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How to get around Madrid

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Lluís Enric Mayans
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Madrid is a huge metropolis: even the most hardened walkers can't help but use the By public transport at least a couple of times during their vacation.

Thanks to an extensive network of public transport which comprises bus, metropolitan, metrobus e regional trains it is possible to move quickly from one point to another in Madrid and from the city to neighboring municipalities. Public transport in Madrid is efficient and cheap and runs both day and night.



If you want more comfort you can opt for the tourist buses, which with their itineraries designed for those who are in Madrid on vacation allow you to explore the capital in total freedom, without the stress of figuring out which means to take and where; if you like to be active you can take advantage of the public bike rental network.

Below you will find all the useful information on transport, tickets and season tickets to plan your trips to Madrid.

Tourist buses

- tourist buses, usually managed by private companies, are the most comfortable solution to visit the city of Madrid if you have little time.

Here too, as in all large cities, you can travel aboard bus Hop On Hop Off which follow a tourist route within the capital, with stops near the main tourist attractions.

You can start the route where you want, get off where you want and go up as many times as you want: there is no limit to the use you can make of these buses during the validity period of the ticket!

You can choose to buy a ticket for a day or two; included in the ticket is an audio guide with tourist information in several languages, including Italian.


Metropolitan

The subway is certainly the most effective way to move quickly in a city of enormous dimensions like Madrid: it is perfect for getting around the center, but also to quickly reach the airport, the fair, the main shopping areas, the suburbs and even some nearby cities.


The network of Madrid metro, one of the largest in Europe, includes twelve metro lines, three metrobus lines (in Spanish “metro ligero”) and the Ramal, a line that connects the stations of Ópera and Príncipe Pío.

The subway generally runs from six in the morning until half past one at night. The frequency of trains on weekdays ranges from one every two minutes during peak hours to one every fifteen minutes in the last hour and a half of service; on public holidays, waiting times for the subway increase.

Madrid metro lines

Here are all the Madrid metro lines in detail:

  • line 1: Pinar de Chamartín - Valdecarros
  • line 2: The Roses - Four Paths
  • line 3: Villaverde Alto - Moncloa
  • line 4: Argüelles - Pinar de Chamartín
  • line 5: Alameda de Osuna - Country House
  • line 6: Circular
  • line 7: Hospital de Henares - Pitis
  • line 8: Nuevos Ministerios - Airport T4
  • line 9: Paco de Lucía - Arganda del Rey
  • line 10: Infanta Sofía Hospital - South Gate
  • line 11: Plaza Elíptica - La Fortuna
  • line 12: MetroSur
Download the Metro map

Regular bus

La Madrid city bus network, managed by Municipal Transport Company (EMT), is no less extensive and efficient than that of the subway: just think that there are more than 2.000 buses that travel the streets of the capital every day.


As in all cities, buses in Madrid are also subject to delays due to traffic, which is why many Madrilenians and tourists prefer to use the metro, but there are a couple of advantages to traveling by bus.


First of all, buses also arrive in areas not covered by the subway, and traveling by bus you will have the opportunity to look out the window and enjoy the city.

Most buses run from 6:00 am to 23:30 pm, with a waiting time of a bus ranging from 4 to 15 minutes depending on the line and time slot; on public holidays the service hours are reduced, from 7:00 to 23:00.

Night buses

Madrid is a city that never sleeps and buses are no exception: i owls (night buses), which cover 26 distinct routes, all departing from Piazza Cibeles.

On weekdays, the búhos service hours are from 23:55 to 4:00, with a bus every 35 minutes; on Saturdays and days before holidays they operate from 23pm to 00am, with a bus every 7/00 minutes.

Express bus to the airport

Another way to reach Madrid-Barajas airport in addition to the subway it is Airport express, the direct bus that connects the city center with the airport terminals T1, T2 and T4. The bus runs 24 hours a day and can therefore also be used at night, when the metro has stopped running.

The approximate duration of the journey is 30-40 minutes, but may vary depending on the traffic; the frequency of buses is one every 15-20 minutes during the day and 35 at night.


Il bus ticket to the airport it can only be bought from the driver: single city bus tickets are not valid.

trains

I regional trains of the Cercanías network they are the cheapest and fastest way to move from the center of Madrid to the neighboring municipalities and given the large number of stations in the city they are also a good way to move within the capital.


They are used by tourists mainly for day trips: places that you can easily reach with the Cercanías trains are El Escorial, Sierra de Guadarrama and Aranjuez. In total, the Cercanías network comprises 10 lines.

