Getting Around Madrid on the Cheap

Though wandering around the streets of Madrid is a great way to see the city, be sure to take advantage of the fantastic public transportation system in the capital.

Plaza Mayor de Madrid

Getting to Madrid From the Airport 

Madrid Barajas International Airport connects to the city by Metro line 8 and by Cercanias commuter train line C-1. The fastest, and least expensive way, to access the city center from the airport’s Terminal 4 is to take C-1 train to Nuevos Ministerios then transfer to either the C-3 or C-4 train; Sol will be the first stop and takes one to Puerta del Sol, the city’s main square.

Train tickets cost €2.15. Alternatively, one can take the Metro from any of the airport’s terminals to the city center. Take line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios, the end of the line. One can stay in the Metro system and take two additional lines to Sol or take commuter trains C-3 or C-4 for an additional fee. Metro tickets from the airport cost €2.50, as riders to and from the airport must pay an additional €1 supplement. Train and metro tickets can be purchased from machines in any station. The machines accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards. Remember to hold onto your tickets, especially those purchased for the trains, as you may need to re-scan them through machines to exit the station.

Plaza de Cibeles Madrid

Getting to Madrid From the Train Station

Madrid has two train stations: Atocha and Chamartín. Renfe operates train service to and from Madrid. Chamartín serves trains from international destinations like Lisbon, Paris, and Milan and northern Spain, while trains from Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain arrive and depart from Atocha. Both stations connect to the Metro and Cercanias commuter trains.

Madrid’s Metro System

Madrid metro map



Madrid has one of the best public transportation systems in the world and the second largest network in Europe, behind only London. Single tickets cost €1.50 per trip, with an infinite number of transfers while in the Metro zone. If you take the Metro to or from the airport, you must pay an additional €1. Unlimited travel passes can be purchased as well: one day (€6), 2 days (€10), 3 days (€13), 5 days (€19), or 7 days (€25). If you purchase an unlimited travel pass, you do not have to pay the airport supplement.

Maps of the Metro can be acquired at Information stands in most stations. Announcements of stops on the Metro are made in Spanish, but signs throughout the stations are in Spanish and English. Metro trains often feature maps of several lines, not just the line you may be traveling. Be aware of what line you are on and which stop you are trying to reach.

The Metro officially opens at 6:00 AM and closes at 1:30 AM, though some lines may run until 2:00 AM.

The city also has an extensive bus system, which reaches parts of Madrid that the Metro does not. Metro and bus lines use the same tickets. Night buses provide transportation between 1:00 AM and 5:30 AM.

Commuter Trains in Madrid

Cercanias commuter trains (C-lines) connect the city center to the suburbs. These trains are useful for connecting to different parts of the city while avoiding multiple Metro line transfers. For instance, from the Sol stop in the city center, one can access the airport by transferring from Metro line 1 to line 10 to line 8 or one could take C-3 to C-1. Both terminate at Terminal 4 of the airport.

Written by Morgen Young for

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1 Comment

  1. good gucomment_IDe , unfortunately the fares mentioned are out of comment_date. Due to the crisis from 1st May all tariffs on public transport were raised by an average of 12% and in the case of the airport metro rcomment_IDe by 120%! So the metro to the airport now costs 4.50€

    For up to comment_date info in English about Madrcomment_ID follow on twitter @englishwh or see their web page
    Saludos de Madrcomment_ID!

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