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Typical local tapas lunch | © Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock
Typical local tapas lunch | © Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock
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10 Tips for How to Master the Good Life Like the Madrid Locals

Picture of Lori Zaino
Updated: 18 February 2017
Madrileños have the right idea. Consistently happy, Madrid locals seem to always be living the good life. But you can do it too. Culture Trip is here to tell you how.

Take a siesta

Madrileños don’t necessarily nap daily, but they have no qualms about taking a solid siesta when needed. Siestas typically occur between the hours of 2-6PM, but honestly, the Spanish don’t nap-discriminate, so get in a little snooze whenever feels right. Generally, the best time to take a siesta is after a large lunch or when the weather is hot and there simply isn’t another remedy to cool down.

Even cats love to nap in Madrid | © Luigi Rosa/Fllickr
Even cats love to nap in Madrid | © Luigi Rosa/Fllickr

Do everything later

Wake up later, eat later, go to bed later… everything is shifted in Madrid. But it’s fun! Don’t bother with that 5AM workout, the gym isn’t open anyway. Looking to get that 6AM coffee? There’s no point, nothing is open. So let it go, sleep in, and get on the Madrid schedule like everyone else.

Time is… not of the essence

Being late in Madrid is totally normal. Everyone is late to everything, and if you plan to have a party, tell everyone a time at least one hour before you want them to show up. So stop stressing about being on time and toss your watch to the side. You’ll get there when you get there and so will everyone else.

Eat all day long

A Madrid local may eat six times a day, but is almost never overweight. Why? Well, the Mediterranean diet of course, and the fact that their largest meals are eaten at around midday. Have a coffee first thing in the morning, and a second coffee and “breakfast” around 11AM. This will hold you over to enjoy a large, late lunch around 2-3PM. Have another snack around 7PM and a light dinner around 10PM. Make sure to incorporate plenty of fish and olive oil into your diet just as the locals do. And don’t even consider becoming a vegetarian, going gluten-free or any of that nonsense. Madrid locals don’t deprive themselves of anything, and in turn, are happier.

Enjoy some Spanish food | © Escarabajo Amarillo/Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Enjoy some Spanish food | © Escarabajo Amarillo/Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Get in on the culture

Madrid is full of amazing cultural offerings. With incredible museums and art exhibitions, cinema, music, wine tastings, restaurants, food markets and more, there’s no shortage of cultural enjoyment to be had in this city. The locals take full advantage of all the best activities and opportunities and you should too. Read up on all the latest goings on in Madrid and plan something fun to look forward to.

Work less

Madrileños work to live, not live to work. They do take their jobs seriously, but understand that rest, vacation and shutting off technology-wise are important for a healthy lifestyle. So follow their lead and when you leave the office, leave everything at the office. Enjoy your weekends and evenings without thinking about work.

Don’t stress

No pasa nada is a saying often heard around Madrid, and it means don’t worry. The locals don’t, so why should you? Relax. It will all be just fine.

Soak up the sun

Madrid is Europe’s sunniest capital. How can you have a frown on your face when the sun is shining? You can’t, and neither does anyone else. So head outside and feel that sun on your skin for an instant pick-me-up. But be sensible: don’t forget the sunblock.

Soak up some sun | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Soak up some sun | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Carry a fan

It gets hot in the summer. The sun is strong and places are not over-air conditioned. In fact, you may be lucky to find air conditioning at all, so if you carry around that little fan in your purse or pocket, life (and sweaty subway rides) will be much, much easier.

Speak loudly, laugh loudly and be happy!

Madrid locals are fun, there’s no doubt about it. They speak loudly, laugh loudly and are full of passion. They have a zest for life that is intoxicating, so get in on it. Have a drink, stay up late, go out and have some fun. There’s no reason you can’t live the good life too.