Wondering where to study Spanish in Spain? This post is for you!

 

Figuring out that the best place to study Spanish in Spain is fairly easy… the trouble comes when you have to actually choose the city to host your immersive language experience. If you’re anything like me, you might have spent quite some time mulling over the different options only to come down to the ultimate tie: Barcelona vs Madrid.  

 

To make things a bit easier for anyone who is facing this tough choice, here’s a seven-round analysis facing off the two Spanish capitals… let the best city win!

 

Round 1: The Weather

In this department, the key lies in the average temperatures for the winter and summer seasons in both cities. In Madrid, your average winter temperature sits at a chilly 9ºC (48ºF), while Barcelona boasts a 14ºC (57ºF) average. When summer comes around, Madrid average temperature exceeds 31ºC (89ºF) while Barcelona hangs back at 28ºC (82ºF).

 

All of this is easily explained by Barcelona’s seaside placement, allowing for a much milder climate than landlocked Madrid. Although madrileños will tell you that their climate is drier and totally bearable; studying Spanish in Spain might be aided by Barcelona’s benevolent Mediterranean climate.

 

POINT GOES TO: Barcelona

 

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Round 2: Food

If there’s something Spaniards like is to eat good food. Tapas bars, top-notch markets and great restaurants are to be found in both Madrid and Barcelona; so we’re going to roll up our sleeves to get a verdict on this one.

 

If we are to pay attention to the gourmet overlords of fine cuisine, Michelin Guide awarded 24 Barcelona restaurants with one or more of their famous Michelin stars while awarding only 17 Madrid restaurants with the same honour. These stars are supposed to be an indicator of a bubbling gourmet circuit in the city that holds them, so it makes sense to find a myriad of events like Eat Street going on in Barcelona, many drawing from its closeness to the sea and the access to superb seafood that comes with it.

 

On the other hand, Madrid bars are known for spontaneously serving a tapa with each drink you order – that’s right, free food! But that just isn’t enough when facing a foodie hub like Barcelona.

 

POINT GOES TO:  Barcelona

 

Round 3: Events

This one goes hands down to Barcelona. Although there are some events that are a fixture in both cities, Barcelona houses unique world-known events such as Advanced Music Festival Sónar or Primavera Sound in the music department, Mobile World Congress in technology or Sitges Film Festival (held in a quaint sea town half an hour away from the city).

 

The list could go on and on if we were to include festivals and fairs with a slightly more local profile…the variety of activities held any given month is amazing. Although attending cool events doesn’t traditionally count as studying Spanish, it does help to round the experience and gives you an excellent opportunity to practise the language – and Barcelona is great for it!

 

POINT GOES TO: Barcelona

 

Round 4: Travelling

Once again, this one is going to be a close call.

Barcelona is very well connected by land, air and sea; and very close to areas like France or the Balearic Islands. Spending a weekend in places such as Toulouse or Ibiza makes a lot of sense when you’re so nearby!

Madrid is also very well connected (in this case, by land and air only) and really nearby other “typical Spanish” towns such as Toledo, Segovia or Ávila – places where one is less tempted to use English to get around. Because of that, and only because of that, this point goes to Madrid.

POINT GOES TO: Madrid

Round 5: Sports

Looking beyond the Real Madrid vs Barça dispute, both cities are home to excellent sports teams that provide truly entertaining sporting events almost weekly. Madrid has the tennis Open, Barcelona the Moto GP world championship. Both have their own marathons, half marathons and other races.

Nevertheless; be it because of its Olympic heritage or its seaside sports facilities, Barcelona is very inviting for those of us who enjoy practicing sport.

 

POINT GOES TO: Barcelona

Round 6: Art and Culture

Both cities are well known for its bubbly cultural life, mirrored in a dynamic landscape of performings arts venues, galleries, theater houses, museums and design and arts schools. Although Barcelona museums are well known around the world (especially the Picasso Museum and MNAC), Madrid is home to some of the greatest treasures in Art History. The collections in museums such as the Prado, Reina Sofia or Thyssen-Bornemisza house unparalleled jewels; making Madrid the winner of this round.

POINT GOES TO: Madrid

 

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Round 7: Nightlife

This might be a rivalry that is as deeply rooted as the one in football. Both cities have the Monday to Sunday nightlife that Spain is famous for, different vibes depending on the areas and an ever-changing panorama of bars, lounges, sessions and clubs. But Barcelona has two huge points going for it: a healthier live music circuit and an even healthier tradition of daylight partying. Their famous “electronic brunches” go on from spring to fall and allow for some of the most memorable partying around the world. Barcelona was ranked the 5th best partying destination in Europe by Business Insider, and that just settles it.

PUNTO PARA: Barcelona

 

FINAL SCORE

Looks like studying Spanish in Barcelona, Spain takes the lead with 5 points against Madrid’s 2.

Madrid has a lot to offer, but it’s difficult to compete against a city that has it all.

 

 

As the guys at Expanish will tell you, Spain is an amazing country that allows for someone to have the best immersive experience in Barcelona while making a short visit to check out Madrid part of it! If you want to study Spanish in Spain, come check out Expanish in Barcelona.

 

 

—By Irene