Travel Guide Europe Spain Madrid Madrid



Plaza Mayor in madrid

Plaza Mayor in madrid

© Exposure

Madrid is the capital city of Spain, but also the capital of the Autonomous Region of Madrid. This includes the suburbs of Madrid, but also a number of interesting places that make a good day trip on a visit to Madrid.

Madrid has its share of beautiful buildings. Every culture vulture will have a hard time choosing between the numerous cultural offerings the city boasts. For those less concerned with culture, it's good to know that food features highly on the city's agenda. In addition to traditional dishes and tapas, there are an increasing number of restaurants offering international cuisine. Even though there is hardly any water nearby, excellent fish dishes are served in all high quality restaurants. Madrileños are a lively, fashionable bunch, making the lively atmosphere in town different of that of any other Spanish city.

The people from Madrid are nicknamed "Gatos" (cats) due to their custom of staying out drinking until the early hours. They just love a good party and roaming the streets going from bar to bar, or from club to club, not returning home before sunrise.

The other thing that is taken seriously is Madrid is football. Real Madrid is perhaps the most famous club in the world, so a visit and a tour of the 'Santiago de Bernabeu' stadium is a must for every football lover. Getting tickets to see a match would obviously be an even more memorable experience. The season starts at the end of August, and lasts until May. Madrid is also the home of Atletico de Madrid and the smaller Rayo Vallecano.




  • Sol - the departure point of all Spanish roads, the kilometer count starts from a small tile in this square. The statue of a bear leaning onto the strawberry tree (the symbol of the city), now stands on the eastern side of the square.
  • Plaza Mayor - with beautiful facades, terraces and artists all around.
  • Plaza España - an oasis in the middle of busy city roads, but with the beautiful statue of Don Quichote and Sancho (from the most famous Spanish novel, written by Miguel de Cervantes).
  • Lavapiés - the multicultural neighbourhood of Madrid, with a vast number of restaurants.
  • La Latina - beautiful (older) part of Madrid, where you can sample tapas and visit El Rastro (market) every Sunday morning.
  • Chueca - gay area with vibrant nightlife, north of the Gran Via.
  • Malasaña - just like Chueca, trendy and full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
  • Salamanca - the posher neighbourhood, famous for shopping.
  • Huertas - old writer's neighbourhood, with small streets, big plazas (Plaza St. Ana) and lots of bars and restaurants.
  • Atocha - in the south-east of the center; houses the main train station.



Sights and Activities

For sights outside of Madrid, that can be done as a daytrip (including El Escorial and Aranjuez) check the guide of the Community of Madrid.

Palacio Real

Madrid - Palacio Real

Madrid - Palacio Real

© Herr Bert

At the western end of the city centre lies the Palacio Real, and the Cathedral La Almudena. The palace is located at the spot where the city was founded in the 10th century. After the old alcazar burned down on Christmas eve 1734, construction on the new palace began in 1738 and was completed in 1755. At this moment the palace is only used for official ceremonies. To the west of the palace is the English garden, called the Campo de Moro, while on the north side lie the Jardines de Sabatini. On the south side of the palace lies the newest part of the palace that was added in the 19th century, and surrounds the Plaza de Armas from three sides, on the other side of the Plaza de Armas lies the Cathedral La Almudena. On the east side of the palace lies the Plaza de Oriente and behind that the Opera and the city center.

The Royal Palace is opened for visitors between 9:00am and 6:00pm, in winter (October until March from 9:30am until 5:00pm). On Sundays and Holidays, the building is opened between 9:00am and 3:00pm (in winter from 9:00am until 2:00pm). The holidays that the palace is closed are, the 1st and 6th of January, 1st and 15th of May, the 9th of November and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December. The palace can also be closed when special occasions take place at the palace. For the latest update check the website of the Patrimonio Nacional

Madrid, Cathedral

Madrid, Cathedral

© Herr Bert

Cathedral La Almudena

Although the first plans to build the Cathedral La Almudena were drawn up in the 16th century the first stone was not laid until 1883. It took 110 years to finish the cathedral, and have it consecrated by Pope John Paul II, on the 15th on june 1993. A statue of the pope can be seen on the city side of the cathedral, next to the visitors entrance. In between the construction was halted several times, and ceased completely during the Spanish civil war. In 2004 it was the scene of the marriage between Prince Felipe and Prince Letizia. In the Cathedral is also a museum, located on the side of the Palace, on the right of the entrance.

