Public transport in Madrid: best options and tips from a local

Public transport in Madrid is cheap, fast, clean, and one of the safest in the world.

Madrid offers excellent alternatives when walking is not an option, such as the subway, bus, train, and taxi.

Besides, electric bikes are an entertaining, sustainable, and healthy way to discover the city.

What to expect from public transport in Madrid

I believe that walking is the best way to experience any city in the world first hand. But travelers with a tight schedule will appreciate the outstanding public transport in Madrid.

You can reach any point of the city center in just a few minutes and at an affordable price, compared to other cities in Europe and America. 

» Check out my popular post: How to Get from Madrid Airport to the City Center.

Public transport in Madrid will help you to save time and make the most of your trip to Spain.

There are several options to get around. But if you are planning to use public transport in Madrid you must read this guide with the necessary information and tips to use Madrid´s public transport like a local.

Public Transport in Madrid

Ready to start? Here’s my practical guide to using means of public transport in Madrid.

Public transport in Madrid: Best alternatives

Madrid offers an integral and extensive network of public transport.

Metro Madrid, EMT buses, Renfe Cercanias, taxis, and BiciMAD electric bikes will help you to make the most of your trip to Spain. 

Subway is one of the best options to get around Madrid

Subway | Metro Madrid

There is nothing better than walking in Madrid but if you want to travel fast you have to go underground.

Metro Madrid is probably the most popular public transport in Madrid. More than 2 million travelers enjoy every day this fast and efficient way to move around Madrid.

Is Metro Madrid safe?

Metro Madrid is one of the safest subways in the world. More than 7,000 workers, 5,000 intercoms, and 9,000 cameras will guarantee your safety.

I have always felt safe traveling in Metro Madrid even at night.

▷ What are the Metro Madrid zones?

The subway network in Madrid is divided into 12 main lines and 4 additional branch lines. Metro Madrid lines are identified by both their number and their color.

Metro Madrid network covers the whole metropolitan and the main suburbs of the city. With more than 300 hundred stations, 294 km of network, and 2,400 trains, Madrid´s subway is the most extensive public transport in Madrid.

, Madrid´s subway is one of the best and safest in the world

▷ Where can I get a Metro Madrid map?

Maps are available at every station, on the official website, and in the Metro Madrid App.

▷ What is the price of the Madrid subway tickets?

The price of a single ticket for Zone A, the most popular for tourists, is currently between 1.50€ and 2 €, depending on the number of stops to your final destination. The 10-journey ticket for Zone A is 12.20 €.

Single tickets must be used on the day of purchase. And all tickets must be loaded in a Public Transport Card.

» Check out my popular post: Madrid Travel Guide | Best things to do

▷ Do kids need a ticket?

Children under the age of four may use Metro Madrid without a ticket. Children from 4 to 7 years old may obtain a child’s Public Transport Card free of charge.

You will need a transport card for getting around Madrid by subway

▷ What is a Public Transport Card?

To travel on the underground public transport in Madrid you need a Public Transport Card loaded with a valid ticket.

The most popular Public Transport Card among locals and tourists is the contactless Multi Card. The price of a Multi card is 2.50 €.

▷ How many people can use the same Public Transport Card?

The card for this public transport in Madrid can be consecutively validated as many times as there are passengers using the service with the same card.

Just be aware that passengers have to begin and end their journey together.

Metro Madrid is the most widely used means of public transport in Madrid

▷ Where to buy a metro ticket?

You can purchase the tickets and the Public Transport Cards at the user-friendly ticket machines in subway stations. Credit cards are accepted.

Metro Madrid staff will help you with any doubts you could have.

▷ Can I get rid of the ticket once I have entered Metro Madrid?

No. You must keep your valid ticket until you get to your final destination and have passed through the exit turnstile.

You could be required to show the ticket by agents of inspectors. Passengers without a valid public transport ticket could be required to pay up to an 80 € fine.

▷ What are the service times of Metro Madrid?

Metro Madrid operates from 6 a.m. to 1.30 a.m. The subway is one of the best public transport services in Madrid and it is open almost 24/7.

▷ How to find an entrance to Metro Madrid?

Madrid´s subway stations can be accessed from the street. You will find signs on lampposts guiding you to the nearest station.

Subway entrances are marked with the recognizable Metro Madrid logo and you will see the name of the station and the color and number of the lines passing through the station.

