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How to get from Barajas Airport to Madrid city centre

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

The opening of a new terminal specifically for low-cost airlines in 2006, and the fantastic rebuilding and renovation of the rest of the buildings, has made Barajas International Airport the main transport hub for visitors to Madrid. The clean and efficient airport is located about 12km from the centre of the city and transfers can be made easily and cheaply at any time of day or night.

Madrid AirportPhoto by ginsumica

The simplest way into the centre for arriving passengers is the metro system, which connects the airport to the centre as well as the wider city and major railway stations for connecting journeys.  The metro stations at the airport are located in terminals two and four but are easily accessible from the other terminals as well. The journey to the centre takes just under an hour although travellers should allow extra time during busy periods of the day.

Buses run from the city to the airport throughout the day and night and are a useful option if your flight is arriving or departing late at night or very early in the morning. During other times they are less useful because the traffic on the roads increases the journey time, although they remain marginally cheaper than the metro.

Barajas is not yet connected to Spain’s railway network, although that will soon change. For now, passengers wishing to join long distance trains should go to the respective terminus in the centre of the city, while passengers for suburban trains around Madrid can connect at a number of metro stations. Check the maps available at all stations or look online for information on your specific route.

Spain, like many countries has recently seen a large drop in the price of hiring a car so, although airport hires are still slightly more expensive than the norm, this is becoming an ever more popular option. Driving in Madrid is by no means as stressful as in some other major cities but can cause problems for drivers who are unused to the labyrinthine street system. It may sound obvious, but a GPS navigation system or a map are essential items.

Taxis are, of course, readily available and can be the simplest way to get to a hotel in the city centre. As always though, visitors need to be aware of various scams and never use unlicensed taxis from touts who prowl the arrivals hall from dusk till dawn. Licensed taxis should always use the meter with the minimum fare and tariff clearly shown. Traffic means that taxis are not always the quickest way to get to your final destinations but visitors with heavy luggage will certainly find them convenient. Getting from the city to the airport by taxi for departing flights is usually less hassle, although the same rules apply.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

3 responses to “How to get from Barajas Airport to Madrid city centre”

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  1. Cynthia says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 18:25

    Be aware that if you have substantial luggage – subway connections require treks up and downstairs at a few points. I remember there were no escalators at a few points.

  2. Larry says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 19:25

    I have taken the subway from the airport many times. It is easy to do. If you travel during rush hour be ready for looks from the commuters or complaints about your luggage; and I travel with only a carry-on.

  3. Mihai Georgescu says via Facebook:
    April 6th, 2011 at 08:16

    We were there in August 2010 and took the subway – it was very easy.

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