The opening hours of the cathedral are from 9:00am until 8:30pm. In July and August the opening hours differ a little bit, and are from 10:00am until 9:00pm. Entrance to the cathedral is for free, but one is kindly asked to donate €1 to support the maintenance of the building. The museum is opened from Tuesday till Sunday from 10:00am till 2:30pm. Closed on Mondays, holidays and some special occasions. Entrance to the museum, Sala Capitular and the Sacristia is €6.

Plaza Major

Maybe one of Madrid's most photographed sights is the Plaza Major. This square that dates back to the 16th century, has been used for many things, from markets, fiestas, football matches, to executions and bullfights. Most Spanish towns have a Plaza Major but the one in Madrid is special, because it is completely surrounded by buildings in the same style. If you visit it, also take a good look at the paintings on the north side of the plaza, on the casa de panaderia. Under the arches of the buildings you can find many gift shops, restaurants and an outlet of the tourist information. The Plaza Major is also the scene of a couple of markets. In the weeks before Christmas and Reyes, there is a Christmas market.




© Herr Bert

El Rastro is a huge market that takes place every Sunday morning in the neighbourhood of La Latina. It used to be a huge flea market, but nowadays most of the stalls are manned by commercial salesmen and women. The market starts on the Plaza de Cascorro and finds it way down the Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores. The market is not just limited to this street. There are a couple of side streets that have themed market stalls. There is one street where you can find all the stalls selling art, and one streets is the bird market. On one of the plaza's you will still find something of the old atmosphere of the market, as this is the place where it is still a proper flea market. A lot of the shops on the Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores is also opened on Sundays, to profit from the extra visitors.


Madrid has a cable car, called the Teleférico, that runs from the Parque del Oeste, until the highest point in the Casa de Campo. Where you have a great view over the city and the park itself. The cable car covers a distance of almost 2.5 kilometres, across the Rio Manazanares into the Casa de Campo. The station at the Parque del Oeste is near to the Rosarium, at the Passeo del Pintor Rosales. Single tickets cost €3.50, return tickets €5.10. In winter the Teleférico is closed during the week, and only open in the weekends. On workdays there is a closure between 1:45pm. until 3:00pm.

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu



© alexpt

One of the most famous football teams of the world is Real Madrid. It lies in the neighbourhood of Chamartin, and when it was opened in 1947, it was also called Nuevo Estadio Chamartin (New Chamartin Stadium) for a couple of years until the name was changed in 1955 to honour the president and co-architect. In the beginning the stadium could hold 125,000 spectators, but due to safety reasons, nowadays there are only seated places and the stadium can house 80,354 visitors at a game.

The stadium can be visited not only during games, but it organises tours in the stadium and the museum with the collection of prizes won by the team. The stadium is located about 4 kilometres north of the city centre, along the Paseo del Castellana and it has its own Metro station on the number 10 line (dark blue).

The easiest way to get tickets for an actual match is through Reservations that were made on the website need to be printed at machines at the stadium. This way you will have your original ticket. If you don't support Real Madrid you can go to the same website for tickets for Atletico de Madrid for a game at the Vincente Calderon Stadium.

Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza

Madrid has a couple of great museums for art fanatics (or novices). The Prado has an excellent collection of old masters. With special emphasis on the Spanish masters, like El Greco, Diego Velasquez and Goya.

Museo Del Prado

Museo Del Prado

© ellismende

The Reina Sofia displays a great range of modern art, amongst others the famous painting "Guernika" by Pablo Picasso, but also works of Dali. Another museum worth checking out is the Thyssen Bornemisza, which offers a mixture of art attractions.

The Prado can visited for free on weekdays after 6:00pm, and on Sunday after 5:00pm. The Reina Sofia can be visited for free on Saturday afternoons and on Sunday, until 2:30pm when they close on that day. The Thyssen is a private museum, and therefor has no time slot for free visits. The Prado and the Thyssen Bornemisza museum are closed on Mondays, while the Reina Sofia is closed on Tuesdays.

For these three museums there is a combined ticket for €14.40, called the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk). There is also a 5 day pass more museums.

