17 October 2018

Madrid, the heart of Spain

Madrid is a city that has often gone under the radar, overshadowed by the Catalan tourist haven of Barcelona. It is a city that doesn’t have the stand out tourist attractions of Paris and London which is shown by the fact that it is one of the few European capitals that lacks a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That being said, Madrid exudes cultural elegance and is home to one of the best bar scenes in Europe. Combined with a resurgent economy and a wave of construction aimed at modernising commercial areas within the centre and it would appear that it is on course to once more attract the attention of the world.

From food and culture to fashion and alternative night life, Madrid has so much to offer and should be the dream location of any professional looking to strike a the perfect work-life balance whilst at the same time living in a place that has all the opportunities and possibilities of a vibrant world capital.

Ariad expanded to the Spanish capital in 2017 and the team there has grown rapidly over the past year. In such a short period of time, the Madrid office has become crucial to company’s operations and will play a central role in expanding the business into different markets.

The culture

Madrid is a city that has cultural diversity at its heart. From any of its world class galleries including the Thyssen, Prado and Reina Sofia (home to Goya, Picasso, Dalí and many more) to the winding streets of Madrid de los Austrias that have remained unchanged for two centuries.

It is a city that seemingly blends the old with the new as you walk through areas that each have a distinct identity. From the upmarket neighbourhood of Salamanca, to Lavapiés which has been a bastion of multiculturalism and is home to one of Spain’s largest African communities. Within the condensed centre of the city, you are guaranteed to stumble across an abundance of hidden gems.

Madrid is a thriving metropolis that is in a constant state of evolution. As it continues to emerge from the years of crisis that plagued the Spanish economy, the city is once again on the rise with new shops, restaurants and bars springing up, helping to strengthen what is already one of Europe’s best street cultures.

Bars & restaurants

Madrid absolutely thrives in this area. There is such intense competition that bars and restaurants are forced to think of innovative concepts in order to attract customers in what is a city of abundant choice. If you can think of it, there will be a place already dedicated to it.

If you want to eat bao in a Bali inspired basement that is filled with sand then there is a place for that. If you prefer Lebanese in an 18th century courtyard, you wont be disappointed. The incredibly variety of Madrid means that whatever you are after, you will find. Even better than that is the fact that you will constantly come across surprises that you weren’t looking for.

Bars and restaurants are at the very heart of what gives Madrid its charm. They are the source of noise that echoes through the streets until the early morning. It is often said that the Spanish know how to enjoy life far more than their Northern European counterparts and it is no coincidence that that is the case when the bar scene keeps people from hiding away at home, instead placing greater emphasis on the social side of life.


Whilst many European cities such as Paris, Barcelona and London have positioned themselves as havens for startups, Madrid was late to catch onto this. This however has changed over recent years with the city now looking to shed its image of being the reserve for the more traditional companies within the financial sector.

Madrid has a growing startup presence with companies experiencing spectacular levels of growth over the past couple of years. This has been combined with many of Spain’s global brands which are based in the city fully embracing digital transformation strategies.

After a difficult decade for Spain after the 2008 crisis, it is becoming increasingly clear that Madrid is ready to emerge from the shadows as it cements its position as a leading business hub, making use of its linguistic and transport connections with the Latin American market.

Ariad sees the immense potential for digital transformation within the Spanish market as its companies take on a more global role which is why we chose to set up in the centre of the city. Our mission in this dynamic hub is only just beginning, there couldn’t be a better time to join the team here.