The visitor to Madrid has several options to get from Barajas Airport to the city centre. These are: Metro, Bus (Airport Express), Car Rental, Public Taxi, Aerocity or AresMobile (private taxi companies)
Madrid's Barajas Airport has Metro stations in Terminal T2 and the newer Terminal T4. Trains leave every 5 minutes from 6.00am to 2.00am. Line 8 goes straight to the newly reformed Nuevos Ministerios Metro station in the centre of Madrid, with a journey time of just 12 minutes. On your return it is even possible to check-in at this Metro station for some flights between the hours of 6.30am and 10.30pm. Please check with the airline first, because not all flights are available (e.g. there is no check-in for the Madrid-Barcelona shuttle flight, and many foreign airlines have no presence here yet). You can check in your luggageup to 24 hours (20 hours for some companies) maximum and 2 hours minimum before the flight but again, please check with the relevant airline because certain goods have to be checked in at the airport itself (live animals, dangerous goods, etc.).
The price of a single journey to or from the airport is currently 2 euros, which includes a 1 euro supplementary airport charge. If you already possess a valid Metro ticket, you can simply purchase the airport supplementary ticket for 1 euro.
Tip: Consider buying the Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, which allows you to travel on any Metro, bus or suburban train, all included in the price of just 5 euros, making it a great way to save money on public transport. With this pass, it is not necessary to pay the airport surcharge.
It is also possible to purchase a 10-trip "Metrobus" ticket at 10 euros (in 2011), valid for both the Metro and city buses, since you will undoubtedly be using the Metro again during your stay. This may be purchased at newspaper outlets, "estancos" or tobacconists and Metro stations. Note that you will still need to purchase the 1 euro supplementary ticket for any journey to/from the airport.
See our Madrid Maps section to download a plan of the Madrid Metro or visit the Madrid Metro website.
Advantages: Cheap, frequent service to virtually any part of town.
Disadvantages: You will most likely need to transfer a couple of times to get to your final destination. Consider this when lugging about large suitcases!
Cost: 2 euro one-way (to/from the airport, 1 euro elsewhere). 7 euros for 10 journeys (plus 1 euro supplement to/from airport)
The old 89 bus route to Plaza Colón has been discontinued and replaced by the Exprés Aeropuerto (Airport Express), a 24-hour service which has only 3 stops after the airport: O'Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha (this last stop only during the daytime hours between 6 am and 11.30pm). The buses run every 15 minutes during the day and every 35 at night, and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Tickets cost 2 euros and may be bought on board. There are stops at terminals T1, T2 and T4.
Note: Once in the city, you may purchase a 10-trip "Metrobus" ticket in newspaper outlets, "estancos" or tobacconists and Metro stations. It costs 9 euros (9.30 euros in 2011) and is valid for both the EMT city buses and also the Metro (although there is a supplementary charge for journeys to/from the airport - see below). Otherwise, a 1-way trip will cost 1 euro - you can buy this ticket on board the bus. If taking several bus journeys, save money with the Madrid Travel Pass.
Advantages: Cheap, frequent service.
Disadvantages: Infrequent stops means that you have to also take the Metro to your final destination, making this service a little inconvenient if you have heavy suitcases.
Cost: 2 euros one-way.
The most convenient option for some, but expensive for others, and often fraght with difficulties due to language problems.
Help is at hand, though, because a local company now offers the possibility of booking your taxi either online, or via your smartphone (iPhone or Android phone - Blackberry and Windows Mobile soon!).
You can book a taxi in advance in your own language and in this way also avoid possible scams or rip-offs.
If you prefer taking a taxi, walk outside the airport terminal to the taxi ranks. Do not accept offers from drivers inside the terminal, since these are often illegal drivers and you will almost certainly get ripped off. Depending on traffic conditions, expect to pay up to 35 euros to any central location. There are many, at times confusing, supplements to the basic fare. These include: 2.85 euros obligatory initial fare, 5 euros surcharge to/from airport, 2.50 euros surcharge to/from bus or train stations and 2.50 euros to/from the Ifema trade fairs, and all these supplements are further increased at weekends or holidays. There is now no charge for suitcases, rucksacks or pets. Always ask for a receipt at the end of your journey in case the fare comes into dispute.
Advantages: Convenient, door-to-door service. Cheaper than many European taxis.
Disadvantages: Bus and Metro are cheaper for shoestring budgets. Open to abuse from rip-off merchants. If you are a group of 4 or more people we would recommend the Aerocity service which is cheaper and allows you to go all together in the same car.
Cost: 30-35 euros to most central destinations.
Aerocity is a specialised taxi service which can be reserved in advance from our website. They will pick you up at the airport in a comfortable, air-conditioned, 7-seater van and take you to whichever destination you specify, guaranteeing a maximum of 3 stops on the way. Their drivers will sometimes speak English and prices currently stand at 23 euros total for up to 3 passengers, 26 euros for 4 (6.50 euros per person!) and only slightly more for more people.
Advantages: Excellent price for door to door service. Cheaper than a normal taxi. GoMadrid strongly recommends this option.
Disadvantages: you may have to share your "taxi" with others.
Cost: 23 euros for 1, 2 or 3 persons.
AresMobile is a chauffeur-driven meet and greet service which can be reserved in advance from our website. You will be met at the airport in the arrival hall by your chauffeur who will speak English (or other languages if specified) and whisked away to your final destination. Personalised chauffeur-driven tours and excursions with hourly rates can also be arranged. Prices start at 65 euros. Advantages: Fully personalised luxury service.
Disadvantages: For the fortunate few - may be out of your budget
Cost: From 65 euros
All the major car rental companies are available in Barajas airport. Hertz, Europcar, Avis, etc. all have offices between arrival halls 1 and 2 in Terminal 1. However, it is often cheaper to reserve your car rental before you arrive.
Advantages: Flexibility. Good for daytrips out of the city.
Disadvantages: You may not be used to driving in Spain. The traffic in Madrid can be bad at almost any time of day or night.