Other Museums

Madrid is a city full of museums, here are a handful of the other museums that are situated in Madrid:

Museo de America

Museo de America

© Herr Bert

  • Museo de America - Museum of America. Address: Avenida Reyes Católicos 6, Metro: Moncloa. Opening hours Tuesday - Saturday 9:30am - 3:00pm, Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm, closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission: €3 for adults, and free on Sundays, and on the 18th of April , 18th of May, 12th of october and the 6th of December.
  • Museo Arguelogico Nacional - Archeological Museum. Address: Serrano 13, Metro: Serrano. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9:30am - 8:00pm, Sunday 9:30am - 3:00pm, closed on Mondays and on the next holidays: 1st and 6th of January, 1st of May, 12th of October, 9th of november, 24th, 25th and 31st of December. Admission: free.
  • Museo de la Ciudad Museum of the city of Madrid. Address: Calle Príncipe de Vergara 140, Metro: Cruz de Rayo. Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 9:30am - 8:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 10:00am - 2:00pm, closed on Mondays and holidays. (except the 6th of January). Admission: free.
  • Monasterio de Las Descalzas Reales - Royal Monastary. Address: Plaza de Las Descalzas Reales 3, Metro: Opera or Sol. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:30am - 12:45pm & 4:00pm - 5:45pm (on Friday no afternoon opening!). Sunday 11:00am - 1:45pm. Closed on Mondays and most holidays.
  • Museo Nacional de Antropologia - Museum of Antropology. Address: Calle Alfonso XII, 68, Metro: Atocha Renfe or Atocha. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturdays 9:30am - 8:00pm. Sunday & Holidays 10:00am - 3:00pm, closed on Mondays and on the following holidays: 1st of January, 1st of May and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December. Admission: €3, for free on Saturdays after 2:00pm and Sundays, and in the 18th of May, 12th of October and 6th of December.
  • Museo de Ferrocarril. Address: Paseo de Delicias 61, Metro: Delicias. Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm, closed on Mondays and on the next holidays: 1st of January ,1st of May, 24th, 25th and 31st of December. The museum is closed in August. Admission: €4.50, free on Saturdays.
  • Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Technologia. Address: Paseo de Delicias 61, Metro: Delicias. Opening hours: subject to changes, but normally Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm and Sundays 10:00am - 2:30pm. Admission: unknown
  • Museo del Traje. Address: Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2, Metro: Moncloa or Ciudad Universitaria. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9:30am - 7:00pm, Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm. On Thursdays in July and August the museum is opened until 10:30pm, closed on Mondays and on the following holidays: 1st of January, 1st of May, 9th of November and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December. Admission: €3, for free on Saturdays after 2:30pm and on Sundays.
  • Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida y Museo Panteón de Goya. Address: Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida 5, Metro: Principe Pio. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9:00am - 8:00pm, Sunday 10:00am -2:00pm, closed on Mondays and Holidays. Admission: Free.
  • Museo Lázara Galdiano. Address: Calle de Serano 122, Metro: Ruben Dario, or Gregorio Maranón. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00am - 5:30pm, closed on Mondays and Holidays. Admission: unknown.
  • Museo de los Origenes. Address: Plaza de San Andres 2, Metro: La Latina or Tirso de Molina. Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9:30am - 8:00pm (in august 9:30am - 2:00pm), Saturday and Sunday 9:30am - 2:30pm, closed on Mondays and Holidays. Admission: Free.
  • Sorolla's Studio

    Sorolla's Studio

    © davidx

    Museo de la Real Academia de las Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Address: Calle de Alcala 13, Metro: Sol or Sevilla. Opening hours: Tueday - Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm, Sunday and Holidays 9:00am - 2:30pm, closed on Mondays and the following holidays: 1st and 6th of January, 1st and 30st of May and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December. (and one local holiday, either 15th of May, 9th of September or the 9th of November). Admission: €3, free on Wednesdays (providing it's not a holiday).
  • Museo Sorolla. Address: General Martínez Campos, 37. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30am to 8:00pm, Sunday and feast days: 10:00am to 3:00pm, closed: all Mondays, 1 Jan, 1 May, 24, 25 & 31 Dec and 2 local feast days. Admission: Adults €3 - numerous concessions or free - see website.
  • Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo Address: Avenida de la Constitución, 23 in Mósteles (just south of Madrid, but reachable on line C5 of the Cercanias, within 30 minutes). Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00am to 9:00pm. closed: all Mondays, 1 Jan, 6 Jan, 24, 25 & 31 Dec.


  • The Retiro park during weekdays is quiet, on the weekends it is perfect for strolling and watching people.
  • Botanical garden is close to the Prado Museum, with a great variety of plants.
  • Casa de Campo park is situated on the outskirts of Madrid, with a zoo and an attraction park
  • Juan Carlos I Park is situated close to Madrids TradeFair IFEMA, containing different styles, a park with a modern set-up containing many pieces of modern art.
Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

© Herr Bert

  • Parque de la Montaña is situated close to the Plaza de España, houses the Temple of Debod, an Ancient Egyptian Temple. This park is part of a larger greenzone, which also includes the Parque del Oeste and the Parque de la Bombilla. Both to the north of the parque de la Montaña.
  • Parque Tierno Galván is a parque that lies in the south where you can find the planetario de Madrid, the IMAX-cinema, and an auditorium.
  • Parque de Capricho is a beautiful old parque in the north-east part of the city.



