How to Get from Madrid Airport to the City Center

Don´t waste your time and money on your visit to Madrid. Wondering how to easily get from Madrid Airport to the city center?

The best way to do it depends on where you have booked your stay in the city. Take a look at my simple guide below for getting from Barajas Airport to Madrid city center.

From Madrid Airport to the City Center by Subway

Madrid Barajas Airport to city center

Metro Madrid offers a fast, comfortable, safe, and budget-friendly option for travelers. It is also environmentally friendly, with underground travel being five times less polluting than traveling by car.

How exactly do you get from Madrid Airport to the city center? Well, Metro line number 8 has two stops within the airport: Terminals 1, 2, 3, and Terminal 4.

It is very important that you don’t confuse the Barajas metro station located in the town of Barajas, not at the airport.

The total cost of taking the Metro from Madrid Airport to the city center is just under €5, which includes a supplementary airport charge. In my opinion, this is quite affordable compared to transportation costs in other cities I have visited around the world.

Line 8 will take you to Nuevos Ministerios station, right in the heart of downtown Madrid, in just 15-20 minutes. From there, most travelers opt to transfer to a different line to reach the metro station closest to their accommodation.

Regarding the Metro operating hours, Line 8 operates from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. The train frequency varies depending on the time of day and the day of the week.

Metro line 8 is the best way to get from Barajas Madrid Airport to the city center

As a result, it has become the preferred mode of public transportation for both locals and tourists exploring the capital of Spain.

Traveling via Metro Madrid is a breeze. You can make use of the official “Metro de Madrid” app or refer to the metro maps available at all stations and on trains.

Moreover, during the summer months, the air conditioning in the metro is a welcome relief from the heat, and visitors will appreciate the more than 2,200 chargers for handheld devices installed in the stations.

Multi Public Transport Card

To travel on the Madrid Metro, you will need a “Multi” Public Transport Card loaded with a valid ticket type.

Check out my popular post: Getting around Madrid: Your best (and cheapest) options.

Quick Ticket machines are available at both Metro stations, where you can easily purchase the Multi card along with single or 10-Journey Tickets, as well as the necessary airport extra charges (€3 per passenger).

The 3 € airport supplement is a separate payment and cannot be deducted from your 10-trip ticket.

For most tourists, the best option is to load a “Metrobus 10-Journey Ticket” onto a single “Multi” card. This ticket covers Metro Zone A (the municipality of Madrid) and EMT buses. You will likely use up the remaining journeys, and possibly more, during your stay in Madrid.

Additionally, a single “Multi” card is usually sufficient since a group of people can use the same Public Transport Card with the unique condition that passengers must start and end their journey together.

Tourist holding the multi card for transportation

Madrid Tourist Travel Pass

Alternatively, visitors can opt for the Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, also known as the Madrid Tourist Ticket or Madrid City Pass.

This ticket is loaded onto the “Multi” Card and grants unlimited access to all modes of public transport (metro, urban buses, and Cercanias trains) in Madrid within your selected timeframe: 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 calendar days.

Most tourists should be fine with just Zone A, with prices ranging from €10 for 1 day, €17 for 2 days, €22.5 for 3 days, €27 for 4 days, €32.5 for 5 days, and €42 for 7 days.

Metro Madrid station

With the Madrid Tourist Ticket, you won’t need to pay the cost of the Multi card or the airport surcharge for your journey from Madrid Airport to the city center.

In the end, when deciding between the 10-journey pass and the Tourist Travel Pass, you should take into account the number of journeys you expect to use each day.

When traveling from Madrid Airport to the city center, keep in mind that children under 11 years old receive a 50% discount when purchasing the Madrid City Pass. Additionally, kids under 4 travel for free on the metro.

Taxi from Madrid airport to the city center

I know well how appealing it is to just get a taxi straight to your accommodation after a long flight.

And even more in Madrid, where the taxi fares from the Airport to Madrid downtown are not high. The Madrid Barajas Airport is just 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the city center.

Official taxis in Madrid are easily recognizable, white-colored with a red stripe and the coat-of-arms of the city on their doors.

