However, keep in mind that there’s plenty to do if partying all night isn’t your thing. On any given night, you can find concerts, flamenco shows, theater, or cultural shows in many of Madrid’s most popular districts. You and your new flatmates can start the evening tapas bar-hopping and see where the night takes you, as nights in Madrid are full of endless possibilities!

Finding new roommates in Madrid is easy with Cohabs!

When you move to Madrid, you have plenty of options when it comes to thinking about where to live. If you’re a young professional looking to connect with other like-minded individuals to explore the Spanish capital with, consider a coliving situation, like with Cohabs. Not only will you find a great living space, but you’ll find a warm and welcoming community where you can thrive.

If you’re having second thoughts, check out why Madrid is the place to be! There’s so much to see and do in Madrid that you and your new flatmates will have plenty to do as you get to know each other!

About the author Andy is a seasoned digital nomad from Brussels. He runs a blog for digital nomads, remote workers, and remote company leaders: He enjoys hiking, singing, playing improv games and discovering hidden gems all over the world.