A comprehensive guide to Madrid Airport transfers

madrid airport transfers

There are a number of ways to arrange Madrid Airport transfers. It actually depends on your budget and how much time you want to spend going from the airport to your accommodation.

The easiest option and the one that I usually recommend is a pre-arranged private car. The higher price compared to a taxi or the bus is definitely worth it, particularly after a long flight and if you are suffering from jet lag.

If you prefer on the other hand to save money, and you don’t mind struggling for a while with your luggage, there are other alternatives that will cost you less money.

In addition to this, you can

Madrid Airport transfers: Metro

Madrid Airport has two Metro stations, one at Terminal 2 (T2), floor 1, and the other one at Terminal 4 (T4), floor -1. Both are part of line 8 (pink).

The route of the line, leaving the airport, is as follows:

  • Airport T4.
  • Barajas.
  • Airport T1, T2, T3.
  • Feria de Madrid.
  • Mar de Cristal. Where you can change to line 4.
  • Pinar del Rey.
  • Colombia. Where you can change to line 9.
  • Nuevos Ministerios. Where you can change to lines 6 and 10.

The final station of the airport subway, Nuevos Ministerios, is north of downtown Madrid. So if you are staying closer to the city center, you will have to change lines to get to your final destination.

The airport subway line runs from 6:00 to 1:30. Trains usually depart at frequent intervals (less than 10 minutes during the day).

The ride to Nuevos Ministerios station takes 15 minutes from Terminal 2 (T2) and 20 minutes from Terminal 4 (T4).

Madrid Airport transfers: Cercanías train

Madrid Airport has one train station, located in Terminal 4 (T4), floor -1.

Madrid Airport is served by two Renfe Cercanías train lines: line C-1 (light blue) and line C-10 (light green).

Both lines share the same itinerary from the airport to Príncipe Pío train station. So take whichever train gets there first.

From Recoletos station, the train stations are in the center of Madrid. So it can be very convenient if you are lodging close to any of them. In addition to this, both lines serve Chamartín train station, Atocha train station and Méndez Álvaro (next to the Estación Sur de Autobuses).

The train lines from the airport run from 6:00 to 22:25, seven days a week. The trains leave every 30 minutes.

The approximate travel time between the airport and Atocha train station is 25 minutes, and it takes 11 minutes to get to Chamartín train station.

If you’re going to take a high-speed AVE train from Chamartín or Atocha stations, take advantage of the Combinado Cercanías ticket, which includes a free ticket for you between the airport and the train stations.

Madrid Airport transfers: EMT Bus

The cheapest way to get into Madrid from the airport is to take a bus.

EMT, the municipal bus company operates several Madrid Airport transfers:

  • Line 101 (blue bus) links the city (Canillejas Metro station) with terminals Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2). It operates from Monday to Saturday, from 6:00 to 23:25, and on Sunday and holidays from 7:30 to 23:25. Buses run approximately every 15 minutes, depending on the traffic.
  • Line 200 (blue bus) links the city (Avenida de América bus/Metro station) with terminals Terminal 1 (T1), Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 4 (T4). It operates from Monday to Saturday, from 5:00 to 23:30, and on Sunday and holidays from 5:10 to 23:30. Buses run approximately every 15 minutes, depending on the traffic.
  • Line Línea Exprés Aeropuerto (yellow bus) links the city (Plaza de Cibeles, Atocha train station) with terminals Terminal 1 (T1), Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 4 (T4). It operates 24/7:
    • From 23:30 to 6:00 the buses run every 35 minutes.
    • During the night, from 23:30 to 6:00, the final destination is Plaza de Cibeles. The bus does not get to Atocha train station.
    • Buses run approximately every 15 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Unfortunately, you will have to handle your luggage as you get to the bus at the airport (or to your hotel at the other end), but it’s a huge money saver.

Apart from this, Madrid Airport transfers using the bus imply dealing with traffic. Depending on the traffic, the journey from the first stop to the airport can last 30-45 minutes.

Therefore, allow plenty of time on the return trip because traffic jams can be severe depending on the time and the day of the week. The last thing you want is missing your flight back home!

Madrid Airport transfers: taxi

The cabs are located right outside Terminal 1 (T1), Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 4 (T4), in front of the Arrivals hall main entrance. There is only one spot where taxis are parked so you won’t miss it.

There is a flat fare of 30€ between the Madrid Airport and any destination within the city (as long as your final destination is within the M-30 ringroad). If that is the case, you can’t be charged any additional fare.

When flying back home, if you call a taxi to pick you up at your or hotel or apartment to get to the airport, the driver can’t charge you an extra fee.

When the flat fare does not apply, you will be charged a 20€ fixed fare for the first 10km. Then, the driver will turn on the meter and add the extra fare the meter marks once you arrive to your final destination. Extra charges may apply.

Madrid receives a lot of foreigners every year and taxi drivers know it. Taxis at Madrid Airport generally have a very bad reputation and I can tell so. They have tried to scam me more than once even though I’m from Madrid and have a local accent.

Please, make sure you know the exact address you are going to. Do some research in advance and spend some time in front of a map to get an idea of your route. If you can, provide some directions to the driver. At the end of the trip check the final fare and the change you receive!

I definitely don’t recommend taking a cab at the airport. Unless you are in a hurry or you have no other means of transport, avoid taking a taxi!

However, in other areas of the city, catching a taxi is fine. Here is some practical advice to avoid bad surprises using the Madrid taxi service.

Madrid Airport transfers: private car

You will be glad to book an exclusive ride from the train station to your accommodation.

It provides a much need comfort and rest after a long trip. Your driver will meet you at the main terminal and will walk you to an executive sedan. Your transfer will be safe and sound. On top of it, you can ask for an English speaking driver.

If you have a larger party, up to eight people, the transfer can be arranged in a luxury minivan.

1. Private car from the airport to central Madrid. Use this when you arrive to avoid waiting long lines at the bus and waste a precious time.

2. Private from central Madrid to Madrid-Barajas Airport. Definitely, the most comfortable and easy option when it’s time to go home. The car gets you from your hotel (or apartment) to the airport terminal.

Madrid Airport transfers: car rental

If you are considering renting a car you’ll find a bunch of car rental offices at the Madrid Airport.

However, my favorite choice to get the best cheap car rental rates is to book your rental car from home before setting a foot in Madrid.

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

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