The Complete Madrid Travel Guide – Hotels, Transportation, and Much More

Are you looking to visit Madrid, Spain but you don’t know much about things to do, hotels, weather, etc?

Look no further. Here you will find all that you need to have the best holidays in Spain’s capital city.

Ready your passport and suitcases.

Set your worries aside.

Let’s go have the best holiday ever.

Airport Information

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas is the international airport serving Madrid, Spain. It is located in the northeast side of Madrid, just 12 kilometers away from the city center. In 2014, it has been ranked the fifteenth in the world by passenger traffic with around 30 million passengers.

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Madrid Airport has four Terminals, three of which have an Arrivals Hall. The baggage claims area in each arrivals hall are distributed according to your flight’s information, that is domestic, Schengen, or non-Schengen.

Photo credit: dalbera via Visual Hunt / CC BY

For the arrivals, shops and restaurants are mostly in Terminal 4. All terminals have cash machines for different banks, but Terminal 1 and 4 have currency exchange offices. You can also find car hires at these two terminals.


Read more about the airport here.

Transportation From & To the Airport

Staying in Madrid-Barajas International Airport, knowing that it is the busiest airport of Spain, is definitely NOT on your to-do list. So, how to get out and get to your destination, you ask? Here are the four main ways to transfer yourself out of the airport.

Metro

If you find yourself at Terminal 2 or 4, hope on metro line 8 heading to Nuevos Ministerios in Madrid city center. The trip should take you about 15 minutes and the ticket costs around 5€. If you happen to be in another terminal, there is a free shuttle bus to take you to other terminals, preferably T2 and T4 to get on the metro. Find out more here.

Bus

There are bus stops at all terminals of the airport. However, not all bus lines have stops at the four terminals. Therefore, you should check out the full list of bus lines and their stops before boarding. It should be noted that tickets from the airport to your destination is more likely to cost 5€ and you can purchase it on board. For more information, click here.

Train

If you are at Terminal 4, there is a train station that connects the airport with the rest of Madrid city. Train tickets cost around 3€, while the trip can be anything between 11 and 40 minutes depending on your destination. You can always take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 4 in case your flight to Madrid arrives at one of the other three terminals. More on leaving the airport on the train here.

Taxi

Taxi companies have stands at all arrival floors in the airport. Although they are easy to find and comfortable to ride in, their prices are pretty expensive. The usual charge from the airport to city center is a flat rate of 30€. Therefore, it is not inadvisable to use the taxi unless traveling in a group or looking for a faster drive through the city. You can read more about the taxi from the airport here.


Read more about getting in and out of the airport here.

Travel Cost and Length

Flights to Madrid, I could guess, not that expensive and not that long, especially considering how amazing it is to spend a holiday in Spain. Still, here are few averages of cost and length of flights based on SkyScanner.

North America

Your flight to Madrid from the United states of America and Canada is between 15 and 25 hours long on average. The most reputable airlines, such as American Airline and Air Canada, charge an average of $1000.

Cheap flights to Madrid are usually operated by Norwegian, which usually charges ONLY $500.

Europe

Flights from most recognized European capitals, such as Paris, Berlin, and London last an average of two and a half hours. It should be noted that most flights are direct and the cost is around $150 up to $250, considering that the flights are operated by Air France, British Airways, and Air Berlin

Cheaper flights costs less than a $100 and are mostly operated by RyanAir and EasyJet.

Getting Around In Madrid

Transporting within the city is an important question to figure out. Although there are many places to visit, walking around may be the best choice you have. A lot of attractions may be close by or more accessible on foot. However, if your destination is a bit far, here are the main ways to get around in Madrid.

by Taxi

There are around 15.600 taxis in Madrid only, which means that finding a free one is quite easy. All you have to do is raise your hand and a free, usually with a green light on, will stop to take to your destination.

The minimum fare for Zone A, within Madrid, is 2.40€ for the journey commencement and 1.05€ for every additional kilometer. The fare can be hourly based if the distance is long and traffic is slow. In which case, the rate for day-time is at 20.50€ per hour.

Find out more about getting around in taxi here.

By Bus

Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT) have many bus line going through the whole city and reaching destination the metro cannot reach. However, the trip may be slow during rush hour, even though buses have their own lanes.

Photo credit: AmigoDeBusesEMT3 via Visual Hunt / CC BY

The EMT ticket for one trip costs 1.50€. It is recommended to buy a 10-journey card for Zone A, which costs 12.20€ and can be used on both EMT buses and ML1 train.

Read more here about getting around in Madrid by bus, and click here for bus routes and timetables.

By Bike

All of Spain is turning into an eco-friendly environment. Therefore, tourists as well as locals are more and more encouraged to use bikes to travel around the city. This allows you to enjoy more of the city as you access a lot more by yourself.

There are many companies that rent bikes around the city, most notably BiciMAD. Learn more about the company here, and more about biking around Madrid here.

By Metro

Metro Madrid is the fastest, most efficient, and least expensive means of transportation around the city. In fact, Madrid is proud to have one of the largest metropolitan network in Europe. Currently, there are fifteen lines; three of which are light rail lines. The network connects Madrid’s shopping areas, historical quarters, and all that lays between.

Photo credit: vivireltren via Visualhunt / CC BY

The fare costs 1.50€ for the first five stations and up 0.10€ for each additional station. The maximum fare is 2€, but you will probably have reached your destination by then. Learn more about the metro here.


There is a tourist discount deal offered to guests at Madrid allowing them to spend the least money each day and unlimited travel trips for the long of their stay. Read more about the Tourist Travel Pass here.

Climate Report

Spain’s capital city, Madrid, knows a annual average of 19.5°C during the day and 9.5°C at night. January is considered the coolest month for the city with temperature getting as low as 5°C, while August is the hottest month with temperature reaching over 40°C.

