The Spanish capital Madrid – with 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million – has become home for hundreds of thousands of expatriates, many of them native English speakers from Britain, Ireland, Australia or the United States. Others have immigrated from throughout the hispanic world, making it a truly cosmopolitan city. Many families choose to live in the historic centre of the city whilst others choose upmarket neighbourhoods such as the Barrio de Salamanca or La Moreleja. The best family neighborhoods in Madrid have plenty of little squares with playgrounds. In recent years, there has been steady growth in the suburbs, which are connected to the city by excellent rail and bus systems as well as by increasingly overcrowded highways.
There are plenty of family friendly attractions from the elegant fountains and landscaped gardens of the famous Retiro park to the Prado Museum which houses works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. There’s also plenty to explore in the surrounding countryside, not to mention, that Madrid is a mere 45-minute drive from several winter ski resorts.
The public schools in Madrid are excellent and are supplemented by state supported schools which offer a good education at a nominal cost. The Ministry of Education also introduced a bilingual programme a few years ago and some Spanish schools now operate as bilingual schools. For those who wish to retain ties to their native cultures or study in their native language, there are numerous reputable international schools teaching in English, German and French.