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How to Get from Madrid Airport to City Centre?

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The article helps you understand which means of transportation is more convenient to get from Madrid airport to city center.

By Metro

Metro Network

Note: This article provides information for how to get from Airport to Madrid. For more information about the tickets and the Madrid zones of public transportation, you can click here

When travelers arrive at Madrid airport, they will discover how easy it is to get to their accommodation. Adoldo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport is in fact one of the few international airports served by the metro network. There are two metro stations at the airport, the first is located on the first floor of the modern terminal 4, the second on the first floor of terminal 2. The metro station at terminal 2 also serves the other terminals 1 and 3.

adolfo suarez madrid Barajas airport

Metro line 8 connects the airport to the heart of the capital, near the Real Madrid “Santiago Bernabeu” stadium. Metro trains leave every 5 minutes between 06:00 am and 01:30 am and take around 15 minutes to reach the “Nuevos Ministerios” stop, where you can change to lines 6 and 10.

You can buy tickets at the two metro stations at the airport. First of all, it may be convenient to buy the Multi Card. This is a special card costing 2.50 euros on which you can load all tickets for the Madrid metro, light rail and city bus lines, as well as tourist tickets.

Single Tickets

At the airport you can buy a single metro ticket which costs 3 euros more than the standard ticket. In fact, the cost of the ticket depends on the number of stops.

If your stops are within 5 stops, you will have to buy a ticket worth 4.50 euros (3 euros for departure from the airport + 1.50 euros for a single ticket). On the other hand, if you have to make more than 10 stops, then the cost of a single ticket becomes 2 euros and you will have to pay a total of 5 euros.

For example, if you are at Terminal 4 of the airport and you have booked your hotel right near the “Nuevos Ministerios” station, you will have to make 7 stops, for which you will have to pay 4.70 euros. (Because after 5 stops, every stop costs 10 cents more. Therefore, the price of the ticket is 3 euros for departure from the airport + 1.50 euros for a single ticket for 5 stops + 2 stops x 10 cents/stop). Remember that you must use the single ticket on the same day of purchase.

Multiple travel tickets

If you plan to use the metro several times, it is better to buy a 10-journey ticket directly. There are two types of 10-journey tickets:

1) the first costs 12.20 euros + 3 euros for the journey from the airport and is recommended for those who want to move exclusively in the Municipality of Madrid (public transport zone A) using the metro, light rail and city buses;

2) the second costs 18.30 euros + 3 euros for the journey from the airport and is recommended for those who like to travel on the metro throughout the Community of Madrid, which includes the neighboring municipalities (Zone A+T).

Madrid public transport zones
image from wikipedia (Zonas_Abono_Transportes_Madrid)

In any case, you should remember that Madrid is divided in two main areas, A and T. The area A includes also the area 0. The area T includes B1, B2, B3, C1 and C2 (T= B1 + B2 + B3 + C1 + C2). Zone A corresponds to the Municipality of Madrid, whereas Zone T includes the municipalities around the capital that belong to the Community of Madrid.

You can also buy the tourist pass which allows you to use all public transport. This can be bought for one day, or for two or more consecutive days, up to a maximum of 7 days.

The day pass valid for the City of Madrid (zone A) costs 8.40 euros. The day pass valid for the entire Community of Madrid (zone A+T) costs 17 euros. Since the airport is located in zone A, you can buy the ticket for 8.40 euros. In this case, you do not have to pay the 3 euro supplement. Remember that you cannot buy the tourist pass if you have not purchased the Multi card.

The Metro map can be viewed here.

By Bus

bus Lines 101 e 200

EMT city buses can also transport travelers from the airport to the city center. EMT buses are blue color. Line 101 costs 1.50 euros and connects Terminals 1 and 2 to the “Canillejas” station, where you can take metro line 5. Buses depart every 15 minutes from the first floor of Terminal 1 and the second floor of Terminal 2. Trips are concentrated between 06:00 am and 11:25 pm.

Line 200 connects terminals 1, 2 and 4 of the airport to the “Avenida de America” metro station, where lines 4, 6, 7 and 9 stop. Bus 200 also makes an intermediate stop at “Canillejas”, the line 101 bus terminal. Bus line 200 runs between 05:00 am and 11:30 pm with a frequency of approximately 15 minutes. As for line 101, the cost is 1.50 euros per person.

