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Madrid is a public transport dream! We have a modern, clean and massive metro system, inter-urban light rail and easy to use buses.
There are also plenty of taxis, a sightseeing bus and of course, the historic center is easy to explore on foot. With so many options, you’ll have no problem discovering the magic of the city! Read on for more insider tips for how to get around Madrid!
Photo credit: Danny Thompson
With connections from the airport to the city center and everything in between, the Madrid Metro is one of the city’s treasures. Each platform corresponds to only one line with panels listing the stops. Just make sure the stop you’re looking for is listed on the sign on the platform and you’re good to go! For multiple trips, you can buy a 10 journey card for 12.20 euros at any station (you can even pay by debit card!). There’s also a great trip planning feature on the website. The metro runs from about 6:00am to 1:30am.
Insider’s tip: For traveling to and from the airport, you’ll need to pay a 3 euro supplement per person, payable at the ticket kiosks in the station.
The Cercanías trains are Spain’s light rail system that connects suburban areas with the city center. Cercanías are great for visitors to Madrid because you can take these easy to navigate and inexpensive trains to popular destinations like El Escorial, Aranjuez or Alcala de Henares. Plan your trip with the Cercanías website and then head to any of the main train stations to buy your tickets from the kiosks. The most centrally located train stations for catching Cercanía trains are Atocha and Sol.
Insider’s tip: You can also take Cercanías trains to the Madrid Airport terminal 4!
If you’re ready for an adventure, why not try a city bus? With stops located all over the city center, you can grab a bus and see the sights along the way! With the Google Maps app on your smartphone, you can check which bus will take you to where you want to go and see bus departure times!
For getting to the airport, there’s an express bus that runs 24 hours a day from the Atocha train station and several other stops throughout the city. The bus takes about 35-45 minutes to arrive at the airport (depending on traffic) and there’s plenty of space for your luggage!
The hop-on-hop-off, double-decker sightseeing buses are a great way to see the sights, especially if you don’t have much time in Madrid! Buy your tickets online or at one of the many sales points, then spend the day on a choose your own adventure around the city! See the Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, the Prado, the Retiro Park and more!
Taxis & cars
After a long flight, sometimes the best idea is to jump in a cab. Taxis from the airport to the center of Madrid offer a flat rate of 30 euros. Once in the city, taxis are plentiful, easy to spot and are a great option for getting back to your hotel after a long day of exploring the city!
Insider’s tip: Taxi drivers are only required to make change for 20 euro bills and smaller, so make sure you have small bills!
If you’re looking for an even more personalized experience from the moment you arrive, consider a private airport transfer with Welcome Pickups. This way, you can secure your ride in advance, giving you one less thing to worry about when you’re jet lagged. After you reserve online, you’ll get an email with your driver’s photo, contact details and the meeting point a few days in advance, and once you arrive, they’ll be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it. Drivers even monitor your flight status in case of delays. And all this comes at an affordable price—just a little bit more than an airport taxi!
High Speed Trains
For visiting any of Spain’s other major cities from Madrid, the high-speed trains (or AVE in Spanish) are the most comfortable and fun option! Trains leave from the Atocha train station in central Madrid and in a few short hours, you can be strolling along the beach in Barcelona, eating a paella in Valencia or munching on tapas in Seville. Buy your tickets in advance to make sure you get the time and date you want! If you’re having trouble purchasing tickets online, you can always pay with PayPal.
Find out more: Great tips for traveling from Madrid to Barcelona
Featured image photo credit: Eric Titcombe
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