Have you ever wondered why there is so much debate about Madrid vs Barcelona? 

These two iconic Spanish cities each boast their own rich histories, vibrant cultures, and unique identities that draw in locals and tourists alike. Madrid’s elegance and Barcelona’s creative spirit both offer one-of-a-kind experiences. 

Choosing between Madrid vs Barcelona isn’t about which city is superior; it’s really about what speaks to you personally. Will you find yourself drawn to the majestic allure of the capital city or the vibrant artistry of the coastal metropolis? Let’s find out!


Madrid vs Barcelona – Which City is Bigger? 

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When comparing Madrid vs Barcelona, it’s clear that Madrid stands out as the larger city in terms of both geographical area and population. Madrid, as the capital of Spain, encompasses a vast urban landscape that supports a bustling and diverse population. Barcelona, while slightly smaller, is renowned for its unique combination of urban living and beachside charm, offering a more compact and coastal experience.


  • Population: Approximately 3.3 million (within city limits)
  • Metropolitan area: Over 6.7 million


  • Population: Approximately 1.6 million (within city limits)
  • Metropolitan area: Over 5.6 million


Cost of Living in Madrid vs Barcelona

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When comparing the cost of living, Barcelona tends to be slightly more expensive than Madrid, especially in terms of housing costs. Both cities, however, are among the more costly in Spain due to their considerable popularity.

Average Monthly Rent (1-bedroom apartment in city center):

  • Madrid: Approximately €1,000 – €1,200
  • Barcelona: Approximately €1,100 – €1,300

Average Monthly Expenses (excluding rent):

  • Madrid: Approximately €600 – €800
  • Barcelona: Approximately €650 – €850

Getting a Job in Madrid vs Barcelona

The job markets in Madrid and Barcelona vary, with each city showcasing strengths in different sectors. Madrid has a larger and more diverse economy, offering extensive opportunities in finance, technology, and government sectors. Barcelona excels in tourism, the creative arts, and tech startups, reflecting its innovative spirit and cultural heritage.

However, this doesn’t limit opportunities to these sectors alone. Both Madrid and Barcelona, as bustling metropolises with global populations and companies, offer a wide array of job prospects across different industries.

Strongest Industries in Madrid:

  • Finance
  • Technology
  • International Business

Strongest Industries in Barcelona:

  • Tourism
  • Creative Arts (Design, Architecture)
  • Tech Startups


Food in Madrid vs Barcelona

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In Madrid, the culinary scene is deeply rooted in traditional Spanish cuisine. You can enjoy classic dishes such as “cocido madrileño,” a hearty chickpea-based stew, and “churros con chocolate” for a sweet treat. The atmosphere in Madrid’s eateries ranges from historic cafés to bustling tapas bars, where meals are often shared among friends in a lively setting.

Barcelona offers a culinary adventure that blends traditional Catalan dishes with innovative gastronomy. Famous for its seafood, Barcelona has great “paella,” often found along the city’s beachside restaurants. Don’t miss out on “Crema Catalana” for dessert, a classic Catalan custard with a unique twist of caramelized sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest.


Madrid or Barcelona to visit?

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Barcelona often beats Madrid in terms of tourist numbers, largely due to its iconic architecture and Mediterranean allure. However, Madrid captivates those interested in royal history, art, and quintessential Spanish culture. Visiting both cities offers a comprehensive insight into Spain’s rich heritage, contrasting Madrid’s classical elegance with Barcelona’s seaside vibe.

Main Attractions in Madrid: 

  • Royal Palace: The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, showcasing incredibly impressive architecture.
  • Prado Museum: Home to one of the world’s finest collections of European art.
  • Retiro Park: An enormous green space in the heart of the city, perfect for leisure and cultural events.
  • Plaza Mayor: Madrid’s main square, known for its historical buildings and vibrant colors.

Main Attractions in Barcelona: 

Antoni Gaudí, a modernist architect, significantly shaped Barcelona’s architectural landscape, leaving a legacy of distinctive buildings that continue to draw worldwide admiration. Many of the key attractions in Barcelona revolve around his work.