The tourist pass includes the ticket for these two bus lines. If you intend to buy 10-journey tickets instead, you can use one of the ten tickets to take the 200 or 101 bus.

In the last case, there are two types of 10-journey tickets are offered:

1) One type is for the entire zone A, that it’s valid for the Metro, the Light Metro Line 1 and the EMT urban bus lines (it costs 12.20 euros);

2) The other type is a special ticket that valid only for EMT buses. The 10-journey tickets allow you to not valid your ticket each time even when you want to change a bus, though you are only allowed to change once within 60 minutes (it costs 18.30 euros).

“Exprés Aeropuerto” (airport express)

There is also a special bus called “Exprés Aeropuerto” (airport express) which costs 5 euros and connects the center to terminals 1, 2 and 4. The bus is yellow color and stops at Plaza de Cibeles and O’Donnell (both near the Parque del Retiro), before reaching the “Atocha” train station. There is a metro stop of line 6 in In O’Donnell, while there is a metro stop of line 2 in in Plaza de Cibeles.

The bus takes about 45 minutes to reach the center. But if the traffic is heavy, the bus could be delayed. The buses have a frequency of 15 minutes during the day and 35 minutes at night.

Travel Tips:

1)At night the bus does not reach the “Atocha” station but stops at Plaza de Cibeles, which is the nerve center of the EMT night bus network.

2) The airport express is the only public transport solution if your plane arrives in the middle of the night.

3) The airport express route is not included in the tourist day ticket or 10-journey tickets. If you choose to use this public transport, you must buy the ticket separately from the others.

By Railway

Railway Network

The airport is also connected to the historic center via the railway line. In fact, the national train service operator Renfe uses lines called “Cercanias” (surroundings) to connect terminal 4 to “Atocha” station. Be careful though, as Terminal 4 is the most modern area of the airport, isolated from the other terminals. So, if you arrive in terminals 1, 2 and 3, you should take the internal airport bus to reach the train station in terminal 4.

Lines C1 and C10 offer a route that from terminal 4 stops at some intermediate stations to reach the “Atocha” railway station. The C1 line ends at the Principe Pio stop, near the royal palace, on the opposite side of the historic center from “Atocha”. The C10 line continues until it reaches the town of Villalba.

Other important stops of line C1 and C10 are “Nuevos Ministerios” where you can find lines 8, 6 and 10 of the metro, as well as the Chamartin station where you can find lines 1 and 10 of the metro.

Railway tickets

Trains are convenient solutions for those arriving at terminal 4 and need to reach the historic centre. They cost 2.60 euros, but are less frequent than the subway and last longer. Trains run between 06:00 am and 01:30 am. It is recommended to use the train only if you arrive at terminal 4. You can see the map of the rail network here.

There are also 10-journey tickets for trains, the cost of which depends on the areas crossed by your travels. For example, 10 tickets crossing 4 zones (0, A, B1 and B2) cost 18.55 euros. However, most tourists do not need to travel 10 times through 4 areas of Madrid, as the main attractions are easily visible within zones 0 and A.

Tickets are valid for two hours from the time of purchase and cannot be loaded onto the Multi Card. The train journey from the airport to the center is included in the day tourist ticket.

By Taxi

Obviously, you can also get around the airport with taxis. Taxis generally charge a fare ranging from 30 to 40 euros. Taxis take on average 40 minutes to reach the center from terminal 4 and 50 minutes from the other terminals. There are 7 taxi stands in all, two in terminals 1, 2 and 4, and one stand in terminal 3.

Private transfer

You can also book a private transfer at a similar cost to Taxi. For example, the Civitatis company offers a service for 38 euros by day in a three-seater car and 44 euros by night. While the 6-person minivan costs 58 euros for the day and 67 euros for the night.

These means of transportation mentioned above are options are from Madrid airport to city center. You can shoose the one that is the most convenient for you in order to start your Madrid trip easily.

Note: Schedules and prices reference time mentioned in the article is 12 november, 2022

Written by Enrico, Translated by Hua and Photos from Hua

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