The best ways to get around in Madrid

Natalia Diaz

Jun 18, 2023 • 6 min read

bus travel madrid

Commuter-friendly Madrid has an extensive and reliable transportation network santypan / Getty Images

It doesn't take long for visitors to discover that there are few cities as easy to get around as  Madrid .

A public transportation infrastructure that includes an efficient and reliable subway system, an organized bus network and late-night buses, long-distance high-speed trains connecting to outlying Spanish towns , and even electric bikes with charging docks, all make Madrid a highly commuter-friendly capital. 

Additionally, travelers with reduced mobility will be happy to find Madrid’s bus and subway vehicles and stations specially designed for universally accessible travel , one hallmark that makes the Spanish capital stand out as a world-class tourist destination.

Here's what you need to know to make the most out of Madrid's public transportation network.

Busy traffic on the streets of Madrid at dusk

Get around on Madrid's excellent Metro system

The Madrid Metro is an iconic and inextricable part of city life. In 2018 the Spanish monarch King Felipe declared, “Madrileños should be proud of their transport network,” when he surprised commuters by joining them on the centennial anniversary of the Metro to mark a century after his grandfather King Alfonso XII inaugurated the underground railway system in 1919.

Arguably one of the best and biggest European subways, the Madrid Metro consists of 12 metro lines, 3 tram lines and over 300 stations that neatly link up the city. Open from 6am to 1:30am, Metro trains pass by every 2 minutes during the busiest times of the day, and every 15 minutes after midnight. For travelers flying into Madrid, the Adolfo-Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport connects directly to the busy Nuevos Ministerios central hub, from where you can easily get around Madrid.

Passengers at the departures panel of the AVE station of Atocha, Madrid

Catch  fast suburban trains out of Madrid

Day-trippers and city breakers, the Cercanias Renfe is your portal to some of the most picturesque villages on the outskirts of Madrid. These fast suburban trains accessible via the Atocha Metro station (Line 1) rapidly transport you to quaint towns, World Heritage sites such as San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Alcalá de Henares, and even premiere ski and hiking destinations such as Cercedilla at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains.

Counting nine lines threading through the Madrid region, the Cercanias trains run every day from between 5am and 6am up to midnight. While your metro ticket gives you access to some Cercanias stations that are part of the Metro network, you will still need to purchase separate tickets, the Bonotren , to travel to the long-distance destinations.

A bus drives past the front of Palace of Communication in Madrid, Spain

A sightseeing tour or riding the city bus is a scenic way to see Madrid

While getting around Madrid via bus or autobús  may not be as fast as taking the Metro, it is certainly the scenic option. Given that the center of Madrid has a lot of interesting sights with its architectural landmarks, intricately carved fountains and expansive green spaces , taking the bus is an excellent, cost-effective way to sightsee if you’re not pressed for time.

EMT Madrid has over 200 bus lines in the city

EMT Madrid is the public bus service that runs from 6am to 11:30pm, with over 200 bus lines. A recent push by the local government to have more environmentally friendly vehicles has led to three zero-carbon-emission buses that are free to use (001 Atocha Renfe-Moncloa, 002 Puerta de Toledo-Argüelles, and C03 Puerta de Toledo-Argüelles). For night owls enjoying Madrid’s world-famous nightlife , there are 27 aptly named “Búhos” or “owl” night buses, marked with an N, that are accessible from Plaza de Cibeles after 11:30pm.

Interurban buses are good for regional transport

Also known as Madrid’s Green Buses, these are privately owned and managed by different transport companies. These intercity buses are a comfortable and reliable option that connect you to different municipalities in the region. You can purchase single tickets directly from the driver or vouchers for ten trips from the bus station kiosks.

Go eco on an electric bicycle 

BiciMAD is a relatively new transport service that provides 7500 electric bikes distributed over 611 charging and docking stations strategically placed around Madrid. This is an eco-friendly and convenient way to explore the city, not to mention a great way to keep fit. Madrid has lots of bike-friendly routes all over the city. Use the BiciMad app to find bicycle docks and stations and pay the tariff, which starts at €2/hr.

