A little over a year ago, I made my first move to Madrid. I was taken aback by its chaotic streets in the center (in the district named Sol), where I ended up living for a few months. This year, I decided it was time to pick a place more suitable for me. Little did I know I would end up in the part of Madrid I had my heart set on before ever living here!
I’ve written about Salamanca before, summarizing it as Madrid’s posher place to be. While this is true, I’ve come to realize that as much as it is posher than much of Madrid, it’s still laid back in a very Spanish way. The streets are laden with designer shops, while the down-to-earth places are still around. The residents also dress up more than in other parts of the city, as this happens to be the fashion district – for example, it’s where Vogue has its events (one of which I’m going to next week!). Though it doesn’t take great amounts of money to live around here, it’s known to the residents of Madrid as the wealthy neighbourhood. For me, it’s great to be somewhere a little more residential within the city center, as so far it’s given me a very different vibe from either barrio (Spanish for “neighbourhood”) I lived in before. Sol, the first area I lived in, was loud, touristy, hectic, but full of life. Moncloa, my second place of residence, was amazing and aesthetically similar, but much more student-oriented than Salamanca. In this part of town, families walk around in full force, as do well-dressed teens who hang out with their friends by the local sports center. No creepy men calling out “Italiana!”? What a relief.
Here’s 5 reasons why I chose Salamanca:
1 – Good work/fun balance. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of businesses located in the area, meaning a lot of professionals (younger ones included) live around here. This means that many white-collared professionals work around here during the day, but at the same time, there are still a lot of places to eat and meet friends around. As this is Spain, no local eatery seems totally empty, but it’s obvious that this is a good place to be for those who value their day job.
2 – Convenience. Everything I need is around me – my bank, my gym, my cell phone provider, my favourite grocery store, my doctor, and even Madrid’s concert venue are all about a block away. It’s also convenient to get to work from here, whereas it would be more difficult had I lived somewhere like Moncloa.
3 – It’s quiet, but not too quiet. It’s central, so it’s still a very obviously busy part of the city. However, it’s actually quiet depending on where you go. It’s not a ghost town by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s a way to retreat from hectic city life. Retiro Park is also just around the corner, where one can go without much disturbance.
4 – Classy. Some people say Salamanca’s stuck-up, and maybe they’re right. Maybe some parts of Salamanca are snobby, a little too posh, but maybe some parts aren’t that bad. Maybe it depends on your personality, or what you perceive Salamanca to be. I happen to think it’s great so far, and I feel safe here!
5 – Change. I wanted to see, do, and know of different things this time around. What’s the use in going abroad only to repeat everything? The learning curve is what makes this just as interesting as the first time.
An important thing to note is that Salamanca is the greater district wherein many specific neighbourhoods are located. Each sector differs from the next, though generally speaking, Salamanca is all the same when it comes to its high standard of living compared to other parts of the city.
It’s still early days, but I have a feeling this is where I’m meant to be this year. For now, it’s home.