I rented a car thinking I would drive a lot, but if you are unfamiliar with the city do not attempt to be an expert in one day. I rented a car to have parked for most of my trip. I paid more into parking than for my apartment I rented. If you want to rent a car, reserve one ahead if you plan on going out of town, but for within the city I found that walking, taxis, or the public transportation system was fine.
Alquilé un coche pensando que conduciría mucho, pero si usted es desconocedor con la ciudad no procuro ser un experto en un día. Alquilé un coche para haber parqueado para la mayoría de mi viaje. Pagué más en el estacionamiento que para mi apartamento me alquilé. Si usted desea alquilar un coche, reserve uno a continuación si usted planea en salir de la ciudad, pero para dentro de la ciudad encontré que el caminar, los taxis, o el sistema público del transporte estaban muy bien.
If you use the "intercambiador de transportes" in Avenida de América take care of your stuff because there are "proffesional" thiefs (they work in small groups) all over the place, especially in the subway. I know many people affected, and a few months ago someone opened my purse and tried to take my wallet (I caught them, though).
The Metro is a crowed place all day long - especially when the working people are going to or from work.
Therefore it is also a Paradise for pocket-thieves - So be aware of your wallet, camera and so forth. Dont be reckless!
On summer weekends mainly, there are huge traffic jams to go out (on friday afternoons) or into Madrid (on sunday evenings).
So if you plan to make some road trip on weekends while U stay here, take this into consideration and choose another day to do it. Jams could hold you about 1 hour extra to go out & in!!
Alternative: take the train!
DON'T FLY AIR EUROPA unless your total check-in luggage weighs 20KG (44 lbs) or less! My 2 cases weighed 50KG (110lbs) and I was forced to pay $200 in overweight baggage fees. (The Madrid-Paris ticket from usairways.com only cost $152!!!) Such restrictions were not noted on the ticket nor the confirmation! Other small carriers I used during my month-long stay in Europe were SpanAir and Air Littoral (a tiny plane). Both put special 'Heavy' tags on my cases and sent them through. Only Air Europa demanded money, which makes me wonder if it's run by gypsies.
Beware of cab drivers, use the Metro, alot cheaper, faster and easy. You can get free maps in the station. For around 700 pesetas (3 pounds) you can get a 10 trip ticket you can use whenever you want, and the Metro takes you absolutely everywhere. Drawback: only works til 2 am, you´ll have to take either the nightbus or taxi home, or you can wait till 6am when the Metro starts running again!!
Don't be suprised if you are the only one person who cross the street when the green light's on:) People in Madrid usually don't look what the colour of light is...