Our Madrid Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Spain. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Madrid Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Madrid.


    Best Time to Travel to Madrid (weather-wise)

    Madrid has a Mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers caused by its 665-metre elevation.

    • Average temperatures range from 2°C in winter to 32°C in summer.
    • Madrid is one of the driest capital cities in Europe with an average of only 59 rainy days per year.
    • The best times to visit Madrid are from March to May and from September to November. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather conditions, avoid the throngs of July-August tourists and benefit from more affordable hotel and flight prices.

    Madrid basics

    • Primary languages: Spanish
    • Plug types: C and F
    • Electricity: 230 V
    • Currency: Euro (€)
    • International dialling code: +34 91
    • Emergency telephone number: 112

    Getting into the city

    Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport

    Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport sits 13 km northeast of the Puerta del Sol, the official centre of Spain and of Madrid city centre. It’s the busiest airports in Spain and one of the largest airports in Europe. There are several transfer options to reach central Madrid:

    • A taxi to the city centre takes around 20 minutes and costs roughly €30. Taxi ranks can be found just outside the 4 terminals.
    • A train takes around 30 minutes and costs €3. The train station is located on the 1st floor of Terminal 4. You need to take the free bus to Terminal 4 if you arrive in any of the 3 other terminals.
    • The metro takes around 25 minutes and costs €3. There are 2 metro stations in the airport, in Terminals 2 and 4. You need to take the free bus to get there if you arrive in either of the 2 other terminals.
    • The bus takes around 50 minutes and costs €5. There is a bus stop outside Terminals 1, 2 and 4. You need to take the free bus to get there if you arrive in Terminal 3.
    • Car rental agencies can be found on the ground floor of Terminals 1 and 4.

    Madrid Atocha Train Station

    Madrid Atocha Train Station is the largest train station in Madrid. The main transport hub in the capital city of Spain, it’s located 1.4 km southeast of the city centre. It links Madrid to most major cities in Spain and to Marseille in France by high-speed train. From here, you can get to your hotel by metro, bus or taxi.

    photo by Tiia Monto (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Getting around Madrid

    Travel tips

    The centre of Madrid can easily be explored on foot as many landmarks and attractions, such as the Royal Palace and the Retiro Park, sit within a 2 km circle around the Puerta del Sol, the central square of the city. For longer journeys, Madrid hosts a top-notch public transport system, which includes metro, tram, suburban rail and bus networks.

    • A single ticket costs €1.50. It’s valid for 1 ride on the bus or for up to five stations on the metro (add €0.10 per additional station to a maximum price of €2 for 1 ride).
    • A 10-ride Metrobus ticket costs €12.20.
    • A Tourist Ticket (known as a “Tourist Travel Card”), can be used on all public transport for between 1 and 7 days. A 1-day Tourist Ticket covering the municipality of Madrid costs €8.40.
    • Tickets and Tourist Travel Cards can be purchased at the airport and in all metro stations.

    Taking a taxi

    • The Madrid taxis are white with a diagonal red stripe on their front doors. The red stripe bears the emblem of the city (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree).
    • They can be hailed on the street.
    • Taxi ranks can also be found all around the city.
    • Madrid taxis have a start rate of €2.40 on week days, then the basic rate is €1.05 per kilometre. Rates are slightly higher on weekends, at night and in the suburbs of the city.
    • Many cabs in Madrid accept payment by credit card.
    • There’s a good list of taxi apps you can use in Madrid. They include Hailo, MyTaxi and Cabify.

    photo by Stanislav Kozlovskiy (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Cycling around Madrid

    Bike-sharing schemes offer a pleasant way to explore Madrid. Madrid features a public system named BiciMAD, and a private system named Donkey Republic.

    • BiciMAD operates electric bikes. There are over 120 stations all around the city. Prices for occasional users start at €2 for 1 hour.
    • Donkey Republic works with a downloadable app. Prices start from €1.88 for 30 minutes. Their bike racks can be found all around the city.

    photo by morebyless (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Annual events in Madrid to look out for

    Orgullo Pride Festival 

    • What: Spain’s largest LGBT celebration with street parades and club events 
    • When: Last weekend of June 
    • Where: Chueca 

    Madrid Carnival

    • What: A large parade featuring flamboyant costumes and floats
    • When: 5 days in February 
    • Where: All over Madrid 

    photo by Barcex (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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