Adolfo Suárez, Madrid-Barajas Airport is Spain’s 1st and Europe’s 4th busiest airport with around 50 million annual passengers. It lies about 15km to the north-east of the Spanish capital. The airport is well served by national carriers including Iberia (60% of total traffic) and British Airways attracting flight arrivals from all over the world including direct flights from the USA. There are also a number of budget airlines offering flights to Madrid who tend to change their routes and timetables on a regular basis. There are also many domestic flights which connect with regional Spanish airports all over the country which is an option to investigate if you can’t find a direct flight to your chosen destination. Terminal 4 at Barajas opened in 2006 and is one of the world’s largest airport terminals.
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.
Madrid Airport Transport Options
Shuttle Bus and 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.
Madrid Metro: 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.
Airport Bus: 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.
Madrid Train Network: 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.
Madrid Airport Hotels
There are a good number of hotels close to Madrid’s Barajas airport, most offering 24-hour shuttle buses to the terminals. Below are a few recommended options.
Sercotel Madrid Aeropuerto
This is a high quality hotel located just 1 kilometre from Madrid-Barajas Airport. A free shuttle service is provided to and from the airport. The hotel and its surroundings offer a relaxing atmosphere.
Melia Barajas Hotel
This is a modern 4 star hotel located next to the airport and close to the IFEMA and Juan Carlos I exhibition centres.
Abba Madrid Hotel
This 4 star hotel is located only a few minutes drive from Madrid Barajas Airport and both the IFEMA trade fair and the Juan Carlos I Congress Hall are easily accessible.
AC Hotel Avenida de America
The 4 star AC Hotel Avenida de America is modern, stylish hotel near to both the Madrid airport and the city centre.
Petit Palace Arturo Soria
This is a deluxe 4 star hotel located in a residential area of Madrid with good access to both the airport and the city centre and close to the IFEMA exhibition centre. Recently renovated the hotel offers guests superb accommodations and world-class customer service.
Zenit Conde Orgaz Hotel
The Zenit Conde de Orgaz Hotel is a deluxe four star hotel located near Madrid airport but also within easy reach of the city centre. It is a modern hotel and its rooms offer a personal touch of elegance.
Silken Torre Garden Hotel
The 3 star Silken Torre Garden Hotel Madrid is situated near the airport and the IFEMA trade fair. Its well furnished, comfortable rooms all have very good views and are ideal for business and leisure travellers alike.