Here is a post for helping you out on how to move around Madrid as locals do. We do not want you to have that feeling of being lost and stranded in the middle of a station without knowing where to go.
Public Transportation in Madrid is very easy and intuitive. The Community of Madrid is divided into different “areas”, being Area A the city of Madrid itself. Then you have the areas B1, B2, B3, C1 and C2, which correspond with the surroundings of the city, from closer to downtown to further respectively, covering the whole region of Madrid.
Actually, that area division is only needed to know if you are over 26, because the Public Transportation Card of Madrid changes its monthly price depending on what areas you are willing to cover with your card. However, if you are under 26 you do not have to worry about it, since the card has a fixed monthly price of 20€. We will talk later about how to get the public transportation card.
Now we are going to describe the different public transportation ways in Madrid city and the region:
Madrid subway has been renowned as one of the most modern and clean subway structures in the world. It is very intuitive and easy to use. Through each track on each station only one line circulates in one direction, so it does not happen like in NYC or London, where in the same track, several lines and trains circulate at the same time. Madrid Metro has its own APP for free, with which you could see the map of the different stations as well as advising you on the quickest way to reach your final station. The Metro of Madrid is made up of 12 lines that cover mainly the city of Madrid but also some of its outskirts cities. Here is a map for you to know what it looks like. The Metro is opened daily from 6AM to 1:30AM, even though there are some station accesses that have special schedules.
The Cercanias system of Madrid is also very intuitive, and it is used by thousands of people daily, mainly connecting downtown Madrid with different cities and towns of the whole region of Madrid and some nearby cities like Guadalajara or Toledo (which do not belong to the region of Madrid) in a quick way. It is made up of a total of 10 lines with connections to the whole region. The distances between stations in Cercanias tend to be longer than in the Metro, since they cover a wider area.
There are a wide variety of bus lines both in Madrid city and the region. You will differentiate the buses that operate in the city center and the ones operating on the outskirts because the formers are blue buses and the latter are green. They operate 24/7 normally, but not all of them. The ones “working” during the night are the ones having a N before its number, for example, if you see a bus with the number N27, you will know that it covers the bus 27 route but that it also operates during the night.
A few years ago, Madrid city hall launched this project called BiciMad, which consist of public bikes to be used around the city. They are electric bikes, with lots of “stations” all around the city where you could get one for a ride or drop it after using it. It is only operative in downtown Madrid for the moment.
You have the option of having an annual bond that cost 25€ a year if you do not have the public transportation card of Madrid, or 15€ a year if you have it. With that bond, you will pay only 0,5€ the first 30 minutes of each ride and 0,6€ from the second 30 minutes on.
You will also have the option of occasional rides, with no bond. The rates in this case are 2€ for the first hour and 4€ from the second hour on.
You can sign up at www.bicimad.com
Some Public/Private Transportation Options
There are some options that work more like a private way of transportation but that everybody can use around Madrid and its region.
Apart from the typical white taxi of Madrid, there are some apps that offer the same service, if not better, which are:
- Mytaxi and Hail-O: Simply for ordering a taxi with no need of looking for one in the streets with the risk of not finding one available.
- Uber: There is no need of explanation, since Uber operates all around the world. Clean and private cars with very competitive prices.
- Cabify: It works like Uber, but is operative only in Spain and Latin America for the moment. Very clean cars, with extremely competitive prices, way cheaper than a normal cab. It is like a premium service with very accessible prices. PD: they always give you free water during your ride.
- Car2Go: Rent smart cars for minutes and drop it wherever there is a parking spot available. Works like BiciMad but with way more options where to drop of the car.
- eCooltra: Rent electric scooters and move around Madrid easily!
These are the main ways of moving around Madrid and its Region. You can see there are lots of options available.
Prices for Metro, Cercanias and buses are around 1.5€ for a single ride, way below the average in Europe, always depending on the length of the ride, since it is not the same going two stops away than going somewhere on the outskirts. There is also the option of getting a bond valid for 10 rides at the price of 12.2€
For sure, the best option is getting the Madrid Public Transportation Card, and even more if you are under 26, because you will only have to pay 20€ per month to have unlimited rides in Madrid city and the region and its valid for Metro, Cercanias and Buses. If you are over 26, the monthly price varies depending on the areas of the region you want to cover.
We really hope that the tips included in this post are useful for you to know how to ride Madrid as a local.
Comment us below with any doubt or inquiry regarding Public Transportation in Madrid you may have!