Getting around Madrid by subway will get you to the top-rated monuments in just a few minutes

▷ How is a journey in Metro Madrid?

In order to get to the station platform, just swipe the Multi Card through the active turnstiles which are highlighted with a green arrow.

Inside the Madrid Metro stations, you will find plenty of information and orientation signs to help you find out where you are and how to get to your destination.

Wait for the train to completely stop before approaching it and let people out before going in.

When the train arrives at your destination station, you will find green signs on the platforms and corridors indicating the exit and the nearest streets.

▷ How can I know the waiting times for the next trains?

The panels located on the platforms of all stations inform travelers about the waiting times for the next trains.

Chueca station in Metro Madrid

▷ What is the best route to my final destination?

The Metro Madrid website and the official app will inform you about the best route to your destination.

▷ How can I download the Metro Madrid official app?

The Metro Madrid official app is available for both Android and iOS. It is really convenient as, among others, you can get information about:

  • The waiting time for the following trains at any station in the network.
  • The stations closest to your location and the services available.
  • The network map and the tourist map.
  • The best route to your destination.
  • Fares, passes, tickets, and opening hours.

▷ How accessible is Metro Madrid?

Metro Madrid is working to facilitate accessibility in the underground network through more than 1,700 escalators and 550 elevators.

You can check at the Metro Madrid website and in the App if there are escalators and elevators in every station of the network.

▷ Can I travel with a bicycle?

Yes. But only one bike per passenger is allowed. Besides, a maximum of two bicycles can be placed in the front car and other two in the rear car.

Remember that riding the bike in the installations is forbidden.

Entrance to the subway, one of the best means of public transport in Madrid

▷ Can I travel with a dog?

Yes. But each passenger can take only one dog, fitted with a muzzle and on a leash shorter than 50 centimeters.

You will have to travel in the rear car of each train and dogs may not occupy seats.

▷ How should I act in an emergency situation in Metro Madrid?

During the trip, an unexpected situation may arise that you may need help with.

Metro staff will be happy to help you, they usually wear yellow or orange waistcoats. You will also find intercoms in lobbies, on platforms, and at turnstiles.

There are numerous signs indicating the direction of the emergency exits. Remember to avoid lifts and escalators in emergency situations.

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in Metro Madrid?

You can call the Interactive Passenger Service Centre at +34 900 444 404, and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

An online form is also available for users to contact the lost and found service and for other communications with Metro Madrid.

It is a good idea to avoid driving in Madrid, due to the heavy traffic at peak times and the limited parking in certain areas

▷ Is the subway a sustainable way of public transport in Madrid?

Madrid´s subway is a respectful and sustainable mode of public transport since no fossil fuels are used to provide the service.

Besides, as most of the service is provided underground, it helps to reduce traffic jams and environmental pollution.

Madrid´s underground is 2.5 times less polluting than private cars.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s subway?

I am sure the following tips will help you to better enjoy and stay safe on public transport in Madrid:

  • Try to avoid rush hours during the weekdays, especially at 8-9 a.m.
  • Check the information in the front of the train for the correct destination.
  • Stand on the right when using escalators.
  • Wait for the train to completely stop before approaching it.
  • Let passengers leave the train before boarding.
  • Hold onto the rails if you are standing.
  • Mind the gap between the train and the platform.

Urban Buses | EMT Madrid

Save time and stress on your trip using public transport in Madrid.

Buses are a convenient and cheap way to move, and they offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.

▷ Are Madrid urban buses safe?

Yes. They are totally safe.

You can easily recognize official public EMT buses as their current colors are blue and white.

Madrid´s public buses are a convenient and cheap way to move

▷ How many routes are available?

With more than 215 routes and 2000 buses, EMT is an excellent way to enjoy public transport in Madrid.

▷ Where can I get information about the routes?

You will find all the necessary information about bus stops and routes on the EMT official website.

▷ What is the price of the EMT bus tickets?

Currently, the price of a single ticket is 1.5 €, and notes larger than 5 € are usually not accepted.

In case you are using the Multi Card, it must be validated in the ticket stamping machines on EMT buses.

▷ Do kids need a ticket?

As it happens in the subway, children under the age of 4 travel for free.

▷ Where to buy a bus ticket?

In case you are not carrying available tickets in your Muti Card, tickets can be purchased on board too. Credit cards are accepted and you cannot pay with notes larger than 5 €.

▷ Can I get rid of the ticket once I have entered Metro Madrid?