  • Sagrada Familia: Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, a symbol of Barcelona’s architectural innovation.
  • Park Güell: A public park filled with colorful mosaics and whimsical structures by Gaudí.
  • Casa Batlló: Another of Gaudí’s creations, famous for its unique facade and interior design.
  • Gothic Quarter: The historic center of Barcelona, featuring narrow medieval streets and historic buildings.


Languages in Madrid vs Barcelona

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In Barcelona, alongside Spanish, Catalan is widely spoken and holds significant cultural importance. Derived from Latin, Catalan has a rich history and is a marker of regional identity. For tourists and new residents, encountering Catalan can be both enriching and challenging, adding a layer of diversity to the experience in Barcelona but also requiring some adaptation to navigate the bilingual environment effectively.


Nightlife in Madrid vs Barcelona 

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Spain is famous for its exciting nightlife, with both Madrid and Barcelona leading the way. Whether you prefer dancing in big clubs or enjoying live music in cozy venues, both cities have plenty to offer for a fun night out.

Nightlife in Madrid

Madrid’s nightlife is renowned for its versatility, offering everything from traditional tapas bars to trendy nightclubs. Notable spots include:

  • Kapital: A seven-story mega-club known for its diverse music and lively dance floors.
  • Teatro Barceló: A vibrant club set in a historic theater, offering a mix of mainstream and electronic beats across multiple floors
  • Shoko Madrid: A chic nightclub known for its glamorous ambiance and themed parties

Nightlife in Barcelona

Barcelona’s nightlife is as diverse as the city itself, with beach clubs, bars, and nightclubs:

  • Pacha Barcelona: Famous club brand offering dance music by the beach.
  • Razzmatazz: An iconic venue with multiple rooms catering to different musical tastes.
  • Opium Barcelona: A stylish club known for hosting top DJs and its seaside location.

Diving into the nightlife of Madrid and Barcelona offers a glimpse into the soul of Spanish culture, where the night is always young and people are never ready to go home. 

Ultimately, choosing between Madrid and Barcelona is a delightful dilemma, as both cities boast their own exceptional qualities. For those undecided, the good news is there’s no need to choose. You can embark on an adventure that embraces the unique splendors of both, and experience the best of Spain’s rich diversity.

Looking for a place to live in Madrid or Barcelona? 

Check out our Urban Campus coliving spaces:

In today’s bustling urban cities, the idea of coliving has quickly caught fire. Coliving is an incredibly innovative way to live more sustainably, spark collaboration, and create tight-knit communities. Urban Campus has been at the forefront of this real estate trend, with our knack for designing intuitive coliving spaces across major European cities. For us, coliving spaces aren’t just about providing a roof over your head – it’s about nurturing a strong sense of togetherness and community. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to design coliving spaces that just feel right.


What Does Intuitive Design Mean in Coliving?

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When we talk about intuitive design in coliving, we’re referring to spaces that people can naturally navigate and enjoy. These spaces should make daily life smoother, encouraging residents to connect and form new relationships. In order to meet the dynamic needs of young professionals, our coliving spaces always include: 

  • A blend of private and communal spaces
  • Advanced technology integration
  • Sustainability practices
  • Fully equipped & furnished spaces, completely move-in ready

We know that y​oung professionals today are looking for more than just a place to rest their heads; they seek environments that foster personal and professional growth. They value connectivity and the ability to network with like-minded individuals within their living space. The ease of having a fully furnished space is also unmatched for young professionals. We aim to remove all moving hassles and embrace total convenience, freeing our colivers to focus on their goals and interests. 


Design Process & Feasibility Study 

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The design and construction—or refurbishment—of Urban Campus coliving spaces begins with meticulous planning and a strategic feasibility study. This crucial step assesses the potential of a site or building to meet our specific needs. We look at everything from architectural viability to design opportunities and environmental considerations. 

A feasibility study ensures two very important things. First, that every Urban Campus project is architecturally sound. Second, that our projects align properly with our commitment to creating sustainable, tech-enabled, and community-focused living environments. The final outcome is a detailed roadmap that guides the transformation of buildings into vibrant coliving communities rooted in innovation and inclusivity.