Summer

Madrid is believed to be the four hottest European city during the summer season, that is due temperatures reaching over 40°C during August. The lowest it can ever get in summer is 30°C and that is why not a lot of shops open their doors in the afternoon. Fortunately, Madrid knows very low humidity levels, which means that although the temperature is high, the weather is still bearable, and even enjoyable.

Fall & Winter

Somehow, it rains far more during the fall season than winter. However, it is a very pleasant time to visit Madrid as many cultural activities take place during the first months of cold weather. Yet, temperature can get very low during the months of December and January. It has been noted that the temperature can go as low as 2°C in mid-January, so bring your coats.

Spring and the Best Time to Visit Madrid

Spring follows the coldest days of winter, even though the average temperature remains below 10°C at night. During the day, the weather is more refreshing and welcoming to wander about the city. As for the months May, June, and July, the weather gets hotter and hotter by day. The temperature ranges between 25°C and 35°C throughout the three months, making them the best time to visit madrid and enjoy as much of the city as possible.


More on Madrid weather and climate can be found here.

Hotels to Stay at

Four and Five Star Hotels

Hotel Orfila

(Price Range $200 - $500)

The five-stars hotel is a palace that has been transformed into the luxury stay for Madrid visitors in 1999. A year after its official opening, the hotel joined Relais & Château Chain of hotels, which only includes high luxury hotels that are of the highest standards.

Hotel Orfila has 32 rooms, each room different from the next. There are 12 suites in total, and all the rooms have the best amenities available in the industry. A stay in Orfila can never be matched in any other hotel in Madrid, or even Spain.

Read more about the hotel here, and book your room here.

Hotel Atlantico Madrid

(Price Range: $124 - $226)

Atlantico is a four-star hotel located in Malsana, Madrid. The hotel has a total of 109 rooms, all of which are soundproof. They all have a flat-screen TV, a safe, and a private bathroom, among other amenities. The hotel is only 500 meters away from Chueca District, and it has a lively nightlife. Once you have read more about the hotel here and booked your room here, you will have a free transfer from the airport to the hotel offered.

Three Star Hotels

B&B Hotel Fuencarral 52

( Price Range: $77 - $186)

Just like its name suggests, Bed & Breakfast Hotel offers a breakfast included in the room rates. Fit for a mid-range budget, the hotel is near a metro station, allowing guests to go from and to the hotel pretty easily. There are 44 rooms available, all include a free WiFi service and air conditioning. Read more about the hotel here, and book your room here.

Madrid AirBnb

While visiting Madrid, you may want to spend the holiday with your family in an apartment fully equipped to fit your needs.

One of the most reputable AirBnb host is José Luis, who offers accommodation for up to 4 guests. The apartment has one bedroom with two beds, an amazing view of the city, and a lively neighborhood a walking distance from many Madrid attractions. More about the host and the apartment here.


However, you may be traveling on your own. Therefore, you may be looking only for a private room to stay in.

In that case, a notable AirBnb host such as Victor offer good quality stay in a private room with double beds and a private bathroom. The room is part of a modern apartment overlooking Madrid. Located just 20 minutes away from the city center, many attractions are accessible via the metro close by. Read more here about the host and the apartment before booking.


But if you are looking for a simple stay and have no problem with privacy, you may enjoy a shared room with other in Madrid.

Angel is a recommended AirBnb host for lone and backpack travelers. The host is kind and warm, offers breakfast to his guests and appreciates the company. The space is comfortable and located in a quiet area in Madrid. A metro station is nearby, which allows travelers to discover the city easily. Read here for more about the host and the apartment.


Discover and read more about hotels, apartments, and rooms by clicking here, here, and here.

Things to Do

Real Madrid FC Soccer Game

I cannot start a list of things to do in Madrid without advising you to attend one of Real Madrid soccer games at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Not all of us are keen on sports, but it is not actually the game that matters (but it is so fun to watch), rather than the feeling and the excitement of being one of the +85 thousands of fans cheering for 90 minutes straight. If you are lucky, you will attend a Clasico Match (FC Barcelona Vs Real Madrid), which is doubles up the hype.

Go Shopping in El Rastro

Save a Sunday for the biggest flea market shopping destination in Spain. El Rastro is an open air flea market, very popular among locals as well as tourists who come to buy souvenirs. There is a large variety of items sold and purchased that are second-hand products. El Rastro flea market is located in the Central District of Madrid, and it opens from 9 am to 3 pm.

Celebrate with the Locals

Photo credit: Tejiendo Malasaña via Visualhunt / CC BY

Madrid knows a fair share of celebrations throughout the year. Each season there is at least one event to celebrate with the most joyous music and dancing. Dos de Mayo is held on the 1st and the 2nd of May each year. La Paloma takes place on 15th of August. The first week of October includes Festival de Otono. Each of these, and much more others, are just excuses for the locals of Spain’s capital to party as long as possible.

Skiing is Always Fun

If you are considering visiting during the cold months, you probably should consider a skiing experience. Madrid is surrounded by mountains that are covered with snow during the winter. This allows you to slide into the most fun days of your holiday in Spain with a smile on your face. You can visit Valdesqui or Puerto de Navacerrada as they are the most popular among families looking for skiing destinations.


Not enough things to do? Don’t worry, we have a long list just for that. Read it here.

It’s Oveeerrrr

Your holiday for now is over, and it sure sucks. However, you can sure come back again.

In that case, read our article again as we keep updating our information to make your stay the best ever.

Or read other articles about other Spain destinations such as Marbella, Malaga, Barcelona, and more.


Until next time, have a great holiday.

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