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Transport in Madrid, Spain

Madrid Transport

Getting There

By air: Bajaras International is Madrid’s main airport and lies about eight miles outside the city centre. Allow about one hour to get there, however, as traffic can be quite chaotic between the two. Consisting of three terminals, it is one of the busiest airports on the continent so it is helpful to note exactly which flights come into which terminals. The first handles all international flights, the second serves domestic flights and the third and newest of the terminals is used primarily for the shuttle service between Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain’s national airline is Iberia Airlines and this has more routes into and out of the country than any other airline. Nevertheless, over fifty different international airlines serve the Spanish capital so regardless of where you are travelling from you should have no difficulties getting a flight into Madrid.

To make your way from the airport to the city centre you have a number of alternatives. The airport bus which is a yellow EMT city bus leaves every twelve - fifteen minutes and takes about forty five minutes to reach the final city stop - Atocha Station in city centre. This journey will cost you €5. Alternatively you could take a taxi which will cost you between €20 and €35. If there are three or four passengers this is quite a convenient way to get into town. Finally, there is also a new metro line which will also get you to the city centre and leaves from Terminal 3.

By train: Trains setting down in Madrid arrive in one of two stations. The first, Atocha station, is used by trains travelling to the Spanish capital from the south. Trains travelling from the north arrive in Chamartín on the north side of the city.
By bus: A total of eight bus stations around Madrid city centre operate services to other Spanish cities, all run by different bus companies. Check with local tour operators for information.


Getting Around

On foot: Madrid is quite big. Many sites are within waing distance of each other but you'll definitely need to hop on a metro or bus at some stage.

By bus: Empresa Municipal de Transportes or EMT operate the bus service which consists of about 150 different routes. It also operates a selection of night buses which depart from Plaza de Cibeles between midnight and 6.00am. Single tickets are bought on board and cost €1.50. If you intend using the buses quite a bit, however, you should buy a book of ten tickets which will cost you €12.

By metro: The metro system is the most commonly used form of public transport in the city and is made up of eleven different lines each of which are distinguished by a colour and a number. It is easy to use and extremely quick but is best avoided during rush hour as it is always packed. A one trip ticket which can be bought at the station costs €1.50 and a book of tickets for 10 trips costs €12.

By taxi: Those of you wishing to take a taxi in the city should look out for the white taxis with a diagonal red stripe. These can be hired at ranks or in the street and the metre starts at €1. It is worth keeping an eye on the meter to ensure that charges are legitimate and you should also not that there are extra charges for additional passengers and luggage as well as telephone or airport pick ups.

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