Key Components of our Feasibility Study: 

  • Architectural Viability: Ensures the structural integrity and potential of the building or site.
  • Design Opportunities: Identifies innovative ways to create functional, aesthetically pleasing spaces.
  • Environmental Impact: Assesses sustainability practices to minimize ecological footprint.
  • Technology Integration: Evaluates the potential for incorporating smart technologies for enhanced living experiences.
  • Community Engagement: Looks into creating spaces that foster connection and collaboration among residents.
  • Market Analysis: Determines the demand and viability of the coliving concept in the targeted area.
  • Financial Assessment: Projects costs, revenues, and overall economic feasibility of the venture.


Urban Campus: Setting the Bar for Intuitive Coliving

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At Urban Campus, we are leading the charge in making coliving spaces that go the extra mile and foster a real sense of community. Our overall mission? To transform urban living into something more meaningful, community-oriented and fulfilling.

The Building Blocks of Urban Campus’ Intuitive Coliving Space

  • Community at the Core: Urban Campus designs common areas to foster community and connection. These include coworking spaces, lounges, kitchens, entertainment rooms, gyms, patios, rooftop terraces, and more! 
  • Your Own Space: Each private unit is its own sanctuary, equipped with smart storage and technology for convenience.
  • Green Living: Urban Campus is committed to sustainability, using energy-efficient fixtures, eco-friendly materials, and providing sustainability education to colivers. Our buildings often achieve certifications like BREEAM, Passivhaus, or carbon neutrality.
  • Smart Tech for Easy Living: Features include keyless entry and an Urban Campus community app for event sign-ups, clubs and networking.
  • Convenience Above Everything: Fully equipped spaces, from common areas to private units, with essentials provided. One all-inclusive monthly bill that covers rent, utilities, wifi, cleaning and more. Plus, we have a flexible 30-day cancellation policy for easy transitions. 

The Benefits of Coliving 

Coliving merges affordability, convenience, and community, offering an all-inclusive living solution with utilities, wifi, and furniture and more in one package. It fosters social connections and professional networking through shared spaces, making it an ideal living solution for digital nomads and urban professionals. 


The Bigger Picture: Community and Well-being

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Intuitive design does more than make a space functional and attractive; it creates an environment where people can come together, forming a supportive community. This sense of belonging is crucial for mental well-being, helping to combat loneliness and build a network of support. Urban Campus coliving spaces are not just places to live; they’re places to grow, collaborate, and be inspired. 

Want to read more about Urban Campus? 

La Maillerie Restaurants: Gear up, food adventurers! 

La Maillerie, a peaceful escape just outside the bustling heart of Lille, is your next stop on the culinary map. Imagine biting into freshly-baked bread in a cozy bistro, or savoring the sophisticated atmosphere of top-tier gourmet spots. We’re on a mission to scout out the best eats in La Maillerie. Ready for a flavor-packed journey? Let’s dive into all of the La Maillerie restaurants there are to explore! 


La Maillerie Restaurants: Brique House

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Located in the heart of La Maillerie, Brique House is a buzzing spot known for its wide beer selection and tasty food menu. With a large taproom and a rooftop area that’s over 1000 square meters, it’s a prime location for group gatherings – especially in the summer sun. 

The menu at Brique House features local dishes like the Welsh, plus other savory options like their beef steak Dallas Burger. Their food comes alongside a comprehensive list of cocktails, wines, and beers with both traditional and experimental flavor selections. Guests can also take advantage of “Brick Hour” for discounted craft beer every day from 5 pm to 7 pm.


Au 52

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Opened in 2010, Au 52 in Croix has established itself as a family-run pizzeria with a deep-rooted legacy. Set in an old factory and filled with collector’s items, the restaurant offers a rich menu featuring wood-fired pizzas, artisanal pastas and burgers.

Au 52’s commitment to quality is evident in its selection of ingredients, prioritizing freshness and regional sourcing to ensure that every dish served is of the highest standard. Plus, the environment invokes a sense of history and authenticity, with its warehouse-style design harmoniously blending industrial chic with rustic charm. 



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Arborescence showcases a blend of creativity and sustainability in its French cuisine. The kitchen is led by Félix and Nidta Robert, whose backgrounds include prestigious stints in global kitchens. The restaurant offers an imaginative menu focused on fresh, often locally-sourced ingredients. They have set menus titled “dawn, reflections, and dream.” These menus feature an array of dishes including grilled apricot, sweetbread veal and lobster. 