Regional trains run from five / six in the morning (depending on the line) until midnight, with a frequency that varies between 10 and 30 minutes. The price of the ticket varies depending on the area in which you travel.

Single tickets

Buying single tickets is only recommended for those who plan to make limited use of public transport, for example if your hotel is in the center and you plan to focus your holiday on nearby attractions.

I single ticket prices in Madrid I'm:

  • single metro ticket (metro zone A and metrobus ML1): 1.50 up to 5 stations, 0.10 cents per station from the sixth to the ninth, 2.00 euros over 10 stations.
  • single ticket for the entire underground network (including metrobus ML2 and ML3): 3.oo euro.
  • single ticket for city buses (EMT line): 1.50 euros.
  • Cercanías single train ticket: from 1.70 euros to 8.70 euros depending on the area.

One-way metro tickets can be purchased at the automatic ticket machines inside the metro stations, while single bus tickets can be bought directly from the driver.

Subscriptions

If you plan to use public transport several times a day, you should buy a season ticket rather than single tickets. In addition to personal passes, suitable for residents, there are also passes designed for the needs of tourists.

Tourist pass

The tourist pass allows theunlimited use of public transport in the Community of Madrid for the period of validity of the subscription: it exists in 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 day versions for zone A only or for the entire network (zone T).

THEtourist pass valid for area A includes:

  • all metro lines in zone A, including the one to the airport
  • all EMT bus lines, except the airport express bus
  • Cercanía line trains included in this area
  • metrobus ML1

THEtourist pass for zone T includes:

  • all metro lines
  • all urban and intercity bus lines in the Community of Madrid to Guadalajara and Toledo (excluding the express bus to the airport)
  • all trains of the Cercanía network, the metrobus ML1, ML2 and ML3

Il price of the tourist pass in Madrid varies according to the duration chosen and the area. For zone A the prices range from a minimum of 8.40 euros for one day to a maximum of 35.40 for 7 days, while for the T zone they range from 17.00 euros to 70.80.

One is expected 50% discount for children up to 11 years, while children up to 4 years travel for free.

Tourist passes can be purchased at Madrid-Barajas airport at tourist information offices, metro stations and at the headquarters of the Madrid Regional Transport Consortium in Plaza de Descubridor Diego de Ordás.

10-ride pass

Is possible to buy 10-ticket carnet for the metro, bus, metrobus or a combination of these means. Tickets are valid any day of the week for any line in the zone indicated on the ticket.

Il cost of the season ticket 10 rides for zone A (metro, ETM bus and ML1 metrobus) is 12.20 euros.

Multi card

Multi card is the smart card for public transport in Madrid: like the Oyster in London and many other public transport cards now widespread all over the world, it is a rechargeable card on which to insert valid credit for travel tickets. For each trip, the corresponding amount will be deducted from the card.

These cards are convenient because thanks to them it is not necessary to buy a ticket every time you travel; they also allow you to save on the cost of single tickets. Another advantage of the Multi di Madrid card is that it can be used by several people at the same time.

The travel passes that can be loaded onto the Madrid Multi card also include a tourist pass; if the first ticket loaded is a tourist pass, the cost of the card is free (usually it is 2.50 euros).

The tarjeta Multi can be purchased at the metro ticket machines and authorized dealers.

Which subscription is convenient?

To choose the most convenient pass, you should already have an idea of ​​how much and how you plan to use public transport. Usually the tourist pass or the 10-ride booklet for zone A are the preferred options for tourists.

Keep in mind that tourists generally do not venture outside of zone A, unless their hotel is located outside the center.

Other means of transport

Don't want to learn about buses and the subway? Do you prefer more comfort or, on the contrary, do you want to be more active during your holiday in Madrid? Taxis and bicycles are the solutions for you!

Taxi

With over 15.000 taxis crisscrossing the city at all hours of the day and night, Madrid will never leave you on foot!

Madrid taxis are white with a red stripe: you can stop one in the street by raising your arm or take one in the special taxi rank marked by a blue sign with the letter “T”.

bicycles

A fun and ecological way to get around Madrid is by bicycle, which allows you to enjoy the outdoors and avoid getting stuck in traffic.

You can rent an electric bike at a very affordable price in one of the 165 stations on the network BiciMAD: in addition to the annual passes for residents, passes for 1, 3 or 5 days are available for tourists.

There are many stations in the city center and some are close to famous tourist attractions, such as Paseo del Prado, Puerta del Sol, Mercado de San Miguel, Independence Square ...

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