What Is The Best City To Study Spanish? Should I Go To Barcelona Or Madrid?


This is one of the most difficult questions that most students face when making the decision to come and study Spanish in Spain.

Both Barcelona and Madrid are the top destinations. So, you cannot go wrong with whichever one you choose.

However, if you had to pick one …  which one will be? Let´s look at each of them …  and then, you decide!


Barcelona is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. A modern city, vibrant and unique.

Meeting point for people all over the world, tourists, students, and professionals from all sorts of fields and countries.

It has it all, the mountains, the beaches, and the Mediterranean Sea. Art, Culture and an outstanding gastronomic culture worldly recognized.


Madrid is also one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. A highly international city, also known as the “New York of Spain” because of its size, diverse neighborhoods, and fast life.

It is a meeting point for all sorts of people, whether it is for business, pleasure or study, there are always people running around in the streets.

Now, a big minus for the capital city is that it does not have a beach. As the famous hit of the ’80s says, vaya, Vaya en Madrid no hay playa.

So, if you decide on Madrid in the summer, prepare to be hot in August!

Barcelona or Madrid: You choose

Here are some tips that will help you with your decision about where to go to study Spanish.

Review your reasons in every item, and when you are done reading this post, you should have made your decision.

1) Both Cosmopolitan Cities

Both cities are welcoming, modern and open-minded where all visitors feel quickly at home.

Statistics say that in recent years, Barcelona has won the position of the most visited city in Spain but this, on the other hand, has its drawbacks since it can be overwhelmingly crowded at times.

You may be able to still find cozy corners and romantic spots in the Gothic Quarters, but it gets more and more difficult every time.

Too many tourists, all over the place and all the time also make the prices go up.

According to everyone, Barcelona is a more expensive place to stay.

Madrid is an open space for visitors. Depending on the source that you check, you´ll find Madrid as the top destination for business and students. But better not to fall into the trap and compare!

What seems to be true is that Madrid is more affordable and offers plenty of things to do at a much lower cost.

You can go to “tapas” in Sol for a couple of euros and have a full menu for less than 10.

You can also have free access to many of the most important Museums in the city, and this can be a big plus.

Check out this link to check specific schedules and dates.

Your choice _______

2) Learning the Spanish Language

When it comes to learning Spanish, you should take into consideration that most of the population in Barcelona are bilingual, and they will speak both Catalan and Spanish.

You can easily move around speaking Spanish and people will understand you and will speak Spanish back to you.

Most of the study abroad programs will offer Spanish language courses, so you will not find it hard to find to study Spanish in Barcelona.

However, if you really want to do something truly unique, study architecture in Barcelona. You cant go wrong.

Gaudi’s modernist buildings are all around the city and are its most recognized edifices.

Madrid is monolingual, so everyone speaks Spanish everywhere all the time.

You don’t have to study the Spanish language for just art, and culture, but also for international relations, business or entrepreneurship.

One of the top destinations to study Spanish is the city of Alcala, a quaint medieval university town right outside Madrid.

Alcala is not only the home to one of the oldest universities of Europe recognized as a World Heritage Site, but it is also the hometown of our universal Miguel de Cervantes, author of the famous Don Quijote de la Mancha.

Your choice _______

3) Best schools and universities

This is another area in which both cities are well renowned for tight, so you will win either way.

Barcelona´s star is the UBA or the University of Barcelona, which is ranked among the 100 best universities in the world.

It is one of the top public universities especially strong in the field of architecture and design.

There are many more universities both public and private, all of them good.

Most of them offer specific study abroad programs, but you should look for the specific area that you want to study and the language in which the courses are delivered.

Madrid has a very extensive educational offer as well, with more than 15 schools – private and public, some of the top business schools in the world, and many other specific language institutions and programs to choose from.

It is not an easy task, but the most important thing is that you try to find the school that offers the kind of Spanish language program that you think is best for you.

Consider a course on Spanish for Business, this will help you when trying to find a job in the future.

Your choice _______

4) Travel around Spain

Madrid is in the center of Spain and it lacks Barcelona´s wonderful beaches… but it offers easy and fast access to the rest of Spain.

Toledo, Segovia, Avila all only an hour of the capital making Madrid the best place for one-day destinations.

Also, when it comes to exploring the rest of Spain, Madrid’s central location becomes a true asset.

In just over a couple of hours, you can be anywhere in Spain. Simply take a high-speed train and you’ll discover that Seville, Cordoba, Malaga or Granada are right at your fingertips.

Barcelona has great day trips, including the Pyrenees, Figueres or Sitges but to move around Spain is a bit more complicated and you may have to fly 0r take the AVE to Madrid and move from there ?.

Your choice _______

5) Nightlife

Barcelona has a vibrant and classy nightlife. Two of the most popular nightclubs are in the city, so if you like disco dancing you probably are familiar with Side and Razzmatazz.

It also has great bars and clubs. Take your pick.

Madrid is known as “the city that never sleeps”.   It has some large and iconic nightclubs like Joy Eslava or Kapital, but the thing to do in the capital is to “to go out” in a more informal way.

There are whole streets of cool nightspots, Terrazas or classic bars to hang out with your Spanish friends, check out the sports in Chueca or Malasaña.

Also, lot´s of clubs with live music so, if this is what you like, welcome to Madrid!

Your choice _______

Finally, it´s easy to make a choice. Look back at your choices and there you have it!

Pack your bags and you are ready to go! See you in Spain!