Events and Festivals

  • There is the annual San Isidro Festival in Madrid every May and it's a lot of fun. The city will set up stages in various districts, bands will play, and people will dance. Also during San Isidro the main road Paseo de Castellana feature artwork and one year included, if you bring your own t-shirt, painting on the street with a steamroller. The 15th of May is the name day of San Isidro, but the festival takes place for about a week.
Madrid the Capital of spain

Madrid the Capital of spain

© msmontano1

  • On the second of May the people of Madrid, remember the uprising that took place on the 2nd of May 1808, when Madrid and most of Spain were under the rule Napoleon in the middle of the Peninsuala war. On this day began a revolt, that was surpressed by the french with a lot of violence, and the next day a lot of people who took part in the uprising were executed. Including a 15 year old girl called Malasaña, after which the neighborhood is called. This revolt was the spark for a massive uprising in the entire country, driving out the French and liberating the country. Although the French reconcurred most of Spain shortly after that, before Napoleon was finally defeated a couple of years later. Celebrations and ceremonies take place at the Plaza de 2do de Mayo, in the middle of the Malasaña neighborhood and also in Móstoles.
  • The Madrid Gay Pride is in July. No longer just a party for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals this party draws huge crowds. The parade is on Saturday, and runs for 5 kilometres through the inner city of Madrid.
  • La Noche en Blanco is held on the 2nd of 3rd Saturday night in September. It is an event in which there are numerous cultural performances staged throughout the entire city during the entire night. And the dress code is white. There are also other theme nights during the year, like the night of the books, and the night of the theater.
  • Every September one of the world's biggest cycling races is held in Spain. Together with the Tour de France and the Giro d' Italia, the Vuelta de España is the only race to last for three weeks. The last stage of this race finishes on the Passeo del Prado, but also makes a couple of laps through out the city. The finish of the Vuelta is usualy on the sunday of the third week of September.
  • The 12th of October is Spain's National Holiday (Día de la Hispanidad). On this day it is celebrated that Columbus (Colon) discovered America. In Madrid this is celebrated with a military parade on the Passeo de la Castellana. The King attends this parade and inspects the troops. Traditionally there is also a fly by from the Spanish air force, painting the sky red, yellow and red.




It doesn't really start getting hot in Madrid until mid-May, beginning of June. In the summer it does get very hot since Madrid is inland and on a plateau. Summer can reach 45 °C. For the winter bring a thermal, sweater, and a jacket and some thin gloves as the weather does drop to 0 °C and below during the nights, but it's nothing too unbearable. The Spanish however, do feel that the Madrid climate is horrible. There is a saying about the weather in Madrid: "Del invierno al infierno" which translates "from winter to hell".

Avg Max9.7 °C12 °C15.7 °C17.5 °C21.4 °C26.9 °C31.2 °C30.7 °C26 °C19 °C13.4 °C10.1 °C
Avg Min2.6 °C3.7 °C5.6 °C7.2 °C10.7 °C15.1 °C18.4 °C18.2 °C15 °C10.2 °C6 °C3.8 °C
Rainfall37 mm35 mm26 mm47 mm52 mm25 mm15 mm10 mm28 mm49 mm56 mm56 mm
Rain Days997111273359911



Getting there

Terminal 4 at Madrid Airport

Terminal 4 at Madrid Airport

© Herr Bert

By Plane

Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) handles more than 40 million passengers a year between Spain's attractive capital city and hundreds of domestic, European and other international destinations, including numerous flights to most of the Latin American countries. Some of the main destinations include Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, Lima, New York City, Moscow, Toronto, Beijing, Havana, Rome, Warsaw, Miami, Dubai, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Chicago, Quito, Mexico City, Zürich, Barcelona, Bangkok, Lisbon and Sao Paulo.

It is located 13 kilometres northeast of central Madrid. The metro is easy to access from Terminals 1, 2 and 3. The access to the metro station can be found in terminal 2. When you arrive at Terminal 4 or 4S go to the metro station at Terminal 4, Line 8, the pink line, will take you from the airport to Nuevos Ministerios and from there you can switch lines accordingly. For trips to and from the airport you pay an extra fee of €1 on top of the normal price for a metro ticket (€1.50 or if you have a 10-ride ticket €0.93).

