Getting to MADRID

Madrid is an easy city to get around and the airport is a short journey from the city centre. Its very easy to walk to the gay district of Chueca from your hotel.

Madrid's airport is 13km (8 miles) from the centre of the city and was completely remodelled over the past decade.

Madrid’s airport is 13km (8 miles) from the centre of the city and was completely remodelled over the past decade.

Madrid Bus

The best value for getting around the city is the Metrobús ticket, giving 10 rides for less than EUR 7 and is also valid on the Metro.

OUR GUIDE TO GETTING AROUND AND GETTING TO MADRID

The nearest airport is Barajas International Airport (MAD), 902 404 704, About 15-20 minutes from Madrid.

The airport is connected to the city by the Metro line eight. Taxis from the airport to the city center cost about €25. All One World alliance flights depart from the new Terminal 4 (T4) as well as the low cost carrier Vueling and other unaffiliated carriers. There is a supplement of 1€ on the regular metro ticket for the airport line.

Bus services run from the remaining terminals to T4 and there are additional bus services running from the center of Madrid (Plaza Colón and Avenida de América). It is also planned that a commuter train line from Atocha and Chamartín will arrive to the airport by 2009. This is one of the best and cheapest working metros in Europe. Trains are usually regular and on time.

BY BUS

EMT operates the city bus network. A single trip costs €1 (buy ticket on boarding), or buy a Metrobús ticket in advance giving 10 rides for €6.70 and also valid on the Metro. The Consorcio Transportes Madrid  (Transport Consortium) has a good website (in English) that lists the available bus routes with information about the times and fares.

There are special night buses (called Búhos “night owl”). All the Búhos start at Plaza de Cibeles , going to all directions from there. Since 2006, there are also night buses following all of the metro lines and stops, though sometimes they don’t stop straight in the metro exits due to the narrow streets surrounding some of them.

Using the Madrid Tourist Bus to move around is sometimes not a good idea, as it has no air conditioning/heating, and the temperatures inside can get to over 50ºC during the summer.

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Getting around MADRID

Metro in Madrid

The Metro is a fast and easy way to navigate the city. It is also a cool respite during the hot Summer months.

Madrid Atocha Station

Madrid’s main train station links Spain to the rest of Europe and has some great restaurants and shops.

BY METRO

Using the Metro de Madrid  (Madrid’s Subway/Underground) is efficient and usually easier than using the buses, especially if one is new to the city. Also, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on particularly hot days. Single trip tickets with unlimited changes within Madrid city (zone A) cost €1,00. If you plan to make at least seven metro trips, think about buying the Metrobús tickets which offer a better value of 10 rides for €6.70. You can buy these tickets at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists’). They are valid not just on the Metro but also on EMT city buses (the red ones), including the night bus network (its buses are called Búhos – night owls). Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like – make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you’ll have to stamp your ticket again. When travelling by bus, the ticket needs to be stamped each time you enter a bus.

In addition to a bus pass, consider buying an Abono Turístico (tourist pass). This pass comes in five versions: lasting 1 (€3.80), 2 (€6.80), 3 (€9.00), 5 (€14.20), or 7 (€19.80) calendar days. There is also a 50% discount on the ticket for children under the age of 11. They are valid from the date they are first used. The date of expiration will be printed on the back of the ticket.

On Friday and Saturday nights, a night bus service runs on the same routes as the Metro lines once these have closed for the evening. This service, inaugurated in 2006, is known as the ‘BuhoMetro’.

BY TAXI

Taxis in Madrid are cheaper than in other European cities but much more expensive than travel by bus or the Metro. They are widely available at all hours except Friday and Saturday night when they are difficult to catch due to diners and party people fighting for them. If you absolutely must have a taxi late on a Saturday night it’s usually best to walk along the major thoroughfares towards your destination and try to catch a taxi as it returns to the city center. Calle Alcalá, Paseo del Prado, and Paseo del Recoletos are all good streets for this. Note that it can be next to impossible to get a taxi when it is raining, so it’s usually best to wait it out if you can. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi ranks; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand for a free taxi passing by. Available taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top.

Official Taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night, which become 2 and 3 on holidays such as Christmas Eve). Ask for a receipt (in Spanish recibo por favor) if you feel the charge is too high – the driver is obligated to give you one.

There are also special surcharges if you go to the airport, like a surcharge for the bags and for entering or leaving the airport. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges (suplementos) (shown on small stickers on rear windows, compulsory by law) before paying if you think it’s too expensive. A normal ride to/from the airport should be about €20.

BY TRAIN

Not only is Madrid the capital of Spain, but it is also the hub of the country’s rail network. Major routes include frequent trains to Barcelona on the east coast (2 h 40 min journey), where it is possible to continue on to the French coast, and to Paris to the north with access to most of the rest of Europe.

Main connections between Madrid and other European cities include:

  • Portugal, direct train from Madrid to Lisbon, but also a train from Irún to Lisbon via Madrid.
  • France, direct train from Madrid to Paris, but also a train via Barcelona to the Parisian train station Paris Austerlitz. Also trains to Montpellier via Barcelona and Cartagena (Murcia).
  • Switzerland, train to Zurich via Barcelona.
  • Italy, train to Milan via Barcelona.
  • Spain’s high-speed train (AVE – Alta Velocidad de España) makes the Madrid-Seville run in two and a half hours. The AVE line to Barcelona is ready now and the journey takes 2 h 40 min.
  • Northbound trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha railway station.

There is more information available at Spanish Railway System Renfe (+34 902-240-202).http://www.renfe.com/

Book Tours & Cars in Advance & Save!

If you want to save time then book your tickets for museums, shows and more in advance. You can also book scenic bus tours and guided tours to all of the major sights with our partner.

Where to stay in MADRID?

Recommended Hotels

Room Mate Oscar

Best in Chueca!

Room Mate Oscar

With sweeping views of the city, the Room Mate Oscar offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi access. Located in Puerta del Sol, this 3-star hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Teatro Espanol.

Urban Hotel Madrid

Best Outdoor Pool

Hotel Urban Madrid

This 5-star hotel is located in Centro and has an outdoor pool, air conditioning and a steam bath. It offers uninterrupted views of the city, stylish rooms with mini bars and personalised service.

Hotel Abalu

Great price for the location!

Hotel Abalu

Tiny, with only 15 smallish rooms, this nice little boutique hotel has put a lot of design and comfort into what used to be a humble hostel. Still a little rough around the edges, it isn’t unlike a stylish guesthouse with hotel services.

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