Matthew’s article this week concentrates on moving to Alcalá de Henares – very close to Spain’s capital. Enjoy!
There’s more to (the Autonomous Community of) Madrid than Madrid
The city-centre of Alcalá de Henares is a living museum with a medieval layout of cobbled streets. Its university started life as one of the oldest in the world, with faculties housed in dazzling Golden-Age buildings. As well as students, Alcalá counts around 90 pairs of storks as part-time residents.
The rest of the city’s not as pretty as the centre. A third of Alcalá de Henares’ 200,000+ population live in functional Francoist tower blocks. The river’s nearly as insignificant as Madrid’s, although there are cycling and walking paths alongside it.
In and out
Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas (MAD) lies just over 23km away on the A-2. Journey time is estimated around the 25-minute mark. If you take the M-21 instead, you’ll have to travel for further and longer, but not by much.
The university attracts a great number of foreign students. However, there’s a distinct absence of international schools. Meaning a daily commute to the capitalyou’re your children should you wish them to be educated in their native tongue.
Shop until you drop…
The Calle Mayor is a delight to window shop as you walk along its pedestrianized street. Ditto the old market square renamed the Plaza de Cervantes, in tribute to Spain’s most famous writer who was born here. Mall lovers won’t have to travel far from the historic centre to find the altogether newer Centro Comercial El Val.
As in many areas of Spain, property prices have tumbled. They currently stand at an average of €1,632 per square metre. So, there are bargains to be had.
Apartments, €60.000+. Villas and townhouses, €120.000+.
In Praise Of
“Alcalá de Henares is a great place to live. A small city less than an hour from Madrid, it’s self-sufficient and dynamic with a great variety of shops, bars and restaurants. Its beautiful, historic city centre, the early stamping ground of Cervantes, stands out from the bland, modern centres of other towns along the River Henares and the University provides a wealth of cultural events.” Maureen Dolan (SpainStruck – Stay in Love with Spain)
- Are you an expat in Alcalá de Henares? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know below.