Arriving from Barajas Airport:
Metro de Madrid:
Upon arrival in terminals 1,2 or 3, follow signs to the Metro and take Line Number 8 to the station closest to your destination in central Madrid.
There is a new ticketing system in Madrid and first you must buy a Multitarjeta or Multicard (a contactless travel card, which you "charge" with the appropriate ticket. Cost 2.50€, available in ticket machines).
We are investigating further but it appears transport by metro from the airport will cost 7-7.50€ (2.50€ Muiticard, 1.50-2€ journey, 3€ airport supplement)
Thereafter metro becomes a cheap and efficient way of travelling while in the city (see below)
Tourist Passes are available for all Metro de Madrid transportation, offering unlimited travel during a consecutive valid period determined upon purchase, up to 7 days. These are non-transferrable, and official documentation, such as an Identity Card or Passport must be provided upon purchase and the ID number noted on the ticket. There are two zones available for these passes, Zone A (Madrid central) and Zone T (entire Madrid metropolitan area).**
**Tip: Only worth it if you are going to be using the metro a lot, otherwise go for the ten-ticket pass, which can be shared by more than 1 person.. Zone A is the best purchase, where most of the action is in Madrid. Zone T is only recommended if you are staying in Madrid over a long period of time and will need access outside the tourist areas.(see below)
Flat fee tranfers to the city center for €30 are available with no luggage fee.
If arriving in Terminal 4 you can catch the overland train (Cercanias) Line C1 to Principe Pio**, Recoletos or Atocha**, being the most centrally located stops. (** Metro connection). Cost: 2.60€ single. Frequency: every 30mins.
Airport Express Bus:
Buses leave every 15 minutes at a cost of €5, lasting a minimum of 40 minutes to the city center, and you can buy tickets on the bus.
Note: As with all travel anywhere in the world, be aware of your surroundings, especially when using Metro transportation. Madrid is a very safe city, but it is a big city. And, with all the sights, it's easy to get distracted and lose track of bags when waiting for your stop. Don't give any pickpockets opportunities. Stay safe and watch your bags.
Moving Around Central Madrid Sights:
While Madrid, as a whole, is a big city, the city center is not that large and is also easily accessible on foot. Plus, most of Madrid's must-see sights are in central Madrid and relatively close to one another. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and plan to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, as you may find numerous wonderful reasons to stop and look around when walking to your destination.
Alternatively, the Metro in Madrid is very efficient, cheap, clean and easy, though you can walk around most central destinations. The service starts at about 6am and ends around 1:30am (11:30pm for buses). For a map of the underground and more details about Metro de Madrid, click on the map at the top of the page.**
**Tip: After 11pm the metro runs every 20 mins so if you have to change line and are unlucky enough to miss both trains it can add 40 mins to your journey so if your hotel is not walkable, do consider a taxi.
Cost: First you must buy the contactless travel card Multitarjeta (2.50€ available in machines). Then 1.50€ for single journey of up to 5 stations, then 0.10€ for each station after that to a maximum of 2€. €12.20 for ten journeys** (valid for all central Metro and bus transportation), free for children under 4
**Tip: if you buy a ten-ticket pass, you may use this for more than one person without objection by having the first person go through and pass back the ticket to the next. Tickets must be carried at all times on the bus and metro.
Taxis in Madrid are also fairly cheap but not often required, as short walks and Metro rides are the primary choice of transportation in Madrid. As in all cities, some taxis are prone to taking you ‘round the houses' if you don't know where you are going, but in general, they offer a good and safe service if you are returning to your hotel after the Metro service has ended.
Uber and Cabify are becoming increasingly popular in other countries and while you do get a smarter car and maybe a bottle of water, in Madrid, for shorter journeys ,the cost difference is minimal and it will probably be quicker and easier and really not much more expensive to get a regular taxi.
If you are planning on visiting all the museums, using public transport and doing the open-top bus ride, the Madrid Card is popular and worth investigating. You can buy a 1,2,or 3 day pass which gives you free access to 40 of Madrid's main museums and use of public transport, among other things.
Traveling to Madrid from within Europe:
For cheap flights within Europe, try:
A good resource for trips within an hour of Madrid is Madrid Escapes by Peter Stone (published by Santander Books)
For day-trip excursions to the surrounding areas of Madrid, we recommend Viator.
For side-trips to Rome, we recommend www.romewalks.com. They are a tour company devoted to helping the busy traveller who needs to make the most out of their Rome visit while they travel Europe.