There is also a bus service between the airport and the Atocha station, (at night the busses only go and leave from Cibelles, which makes sense as Atocha is closed during the night.) which comes in handy in the night, when metro transport is suspended from 1:30am until 6:00am. There is also Line 204, leaving from all the Terminals, making a stop at Canillejas, and Avenida de America, before terminating at the busstation at Avenida de America.

In September 2011 the long awaited train connection between Terminal 4 and the city opened, reducing the time to get to the city dramastically. Atocha trainstation in the south of the city can be reached in 25 minutes, Chamartin in just 11 minutes, and Principe Pio in the west of the city in 38 minutes. The connection at the airport is part of the C-1 line of the Cercanias which also connects to the main busstation of Mendez Alvaro. Trains run between 6:00am until 11:00pm (last departure is already at 10:30pm).

A journey by taxi to the centre of Madrid can be made in under 30 minutes, depending on traffic. It should cost you around €20-30.

By Train

Atocha Station is Madrid's rail hub, and was build by architect Gustav Eiffel. It is on Line 1, the blue line, on the Metro. (metro station: Atocha Renfe). A feature of the train station is the large atrium filled with palm trees and a pond full of turtles.

Madrid, Atocha trainstation

Madrid, Atocha trainstation

© Herr Bert

The last couple of years Spain has been expanding the fast train routes at a quick rate. These fast trains will get you to your destination fast, but they also are an expensive deal. Most of the routes from Madrid, start at the Atocha train station, at the south eastern end of the city centre.

  • Seville - A high speed train (AVE) connects Madrid to Seville in 2.5 hours, making a stop in Córdoba.
  • Valencia - A high speed service (Alaris) will make the journey in 3.5 hours.
  • Barcelona - The journey takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, making a stop in Zaragoza.
  • Málaga can be reached in just under 3 hours.
  • Alicante is the latest addition to the AVE lines.

The other major train station in Madrid is Chamartin, which is easier to use if you have to take a journey to the north of Madrid. From Chamartin there are also high speed trains departing:

By Car

If you look at the map of Spain, you can compare Madrid with the spider in the middle of the web. Most of the main road that go inland, lead to Madrid. To get from Madrid from the north you would either use the A-1 (from Burgos) or the A-2 (from Zaragoza and Barcelona). The A-3 connects Valencia to Madrid, The AP-36, coming from Albacete connects to the A-4 that comes from the south-west, from Seville. The A-42 is the shortest of the main roads coming into Madrid, as it only comes from Toledo. But it connects to other Motorways there. The A-5 connects Extremadura and Portugal to Madrid, and the A-6 comes from the north-west all the way from A Coruña.

All these motorways end up on the big ring around the centre of Madrid called the "Calle 30" or M-30. Big parts of this ring lie under the surface of the city, and it is pretty easy to take a wrong turn if you are not familiar with the city. The are also two other rings, that lie a bit further from the city, the M-40 and the M-50 (although on the north, the M-50, misses a piece to make a complete ring). If you only need to pass Madrid on your way somewhere else, than use one of these instead of the M-30.


Madrid has a couple of big bus stations, and finding out where your bus is leaving from is not always easy, as all the companies have their own routes, and might not use every station. The bigger busstations are all near to metrostops. The main bus terminals can be found at Mendez Alvaro, Conde de Casal, Avenida de America and Principe Pio. There are however also a couple of smaller ones.
Alsa has connections to Barcelona (8 hours), Valladolid, Pamplona, Seville, Granada and many more cities, while Avanza Bus services amongst others: Salamanca, Valencia , Cuenca, Cáceres and Lisbon.



Getting around

Information on getting around in Madrid on public transport can be found on the website of the Consortio Transportes.



© Herr Bert

Metro & Cercanias

The metro is in most cases the best way to get around in Madrid. One ride will cost you 1,50 euro, but there are also 10-ride tickets that cost €9.30. The metrosystem is devided in a couple of zones. Most tourists will stick to Zona A as that is where almost all of the sights and attractions can be found. There are also special daytickets for tourists for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days. (€ 5.20/€8.80/€11.60/€17.60/€23.60) for zone A. The metro runs until 1:30am but not to worry for those late night partiers, the búhos (Owl) bus system starts at 12:00am and runs throughout the city. The system starts at the Plaza de Cibeles, a 15-minute walk from the Puerta del Sol. Numerous buslines run on regular times, to all corners of the city. The lines of these busses, all start with a N.

