Here’s a step by step guide to arriving at Madrid Airport. There are several airport transfers that will get you to Madrid’s city center.
The airport is very well connected to the city and other transport hubs (bus and train stations). Moreover, the cost is relatively cheap compared to other European cities. Your decision depends on your final destination.
Read all the Madrid Airport practical information.
Additionally, have a look at how to get from the city center to the airport.
There are several options to exit the airport.
- Metro. The subway is the most popular means of transport. Up: There are two stations, one in Terminal 2 (T2) and another in Terminal 4 (T4). Down: Changing lines once you exit line 8 (pink) can be a hassle if you carry lots of luggage – some stations may not have elevators or escalators. Approximate cost: between 4.50€ and 6€.
- Train. It’s a very good and sometimes faster alternative to the subway, especially when traveling to Atocha or Chamartín (you could also get off the train at other city center stations, such as Recoletos or Nuevos Ministerios). The airport train station is located in Terminal 4 (T4). Approximate cost: between free and 2.60€ (5.20€ return)
- Bus. While it is not always be the fastest option, there are several bus routes serving the airport. Approximate cost: 1.50€ or 5€.
- Taxi. Definitely the most expensive and the riskiest option I can imagine. Approximate cost: 30€.
- Private Transfer. Obviously the most comfortable and fastest option. Approximate cost: depends on the people in your party.
With some many public transport alternatives, there is no best solution. Your choice will depend on what terminal your flight arrives to and where in the city your accommodation is. Here is my advice.
- To go from T1, T2 and T3 to any address in the city center use the Metro. Exception: take a cab or a private transfer if you are carrying lots of luggage.
- To go from T4 to any address in the city center use the Metro and the Cercanías train. Exception: take a cab or a private transfer if you are carrying lots of luggage.
- To go from T1, T2 and T3 to Atocha use the Línea Exprés Aeropuerto.
- To go from T4 to Atocha use the Cercanías train.
- To go from T1, T2, T3 and T4 to Chamartín use the Cercanías train.
- To go from T1, T2 and T3 to Estación Sur use the Metro.
- To go from T4 to Estación Sur use the Cercanías train.
- To go from T1, T2, T3 and T4 to Avenida de América use the EMT bus route 200.
You may also be interested on the Madrid Tourist Travel Pass. This transport pass entitles you to get free unlimited rides.
Arriving at Madrid Airport: use the Metro to get to the city center
When arriving at Madrid Airport you can go to two Metro stations, one at T2 (floor 1) and the other one at T4 (floor -1). Both are part of line 8 (pink).
The ride to Nuevos Ministerios station takes 15 minutes from T2 and 20 minutes from T4.
Before using the subway, you will need to purchase a ticket. You can do so at the ticket counters and ticket machines. Have a look at a complete explanation on the different types of Metro tickets and how to buy them.
1. Go from Terminal 1 (T1) to Terminal 2 (T2) Metro station
It’s a less than 10 minutes walk.
You will exit the baggage claim area through Arrivals hall 1 or 2. As soon as you go through the sliding doors, look for the Metro signs.
You need to go upstairs, to the 1st floor. You can use the elevators, but the easiest way is to use the moving ramps located next to each of the Arrivals halls.
As soon as you reach the 1st floor, keep walking straight across the different check-in counters.
Then, take three consecutive moving walkaways.
Once you exit the last moving walkaway, a sign indicates to turn left.
Use the moving walkaways to get to a big glass-window hall. From there you can access the Metro station, T3 and the car park.
To get to the Metro station, just follow the signs. The access is located on the left hand side and you need to go downstairs, to floor -1.
2. Go from Terminal 2 (T2) Arrivals hall to Terminal 2 (T2) Metro station
It’s a less than 5 minutes walk.
You will exit the baggage claim area through Arrivals hall 5 or 6. As soon as you go through the sliding doors, look for the Metro signs.
You need to go upstairs, to the 1st floor. You can use the elevators, but the easiest way is to use the moving ramps located next to Arrivals hall 5.
As soon as you exit the ramps, a sign indicates to turn right. Use the moving walkaways to get to a big glass-window hall. From there you can access the Metro station, T3 and the car park.
To get to the Metro station follow the signs. The access is located on the left hand side and you need to go downstairs, to floor -1.
3. Go from Terminal 4 (T4) Arrivals hall to Terminal 4 (T4) Metro station
It’s a less than 5 minutes walk.
As soon as you exit the baggage claim area through the sliding doors, you will see a Metro sign indicating you to take the moving ramps to go to downstairs, to floor -1.
There are signs both at the ceiling and on the floor. Just follow them.
The last moving ramp leads you to a big hall where both the Metro and train stations are located. The entrance to the Metro station is the first one on your left.
Arriving at Madrid Airport: use the Cercanías train to get to the city center
After arriving at Madrid Airport, you can go to one train station, located in Terminal 4 (T4), floor -1.
Before using the Cercanías train, you will need to purchase a ticket. You can do so at the ticket counters and ticket machines. Have a look at a complete explanation on the different types of Cercanías tickets and how to buy them.
Don’t forget to keep your train ticket with you at all times during the trip because you need it to go through the exit barriers at your destination.
If you need to get to T4 train station from any other terminal (T1, T2 or T3), all you have to do is exit the terminal following the bus and taxi signs.
- Going from T1 to T4. Use the moving ramps to get to the Departures hall. Exit the terminal through the sliding doors and walk to your right. The bus stop is a few steps away.
