Every year, students from all over the world choose Madrid as their favorite destination to learn Spanish. They are attracted by its climate, its wide range of cultural and leisure activities, and by the warmth of the locals, Madrid citizens by birth or by heart. They help our students to practice the knowledge they have acquired in our Spanish courses.
Madrid offers foreign visitors a plethora of places to practice Spanish; bars, taverns, restaurants, and shopping areas, many close to the city’s main tourist attractions. Also discos, markets, public transport and cultural locations , such as art galleries, cinemas, theaters or exhibitions. Practically any place in Madrid is good for speaking Spanish. Here are our favorites.
Going out for ‘tapas’ and ‘cañas’
One of the favorite customs of the people of Madrid is to go out with friends for eating ‘tapas’ and drinking tap beers ‘cañas’, especially on weekends. By practicing this local habit you will not only savor delicious Spanish gastronomy, but you will also be able to put your Spanish into practice. Throughout Madrid, you’ll find taverns and bars perfect for chatting with locals while enjoying Spanish wine, beer or food. Just sit at the bar instead of a table. Waiters tend to chat about all sorts of things with customers who sit there, especially if they’re foreigners – take t the chance to converse with them!
Another fun way to practice Spanish is with language exchanges. Not only you can speak Spanish, but you’ll also meet people with similar hobbies and interests. Check the dates of TANDEM Language Exchanges and make friends while chatting in Spanish.
Use public transport
Both for its price, and for the possibilities of practicing Spanish it offers, to utilize public transport in Madrid is a good plan. It is useful both for moving about within Madrid, and for visiting other parts of Spain– and is a challenge to practice your Spanish. By using public transport like Metro, bus or train you will practice Spanish from the moment you buy your ticket. Whether you buy it at a ticket office or through a machine, you will practice Spanish by expressing and understanding what type of ticket you want, your ultimate destination and the cost.
Local shops, your best friends
Although shopping on a weekly basis doesn’t sound glamorous at all, the truth is this commonplace task can be most effective for learning Spanish. You’ll probably find neighborhood shops near where you live. In addition to being able to buy good quality food, they’ll explain everything you carry in your shopping basket and even how to prepare the ingredients. An entire survival guide in Spanish from the shopkeeper of the neighborhood.
Guided tours and cultural activities
Madrid provides both locals and tourists with a variety of cultural activities, both free and paid. Of all the alternatives, guided tours are a great way to practice your Spanish.
Here you’ll learn about some of Madrid’s most interesting sights as you listen in Spanish to the guide’s explanations. You can also ask some questions in Spanish about the visit. Look at TANDEM’s Cultural program and take note of our opportunities in Spanish.
Bargaining at El Rastro
El Rastro is one of Madrid’s most internationally known flea markets. Here you can find all kinds of objects at a good price. It is also a good place to buy souvenirs and one of the most entertaining places to practice your Spanish.
The merchants in the stalls like to haggle over prices with customers. This is a perfect opportunity to test your Spanish, isn’t it?.
To continue practicing your Spanish, after the sale you can have an aperitif (‘aperitivo’), another very popular custom on Sunday mornings. It consists of having a glass of wine or a beer with a small portion of food.
Speak with strangers
Madrid is a city where it is common to converse with any person, even people you don’t know. If you use public transport, take the opportunity to chat with people in Spanish. Not only will your waiting or travel be more enjoyable, but you will also practice your Spanish.
And if you have doubts about the costs, timetables, the stations or stops, or which is the best itinerary, do not hesitate to ask. The people of Madrid will do their best to help you reach your destination.