Madrid - Getting Around
The location of the airport is around 15-20 minutes from Madrid. If travelling by Metro, the airport is connected to the city by the Metro line eight. Travelling via bus, owing to a dispute between the regional and national governments, work on the Metro connection to the new terminal will not be completed until 2007. In the meantime, bus services run from the remaining terminals to T4 and there are additional bus services running from the centre of Madrid (Plaza Colón and Avenida de América). Taxis are available at the arrivals terminal and a trip to the city centre cost about €20.top ↑
EMT operates the city bus network. A single trip costs €1 (buy ticket on boarding), or buy a Metrobús ticket in advance, giving 10 rides for €6.15, which are also valid on the Metro. There are special night buses (called Búho, "night owl"). All the Búhos start at Plaza de Cibeles, going to all directions from there.top ↑
Using the Metro de Madrid (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is efficient and usually easier than using the buses, especially if one is new to the city. Also, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on particularly hot days. Single trip tickets with unlimited changes within Madrid city (zone A) cost €1. If you plan to make at least six metro trips, think about buying the Metrobús tickets which offer a better value of 10 rides for €6.15. You can buy these tickets at Metro stations, news-stands, and tobacconists. They are valid on the Metro as well as EMT city buses (the red ones), including the night bus network (its buses are called Búhos). Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When travelling by bus, the ticket needs to be stamped each time you enter a bus.top ↑
Taxis in Madrid are cheaper than in other European cities but much more expensive than travel by bus or the Metro.
They are widely available at all hours, although it can be tricky getting a taxi when it is raining. Vacant taxis are labeled 'libre' in the windshield, and have a green light on top. Official Taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tarif is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night).
There are also special surcharges if you go to the airport, like a surcharge for the bags and for entering or leaving the airport. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges (suplementos) before paying if you think it's too expensive. A normal ride to/from the airport is about €20.