Situated in a renovated textile factory, Arborescence is a must-visit for those seeking a unique dining experience. Reservations are recommended for this high-end venue, as its culinary excellence puts it in high-demand.


Le Bacchus 

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Le Bacchus in La Maillerie blends a restaurant and wine bar into one cozy, intimate setting. It offers a deep dive into French wine culture, showcasing wines full of character in addition to local beers, cocktails, and whisky. 

The restaurant prides itself on a menu that combines tradition with creativity, and always uses fresh, local produce. A few highlights include raw duck foie gras and beef tartare. Le Bacchus also has a lush, plant-filled patio that makes it ideal for sunny lunches, dinners or relaxed afterwork drinks. This restaurant truly embodies the essence of French culinary excellence. 



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Get ready for a blast from the past! Barbara is a remarkable restaurant near La Maillerie themed as a 70s disco “pizza hangar.” This pizzeria is captivating with its flashy decor, from chaotic patterns to flashing neon signs.

Barbara’s menu features Neapolitan pizzas, antipasti, desserts, and selected craft drinks. A few specialties include burrata truffle pizza, “oh my cheese” pizza, and classic desserts like tiramisu. With this killer menu on top of their vibrant decor, Barbara is a one-of-a-kind gem that sticks out amongst the La Maillerie restaurants. 

Want to read more about La Maillerie? 

Discover the Barrio de Salamanca!

Madrid is a city full of life, cultural richness and neighborhoods….MANY, many neighborhoods. It can be difficult to know exactly where to start when exploring the array of diverse barrios in Madrid, but don’t worry – we can steer you in the right direction. 

Avenida América, found within the famous Salamanca district, is a standout neighborhood that is definitely worth exploring. Imagine delicious dining options, bustling shopping streets, lively bars and significant historical sites – what more could you need? It is a well-connected area and an ideal starting point for those looking to dive into the authentic cultural fabric of Madrid.

Not to mention, it is the neighborhood of our Avenida América, Madrid Coliving Space! 

Let’s take a closer look at the best things to do in Avenida América and the vibrant barrio de Salamanca. 


🍽️ Restaurants in Avenida América and Barrio de Salamanca

The barrio de Salamanca offers a rich diversity of culinary experiences that cater to diverse tastes and budgets. From high-end gourmet restaurants to cozy, budget-friendly eateries, there is a little something for everyone. 

Discover the Barrio de Salamanca: Best Things to Do!

High Budget Restaurants

Carbon Negro: Carbon Negro is a great place for sophisticated dining, and is especially celebrated for its grilled specialties. The ambiance is chic, with soft lighting that enhances the dining experience. You can enjoy Spanish classics like jamón ibérico and pisto manchego, plus explore their extensive bar, wine, and cocktail menu.

Mano de Santa: This restaurant has a dynamic menu with lots of global influences. The interior of Mano de Santa is stunning and elegant, perfect for indulging or celebrating a special occasion. The menu offers shared plates, fish, meat, and desserts, with a few highlights being their delicious rice wok and eggplant empanadas.

El Cañadio: Known for its creative tapas and main courses, El Cañadio offers a blend of contemporary and classic flavors. A Michelin-recognized restaurant in 2023, it’s ideal for adventurous eaters interested in dishes like steak tartar, cow tail, and leek and shrimp pie.

Medium Budget Restaurants

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Santerra: Santerra features a casual bar on the first floor (no reservations needed), with a Michelin-starred experience downstairs. The menu changes seasonally, offering traditional dishes with experimental flavors. A few standouts include the artisanal jamón ibérico croquette and wild rabbit rice. 

La Raquetista en la Habana: La Raquetista offers a fusion of Cuban and Spanish flavors in a vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy traditional dishes like torreznos (a type of fried bacon) and buffalo steak tartare. It’s a top choice for food lovers, with a large wine cellar and unique recipes.

Casa Vito: Casa Vito specializes in Italian cuisine, serving authentic pasta and pizza in a cozy, authentic setting. The menu features dishes like gnocchi with gorgonzola and orecchiette, complemented by a comprehensive wine selection.