The fare for a taxi ride from the Madrid-Barajas Airport to the city center (interior area of the M-30) is a flat rate of € 33 one way. No supplements can be added to this price, for example for taking several pieces of luggage.

Also, for visitors` convenience, credit card payments are allowed. Remember to ask for a receipt at the end of your journey just in case you need it later.

Taxi Madrid is the fastest way to get from Madrid airport to the city center

So, if you are too tired to go to the metro station while carrying heavy luggage, or you share the service with some more people, a taxi is also an excellent choice to go from Madrid Airport to the city center.

Taxi is not only the most comfortable but also (usually) the fastest way of getting to the city center, although it depends on the traffic. Try to avoid rush hours, especially from Monday to Friday when locals go and return from the office.

>> Check out my popular post: Top-rated landmarks and monuments in Madrid.

The trip from the airport to Madrid city center usually takes less than half an hour but it depends very much on the traffic conditions and the location of your accommodation.

Taxi ranks are located outside the arrivals area. You will easily identify the signals of the public taxi ranks in all the Adolfo Suarez Madrid – Barajas Airport terminals.

Bus From Barajas airport to Madrid city center

The Airport connects Madrid city center via urban buses of the Municipal Transport Company (EMT). The main lines are Exprés-203 (overnight it is called N27 Exprés), and 200.

Exprés Aeropuerto Line

The line Exprés-203 or Exprés Aeropuerto (Airport Express) is the express line connecting the Atocha train station (overnight the last stop is Plaza Cibeles) and the Airport of Madrid-Barajas. The complete route is Terminal 4 – Terminal 2 – Terminal 1 – O´Donnell – Cibeles – Atocha.

The bus runs 24 hours 365 days a year and the rate is € 5. You can pay the driver directly with cash or a bank credit card.

The buses run every 15-20 minutes during the daytime and every 35 minutes at night (23:30-6:00). The complete journey takes approximately 40 minutes.

Many travelers use the buses for getting from Madrid airport to the city center due to the sightseeing opportunities.

Airport express bus is a great way to go from the airport to Madrid downtown

Line 200

Line 200 connects the Adolfo Suarez Madrid – Barajas Airport with Avenida America station. The complete route is Terminal 4 – Terminal 3 – Terminal 2 – Terminal 1 – Canillejas – Puente de la Cea – Avenida de America.

The buses run every 10-20 minutes from 5.00 to 23:30. The price is € 1.50 and you can also use the Metrobus 10-Journey Ticket.

If your accommodation happens to be near any of the bus stops mentioned earlier, taking the bus can also be a practical and budget-friendly way to travel from Madrid Airport to the city center.

How to get to Madrid city center by Train

There is a train connection between the Madrid Airport and the city center through the Cercanias C1 and C10 lines.

The Madrid Airport boasts a single train station located in terminal T4 (floor -1). Conveniently, there’s a shuttle bus service linking all terminals

Cercanias trains is a comfortable alternative to go from the Madrid airport to the old town

The service is pretty fast too. For instance, it takes just 11 minutes to reach Chamartin, 18 minutes to Nuevos Ministerios, and 25 minutes to Atocha. You can access a complete schedule of all trains by downloading the “Renfe Cercanias” App or checking Renfe’s website.

Trains run every 15-20 minutes and a single ticket costs €2.60. Be sure to keep your train ticket safe, as it’s required to exit the station.

Once again, the train can be a comfortable option for getting from Madrid Airport to the city center, especially if your final destination is along these train routes.

Searching for a Private Transfer?

Last but certainly not least, one of my preferred ways to travel from Madrid Airport to the city center is through a private transfer.

With this option, you will experience a hassle-free journey in a comfortable vehicle with a knowledgeable private driver. Prices vary based on the vehicle size, and it’s charged per vehicle rather than per person.

No need to fret about delays or changes in schedule, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding a sign with your name, ready to whisk you directly to your hotel.

Car Rental at Madrid airport

Renting a car shouldn’t be your go-to choice for getting from Madrid Airport to the city center, especially if you are just visiting the capital of Spain.

