Business Hours -- Opening hours can be complicated in Madrid. Expect small shops and banks to open at 10a.m, close 2–5pm for lunch, and open again 5–8:30pm. Shopping centers and some international shops stay open continuously 10am–10pm.
Doctors & Dentists -- For a list of English-speaking doctors and dentists working in Madrid, visit the web site of the US Embassy in Madrid (The PDF of the complete medical services list is available from the web site under the tab for “US Citizen Services.” For dental services, you can also consult Unidad Médica Anglo-Americana, Conde de Arandá 1 (tel. 91-435-18-23; www.unidadmedica.com). Office hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.
Embassies -- If you lose your passport, fall seriously ill, get into legal trouble, or have some other serious problem, your embassy or consulate can help. These are the Madrid addresses and contact information:
Australia: Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D; tel. 91-353-66-00; www.spain.embassy.gov.au
Canada: Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D; tel. 91-382-84-00; www.canadainternational.gc.ca
Ireland: Paseo de la Castellana 46, Ireland House; tel. 91-436-40-93; www.irlanda.es
New Zealand: Calle Pinar 7; tel. 91-523-02-26; www.nzembassy.com/spain
United Kingdom: Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D; tel. 91-714-63-00; www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-madrid
United States: Calle Serrano 75; tel. 91-587-22-00; http://madrid.usembassy.gov
Emergencies -- Call tel. 112 for fire, police, and ambulance services.
Hospitals & Clinics -- EU citizens are entitled to free medical care while in Spain; make sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Citizens of other countries are strongly advised to take out medical insurance before they travel. Unidad Médica Anglo-Americana, Conde de Arandá 1 (tel. 91-435-18-23; www.unidadmedica.com; Metro: Retiro), is not a hospital but a private outpatient clinic offering specialized services. This is not an emergency clinic, although someone on the staff is always available. Unidad Medica Anglo-Americana is open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm. In a real medical emergency, call tel. 112 for an ambulance.
Internet Access -- Most lodgings offer free Wi-Fi access, at least in public areas, if you have your own laptop, tablet, phone, or other device. Typically, bandwidth on free hotel Wi-Fi is good enough to surf the web, use email, look up maps, and sometimes even make VOIP phone calls. It is not adequate for streaming video or music. Some hotels give away basic Wi-Fi but charge for faster access. Somewhat slower free Wi-Fi access is usually available in cafes and some stores. The city government also provides free Wi-Fi at hot spots around the city and on public transit. For a list of public hotspots visit www.esmadrid.com/en/wi-fi-hotspots. Free Wi-Fi is also often available in cafes and bars. To ask for the password, say: “la contraseña wifi, por favor.”
Buses and some Metro lines also have free Wi-Fi. If you are planning to use a phone or tablet, download the GOWEX Free Wi-Fi app for iOs or Android. With the proliferation of free hotspots, Internet cafes are vanishing—usually they are coupled with long-distance phone services in immigrant neighborhoods. Expect to pay 2€ to 4€ per hour.
Mail & Postage -- Madrid’s central post office is in the Palacio de Comunicaciones at Plaza de Cibeles (tel. 91-523-06-94). Hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am to 9:30pm and Saturday 8:30am to 2pm. Sending a postcard or letter to the U.S. starts at 0.90€. To calculate the price, visit http://correos.es. You can also buy stamps at any place that sells tobacco.
Newspapers & Magazines -- Probably the most useful English-language publication in Madrid is not available at news kiosks. You’ll have to go online to read “El País in English” (http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html). The kiosks do carry “InMadrid,” though the more up-to-date edition is on the web (www.inmadrid.com). The publication is geared to English speakers actually living in Madrid. The weekly Spanish-language “Guia de Ocio” gives a rundown of concerts, plays, movies, and nightlife.
Pharmacies -- For a late-night pharmacy, look in the daily newspaper under Farmacias de Guardia to learn which drugstores are open after 8pm. Another way to find one is to go to any pharmacy, which, even if closed, always posts a list of nearby pharmacies that are open late that day. Madrid has hundreds of pharmacies; one of the most central is Farmacia de la Paloma, Calle de Toledo 46 (tel. 91-365-34-58; Metro: Puerta del Sol or La Latina).
Police -- The central police station in Madrid is at Calle Leganitos, 19, next to Plaza de España. It is open daily 9am to midnight. The main phone numbers are tel. 91-548-85-37 and tel. 91-549-80-08. The 24-hour number for reporting a crime is tel. 90-210-21-12. The Madrid City Council and the National Police have instituted a program called the Foreign Tourist Assistance Service (acronym in Spanish is SATE) to help tourists in filing a complaint, canceling credit cards or other documents, contacting embassies or consulates, and contacting or locating family members.
Safety -- As in every big, crowded city around the world, purse snatching and pickpocketing are facts of life in Madrid, especially wherever there are lots of slightly disoriented tourists paying scant attention to their belongings. Don’t let down your guard and you’re unlikely to be a victim.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.