No. You need to keep a valid ticket until you get off the bus.

▷ What are the service times of EMT Madrid?

Buses in Madrid run from 6 a.m. till 11.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and the usual frequency is 4-15 minutes, depending on the line and the time of day.

On weekends and public holidays, they run from 7 a.m. till 11 p.m. and buses are slightly less frequent.

Madrid´s buses offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way

▷ Is the public transport in Madrid offering night bus services?

After 11.30 p.m. the city operates night buses (a.k.a “buhos”, the Spanish word for owls) for some specific routes. They run till the early hours of the morning and the fare is the same as for daytime buses.

There are currently 28 lines and almost all of them start or end in Plaza de Cibeles. They run every 35 minutes from Sunday to Friday and on public holidays, and every 15-20 minutes on Saturdays and the eve of a public holiday.

You can check the frequency for each line at the corresponding bus stop.

▷ How is a journey on Madrid´s public buses?

You must signal to the driver that you wish to board as the bus approaches. If not, the bus could skip the stop and continue its route.

The line number and direction are indicated on the front of the bus and both sides of the bus. Anyway, in case you are not completely sure, ask the driver.

You get on the bus at the front and get off at the rear door of the bus. You will find electronic displays inside the buses with information about the next stops.

Buses stop at designated bus stops, and only upon request. To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, you must press the button before you reach it.

▷ How can I know the waiting times for the next buses?

Most of the bus stops of Madrid´s public transport have electronic displays which indicate the waiting times.

Most of the bus stops in Madrid have electronic displays which indicate the waiting time for the next bus to arrive

▷ What is the best route to my final destination?

EMT has created this website with an interactive map that allows you to check the estimated waiting times and calculate the best bus route plan between two points.

▷ How accessible are Madrid´s public buses?

EMT is working to extend the “Accessibility for all” concept for public transport in Madrid.

This way you will find, among others, bus stops with audiovisual information at bus stops, access ramps, reserved seats, spaces designed for wheelchairs, and information in Braille.

▷ Are EMT buses a sustainable way of transport?

Yes, they are.

Besides, Madrid is currently the Spanish city with more electrified bus lines and the second in Europe, behind Berlin. The EMT forecasts that the electric fleet will reach 329 vehicles by the end of 2023.

Furthermore, the Madrid City Council expects that by 2033 the entire fleet will be ‘zero emissions’ to provide citizens with sustainable, safe, integrated, and innovative public transport.

▷ Can I travel with a bicycle?

Depending on the occupation of the vehicle, one folding bike is allowed per bus.

The rest of the bikes can only be transported just in the buses with a specific carrier outside the vehicle.

▷ Can I travel with a dog?

It has been recently approved that dogs can enter public buses, except during rush hours on weekdays.

There is a limit of one dog per vehicle, and they must travel at all times on a leash, with a muzzle, and lying under the seat occupied by their owner on the front side of the bus.

▷ How can I contact EMT Madrid?

Public transport in Madrid is always seeking to improve. You can communicate with EMT through their official website, e-mailing atencioncliente@emtmadrid.es, and calling +34 91 406 88 10.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s buses?

Buses can sometimes be faster than the subway and passengers can enjoy the views. Anyway, be aware of the time and skip rush hours to avoid traffic jams.

Train | Renfe Cercanias Madrid

The next public transport in Madrid is the train. The Renfe Cercanias network is top-quality and is the fastest way to move to the outskirts.

Trains have fewer stops than Metro Madrid and EMT buses, which is why they are more convenient for long distances.

▷ Are Madrid´s trains safe?

Yes. They are totally safe.

▷ How many railway lines are there in Madrid?

The Renfe service consists of 9 train lines connecting the center to its surrounding suburbs.

Trains in Madrid are excellent

▷ Where can I get a Renfe map?

You can find maps of the whole Madrid train network in all the stations, on the Renfe website, and on the Renfe Cercanias App.

▷ What is the price of the Cercanias Madrid train tickets?

Getting around Madrid by train is quite affordable too, although the price varies depending on the distance traveled. For instance, the current price of a single ticket for 1-2 zones is 1.70 €.

Remember that Renfe & Tú card is needed to load the tickets. The price of the card is 2€ and it is reusable and rechargeable.

▷ Do kids need a train ticket?

Children under the age of 6 travel for free, with a maximum of 2 kids for every adult ticket.

▷ Where to buy a Cercanias Madrid train ticket?