Elevator access to the entrance of the Lavapies subway station of the Madrid Metro

Accessible transportation is improving in Madrid

In recent years, Madrid’s trains and stations have been significantly upgraded to become more accessible for people with disabilities. With the end goal of giving full autonomy to disabled passengers so everyone can enjoy equal access to public transport, the Metro has installed universal accessibility features in all its stations, with over half of all stations fully accessible with lifts and ramps for wheelchair access. Among several other accessibility measures, step edges are reinforced, and elevator signs and handrails have Braille markings.

All EMT buses have features specially designed for universal access, including low floors, Braille-embossed stop buttons, reserved spaces for baby carriages and reduced mobility passengers, plus tilts and ramps for wheelchair users.

One useful resource for travelers with disabilities is the comprehensive Accessible Tourism Guide developed by the Madrid Tourist Board, working jointly with PREDIF (the Spanish Representative Platform for the Physically Disabled).

For further information on traveling with a disability, download Lonely Planet's free accessible travel resource .

Join the locals on a car-sharing website

Car-sharing services are also a popular mode of transport if you want to visit Madrid's regional towns or other nearby Spanish cities. This is a good way to be more economical with longer distance destinations, not to mention meet and practice your Spanish with locals. The most popular service, BlaBla Car , lets you book car-share rides to several points around the Madrid region and all over the country . If you’re driving solo and wouldn’t mind some company (and sharing the gas bill), you can also publish your own rides and indicate your intended destination on the BlaBla Car website.

A person's hand holding the tourist travel pass of Madrid at an underground metro station

Which public transport ticket should I buy in Madrid?

For visitors, the most practical and cost-effective option for multi-modal travel is to purchase the Tourist Travel Pass, a contactless card that you can get at any Metro station. This allows you to hop on all types of public transport around Madrid, which includes the Metro, bus lines, light rail and Renfe suburban trains.

Bus tickets can be loaded onto the Tarjeta Multi (commonly called Multi card) available at any Metro station or on the Tourist Travel Pass. You can also pay for single bus trips with cash or contactless credit cards. If you’re paying with cash, however, better to have small bills or exact change to hand — or you’ll be met with bewildered stares from bus drivers who will tell you they can’t change your €20 bill!

Don’t throw these smartcards away once you’ve used up the rides — they are transferable and valid up to 10 years, and you can simply top them up in any Metro station on your next visit to Madrid.

This article was first published Jul 20, 2021 and updated Jun 18, 2023.

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Madrid’s public transport system is without a doubt, fantastic. It is fast, safe, clean and very reliable. In comparison with other European cities, Madrid’s public transport is also considered cheap and very efficient, which makes getting around Madrid very easy. Madrid’s public transport consists of the Madrid Metro (underground), day & night buses, the ‘Metro Ligero’ (Madrid light rail) as well as the regional train system known as the ’Cercanías’ which are the suburban trains that connect the city of Madrid with rest of the Madrid region. So, no matter where you are going, Madrid’s public transport system will get you there.

Are you moving to Madrid for a longer period and would like to get a monthly pass? Get ahead and order your personal public transport card in advance.

There are also great alternatives to Madrid’s public transport when it comes to getting around Madrid. Alternatives like, ridesharing apps and car sharing options as well as e-Scooters, e-Bikes & Motor scooter rental services . Since June 2014, Madrid has also been offering public, electric bikes that you can rent at your convenience all over the city.

To keep reading all about Madrid’s transport options, check out the content overview and feel free to click on the topics you are most interested in. Each chapter contains relevant information regarding getting around Madrid. From details on how to get from and to the airport, ticket options, prices, schedules & transport zones to details on the various means of transportation available and how use them.

Furthermore, in our FAQ section at the bottom of this ’Getting Around Madrid’ guide, we will clarify some of the most common questions and doubts regarding Madrid’s public transport.

Important:  The Citylife team has collected & compiled the information on this page via intense research and investigation. It does not replace your own research!

1.3 Madrid Tourist Travel Pass

2.2 have your transport card delivered to the citylife office for free, 3.5 autobuses interurbanos – the suburban buses of madrid, 4.3 comparison tools, 5.2 car rentals, carsharing & ridesharing in madrid with discounts, 1. getting around madrid by public transport – ticket options & prices.

