Traveling around Madrid by Metro turned out to be one of the easiest options for exploring the city. I really enjoyed Madrid. It turned out to be the surprise winner of my Europe trip to Spain, France, and Italy. People were friendly, the streets were clean, food (ham!) and drinks were cheap, and it was easy to get around!
13 Metro lines serve the city, but I spent most of my time in the city center, on lines 1-5.
Tickets are relatively cheap, starting at €1.50 in the city center, or day and multi day passes are available for €8.40 (2 days), €14.20 (2 days), up to €35.40 for a week long pass.
Theoretically, the €1.50 tickets are supposed to be good for up to 5 stations, and then increase €0.10 per station until the max of €2. However, while tickets are validated by machine when walking in, I don’t remember needing to insert them when leaving the station. Although I could be wrong, I’m pretty sure if you stay in zone A, they’re not checked.
The airport is also reachable by Metro (with a surcharge), but check the map to see how many transfers you’ll need to make, and consider if baggage will make it dificult. The airport surcharge is €3, so your ticket from the center of the city will be between €4.50 and €5. Line 8 connects to the airport, and terminates at Nuevos Ministerios station, connecting to Metro lines 6 and 10, as well as the “Cercanías Renfe” suburban lines. Line 6, a loop line around the outer-central parts of the city, isn’t terribly useful for tourists. Line 10 (towards Puerta del Sur) will help you get closer to the central hotel areas, but you’ll have to change to Line 1 at Tribunal to get to Sol or Gran Via stations. Without heavy suitcases, 2 transfers on a subway isn’t too bad, and the price is right. However, as I had 2 suitcases, I took the “Exprés Aeropuerto” bus for €5 instead. (There is also a train, not part of the Madrid Metro but the Renfe train service, that heads into town stopping at Chamartín, Nuevos Ministerios, Atocha (the central station in Madrid), and beyond, costing €2.60 one way.)
Finding Metro stations is easy – many stations have multiple entrances, all displaying the Metro logo.
Tickets can be purchased at vending machines that take notes as well as coins, in addition to credit cards.
And yes! They’re bilingual!!
Lines are numbered, and each platform shows the name of the current station, and the next stations the train will stop at (hint: if your destination isn’t on this sign, you’re probably not headed in the right direction!) In addition, any available transfers (correspondencias) will be shown next to the station name.
Plaza de España station, platform (andén) 1
Inside the trains are comfortable, and just as any other large city, crowded during rush hour but not so much during the off-hours.
I really liked the ease of the Madrid Metro, and found it to be clean, safe, and cheap. The Metro beats taxis hands down, and really makes visiting major sites convenient.This entry was posted in Europe, Getting Around, Madrid