You can purchase your train tickets through the self-service machines located in all the Renfe stations.

There are also ticket offices for this public transport in Madrid where staff can advise you and solve any doubt you can have. Credit cards are allowed.

▷ Can I get rid of the ticket once I have entered the train?

No. You must keep your valid ticket until you get to your final destination and have passed through the exit turnstile. You could be required to show the ticket by agents of inspectors.

▷ What are the service times of Renfe Madrid?

Trains start running in Madrid every day between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and stop at around midnight. They normally run every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the line and day of the week.

▷ How to find an entrance to Renfe Madrid?

Madrid´s train stations can be accessed from the street and are marked with the recognizable Renfe Cercanias logo.

▷ How is a journey in Renfe Cercanias Madrid?

In order to get to the station platform, just swipe the Renfe & Tú card through the active turnstiles.

Inside the station, you will find plenty of information and orientation signs to help you find out where you are and how to get to your destination.

The same line can sometimes have different destinations. Be sure you take a look at the information displays placed on the platforms to get on the right train.

The next public transport in Madrid is the Renfe Cercanias

▷ How can I know the waiting times for the next trains?

You will find displays on the station platforms informing about the waiting times for the next trains.

▷ Can I travel with a bicycle?

Your bicycle travels for free when the occupation of the train allows for this.

If there are no marked spaces, place them on the train’s access platform, without invading corridors or non-folding seating areas.

▷ Can I travel with a dog?

There is a limit of one dog per person, and they must travel at all times on a leash and with a muzzle.

▷ How can I contact Renfe Madrid?

You can communicate with Renfe to get further information by calling +34 912 320 320.

Customers can also send any suggestions, complaints, or comments about Renfe Madrid through the form on the Renfe website.

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in Renfe Madrid?

You can call the Lost Property at +34 91 506 69 69, and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

▷ Is Renfe a sustainable way of public transport in Madrid?

As informed on their website, Renfe operates eco-friendly, electric trains with zero emissions.

The vast majority of the trains run 100% on electricity from renewable sources. Rail transport emits between 5 and 7 times less CO2 than road transport.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s public trains?

Try to avoid rush hours, especially in the mornings. As many locals leave outside the city center, every morning they use the train to go to work and to get back home in the afternoon.

Taxi

A taxi is probably the most comfortable option for public transport in Madrid.

It is often the fastest too although it depends on the traffic. With over 15,000 taxis in Madrid, you will easily find a free vehicle.

A taxi is probably the most comfortable option for getting around Madrid

▷ How to identify official taxis in Madrid?

Madrid´s official taxis are easily recognizable. They are white-colored with a red stripe and the coat-of-arms of the city on their doors.

▷ Where can I find an official taxi in Madrid?

If a taxi is free, the green light on its roof sign is lit. All you have to do is raise your hand to hail it.

There are also taxi ranks throughout the city with a recognizable blue signpost.

▷ What is the price of a taxi in Madrid?

There is a minimum fare of 2.5 € – 3.15 € and a price per kilometer of 1.15 € – 1.40 € depending on the day of the week and the time. All vehicles accept credit cards.

In the TxMAD App, you will find at all times all the updated fares. In case you ask for a taxi through App, you will get an estimation of the final price of your journey.

How much does it cost to get from the airport to the city center?

If you want to use public transport in Madrid to get from the airport to downtown, taxis are an excellent option, especially if you are carrying heavy luggage.

The price is quite affordable and a fixed rate of 30 € has been set.

▷ Traveling with small children?

Some taxis are equipped with children’s car seats but it is not compulsory. Probably the best way to avoid problems is to book a taxi in advance and request a child seat.

What are the service times of Madrid´s taxis?

You can get a taxi in Madrid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

▷ Does taxi Madrid offer wheelchair-accessible taxis?

Yes. They are called Eurotaxi. Be sure to point out you need this type of vehicle when you ask for a vehicle.

Before you travel, learn if you can use your foreign driving license during your trip to Spain.

▷ Can I take my dog in a taxi?

Small pets can travel at the discretion of the driver. Guide dogs are always allowed.

▷ How many passengers are allowed in a taxi?

It depends on the size and maximum occupation allowed for every type of vehicle. But, normal taxis can take up to 4 passengers.

▷ Can taxi drivers speak English?

Just some taxi drivers in Madrid speak and understand English. It is always convenient to show them a paper or a cell phone screen with the address.

