Please press on the highlighted words for links and detailed information.
- Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez Barajas Airport is located about 13 miles from the city’s center, Puerta del Sol. It has four terminals although most international flights arrive on either T1-(United, etc.) or T4-Iberia, American, etc.
- T4-was designed by architect Richard Rogers and local architect Antonio Lamela. It has many shops, and amenities, but be aware that the gates are far away so plan to walk a lot, as you marvel on its stunning architecture.
- Once you check in, and have your boarding pass, remember to stamp your TAX FREE forms at the Police/Guardia Civil booth (located on the left side of the security line), PRIOR to passing through security. Press here for more information on the TAX FREE process.
- After passing through the security line, you can get your tax free return in cash at the company’s booth: Global Blue, Tax Free, etc.
- TAXI: Extremely safe and reliable and they are always plenty lined up. There is now a fix fare from the airport to the center of Madrid for around 30€. There is a limit of four people per car, no exceptions allowed.
- METRO: The metro of Madrid has a stop on T4, (Línea 8: Nuevos Ministerios-Aeropuerto T4.) The stop is “Aeropuerto T4”, once in the metro system you can transfer to any line that is closest to your destination. The cost of the ticket is 1.50€ plus the airport supplement which is 3€. Press here for more info on metro to/from Madrid Airport.
- TRAIN: You can take the local train C1 from T4 to various stations (Chamartin, Nuevos Ministerios, Mendez Alvaro, Atocha and Principe Pío. 2.60€
- BUS: There are some Yellow Express buses, that you can hop on as you exit baggage claim on the street, similar where you would get a cab. These take you straight to Cibeles Plaza, and then Atocha Renfe station. 5€ per person.
- SHUTTLE SERVICE: Aereocity, is a shuttle service that takes you anywhere in Madrid, you can share the ride making various stops and are charged per person or you can have a private transfer. This is recommended for families or groups that are more than 4. You cannot reserve this service on your arrival but you can reserve a pickup at your hotel for your departure flight. Even if you try reserving on line, they will not have a bus waiting for you until you show up at their counter located outside and to the right of baggage claim. Although sometimes they might make you wait up to 20 minutes, most of the time there is one available. However, on your departure pickup they are extremely punctual so you must be at the door on time. About 40€ for private transfer.
MOVING AROUND IN MADRID:
- FEET: Walking in Madrid is the most recommended form of transportation. You will be amazed of how much you wake without even noticing it. This is a very dense city and there are so many shops, cafes, plazas and side streets that cannot be accessed by car. Wear comfortable shoes, as there are a lot of cobblestone streets and sometimes holes, etc.
- METRO: The metro is very well connected, safe and there is a stop pretty much everywhere you need to go. I recommend purchasing a Metrobus ticket for 12.20€, it is a ticket valid for 10 rides and can be used both on metro and on bus. You can also share it with other companions. You can only purchase this ticket at the metro stations, on the bus you can only purchase a single ticket. Some people buy “tourist tickets”, i find that you will be walking most of the time so there is no need to purchase anything more than this 10trip ticket.
- BUS: I love using the bus, not only does the extensive network takes you closest to where you want to go, but you get to sightsee the city. You can download or pick up a bus map at any metro station or tourist office. The bus line 27 stops along the Castellana, from Atocha to Plaza de España, stopping along many points of interests including de Real Madrid Stadium.
- TAXI: Just hail any taxi that you see with a green light or “libre” sign, or look for a nearby taxi station. If you see them passing you by, it means that there is a nearby taxi station and they are not allowed to pick you up.
- BIKES: Madrid has a bike share program similar to other cities. Look at the website for more information. I don’t feel comfortable riding a bike in Madrid city center, at least not yet, because there is a lot of traffic to navigate. However, I do recommend you renting a bike at Madrid Bike Rio, and riding the bikes a long the route of Madrid Rio. Please say hi to Maribel on my behalf. Look at my post on Madrid Rio for more information.
- TOURIST BUS: If you are short on time, do not want to walk too much, then this hop on and off double decker bus is a good option. You can pay where you hop on, or you can start in front of the Prado Museum. Children under 7 are free and there are special pricing for families and senior citizens.
- TRAINS: Refer to Renfe for traveling outside of Madrid and to the Cercanias to travel outside the city limits, to nearby cities.
- The Madrid Tourism Office is located in the north side of the Plaza Mayor, under the colorful mural. Refer to their website for a lot of practical information. I highly recommend taking one of their Walking Tours, their prices have unfortunately risen, they are still worth it, 17€ per adult. English tours leave at noon from Plaza Mayor but you should purchase the ticket ahead of time or at least 30min. before. Refer to their brochure for the different tours and schedule.
- I can’t stress this enough: GET A LOCAL SIM CARD; otherwise you will be very upset when you return to your phone bill.
- Before you leave the US, make sure that your phone is unlocked. Once you fully pay for your phone, you can contact your phone carrier to legally unlock your phone. For example, you may click on this link for the ATT unlock form .
- You can purchase a sim card in many places throughout Europe. If you are in madrid, I recommend you go near the Puerta del Sol to Solfonic at Calle Espoz y Mina,9 (915 21 49 39). The attendant, Shaipur, is very helpful and he can also repair your phone, replace screens and unlock the phone, very quick and for a very affordable price.