- Going from T2 to T4. Go upstairs, to the Departures hall, using the moving ramps. Exit the terminal through the sliding doors and walk towards the shuttle bus stop. Don’t catch the shuttle at the Arrivals hall or you will end up going to T1 first before arriving to T4.
The shuttle bus connecting the terminals is free and operates 24/7.
Arriving at Madrid Airport: use the bus to get to the city center
The airport is very well connected by road and there are three public transport bus routes that you can use after arriving at Madrid Airport. Each one takes you to a different destination and has a different fare.
1. Airport Express bus
The Línea Exprés Aeropuerto uses offers a direct trip between the airport, Calle O’Donnell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha train station. The buses are yellow with a big 24 horas exprés sign on the windows.
The Airport Express bus has two schedules:
- During the day it operates from 6:00 to 23:30 and goes to Atocha, stopping at Calle O’Donnell and Plaza de Cibeles.
- At night it operates from 23:30 to 6:00 and goes only to Plaza de Cibeles. It doesn’t stop at Calle O’Donnell, nor goes to Atocha. Should you go to Atocha, catch a connecting EMT night bus – also known as búhos (owls).
The buses frequency is between 13-20 minutes during the day and 35 minutes at night. The trip to Atocha should take no more than 40 minutes under normal traffic conditions.
Inside the airport, there are bus stops at
- Terminal 1 (T1). Floor 0. Arrivals.
- Terminal 2 (T2). Floor 0. Arrivals.
- Terminal 4 (T4). Floor 0. Arrivals.
The stops are generally located next to the taxis, and are easily recognizable – look for a metal pole with a big yellow sign including a plane and all the information. These stops are shared with regular EMT city buses.
2. EMT city buses
There are two EMT bus lines exiting the terminals, after arriving at Madrid Airport. Remember that EMT buses are blue.
The one you are more likely to use is line 200. It runs from terminals T1, T2 and T4 of Madrid-Barajas airport to the Avenida de América transport hub.
The buses run every 5-12 minutes at peak times and the journey to Avenida de América takes around 20 minutes from T1 and 30 minutes from T4.
The other line is route 101 and drops you off at Canillejas, where a transport hub offers connections to the Metro, and city and intercity bus routes.
Theses buses share the stops with EMT city buses, so you can catch them here:
- Terminal 1 (T1). Floor 0. Arrivals.
- Terminal 2 (T2). Floor 0. Arrivals.
- Terminal 4 (T4). Floor 0. Arrivals. Line 200 only.
The stops are generally located next to the taxis, and are easily recognizable – look for a metal pole with a big yellow sign including a plane and all the information regarding the routes.
Arriving at Madrid Airport: catch a taxi to get to the city center
Getting to the city center by taxi is the fastest and most comfortable option after arriving at Madrid Airport. It’s also the most expensive despite it could be interesting if you are a travel party of at least 4 people.
Every terminal has a large taxi stop and it is clearly indicated by signs located inside the terminal. All you have to do once you are in the Arrivals hall is follow the signs. The taxi stops are usually managed by the airport staff. Please stand in line and wait until you are designated a taxi.
The trip between the airport and Madrid takes about half an hour but it depends very much on the traffic conditions and your accommodation location. Terminal 4 (T4) is further away compared to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 (T1, T2 and T3) so your trip will be 10 minutes longer and the fare higher.
The trip from the airport to the center of Madrid should cost you 30€. All taxis must have a fares chart displayed on the rear windows.
Please note that there are two very specific fares:
- Trips from the airport to any origin located inside Calle 30 (also known as M-30, Madrid’s inner ring road) have a flat fare of 30€. No extra charge can be added to this fare, even if you have booked a taxi on the phone or through an app.
- If the flat fare does not apply, you will be charged 20€ for the first 10 km. After that the meter will keep on going until you reach the airport. In addition to this, you could be changed extra night or bank holiday fees.
No taxi driver is allowed to charge you for your luggage, as long as it fits in the boot or on the roof rack.
In addition to this, have a look at my insider’s guide to use Madrid taxis in the most efficient way.
Arriving at Madrid Airport: book a private transfer to get to the city center
At Madrid Airport (MAD), when you emerge from the Arrivals area, exit to the Arrivals hall through the sliding doors and your liaison staff member will be waiting for you, holding a sign with your name on it. He will help you with your luggage and lead you to the vehicle, most commonly a spacious, comfortable air-conditioned vehicle.
Your private driver will take you directly to your accommodation, where he will help you with your luggage to the hotel reception or apartment entrance.
While driving from the airport to your hotel, your driver will be polite and helpful, will drive carefully and observe traffic regulations, will not smoke, and will offer you complimentary refreshments (welcome after a long flight!).
Let me make this clear: this is not a common airport shuttle. You are booking your own private vehicle – it’s just for you (and your travel companions, if you have any).
Surprisingly, even though these fares are not much more than for a Madrid taxi for some rides, and only moderately more for others, a private transfer is 1000% more comfortable, reliable, safe and pleasant than an Madrid taxi. As such, a private transfer constitutes extremely good value for money.
This article is part of a complete tutorial on how to fly to Madrid where you can read all the information you need to organize your flights.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. How to find very cheap international flights
2. Looking for cheap air flights to Spain?
3. Getting to Madrid by plane
4. Madrid Airport guide: Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas
5. Guide on Madrid Airport transfers
6. Arriving at Madrid Airport: exit the airport after landing
7. Getting to Madrid Airport: go to the airport from the city center
8. Madrid Airport hotels