Madrid’s Barajas Airport lies 15km north-east of the city centre. There’s a very fast metro line connecting the terminals with the city in just a few minutes and a dedicated airport express bus that runs around the clock. Taxis are plentiful but have earned a poor reputation for overcharging new arrivals. Shuttle transfer services are available and can be pre-booked along with private transfers before travelling.
Shuttle & Private Transfers
A popular way of getting from Madrid airport to your city centre hotel is by arranging a transfer before travelling to Madrid. When booking you are given clear instructions as to where you must go to meet your vehicle and driver. Shuttledirect have a good reputation for providing good quality vehicles and very good rates. As well as booking transfers to Madrid city centre you can also arrange to have a private excursion from your hotel to any of the attractions surrounding Madrid such as Toledo, Segovia or El Escorial.
Line 8 of the Metro links the airport with the centre of Madrid at Nuevos Ministerios in just 12 minutes. There are stops in both Terminal 2 and the ultra modern Terminal 4. The service operates between 6.05am and 2.00am with departures every 5 minutes. On arrival at Nuevos Ministerios there is a connection with over 50 other stations via lines 6 (circle), 8 (Nuevos Ministerio-Barajas) and 10 (Fuencarral-Puerta del Sur).
Once in the city the extensive metro network can be safely used for travel beyond the central area. To get the right direction look for the name of the last stop on the line you are using, eg. to go north on line 10 look for dark blue signs for Fuencarral. To go south on line 10 look for dark blue signs for Aluche. The 10 journey ticket is good value and is also valid on all city bus routes.
The opening of Terminal 4 at Madrid’s Barajas Airport led to a complete overhaul of the transport system connecting the airport to the city. The long established airport bus service from the airport to Plaza Colón no longer operates and has been replaced by an express airport bus (Exprés Aeropuerto). This service runs for 24 hours a day with buses every 15 minutes. There are bus stops outside terminals 1, 2 and 4 which travel into Madrid city centre with three scheduled stops at O’Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha.
Taxis to/from the airport
There are taxi ranks in front of the arrivals lounges of all terminals at Madrid airport but taxi drivers are notorious for overcharging recent arrivals (see below). Check that the meter is set at zero when you get in and that it begins the journey at the official minimum fare. There are also additional supplements at night, on Sundays and for journeys to bus and train stations and to the IFEMA trade fair. There should no longer be a charge for items of luggage placed in the car boot. If in doubt about the charge be sure to request a receipt. Pre-booking a shuttle transfer as referred to above certainly gives more peace of mind to new arrivals.
The Spanish Railway Network (www.renfe.es) does not go to Madrid-Barajas airport directly. However, you can connect to the airport by using the the underground in Atocha or Chamartin railway stations.