Barajas airport, Madrid
Our arrival in Madrid was after a 3-hour flight to Toronto, followed by a 7-hour wait there before catching a 7-hour overnight flight to Frankfurt and then an almost immediate a 2.5 hour flight to Barajas airport, arriving just before noon at our hotel. We continued onward the next afternoon and did not return to Madrid until 19 days later. At least we had two nights in the city on our return trip, so made use of the extra time to do a bit of exploring.
On the initial booking of our flights from Canada to Spain, we had ended our flight reservations in Madrid. I was thinking that I would pick up a rental car there and enjoy a scenic countryside drive to the coast somewhere in the Malaga area, similar to what we had done in Lisbon, Portugal five years earlier. However, when my wife's sister booked her flight from England to meet us way up the coast in Alicante, I realized that too much driving would be involved.
After debating whether to take a train, bus or flight from Madrid to Alicante, I came to the conclusion that a flight would likely be the simplest and fastest way to go, given our lack of Spanish while trying to figure out all the details of the other modes of travel. Surfing the internet, I managed to find the "EDreams" website based in London - an outfit that offers cheap tickets for sale. They were fast and efficient, charging me 32 Euros (including cancellation insurance) for the booking fee and securing us two round-trip seats on Spanair for another 98 Euros. The total price of 65 Euros each for round-trip tickets seemed quite reasonable by Canadian standards!
The flights themselves were on-time and smooth with very good service on the McDonnell Douglas MD-87 aircraft servicing this route, with a flight time of 1-hour. I was really pleased that we decided to fly to the coast - had some great views coming into Alicante as well.
Since May 2007 there is a metro line (8, pink) to get to/from the airport to the centre of town. The ticket is 2 euros (double than normal tickets) and, changing lines you can reach any part of the city.
When coming to Madrid by plane, Barajas is where you're most likely landing. This is the biggest airport in Madrid and Spain when it comes to traffic and a lot of airlines fly to and from here: Air Europa, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Vueling, etc.
When I visited Madrid, I landed on Terminal 1 (Lufthansa from Munich) and from there I walked to Terminal 2 and to the tourist board office to pick up my Madrid travel card (Abono Transporte Turístico). From Terminal 2 you'll find the metro line 8 towards the city. Just take it until the end of the journey at the stop called Nuevos Ministerios and from there take another metro line to your final destination. The journey from T2 to Nuevos Ministerios takes about 15 minutes.
As Madrid-Barajas is a big hub for intercontinental and European flights, try to come in with enough time for you to check in and go thru security check because the lines are LONG. Check if you can check in online or at check-in machines at the airport to save some time (Lufthansa has machines where you can check in).
Going to the airport from the city costs 2€ on a single ticket from any metro station and 2.75€ on a single combined metro ticket if taking the metro from any station in MetroSur, MetroNorte, MetroEste, TFM and Metro Ligero Oeste because you need to change lines. These prices include a 1€ supplement that is to be paid when you come to the airport. More info about it on Metro de Madrid (only in Spanish). This supplement is already included in their period cards and Abono Transporte Turístico (read my separate tip about it).
Ok, so as soon as you step in the hall of the entrance of Barajas, buy a METROBUS, a ticket for 10 metro rides and the buses. Go to the Metro, which is a bit… well not far, but you need to do some walking.
Take the metro to the station NUEVOS MINISTERIOS, and over there you change it to line 10, that can take you to Alonso Martínez, which is pretty much centrally located. Although the stations GRAN VÍA, Puerta del Sol, Callao… are the ones in the very centre. Normally it is lines 1 and 5.
The Metro, I think, is pretty easy to use and... quite practical.
In case you need to travel WAY TOO EARLY in the morning, like I did, well.. there is always the option taqxi/cab. The hostel "Las Murallas" scheduled one for me, for 5:15 am, and it didn't cost too much... 20 euros. Or more precisely 16 with additional 4 because it was a night tarif.
It is located 13 km north-east of central Madrid. From Terminal 1,2,3 it is very easy to come to the center of Madrid. Madrid metro is connected with airport and with only 10 minutes of rides and only 2 Euro you will be in the down town.
Madrid Barajas Airport is Spain's busiest airport, handling more than 40 million passengers a year. Madrid airport is a host of many low budget airway companies such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair..
There are mainly 3 ways to get to the city center:
- Metro: the cheapest. As you go out the gate, turn right till you reach the T2 terminal, where the stop is. From 6:00 to 1:30 at night. 1 Euro (you can buy Metrobus Ticket, 10 trips in Metro or Bus for 6,16 euros). Line 8 stops at AEROPUERTO T4 and at AEROPUERTO T1 T2 T3, depending on where your plane lands.
- Bus: As you go out the airport, cross the lane after the taxis and look for the bus stop. It takes you to Colon Square, in the center. 2,40 euros. 04:45 to 02:00 at night.
- Taxis: the most expensive. Around 25 euros to Puerta del Sol, 20 to Chamartin Railway Station, 22 to Plaza de Espana. Check the money they give you back when you pay, they tend to make 'mistakes'...
Travellers should be aware that as of Feb 5, 2006 there is a new terminal at the Barajas Airport. Its big, its beautiful, its 4 km from the other terminals and at this point it is running more or less smoothly, although it got of to a slow start.