When you need to travel for a bigger distance you can use the Cercanias. These are trains connecting some of the bigger (and some smaller) trainstations. Without the need of stopping at every metrostation this can reduce traveling time considerably. As these are operated by Renfe (the national railway), you will need different tickets than when using the metro. As of 2009 the city centre can also be reached by train, with the opening of the new trainstation at Sol, from here you can walk out into the city, or connect to one of three metro lines.

The Cercanias are also a good way of transport when you want to make a trip outside of the city. Places like Alcala, Aranjuez, Cercedilla and El Escorial are connected by these trains.

Madrid Barajas Airport by metro

One underground station in Madrid

One underground station in Madrid

© Exposure

The most logical route to take into the center of Madrid is to take the number 8 line (pink) until Nuevos Ministerios, change to the number 10 line (dark blue) until Tribunal. Now you are just north of the city centre. A change to the number 1 line (light blue), will get you to Gran Via, Sol and if you need to take a train out of Madrid, to the Atocha railway station (metro: Atocha-Renfe). The estimated time you need to get from the city to the airport is about 1 hour.

In May 2007 the metro station at Barajas Terminal 4 was opened, this means reducing the time you need to get to Terminal 4 and 4S (in general: flights carried out by Iberia and Vueling (T4), and Intercontinental flights(T4-S) by approximately half an hour. There are still busses running between Terminal 1, 2 and 3 and the new terminals for people who have a connecting flight.

When using one of the two stations at the airport you have to pay a €1 fee. This can be done, by purchasing an extra (separate) €2.50 ticket (€1.50 normal ride price + the €1 supplement) at one of the vendor machines, or you can buy a 10-ride ticket, with the extra connection fare on it. You choose the normal 10-ride tickets, and enter the number of extra fares you need. (normally one) If you also leave the city at the airport, know that you can buy a ticket with only the supplementary fee on it before leaving the metrostation, so there is no need for already buying the extra supplement upon arrival.

If you have to leave Madrid in the early morning than be aware that the Metrosystem shuts down from 1:30am until 6:00am. This means that you need to take one of the buses leaving at Avenida de America and Cibelles, or a taxi to reach the airport.

By Bus

Madrid has a large network of buses, that can take you to almost every corner of the city. In these buses you can pay with the same card that you use for the metro. There is a network of nightbuses, that all leave at the Plaza de Cibelles to bring you home at night, and in the weekend there is also a network of buses that connect to the metro stations, during the hours that the metro is not working (between 1:30am and 6:00am) Stops are mostly in front of the metrostop or at a busstop near to the metrostation. For planning your route can use this journey planner for a map of the night buses and the metro buses, check here

By Car

Although not impossible it's hard to get around by car in the center of Madrid. Traffic is slow and finding a parking spot can be a problem. Also be aware that a lot of the Spanish drivers use the bumpers of the other cars to 'measure' their car into the available spot. If you want to go by car, it can be worth it to leave the car near to a metrostation a bit further from the center where the traffic problems are less, and take the metro for the last part of the journey. Pay your parking ticket, as there are a lot of wardens checking them. Also be aware that in some neighbourhoods, there are two parking meters, one for the blue zones, and one for the green zones. Always buy the tickets for the zone you parked in. The machine you need to use for getting your tickets will have the same colour as the zone. Do not mix them up, as you will be fined, although if you bought a blue ticket, but parked in a green zone, you can try to contact the traffic police to have your tickets being reduced to around €3, but be aware that you need to do that within 1 hour of getting the ticket.

By Bicycle

Although Madrid is not the safest city to bike around in, the city does have some bicyle lanes, but most of these just start somewhere, and also end on some streetcorner, leaving you to wonder how to continue. It is not uncommon that bikers use the pavements, and as long as they are careful nobody will complain. There is one very large bicycle route that is almost complete and that is a route that circles the city for 64 kilometres, which makes it a nice way to spend a day, and see another side of the city. In the Casa de Campo there are also a couple of routes you can take. The local government is building more and more bike lanes in the city itself, but it will take a while before Madrid can be called a bicycle friendly city. There is a special map for bikers, which can be collected at the tourist office at Plaza Major, these maps are free of charge. New plans include to double the kilometres of cycling paths in the next years, and to set up a rental system of bikes throughout the city.

You can take a bicylce with you on the Metro. On weekdays this is restricted from 10:00am to 12:30pm, and 9:00pm, until the end of service, but in the weekend and holidays there are no restrictions. If you want to bring your bike with you, you need to use the first or last wagon of the metro. On the cercanias you can take your bike with you whenever you want, unless there is no place. Busline 33 (from Principe Pio to Casa de Campo), is adapted so that also bikes can be taken onboard.

