Transportation in Madrid is not very complicated, even when you are in the city for the very first time. Spain has not only a very well developed long distance rail network, but also a very good inner-city public transportation. In Madrid, there are three types of different trains as well as buses, which make getting around quite easy and comfortable!
When you are getting to Madrid from another Spanish city or Lisbon, you’ll most likely reach the city by train.
This is easy and comfortable as the high-speed rail network in Spain is one of the best in the whole world. The most important train station in Madrid is Atocha, where you can also change from long distance trains into regional trains.
While the name “Cercanías” most likely is something new for you, you may just think of a light-rail system. The Cercanías is very important for transportation in Madrid not only because it connects the suburbs with the city center, but also as the trains have several stops in the city center.
This means that the trains are a good option to get from one point to another for tourists. Using the line C-1 you can also get from the airport to the city center or the other way round. All Cercanías trains are accessible and relatively cheap to use.
Madrid has not only one of the best regional transportation systems in Europe, but also one of the most extensive metro networks. Even though the city is not extremely large, there are twelve regular metro lines. These are complemented by one special line and three so-called light metro lines.
The latter are actually trams and are only operating in the suburbs of the city. All metro trains in Madrid are accessible and quite modern and though the perfect means of transport to get from one point to another. For tourists, line 8 is of special importance as it connects the Madrid Barajas Airport with the station Nuevos Minsterios in the city center.
The extensive light rail and metro network in Madrid is complemented by buses, which are mainly operating in the suburbs and on a few routes in the city center. While buses play a crucial role for transportation in other cities, the metro is by far the most important means of transport in Madrid.
Nevertheless, buses are all modern and accessible, making them easy to use as an alternative to taking the metro in lesser developed areas of Madrid. In total, there are 204 bus lines in the metropolitan region. Be aware of the fact that the fare system is actually different to the one used by the metro and information is rarely available in English.
There are many taxis available in Madrid. Most of these are modern and offer a very good passenger experience. The prices are not on the low side, though not as high as in metropolises like Paris or London at the same time.
The base rate is 2.40 Euro (~ 2.60 US-Dollar) from Monday to Friday from 7 am to 10 pm and 2.90 Euro (~ 3.15 US-Dollar) on the weekend and during the night. The respective price per kilometer is 1.05 Euro (~ 1.15 US-Dollar) and 1.20 Euro (~ 1.30 US-Dollar). The flat fare from the airport to the city center and the other way round is 30 Euro (~ 32.50 US-Dollar).
As an addition to the public transportation network, Madrid also got a funicular known as Teleférico de Madrid which operates between Paseo del Rintor Rosales and Casa de Campo in the large city park. The funicular is definitely a fun way to see more of Madrid, but it is not really essential to get from one point to another. In addition, you can find several other means of transport including sightseeing buses and city bikes in Madrid. Surely, there are some special touristic means of transport from time to time as well!