Here’s a step by step guide to getting to Madrid Airport. There are several airport transfers that will get you from Madrid’s city center to your terminal.
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.
You can have a look at the practical details related to Madrid Airport.
Moreover, you can also read about how to get from the airport to the city center.
There are several options to get to the airport.
- Metro. The subway is the most popular means of transport. Up: There are stations in Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 4 (T4). Down: Changing lines in between before catching 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 from Atocha or Chamartín (although you could also use other stations such as Recoletos or Nuevos Ministerios). Bear in mind that the airport train station is located in Terminal 4 (T4). Approximate cost: between free and 2.60€ (5.20€ return).
- Bus. Despite it may not always be the fastest approach, there are several bus routes serving the airport, allowing you to choose the one that suits you best. 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.
There is no right or wrong option. It only depends on where you are lodged and to what terminal you need to go to. Here’s my advice.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the airport. Despite Madrid public transport is very reliable, a mechanical breakdown or a traffic jam may come up.
- To go from any address in the city center to T1, T2 and T3 use the Metro. Exception: take a cab or a private transfer if you are carrying lots of luggage.
- To go from any address in the city center to T4 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 Atocha to T1, T2 and T3 use the Línea Exprés Aeropuerto.
- To go from Atocha to T4 use the Cercanías train.
- To go from Chamartín to T1, T2, T3 and T4 use the Cercanías train.
- To go from Estación Sur to T1, T2 and T3 use the Metro.
- To go from Estación Sur to T4 use the Cercanías train.
- To go from Avenida de América to T1, T2, T3 and T4 use the EMT bus route 200.
Read more about the Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, a transport pass entitling you to get free unlimited rides.
Getting to Madrid Airport by Metro
Barajas-Madrid Airport has 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 between Nuevos Ministerios station takes 15 minutes to T2 and 20 minutes to T4.
Before using the subway, you’ll 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 2 (T2) Metro station to Terminal 1 (T1)
It’s a less than 10 minutes walk.
Exit the Metro station and take the escalators to go upstairs.
You are now in a big glass-window hall from there you can access T2, T3 and the car park.
Walk straight and use the three moving walkaways.
As soon as you exit the last moving walkaway, a sign indicates to turn right.
Walk along a long corridor. Then, take three consecutive moving walkaways.
Once you exit the last one you are in T1 Departures hall. Walk straight across the different check-in counters and look for your airline.
2. Go from Terminal 2 (T2) Metro station to Terminal 2 (T2) Departures hall
It’s a less than 5 minutes walk.
Exit the Metro station and take the escalators to go upstairs. You are now in a big glass-window hall from there you can access T2, T3 and the car park.
Walk straight and use two moving walkaways.
As soon as you exit the last moving walkaway, a sign indicates to turn left.
You need to go upstairs, to the 2st floor. You can use the elevators, but the easiest way is to use the moving ramps.
Once you exit the ramps, you are in T2 Departures hall. Walk across the different check-in counters and look for your airline.
3. Go from Terminal 4 (T4) Metro station to Terminal 4 (T4) Departures hall
It’s a less than 5 minutes walk.
As soon as you exit the Metro station, turn left. You will see a sign indicating you to take the moving ramps to go to upstairs, to the Arrivals hall located on floor 0.
Then, take the moving ramps to go upstairs, to floor 1. There are signs at the ceiling indicating the Departures hall. Just follow them.
The last moving ramp leads you to a big hall where all the check-in counters are.
Getting to Madrid Airport by Cercanías train
Madrid Airport has one train station, located in Terminal 4 (T4), floor -1.
Before using the Cercanías train, you’ll 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 because you need it to exit the station.
If you need to go from T4 train station to any other terminal (T1, T2 or T3), all you have to do is exit the station.
Once you are out of the train station walk to your right.
Use the moving ramps to get to the Arrivals hall. Exit the terminal through the sliding doors and walk towards the taxis. Go past them. The shuttle bus stop is at the front of the different bus stops.
The shuttle bus connecting the terminals is free and operates 24/7.
Getting to Madrid Airport by bus
There are three public transport bus routes that you can use. Each one takes you to a different destination and has a different fare.
1. Airport Express bus
The Línea Exprés Aeropuerto buses offer 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 departs from Atocha, stopping at Plaza de Cibeles.
- At night it operates from 23:30 to 6:00 and departs only from Plaza de Cibeles. It doesn’t depart from Atocha. Should you go from Atocha to Plaza de Cibeles, 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 from Atocha should take no more than 40 minutes under normal traffic conditions.
Inside the airport, there are bus stops at
- Terminal 1 (T1). Floor 1. Departures.
- Terminal 2 (T2). Floor 0. Arrivals.
- Terminal 4 (T4). Floor 0. Arrivals.
2. EMT city buses
There are two EMT bus lines that go to the airport. Remember that EMT buses are blue.
The one you are more likely to use is line 200. It runs from Avenida de América transport hub to terminals T1, T2 and T4 of Madrid-Barajas airport.
The buses run every 5-12 minutes at peak times and the journey from Avenida de América takes around 20 minutes to T1 and 30 minutes to T4.
The other line is route 101 and departs from Canillejas, a transport hub offering connections to the Metro, and city and intercity bus routes.
Theses buses drop you here:
- Terminal 1 (T1). Floor 1. Departures.
- Terminal 2 (T2). Floor 2. Departures.
- Terminal 4 (T4). Floor 0. Arrivals. Line 200 only.
Getting to Madrid Airport by taxi
Reaching the airport by taxi is the fastest and most comfortable option. Moreover, it’s also the most expensive despite it could be interesting if you are a travel party of at least 4 people.
In Madrid, taxis are easily recognizable. Official taxis are white with a red stripe and the coat-of-arms of the city. There are no special taxis to drive you to the airport; any taxi can take you there.
The trip between Madrid and the airport 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.
The trip from the center of Madrid to the airport should cost 30€. All taxis must have a fares chart displayed on the rear windows.
Please note that there are two very specific fares:
- Trips from any origin located inside Calle 30 (also known as M-30, Madrid’s inner ring road) to the airport 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 your destination. 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.
Getting to Madrid Airport by private transfer
At your accommodation, 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 Madrid Airport (MAD), where he will help you with your luggage before you enter the Departures hall.
While driving from your hotel to the airport, your driver will be polite and helpful, will not smoke, will drive carefully and observe traffic regulations.
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