By Foot

If you want to explore the city by foot, bring some good walking shoes as some of the sights are situated rather far from eachother. In general the sidewalks are safe, although you will find tiles sticking out on a regular basis. There are plans to ban the car from more and more streets in the center of the city, making it a more pleasant area to walk around.




Churros y chocolate - Madrid

Churros y chocolate - Madrid

© snatterand

Main article: Eating Out in Madrid

Tapas are the specialty of the house and they come in all different forms and prices. Some popular tapas are tortilla de patatas, calamares, jamon serrano and croquetas featuring a variety of fillings. In restaurants you can order portions of tapas from €3 to €6. For two people, three portions are usually enough.

Churros are another specialty of Spain, and you can find a lot of people eating these around 10:30am- 11.00am, when it is time for a second breakfast.

The best time to have your main meal is at lunch time, which is at about 2:00pm in the Madrid region. On weekdays, many restaurants offer a set menu, often even including bread and wine, at a very reasonable price (usually around €10). Most restaurants will close after lunch around 3:00pm, and will re-open for dinner around 9:00pm, but most Madrileños won't eat their dinner before 10:00pm or later.




Kalimoxto is a typical summer drink and is composed of mixing red wine & coke, fifty, fifty. You can serve it with ice and add a slice of lemon. Tinto de Verano is almost the same as Kalimoxto, but this time the red wine is not mixed with coke but with gaseaso (which can be replace with 7 up/Sprite with carbonated water. It is normaly served with plenty of ice, and lemon.

Madrid is also proud of its own brand of beer: Mahou, which can be found throughout the city. Also other Spanish brands like Cruzcampo, Estrella-Damm and Voll-damm are common, as are the international brands like Heineken, Amstel, Carlsberg and Guinness (at the Irish bars.)

The hotspots for going out at night, can be found in La Latina and Malasaña. The gay area of Chueca is also very popular. Also in Lavapiés in Salamanca there are also enough bars and clubs to be found to get you through the night. Besides these hotspots, there are bars at almost every street and it can't take a long time before you find a place you like.

  • Kapital (Calle de Atocha, 125 · 91-420-2906) is a popular spot for international college students and boasts 7 floors of music but is really only about 5 floors of music, with one room filled with couches and a large screen TV serves more as a make-out corner.
  • Palacio Gaviria (Calle Arenal, 9. Metro: Sol) is another place popular with the ERASMUS students.

Live music

The main places to see world famous bands in Madrid, are in Sala Heineken, La Riviera, Joy Eslava and the Palacio de Deportes. In summer some outdoor venues are also used, such as the Estadio Vincente Calderon (the Stadium of football club Atletico de Madrid), and the Plaza de toros in Las Ventas.

There are numerous bars, that programm live music regularly maybe the most famous ones are the jazz café's: Calle 54 and Café Central. Other bars and clubs that have live music are: Café de Palma, La Boité, Club el Perro, Wurlitzer Ballroom, Moby Dick, Sala Galileo, El Juglar, El Sol, Gruta 77, Sala Caracol, Siroco and Ritmo y Comprass




Madrid hosts a wide range of sleeping places. From very affordable hostels for backpackers to the luxury rooms of the Ritz at the Paseo de Prado. In general staying in Madrid is a bit more expensive than in other Spanish cities, but still relatively cheap compared to other major European cities, like London or Paris.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Spain has one of the highest unemployed rates within the E.U. The number of unemployed people is around the 20%, so finding a job is not as easy as it might seem. Madrid is one of the places that at least shows a grow in the number of jobs, and people having a job.

For foreigners there are possibilities in regard to specific skills, like speaking other languages. There are a couple of centralised centres and call centres that are always looking for native speaking people, with some degree of education. Especially the demand for people talking German, Dutch or one of the Nordic languages is substantial. If you want to make any chance of getting a regular job, it is necessary to speak and understand Spanish.

In most cases the easiest way to search for jobs is on websites. A whole number or agencies are active in Spain, and publish their add on several websites. The best known are:

you can also find job offers on a website like Loquo, which is also good for buying second hand stuff.

Of course the agencies also have their own websites:

To be able to work in Spain (as a foreigner) you need to have a couple of things: A N.I.E., a social security number and a bankaccount.


The first thing is to get a N.I.E. (Número de Identidad de Extranjero), This number is the number for your ID, and with it comes a piece of paper, which replaced a card that was issued until recently. This sometimes still leads to some confusion with people who don't know that the card is no longer issued. To get a N.I.E. you need to go to the local police.