Cazorla: A top Andalusian tavern in Madrid, Cazorla offers an extensive array of Spanish tapas. It’s the perfect spot for sharing dishes and enjoying classics like jamón and huevos rotos.

Cilindro: This Peruvian restaurant stands out for its innovative cuisine, featuring dishes like shrimp causa and oxtail bao. It’s famous for its use of traditional wood ovens and homemade sauces. If you are a fan of Peruvian cuisine, Cilindro is definitely the place for you. 

Warehouse: Warehouse is regarded for its enchanting garden setting and farm-to-table Spanish cuisine. The open garden creates a magical environment, ideal for enjoying dishes like morucha sirloin steak and catxopo (veal fillets). This restuarant is a MUST visit! 

Kippu: Offering a taste of Japan in Madrid, Kippu is known for its fresh sushi and Japanese specialties. The restaurant features a street market ambiance, perfect for a culinary journey to across the world.

Low Budget Restaurants

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Sumo; Diego de León: An all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant offering a vast array of dishes, including nigiris, makis, and rolls. Sumo is ideal for a hearty meal at an affordable price.

Makami; Diego de León: Specializing in delectable ramen, Makami is a cozy spot for casual dining. Their menu features various ramen dishes, gyozas, bao, and tacos.

La Mordida; Diego de León: Mexican restaurant La Mordida brings vibrant flavors to Madrid. Enjoy Mexican classics like nachos, chipotle chicken, and huevos rancheros, along with special events like tequila tastings and mariachi nights.

Pizza Natura: This restaurant is known for their artisanal pizza with unique dough ingredients like mijo and quinoa. Pizza Natura offers a healthy dining experience with vegan and gluten-free options as well. 


🛍️ Shopping in Avenida América 

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Calle Ortega y Gasset is the epitome of luxury, offering an array of high-end boutiques and designer stores. This street is synonymous with exclusivity and sophistication, where shoppers can find the latest trends from international fashion houses. The elegant storefronts and upscale standards make it a destination for those seeking premium quality, and a great place for a long afternoon stroll. 

The small shops on Diego de León street offer a more intimate and personalized shopping experience. Here, shoppers can find unique and trendy items that cater to a variety of tastes. These shops are perfect for those who seek individuality and style without the high-end price tag. 

If you’re on the hunt for your classic, go-to stores, head to Calle Goya. This area is home to popular brands like Zara and Parfois, offering a diverse mix of fashion, accessories, and more. It’s another great street to find the new styles without breaking the bank.


🍸 Bars in Avenida América

In the barrio de Salamanca, just like in the rest of Spain, the bar scene is essential. Grab a beer, order some tapas, and get ready to kick back and relax.

Terrazas along Juan Bravo Street

Juan Bravo Street is lined with delightful terraces, which create the perfect spot for a leisurely drink. This is the ideal place to bask in the sunlight and immerse yourself in the lively neighborhood. For those unsure where to start, here are two excellent recommendations:

  • Salitre: renowned for its exquisite tapas and live concert sessions. The bar has a dark, luxurious interior with a classic tavern vibe, complementing its extensive menu of wines, beers, and cocktails. 
  • La Barra de la Bien Tirada: a modern cervecería (beer house) that blends Mediterranean influences with informal yet high-quality service. This bar is ideal for casual meetups or after-work gatherings. Its menu ranges from small bites and breakfast options to larger dishes, all served in a bright, sunlit interior.


🏟️ Wizink Center

The barrio de Salamanca isn’t just a hub of modern urban life; it’s filled with important history and notable landmarks. Among its most illustrious attractions is the Wizink Center, a hotspot for cultural and sporting events in Madrid. This venue is a great place to explore the city’s sports and entertainment scene. 

The Estadio Wizink Center was first constructed and inaugurated on 1960, originally known as the the “Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid.” The versatile venue was rebuilt and redesigned following a fire in 2001. Now, the Wizink boasts state-of-the-art facilities for hosting a wide range of events, including concerts, basketball games, and more. Its architectural beauty and historical significance make it a must-visit. The center not only serves as a hub for entertainment but also reflects Madrid’s commitment to fostering a vibrant cultural scene. 

Want to read more about Madrid?