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in a public taxi?

You can call +34 915 298 210 and email objetosperdidos@madrid.es and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

Besides, if you have the taxi license plate number of the vehicle, you can claim the belonging through the TxMAD App.

Electric Bike | BiciMAD

Madrid is increasingly bike-friendly, and the network of cycling lanes is growing every day.

Public transport in Madrid is now more sustainable than ever with the BiciMAD program offering 3,000 electric bikes to discover the city.

▷ How can I rent a BiciMAD electric bike in Madrid?

BiciMAD is really simple to use. You can sign up as an occasional user at the docking station totem, where you can choose among a 1, 3, or 5-day pass.

You will insert the requested information in the totems as well as the credit card number where you will receive the charge (cash payments are not allowed).

▷ What is the price of BiciMAD?

Although BiciMAD will immediately block 150€, they will charge you 2 € for the first hour and 4 € for every additional hour.

You will be billed at the end of the selected period depending on the use of the service.

▷ How can I identify available bikes?

There are more than 165 points around Madrid where you can pick a bike.

The BiciMAD mobile app also allows you to check in real time if any bikes are available at the nearest pick-up point

▷ Can I leave my bike at a different station?

Yes. You can rent a bike at any of the docking stations and leave it in any other.

▷ How can I release and lock the BiciMAD bikes?

To pick up a bike the base must be showing a green light. Just approach the card you got from the totem until you hear a sound and the bike will be released.

To return a bike, the base must have a red light. Make sure that the bike is well placed when you leave it, to avoid extra charges. If it is correctly placed the base will go green and you will hear a noise.

A blue light means that someone else has made a reservation, so you cannot take that bike. And if there is no light at all, the bike is probably out of order.

The electric bikes are an entertaining way to discover and get around Madrid.

▷ How do BiciMAD electric bikes work?

The Booster Bike is a bicycle to which electric technology is added to help you with pedaling assistance.

The red ON/OFF button located on the handlebar allows you to turn the bike on and off. The green MODE button regulates the level of electrical assistance (low, medium, and high).

Users are informed too about the battery level of the bike (autonomy of 70 kilometers).

What are the service times of the electric bikes in Madrid?

Like some of the other means of public transport in Madrid, BiciMAD works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

▷ What is BiciMAD Go?

BiciMAD Go is the most recent service of electric bikes in Madrid. It works in a similar way to BiciMAD, and the App is the same.

The main difference is that bikes do not need to be locked at the BiciMAD stations but they can also be parked in other designated spaces for bikes.

You can unlock the bikes with the App and the QR code on the bike. To finish the service, you need to manually lock the bike and confirm on the app that the journey has properly finished.

▷ What is the minimum age to use BiciMAD?

14 years old. Users under 16 must be registered by an adult.

Is BiciMAD a sustainable means of public transport in Madrid?

Yes. BiciMAD is the most sustainable public transport in Madrid.

Getting around Madrid by bike is an excellent and sustainable option

▷ How can I contact BiciMAD?

For any incident with the service, you can contact BiciMAD through the totems in every station, calling +34 900 50 54 63 and through the BiciMAD app.

▷ Are electric bikes in Madrid safe?

Getting around Madrid by bike is safe but requires extra care. Take always into account the following tips:

  • Verify the proper conditions of the bike before using it. Take special care with wheels, brakes, seat, and bell.
  • Bicycles shall drive on the road, preferably on the right lane, and avoid the bus lane.
  • It is forbidden to drive on the sidewalks and pedestrian areas.
  • Make yourself more visible to other drivers by using reflective gear and by driving in the center of the lane.
  • Remember to sign all the maneuvers and turns in advance.
  • Obey all the traffic signs and lights.
  • Children under 16 years old using this public transport in Madrid must wear a helmet.

Final Words

What is the best public transport in Madrid?

Metro Madrid is the most widely used means of public transport in Madrid. It is fast, clean, safe, and cheap, what else can you ask for? A single ticket can get you anywhere in the city.

Is Public Transport in Madrid safe?

Yes. Public transport in Madrid is one of the safest in the world, even at night.

Is Public Transport in Madrid expensive?

Not at all. Public Transport in Madrid is top-quality and prices are affordable, especially if we compare them with other European and American cities.

What types of public transport are there in Madrid?

There is a wide offer of public transport in Madrid such as the subway, buses, trains, taxis, and electric bikes.

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