In the case of Madrid this is the policestation at Plaza del Campillo Mundo Nuevo 3. But showing up there will not help you, as you need to phone first to make an appointment by telephone (902565701) between 9:00am and 2:00pm. You will be told that you have an appointment a couple of months later (3 to 5 months is normal). But it is likely that they call you before this date, to ask you if you can come in earlier. When you have made the appointment you can make a print at the website called: cita previa. This print is something you need if you want to go ahead with the bureaucracy. It's the easiest if you go to the policestation at the Plaza del Campillo Mundo Nuevo 3, a day (or a few days) before you appointment to pick up the form that you need. You will need one paper to fill in for the police (most likely marked EX-16 or EX-14), and a so called 790 form, with which you need to go to a bank (any bank) and transfer €10. With the filled in form, the copy of the payment form, and a copy of your passport (of course you need to present the original as well) you can go to the appointment, were you will be issued your N.I.E.

Citizens of the European Union can work in Spain, without the N.I.E. but the taxrate than is 25%, which is higher than the normal rate (between 10-12%). Most companies want to have a proof that you have applied for the N.I.E. and will change the taxrate they withdraw from your salary at the day you receive your N.I.E.

For workers from outside the EU, it is also necesary to obtain a visum. For people with relatives in Spain there is another procedure.

Social Security Number

The second thing you need is a social security number. With the print out (or if you have a N.I.E. already) and your pasport, you can head to a Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social here you can apply for a social security number, which you need for all work related taxes, and rights. With this and your contract you can also go for the medical card, as Spain has a health care system that provide care for everyone who is working in Spain.

Bank account

Your employer needs to pay your salary to a Spanish bank account. Again with the print out, you should be able to open a bank account. The contradiction in this all is that you officially can't open a bank account without a N.I.E. but you need to pay the leges for the N.I.E. through a bankaccount. Most banks want to see (a copy of) your signed contract, and the print out of you appointment for the N.I.E. before they will open an account. When you receive your N.I.E. after you opened the account, you need to let you bank know that you have received you N.I.E.-number, they will then change the registration from your passport number to your N.I.E.-number, and also remove a monthly fee, that you were paying as a foreigner, without a N.I.E.




Madrid is a popular spot of exchange students, that take part in the Eramus project, which means they will come to Madrid for one of two semesters, and then return to their native country to finish their studies. Most of the schools and universities can be found in the Cuidad Universitaria in the north western part of town. Madrid also houses a couple of language schools that attract a lot of people that want to learn Spanish in the country itself. Another option for many students is the University of Alcalá de Henares, about 30 kilometres outside of Madrid, but easily reachable by train.




See also Travel Safety.

In Spain the emergency number for the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance is 112.

Spain and Madrid are much safer than it was back in the 1970s and 1980s. Pickpockets are active in the city, and in general have no hard time to find victims that keep their guard down. Take the normal precautions, like you would do in other European countries. Especially be on guard at busy tourist spots, and in the Metro.

The latest scam seems to be people that are pretending to be collecting money for charity. No matter how nice the people seem to be, ask for an ID to make sure they are who they are pretending to be. If you still don't trust it just walk away. They can show up everywhere in the city, but near to the palace seems to be their favourite spot.

In summer temperatures in Madrid can easily reach 40 °C. Drinking a lot of water is something to keep in mind during that time of year, as is the use of sunscreen.



Keep connected


Internet is widely available within Spain. At the airport there are a couple of wifi-zones. In the city there are numerous internetcafé's or shops were you can use internet for a fixed price.


See also International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34, the code for Madrid starts with 91 followed by 7 other numbers. The emergency number is 112. In the centre you can use your mobile phone in the metro, outside of the city center it's likely you will lose connection.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.


If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.

There are also post offices at most of the bigger stores of El Corte Inglés. The most beautiful post office is that at the Plaza de Cibeles in the Palacio de Comunicaciones.


Quick Facts


Metropolitan Area
646 metres
Time Zone
Summer (DST)
  • Latitude: 40.416741
  • Longitude: -3.70325

Accommodation in Madrid

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Madrid searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Madrid Travel Helpers

  • Herr Bert

    I am living in Madrid now for almost 4 years. I know a lot about the place, except for hostel recommendations (I never had to sleep at one), you can aks about everything.

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    I've been living here my whole life so I know the city pretty well. The most touristic places as well as the secret ones. I would be glad to help anybody coming to my city!! Just write!!.

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