Madrid Transportation

Madrid Baragas International Airport; credit Diego Delso

MADRID TRANSPORTATION PHOTOS

AIRPORT

Terminal Four at Madrid Barajas International Airport is a delightful introduction to the second largest airport in Europe and greeting 41 million passengers per year. Natural light streaming through the undulating wing-like roof and glass walls. Dramatic glass and steel bridges span these canyons. The rippling bamboo-lined roof is supported by giant color-coded y-shaped steel beams. Connecting the terminals is an APM traveling the 1.3-mile distance. Gates are color coded for easy reference with deep blue for north and deep red for farthest south. The new structures have the usual cafes, restaurants, retail outlets and a Turkish bath and a spa with hydro massage. Barajas is the hub for Iberia Airlines, which carries 25 million passengers to Spain. Central Madrid is only eight miles away, just 15 minutes by Metro. MADRID-BARAJAS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MAP

Check the luggage policy for your airline and confirm your flight 24 hours in advance. Make a copy of your passport/flight itinerary/hotel reservations and leave it with someone at home. Pack headache and other medicines in your hand luggage.

About 70 air carriers transport more than 38 million annual passengers to/from 130 destinations. Runways were recently lengthened to handle an Airbus A380 plane. There is free WiFi through the airport and a Terminal LINK Automated People Mover runs between airport terminals and the Parking Lot. Taxis and shuttle buses await you at the Arrivals roadway.

TRAIN STATION

Madrid Atocha Train Station is one of the busiest train stations in Europe and handles an average of 250,000 daily patrons. It is located the district of Arganzuela. Train service initiated here in 1851. After a major fire, it was rebuilt in 1892 in a wrought iron style by Alberto de Palacio Elissagne and Gustave Eiffel. The original façade faces the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V. The station is named by the nearby basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Atocha. In 1992, the original building was converted into a 43,000 square feet mall with shops, cafés, coffeehouses and a nightclub covered by tropical garden.

AVE high speed and Renfe trains travel to/from Atocha Station for Barcelona, Cordoba, Malaga, Seville and Valencia. A modern terminal was built in adjacent land to serve AVE trains and commuter lines. Commuter train platforms are located underground, at the ingress to a rail tunnel extending northward under the Paseo de la Castellana. The station is served by two Metro stations, Atocha and Atocha Renfe.

Madrid Chamartin Train Station is located in northern Madrid includes bars, restaurants, shops and a bowling alley. This station provides commuter transportation to Madrid Airport. To Madrid Airport, catch Cercanias regional train to Nueovs Ministerios Station, then take Metro Line 8. Frequent Cercanias regional trains make a 10-12 minute trip to Madrid Atocha Station. Trains using this Chamartin Station. AVE high speed and Renfe trains travel to/from this station for Barcelona, Bilbao, Pamplona, Oviedo, Salamanca, Santander, Santiago De Compostela and Hendaye.

RAPID TRANSIT

Madrid Metro system has the 7th or 8th most mileage in the world and more ridership than Washington and Chicago metro systems combined. Though some of its 301 stations opened in 1919, the vast mileage, 13 criss-crossing Metro lines and daily operation from 6:00am-1:30am, make it easy to reach attractions without driving or taxis. You will not be wowed by the utilitarian design of most Metro stations, which are less than 30 years old. Some underground Metro stations are large enough to hold public events, like one event which attracted 2,600 visitors in 2011. Another Metro station contains a large archaeological museum. Three recently opened light rail lines, called Metro Ligero, connect with Metro to provide additional commuting options.

Purchase Metro ticket here. MADRID METRO SYSTEM MAP and this coll Madrid Tourism Map. As you see from the Metro Map, lines are color-coded. Typical of Metro systems worldwide, trains are named for the last stop on their line.

Tourists usually purchase daily, 3-day, weekly or monthly unlimited ride Metro cards whose rates are also based travel to any of 8 different zones. Even if you’re a car-only person in America, try the Metro for one day to experience this interesting slice of Madrid life. Plan on spending $5 to $30 to use the Metro. Youth Pass pricing is available until age 23.

Like most Metro Subway systems worldwide, put the ticket into the slot on the side of the turnstile. It pops out of the top of the turnstile. When the lights turn green, remove it for the turnstile to let you through.

Madrid is safer than American metro areas of similar 5-7 million population. A single person can go anywhere on the system. But at night, there are a few dicey stations for women, so ask your hotel concierge and plan ahead.

Like Metro systems worldwide, prevent being targeted by pickpockets as a vulnerable tourist. If traveling alone, avoid reading paper maps or tourist books on the Metro. Instead, study the Metro map on your computer/tablet in your hotel room or at a cafe. If you have questions about the Metro, ask the concierge or English-speaking waiting and tip them. Then fold and stash away paper maps. Then after catching the Metro, a brief glance at maps in stations and on trains will not draw undue attention.

 

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