Madrid’s international airport, Barajas (airport code: MAD), lies 15km (9 1/4 miles) east of the city center. Its four terminals are connected by a moving sidewalk and light rail. The newest and most comfortable is Terminal 4, which serves Iberia, American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, El Al, Emirates, Finnair, LAN, Luxair, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, Vueling, and some small airlines. Terminal 1 serves Air Lingus, Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air China, most Air Europa flights, Delta, Easyjet, Korean Air, Ryanair, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Transavia, Turkish and United. Terminal 2’s principal airlines include Air France, some Air Europa flights, Alitalia, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss and TAP. For Barajas Airport information, call tel. 90-240-47-04, or check www.aena.es.
Air-conditioned airport buses can take you from the ground floor at Terminal 4 or Level 0 at Terminals 1 and 2 to the Atocha train station a few blocks from the Prado. The fare is 5€, and you can buy tickets on the bus but only with cash. Buses leave every 10 to 15 minutes for the 40-minute trip
By taxi, expect to pay 35€ and up, plus surcharges, for the trip to the airport and for baggage handling.
The subway is another option, but is cumbersome with luggage and not appreciably cheaper than the airport bus. From the airport, take line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios, where you will exit and re-enter the system and pay a second fare. The airport supplement is 3€ in addition to the usual 1.50€–2€ for travel within metropolitan Madrid.
Madrid has two major railway stations: Atocha (Glorieta Carlos V; Metro: Atocha RENFE), for trains to and from Lisbon, Toledo, Andalucía, Basque Country, Extremadura and Barcelona, and the French frontier via Catalunya; and Chamartín (in the northern suburbs at Augustín de Foxá; Metro: Chamartín), for trains to and from Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, the Basque Country, Aragón, Levante (Valencia), Murcia, and the French frontier via Basque Country. For information about connections from any of these stations, call RENFE (Spanish Railways) at tel. 90-232-03-20 (daily 5am–11:50pm) or visit www.renfe.com.
For long-distance tickets, go to RENFE’s main office at Alcalá 44 (tel. 90-232-03-20; www.renfe.com; Metro: Banco de España). The office is open Monday to Friday 9:30am to 11:30pm. Frankly, it is most convenient to purchase tickets on the web site and print them out. Phone apps do not permit ticket purchase.
Madrid has at least 14 major bus terminals. Most buses pass through the large Estación Sur de Autobuses, Calle Méndez Álvaro, 83 (tel. 91-468-42-00; www.estaciondeautobuses.com; Metro: Méndez Álvaro). The two major bus companies ALSA (www.alsa.com) and Avanza (www.avanzabus.com) operate from here.
All highways within Spain radiate outward from Madrid. The following are the major highways into Madrid, with information on driving distances to the city:
Highways to Madrid
Route From Distance to Madrid
N-I Irún 507km (315 miles)
N-II Barcelona 626km (389 miles)
N-III Valencia 349km (217 miles)
N-IV Cádiz 625km (388 miles)
N-V Badajoz 409km (254 miles)
N-VI Galicia 602km (374 miles)
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.