How to get around Madrid with public transportation

EuropeMadridTravel Tips

In any sprawling European capital, getting from point A to point B can sometimes feel daunting. Worry not: Madrid is easy to navigate. Learn how to explore the metropolis from your Madrid hotel without losing your way.

Connections from Barajas Airport

Barajas Airport Terminal, Madrid

Barajas Airport terminal – Source: Getty Images

Madrid-Barajas International Airport is located about 12 km northeast of Madrid. Taxis charge a fixed rate of €30 from the airport to the city. On a tighter budget? Hop on the metro connecting with the Nuevos Ministerios transport hub, in the city’s financial district.

For just €5, the 24-hour Airport Express bus will take you to Atocha, the city’s largest railway station. Visitors arriving at Barajas terminal T4 can also take a cercanías, Madrid’s commuter train, connecting with Atocha and other centrally located stations. A one-way ticket costs €2.60.

Madrid’s main transport hubs

In the city centre, travellers will find two main hubs: Sol, with cercanías trains and three metro lines, and Atocha.

Both Plaza de Castilla and Nuevos Ministerios, in the northern financial district, are buzzing with commuters travelling to and from Madrid by bus, train or metro.

Madrid also has two main bus stations, both connected by metro: Avenida de América (for northbound trips) and Méndez Álvaro (for southbound itineraries).

How to Get Around Spain: Gran Via

Gran Via – Source: Getty Images

Using the city’s transport system

Madrileños mostly rely on Madrid’s extensive metro system and the capital’s numerous urban buses. Although you can purchase single-fare tickets, the EMT (Madrid’s public transport agency) offers several prepaid travel passes.

For example, you can purchase a €12.20 Metrobús (10-trip ticket valid for both buses and the metro) at any metro station. Another alternative is the Tourist Card, allowing for unlimited travel by bus, metro and train within the metropolitan area, which starts at €8.40.

Other ways to explore the city

Looking for a fun day out on the town? Tour Madrid with these entertaining alternatives:

  • Madrid City Tour: Discover the sights aboard an open-top bus with stops close to major attractions.  
  • BiciMad: Purchase a one, three or five-day pass and explore the city centre on an electric bicycle from Madrid’s bike-sharing program.
  • Segway tours: Hop on a two-wheeled motorised vehicle and take one of the many scenic routes available, such as the Retiro and Prado tour.

Search IHG Hotels