Metro (subway), Madrid
The metro is cheap, efficient and runs very often. From Barajas airport you take line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios (end of journey) and from there (or before, it depends on where you're headed) you change lines to your final destination. A map of the metro can be found at Metro de Madrid (in Spanish, but you'll get the idea ;)).
A single ticket costs 1€ but there's the Metrobus ticket, which is valid for 10 trips and costs 6.70€ and there's of course different kinds of travel cards (abonos). The prices are found at the link below, when you click on "Billetes y abonos".
Excellent and wide network. You can buy a single ticket or a 10 trip ticket, in this case, you can save much money. The ticket is called MetroBus, and it's valid for both, metro and bus.
Have a look at the website to know more.
I love the Metro in Madrid! I think it's a great way to move around if you can't go by foot. Some lines work better than others, and they might be faster or newer, but in general the Metro will take you to the place you need to go, or very close by. The price is 1 EUR, but you might have to pay extra (about 1,70 or 1,90 EUR) if you want to go to the outskirts of Madrid, and 2 EUR if you go to the Airport (make sure you pay the extra euro, because they do check it on the way out). Lots of people in Madrid use the Metro daily, so know that it might be crowded in rush hours!
If you use Madrid Subway system to get to or from the airport, make sure to purchase the right ticket. There is an extra surcharge (suplemento aeropuerto) if you want to exit/enter on Barajas station.
If you will get the regular ticket and not mention the airport, you will be stuck at the exit (since you have to slide ticket through the machine on the entrance and exit) and look for a spare change and for the ticket machine to buy extra ticket.
We have seen many tourists who were trying to catch their flight, or just spend all their money before flying out.
See my picture, make sure your ticket has little airplane sign on it. Save yourself time.
Metro is the best option to move in Madrid is cheap, clean and fast. Our hotel was a bit far from the center and the metro station was near the hotel. We bought the tourist pass for 5 days and paid 14.20 euros and include metro, bus, light railway and the ride from the airport, with the tourist pass you don´t have to pay 1 euro extra to the airport. For the ones who don´t need to buy the tourist pass, they can buy single ticket for 1 euro or the one of 10 tickets that cost 6 euros.
El metro es la mejor manera de moverse por Madrid, es barato, limpio y rápido. Nuestro hotel estaba un poco lejos del centro y la parada la teniamos a unos 50 metros del hotel. Compramos el abono turisticos de 5 días el cual incluye metro, autobús, metro ligero y alguna línea de cercanias y el viaje desde el aeropuerto. Para los que no necesiten abono turisticos pueden comprar el billete sencillo que cuesta 1 euro o un paquete de 10 billetes que sale por unos 6 euros.
As of Oct 2007 the metro pass for 10 trips was 7.40 euro whereas each individual trip is 1 euro so if you know you will be using the metro at least 7 times it is definitely worth getting...also more than one person can use the pass.
You can purchase it from the automated machine which is located at most stations and at the airport. Best part is that it's very easy to use and the metro connects all airport terminal, bus and train station
It is quite easy and convenient to use metro in Madrid. Ticket of 10 trips is less than 7 euros and several people can use it together. Metro network is wide and transferring from one line to another is easy. There are clear announcements of following stops in metro car and good metro line map. Lots of lines go via Sol so it is easy to jump on/off from there.
...unless you're going to visit a lot of the places they give discount or free entrance. This card does not cover public transportation, so you must to buy a tourist card (Abono Transporte Turístico) on the side.
Honestly, i don't like to ride in an underground transportations. yes, i am afraid :) This is my first time metro and i can say, it is the best way to reach a destination quickly.... and comfortably (if not rush hours though). My friend Aida bought two tickets for me. Each has 10 rides for 6.40 Euros and also valid for buses within the city.
6:00 A.M. to 1:30 A.M.
The best way to get around in Madrid is the subway (metro), its fast and chaep. It operates between 6 am and 1.30 am. there are 125 stations lots of them with shops and restautrants. There are 11 lines each with its own clour code. at all the station you can buy metrocards. There is also one line called Opera principe Pio.
A lot of people told me not to take the metro to the airport for safety reasons, but I had no problem with it. It is very crowded and it isn’t very pleasant to have your bags with you, but I didn’t feel unsafe. Perhaps, it’s worse at night, but during the day don’t let safety be a reason you shouldn’t take it. It’s much less expensive than taking a taxi.
Madrid has a very extensive subway grid. Subway itself looks similar to the one in Paris. It is clean and efficient, but definitely not fancy. Trains come on average every 5 min, less frequently at night and on weekends. Trains themselves are very clean.
Beware that most stations are accessed by stairs, so even though subway technically reaches to the airport, traveling with luggage will be extremely challenging.
Buying tickets is very straightforward: there are machines that take change. One ticket costs E1.25, and you can buy several at the same time. Some machines take credit card in case you don't have change.
Madrid's Metro system has been opening many new lines and stations over the last few weeks - and more are expected in a near future. It now has one of the longest networks in the world - apart from being fast, cheap, clean and safe.
The map in your guide is most probably outdated. Check for the new version before your trip in the web, and get a new pocket map in any ticket office.
There are also new fares. Apart from the traditional single ticket (1 EUR per trip) and "metrobus", (6.40 EUR per 10 metro or bus trips) there are new "tourist passes" that give great value: unlimited bus/metro/trains within the city (abono turistico "zona A") is 3,80-6,80-9,00-14,20-19,80 for 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 days, and there is a "zona T" option with a wider coverage area including buses and trains to Toledo and Guadalajara (double price). Both Come with maps, instructions, etc. in Spanish and English, and in both cases there is a 50% discount for kids under 11. Thay are available at any ticket office, and you'll have to show a passport or photo ID to buy it.
The Spanish metro was awesome. I lived there for 5 months in 2005 and used it almost every day. The metro is surprisingly clean. Out of the hundreds of times I was in the metro, I only felt unsafe twice. Even in the worst case scenarios: alone, female, late at night- I generally felt safe.
The only con about using the metro was that I wasn't able to get around the city as well in a taxi or by foot, and I had to use maps quite often, because I was not seeing HOW I would get from my apartment to the Reina Sofia museum, for example.
The trains in Madrid are clean and there is announcement inside the train about the next station. Most platforms have a timer there displaying how minutes the train will arrive. Also, there is a handle on the door cause you might have to lift the handle to open it. It does not open on its own.