The new Terminal 4 or "T4" and its satelite building "T4-S" were designed by the prestigious firms Estudio Lamela and Richard Rogers Partnership, the later being famous for the Pompidou Center in Paris. The new terminal has more than 30 restaurants, lots of shops, banks, beauty salons, VIP lounges and even a spa
Now for the facts you really need.
Airlines using the new terminal (T4) are ALL Iberia flights and One World Alliance carriers.
Public transport to Madrid: Metro stop "Aeropuerto" on Line 8 of the Metro stops nearest T2 but serves T1, T2 and T3.
To get to and from T4 there is a free airport-run bus that leaves T2 every 5 minutes. If you go to T4-S there is an underground tram connecting T4 and T4-S.
As of May 2007 there should be a metro stop on the line 8 that goes to T4...
There is also a bus that goes to Avenida de America from T4, that is a regular city bus but if you dont want to pay for bus then a metro on your way into the City.. take the Metro at T2.
Taxis from Terminals 1 2 and 3 cost about 20-23 Euros to get to the city center. The cost will be a bit higher from T4 as there is a toll road and its also 4km farther away from Madrid.
Madrid's airport, recently upgraded with new terminals. I have to admit, it's probably the most difficult airport to find your way around in my experience, certainly if you are trying to find a connecting flight. One one occassion returning late at night from Israel and trying to find a connecting flight to Malaga, I went three times around the same building, the signs sending me back to my starting point.
It does have quick and easy access to the city though, with it's Metro connection, the train getting you to the city center in less than 15 minutes.
I've listed another useful kink with transport connections below.
Barajas airport, a abusy one, we really need a bigger one ;-)
You can see how is it from the air.
Most of the flights to another continents arrive and land from Madrid or Barcelona airport, so they are some of the busiest.
Malaga is the 3rd busieer in international flights ;-) too many charters, but in madrid you will find all the conexions to all aprts of Spain
if you speak spanish this will be helpfull too
The first time I went to Madrid I decided to take the subway from the airport into downtown Madrid. It may be more economical, but if you are carrying more than one small suitcase you may not find the experience so enjoyable.
First, you have to transfer several times. Only the first transfer (Nuevos Ministerios) has elevators), the other stations you will have to go up and down corridors and escalators etc with your bags,,,,
easier to just get a cab or shuttle. sometimes saving money is overrated!
The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get into Madrid from the Airport is to take the Metro. It is located right inside the airport, downstairs in Terminal 2. There are signs throughout all terminals directing you to the Metro Station. Metro trains service the airport between 6:00 am and 1:45 am every day. The Madrid Metro system is modern, efficient and covers most of the city. Metro Line 8 runs from the airport towards the centre (direction Nuevos Ministerios), but passengers have to change at Mar de Cristal (Line 4) to reach the most central destinations. Tickets are purchased from cashiers before you can get past the barriers.
Look here for more information:
Madrid Barajas International Airport Ground Transportation
Please note - there is a small charge for taking luggage to the airport just before you go through the last barrier, comming in from the city.
BARAJAS AIRPORT is served by a few major US carriers, and numerous European and other global airlines. You may or may not have anything to do with Spanair, but if one of its jets happens to be taxiing by when your Iberian flight is on its way to Barcelona, well then, you snap its photo.
To get to and from Barajas Airport and Madrid City Center take the yellow airport express bus. The bus fare is 5.00 Euros and drops you off at Plaza de Cibeles (pronounced Thibeles) on the side of Instituto Cervantes/Palacio de Buenavista. This is an important detail because for the way back to the airport you have to pick up the bus at Ayuntamiento, which is next to the Museo Naval.
The Barajas airport is located 12km away from the city center. There are 4 terminals. The 4th terminal is a beautiful new terminal, a bit further from the others and usually the airlines I use go there. There is a free shuttle bus between T1,T2,T3 and T4.
How to go to the center:
-taxi. I never used one but it’s useful when there is no bus or metro. The cost is about 25 euros to Puerta del Sol.
-bus. There is bus that takes you to Colon square for 2,50 euros 4:30am-02:00am but also local buses that go to Avenida de America bus/metro station.
-metro. The best and cheapest option. 6:00am-01:30am. Take the pink line(N.9) and change at Mar De Cristan for the brown line(N.4) or at Nuevos Ministerios for the blue (N.10) or grey(N.6) line.
The metro ticket costs 1 euro but the best options is the metrocard that costs 6.70euro for 10 trips (metro or bus). Have in mind that going/coming to/from you have to validate an extra ticket that also costs 1euro. I took the metrocard from the machines and the menu is in English so there was no problem using the touch screen. I always travel light so I don’t have any problem with escalators, many changing lines but if you have a lot of things maybe it’s not the ideal transfer for you.
If you use Iberia for oversea flights go to the “Madrid Amigo” desk (T4). Usually, because they offer free transfer/accommodation for those who have to wait the night there for their transit flight.
When we arrived in Madrid earlier this year we arrived at the new terminal 4. Opened in 2006 this airport now has two new runways and also a fabulous state of the art terminal. It is full of glass and tubular steel. Shops and restaurants and plenty of seating areas.
It is amazingly quiet and it is also very peaceful
One drawback at the moment is that the metro does not yet run this far so you have to allow time to take the courtesy bus to terminal 2 and then a long walk to the metro.
Luggage takes ages to retrieve and the place is lacking in good signs at the moment. I am sure all that will change though.