Flying to Madrid
Madrid’s Barajas Airport is 13km (8 miles) north-east of the city on the A2 motorway. All other traffic is distributed between three existing terminals: non-Spanish airlines and flights on Spanish airlines from non-Schengen-area countries (such as the UK and USA) use T1; domestic flights and Spanish airline flights from Schengen countries use T2; some local flights and the Madrid-Barcelona air shuttle use T3. In T1 and T2 there are 24-hour exchange facilities, ATM machines and hotel booking desks. There is a tourist office and rail reservations desk in T1, two tourist offices in T4.
Getting from the airport to the city
By airport shuttle
Aerocity provides shuttle services between the airport and city-centre hotels and apartments. Handy for small groups and cheaper than taking several taxis. Prices (€17-€38) depend on size of group (from one to seven), the location of the hotel (city centre or outskirts) and the number of pieces of luggage in some cases. The company has two reservation desks at the airport (arrivals at T1 and T2 and T4); phonelines are open 24hrs.
Line 200 bus service runs between T1, T2 and T3 and Avenida de América, while Line 204 runs to T4. Both take between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on the traffic. There are two stops en route. First buses of the day leave Avenida de América and Barajas at 6am; they run every 12mins, 6am-11.30pm. A single ticket costs €1. The airport buses are accessible to wheelchairs.
The metro is the cheapest way to get to central Madrid. Bear in mind that the Aeropuerto metro station is between T2 and T3, which means that if, as is very likely, you arrive at T1, you have a 10-15min walk to get there. From T4, take the shuttle to T2 (allow 20mins in total). From the airport it’s four stops on metro line 8 (pink) and 12mins to Nuevos Ministerios. On outward journeys, if you are flying with Iberia, Alitalia and some other airlines you can also check in here. From Nuevos Ministerios it’s around another 15mins into the centre of Madrid. You can save money by buying a Metrobús ticket at the airport station.
Taxi fares to central Madrid should be around €19-€22 (depending on the traffic), including a €5 airport supplement (no luggage supplement). There are further supplements after 10pm and on Sundays (for both, 18¢ per km). There are lots of taxis at Barajas, but ignore any drivers who approach you inside the building, just use the ones at the ranks outside the terminal. Check the meter is at the current minimum fare (€1.85) when you begin the journey; it’s a good idea to check a map first, and to have a landmark in mind in the area to which you are going.