Public transport offers a much more affordable, sustainable, and convenient option, sparing you from the hassles of traffic, navigation, and parking.

If you have decided to rent a car to travel from Madrid Barajas Airport to the city center, know that there are 7 rental companies available at the airport: Europcar, Budget, Avis, SIXT, Hertz, Enterprise, and Goldcar. These companies offer a variety of cars to suit all budgets, along with extras like GPS and baby car seats.

You will find all car rental offices located at the T1 terminal Arrival hall, directly opposite baggage claim hall 2 zone, and at terminal 4, floor -1.

use a gps when going from Madrid airport to the city center by rental car

Driving in Madrid

Getting to your accommodation by car rental can be quite tricky in Madrid, so it is highly advisable to rent a GPS or use your smartphone for navigation.

Driving in Madrid is not significantly different from driving in many other European countries, but it is worth checking out these 10 essential things to know about driving in Madrid before you take the wheel.

For added peace of mind, I always opt for insurance when renting a car. You can choose the one offered by the rental company or explore options from third-party insurers, which are often more cost-effective.

It is essential to carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract and address any questions you may have. It is also a good idea to take digital photos of each panel of the car, the wheels, and the odometer.

However, considering the excellent public transport options available in Madrid, I don’t recommend renting a car to get from Madrid Airport to the city center.

Guide to Adolfo Suarez Madrid – Barajas airport

Madrid has just one airport serving all the routes arriving to and departing from the city. Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport (code IATA: MAD, code ICAO: LEMD) is located in the northeast of Madrid, Barajas district, only 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Madrid city center.

Madrid Barajas Airport is located very close to the city center

Madrid Airport has four terminals and one satellite building, as Terminal (T4) consists of two buildings, T4 and its satellite (T4S), connected through an automatic underground train. The shuttle bus connecting the terminals is free and operates 24/7.

Be aware that even if your flight lands in T4S, you will have to claim your luggage and exit the airport through T4.

Madrid Airport disposes of seven public parking areas, situated in the buildings of terminals T1, T2, T3, and T4. You can save money and make the most of your travel budget if you book the parking in advance.

Barajas Airport offers a wide range of complementary services to make stopovers as comfortable as possible. Medical services, ATMs, VAT refunds, and police assistance are among the services offered at the airport, along with a multitude of shops and restaurants.

Free Wi-Fi at Madrid Barajas Airport

Also, visitors will enjoy free internet access via WIFI for an unlimited time.

There is free wifi in the Madrid Barajas Airport

The access points are located throughout the whole terminals T4 and T4S, as well as the boarding and restaurant areas of the T1, T2, and T3 terminals.

Connect your device to the wireless network “freewifi.aena.es”, open the web browser, and when requesting a page a welcome screen will be displayed with the instructions.

Now that you have learned how to get from Madrid Airport to the City center, continue planning your next trip to the capital of Spain.

And if you have an overnight stopover or suffered a canceled flight, don´t forget to check the top-rated hotels near Madrid Barajas Airport.

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Madrid Adolfo Suarez to city center

6 thoughts on “How to Get from Madrid Airport to the City Center”

  1. Thanks for your post , We found it quite useful

    Reply
    • Happy to help! thanks for your comment!

      Reply
    • Thanks for this great post. I’m wondering if is worth it to get the metro card just to go back and forth from the airport to Atocha. We are spending only one full day in Madrid.

      Reply
      • Hi! thanks for your comment! in your case, the most convenient (and cheapest) option is to use the train. There is a direct route from Terminal 4 of the airport to Atocha, the Cercanias trains are excellent

        Reply
  2. Hi good day!
    Compared with metro & train, which is the best way from MAD to Puerta de Atocha – Almudena Grandes.
    Cheers!
    Terry

    Reply
    • Hi Terry! The most convenient option to get to Puerta de Atocha Station from the airport is the train, as there are 2 direct lines (C-1 or C-10), and you’ll reach Atocha in just 30 minutes.

      Reply

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