A group of MBA students from IE's November 2010 intake enjoy Madrid's April weather on the lawn outside of classes last month.

Sunny Madrid was once again ranked as one of the top cities to live and work in worldwide. According to the 2010 Most Livable Cities ranking by www.monocle.com, the Spanish capital is ranked tenth. Having grown up under the grey sky of England, of the first things you notice on arriving in Madrid is the intensity of the blue sky and a very pleasant climate, with over 300 days of sunshine all year round, be it summer or winter.

The city has a cultural vibrancy and a 24-hour lifestyle that one does not find in other cities. Furthermore, despite the 5 million population, Madrid provides you with the safe sensation of being almost like a village, with the madrileños being especially warm and welcoming to the fairly recent influx of people from all over the world.

Apart from the more touristic sites in Madrid, such as the Palacio Real, la Plaza Mayor, the Rastro market in La Latina, the worldwide renowned Art Museums such as the Prado, El Reina Sofia and Thyssen, the city also offers many alternative options. In recent years many cultural and art centres have opened, the Matadero, Caixa Forum, La Casa Encendida and La Fabrica, Museo del traje, providing a very innovative and creative approach to the more traditional and austere Art Museums in Madrid.

In addition, as one of Europe´s greatest party towns, there are endless bars where you can have a “caña” (little beer) or tapas, in the many different parts of Madrid from La Latina, Lavapies, Salamanca to Malasaña. Music-lovers are truly catered for by the many music festivals, featuring both local and international bands, and the various concerts halls: La Sala Sol, Heineken, Moby Dick, Siroco and Sala Caracol.

For a more peaceful moment, one can rest in one of the many green areas such as the Retiro, Casa de Campo, Parque del oeste or even take a stroll along the newly re-opened River Manzares, which recently reclaimed 8km of river parkland and urban beaches. However to escape from the city, there is no better option than to go out to the Sierra mountains, just one hour away, and breathe the fresh air and visit the local historical villages.

— Kim Goddard