Do you want to know the fastest and cheapest way to go from Madrid Airport to the city center?
Public transport in Madrid is one of the best in the world in quality and price. This is why my general recommendation to go from Madrid Airport to downtown is to use public transport.
The best option to go from the Adolfo Suarez – Barajas Airport to Madrid city center will obviously depend on the area where you have booked your accommodation, keep on reading to get more details on the different options available.
Regarding all the information below, please consider that children under 4 years old travel for free on metro and bus, and under 6 years old on Cercanias trains. Traveling to Madrid with kids is so easy!
Pro Tip: Check out this post with the best tips to find the cheapest flights to Madrid.
Continue reading to find a practical guide for getting from Barajas Airport to Madrid city center.
Table of contents
Madrid Airport Metro
The total cost from the Madrid Airport to the city center using Metro Madrid is under € 5, including a supplementary Airport charge, quite an affordable price in my opinion compared to other cities I visited all around the world.
Metro Madrid is fast, comfortable, safe, and economic. It is sustainable too, traveling on the underground is five times less polluting than by car.
Consequently, it has become the most used means of public transport for both locals and tourists visiting the capital of Spain.
The air conditioning is very welcome in Summer and more than one visitor will be thankful for the more than 2,200 chargers for hand-held devices installed in the stations.
Then, how can you go from Madrid Airport to the city center? Metro line number 8 has two stops in the Airport: Terminals 1,2,3 and Terminal 4.
Be aware that the metro station called “Barajas” is located in the town, not in the Airport, and the line is working from 6.05 a.m. to 1.30 a.m.
Line 8 arrives at Nuevos Ministerios station, in Madrid downtown, in just 15-20 minutes. There, most visitors change to a different line to get to the metro line with the station closest to your accommodation, when going from Madrid Airport to the City center.
Moving in Metro Madrid is super easy, you can use the “Metro de Madrid” official app, or use the metro maps you will find in all the stations and trains.
Multi Public Transport Card
You must have a “Multi” Public Transport Card loaded with a valid ticket type to travel on Madrid Metro.
There are Quick Ticket machines in the two Metro stations commented above, where you can easily purchase the Multi card along with a 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
Most tourists should go for the “Metrobus 10-Journey Ticket”, which includes the Metro zone A (municipality of Madrid) and EMT buses. You will use the rest of the 10 journeys, and possibly much more, during your stay in Madrid.
A group of people can use the same Public Transport Card with the unique condition that passengers must start and end the journey together.
Another option is the Madrid Tourist Travel pass, also referred to as Madrid Tourist Ticket and Madrid city pass, which allows visitors to use all types of public transport (metro, urban buses, and Cercanias trains) in Madrid.
The Madrid Tourist Ticket is also pre-loaded onto the “Multi” card and allows visitors to take unlimited trips within your chosen timeframe: 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 calendar days.
Most tourists should be fine with just Zone A, and the prices are € 8.4 for 1 day, € 14.2 for 2 days, € 18.4 for three days, € 22.6 for four days, € 26.8 for five days, and € 35.4 for seven days.
With the Madrid Tourist Ticket, it is not necessary to pay the airport surcharge when going from Madrid Airport to the city center.
Your final choice will probably depend on the number of journeys you expect to use each day.
When going from Madrid Airport to the city center, consider that children under 11 years old have a 50% discount when purchasing the Madrid city pass, under-4s travel for free on the metro and the bus, and under 6s on the Cercanias commuter train.
Madrid Airport to the City Centre by Taxi
I know well how appealing it results 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 Adolfo Suarez 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 price for a taxi ride from the Madrid-Barajas Airport to the downtown (interior area of the M-30) is a flat rate of € 30 one way. No supplements can be added to this price, like 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 could need it later.
So, if you are too tired to go for the metro, carry heavy luggage, or you share the service with some more people, a taxi is also an excellent choice to go from Madrid Airport to downtown.
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.
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 your accommodation location.
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.
The Airport connects Madrid city center via urban buses of the Municipal Transport Company (EMT), main lines are Exprés-203 (overnight it is called N27 Exprés), and 200.
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 bank credit card.
The buses run every 15-20 minutes during the daytime and every 35 minutes at night (23:30-6:00), and the complete journey takes approximately 40 minutes.
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 card.
In case your accommodation is close to any of the aforementioned bus stops, the bus can be also an effective and cheap option to get from Madrid Airport to the City center.
There is a train connection between the Madrid Airport and the city center through the Cercanias C1 and C10 lines.
The Madrid Airport has one train station, located in terminal T4 (floor -1). There is a shuttle bus service connecting all the terminals.
The service is quite fast too. For instance, it takes 11 minutes to get to Chamartin, 18 minutes to Nuevos Ministerios or 25 minutes to Atocha. Download the “Renfe Cercanias” App or check Renfe`s website to access a complete schedule of all trains.
The frequency is every 15-20 minutes and the single-ticket fare is € 2.60. Keep your train ticket safe as it will be required to exit the station.
Again, the train can be a comfortable option if your final destination is in the route of these trains.
The last, but not least, of my favorite options to go from Madrid Airport to the old town is the private transfer.
You will enjoy a hassle-free private airport transfer in a comfortable vehicle alongside a knowledgeable private driver.
Prices vary depending on the size of the vehicle, and per vehicle not per person.
Do not worry about delays or advancements, your driver will be waiting for you in the hall with a sign with your name on it and will take you straight to your hotel.
Car rental should not be an option to go from Madrid Airport to the City center if you are just visiting the capital of Spain.
Public transport is much more affordable, sustainable, and convenient, as you will not have to worry about traffic jams, get lost, or find parking.
However, it can be useful if Madrid is not your final destination, and you are visiting another Spanish destination.
In any case, if you have decided to go from Madrid Barajas Airport to the city center by rental cal, you must know that there are seven car rental companies in the Airport (Europcar, Budget, Avis, SIXT, Hertz, Enterprise, and Goldcar). All these companies have a wide range of cars for all budgets and extras of all kinds (GPS, baby car seats, etc.)
All car rental offices are located at the T1 terminal Arrivals hall in front of the baggage claim hall 2 area, and at terminal 4, floor -1.
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 or tablet for navigation with an app like Google Maps or Waze, in this case, remember to download offline maps in advance.
If you want to save some money in your car rental, I suggest you use comparison websites like Rentalcars and make your booking with some anticipation.
In addition, the “full to full” policy for fuel is highly advisable and you will avoid extra charges. The fuel tank will be full when you pick your car up, and it will have to be full too at the time you drop your car off.
Also, for my peace of mind, I always book an insurance, you can get the one offered by the rental company or another by a third-party insurer, usually cheaper.
Renting a car can be tricky so if you want to avoid surprises always read the terms and conditions of the contract and clarify all the doubts you can have. It is a good practice too to take digital photos of each panel of the car, the wheels, and the odometer.
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.
The airport changed its name from Madrid-Barajas to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas in 2014 after 83 years of use, in tribute to a former Spanish president. However, still today people refer to the Madrid airport as “Barajas”.
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 in order to make their stopover as comfortable as possible. Medical, ATMs, VAT refund, and police, are some of the services offered at the airport.
Free Wi-Fi at Madrid Barajas Airport
Also, visitors will enjoy free internet access via WIFI for an unlimited time, basic navigation to limit download speed and supported by advertising.
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 “Airport_Free_Wifi_AENA” and follow the instructions on the welcome page to choose the requested sponsored service (free) or Premium.
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.
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