Use public transport from the minute you land at the airport, to your journeys around the city.
Madrid’s international airport, formerly known as Madrid-Barajas, was renamed to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport in 2014 in honor of the former President who died that year. It is the busiest in Spain, and lies 12km northeast of the city (airport information T: 902 404704, +34 91 321 1000; www.aeropuertomadrid-barajas.com).
The most useful local bus lines from the airport into the city centre include #101 for Metro de Canillejas, and the #200 (from all terminals) for Av de América; each costs €1.50. Route #824 departs from Terminals 1 and 2 to the intercity bus station of Alcala de Henares. The yellow Exprés Aeropuerto (€5 single) runs 24 hours a day from Plaza de Cibeles, Atocha station, and terminals T1, T2 and T4.
The airport has two metro station: Aeropuerto T1, T2 and T3 is at the center of Terminal 2. Aeropuerto T4 is located at Terminal T4. Metro line 8 runs from Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 to Nuevos Ministerios in the city centre (€2).
If you’ll be using public transport during your stay it’s best to get a Metrobús ticket (www.metromadrid.es), although you will have to pay a €3 supplement for journeys to and from the airport. You can buy these tickets from all metro stations, tobacconists and newspaper outlets.
Taxi ranks are outside all arrival halls. All taxis are metered, so ensure that the driver puts it on at the start of the journey. You can get a receipt for this. A taxi into the city center costs a fixed rate of €30. Don’t be tempted to take any unauthorised taxis from inside the terminal.
Long-distance trains, including an overnight service from Paris d’Austerlitz, arrive at Atocha station, metro line 1. (T: 902 320 320, www.renfe.com)
Almost all Madrid’s sights are clustered in the centre, an enjoyable stroll from each other. However, if you’re in a hurry, the buses and metro are cheap, efficient and user-friendly. A few places – the museums dotted around the Salamanca district and the Ventas bullring, for example – are a bit further afield but are all accessible by public transport.
The Tourist Travel Pass is a quick and easy way of getting around, offering limitless travel on all metro lines, suburban trains and buses, plus the airport’s metro stations. Choose the option that best suits your visit – one (€8.40) two (€14.20), three (€18.40), five (€26.80) or seven days (€35.40) of unlimited use.
You can buy single tickets at metro stations; the Metrobús ticket is also sold at tobacconists (estancos). Pick up free bus and metro maps from tourist offices, metro and bus stations.
Information in English is available by calling T: 010 or online at www.ctm-madrid.es. Good bus routes for sightseeing include: #2 from Plaza España, along the Gran Vía to the Retiro; #3 for an overview of the centre, from Puerta de Toledo to Chueca; #5 from Puerta del Sol up Paseo de la Castellana to Plaza de Castilla; #21 down Pintor Rosales in the northeast, through Chueca and to the Ventas bullring.