As previously mentioned, Madrid’s public transport system is very accessible and efficient. You can get all over the city centre by using just the Madrid metro and bus . The Madrid metro and bus systems are integrated, meaning that you can access the Madrid metro lines and the EMT bus lines with the same ’ticket’. Other available transportation means like the Cercanías and Renfre trains and the suburban buses which take you outside the city will have different ticket types and different tariffs. The beginning of this article will focus more on the main transport within the city center (metro & city bus), however if you wish to read more on Madrid’s Light Rail system, suburban buses and long distance options, you can skip ahead .

To start with, there are various ticket options available for the Madrid public transport system. Some of which are better for those staying in the city for mid to long-term periods while others are perfect for those visiting for a short-term period. In the section below we will explain each ticket option in detail.

1.1 Monthly Pass for Mid to Long-Term Stays

If you are coming to Madrid for a longer period – to study or work, for example – it is very likely that you will move around by public transport on a regular basis. In this case we highly recommend getting your personal public transport card . This card will give you access to the the monthly transport pass , known as the ’ Abono ’. Using a monthly pass is by far the cheapest and most convenient way as it gives you full access to all of Madrid’s public transport for 30 day periods.

When it comes to getting your public transport card , we highly recommend ordering it online in advance . Ideally about 15 days before you plan to arrive to Madrid . By doing this you will avoid long wait times to book an appointment as well as simply skipping the need to attend an appointment in the first place. By ordering online, your card will be delivered to you. For more details on how to order you public transportation card online either continue reading, or click here to skip ahead.

citylife-madrid-personal-transportation-card

Download the Madrid Metro Map and check out various other maps for Madrid bus routes, light rail train lines and regional train lines in our chapter called Madrid Transport Options – A Comprehensive Outline, or skip ahead .

Monthly Pass – Prices & Where to Buy

As we mentioned above, to get the monthly pass you must first get your personal transport card . This card costs 4€ and once you have it in your possession, you can then top it up with the monthly pass (’ Abono ’). The price of your monthly pass depends primarily on your age and the transport zones of Madrid you would like to have included – there are no special prices for students. Finally, every 30 days you will need to top up your personal public transport card with your new monthly pass to be able to continue to use Madrid’s public transport system. You can do so conveniently at one of the many metro stations at the machines either with cash or credit card.

Abono Joven (Monthly Youth Pass)

If you are under 26 years of age , you will be able to use the youth pass, known as ’Abono Joven’. With this pass you will only need to pay 20€ a month and you will be able to use all of Madrid’s transport options between all transport zones ! You can move freely by metro and bus all over the city, to its outskirts as well as to the airport without paying a supplement.

Abono Normal (Monthly Standard Pass)

If you are aged 26 or older you will have access to the standard monthly pass, known as ’Abono’. This pass requires users to pay per transport zone. The base price which covers zone A, currently costs 54,60€. If you need to include more zones, the price will rise. Click here for more information of each of Madrid’s zones.

The Madrid Transportaton Office has officially reduced prices of all transport ticket types until the end of 2024! For a detailed look on prices please refer to the official page here .

new-prices-zones-madrid-metro-summer-fall-2023-v2

If the monthly pass is what you need, you can skip ahead in this article for instructions on how to order your public transport card online.

Above you see a price chart per-zone, however there are also inter-zone packages which combine certain zones together under one price. This is a great option for those who don’t often visit the more central zones and therefore do not want to pay for access to them. For more details on all pricing options, click here .

1.2 Single & 10 Trips Tickets

If you happen to be visiting Madrid for only a few days or weeks, or if you don’t need to use the public transport system on a daily basis, you can use Madrid’s more short-term option known as the Multi Card . As with the personal public transport card, you will first need to purchase the card itself (only 2.5€ ), then you top up the short-term pass of your choice onto the card. The Multi Card offers two options: Single tickets and 10 trip tickets.

Single & 10 trips tickets – Prices & Where to Buy

citylife-madrid-multi-transportation-card

A single journey on public transport in Madrid will usually cost between 1,50€ and 2€ , making it very budget friendly. If you don’t want to top up your card every time you need it, you should consider buying a 10 trip ticket which costs just 12,20€ . Both tickets work on metro and bus systems within zone A. As the Multi Card is not personalized, it can be shared with others .

Buying the Multi Card and it’s corresponding tickets is incredibly easy. All you need to do is go to any metro station in Madrid and place your order at any of the ticket machines there. These machines look like ATMs but will have the branding of the Madrid metro on them. Once there you can pay either in cash or with credit card.

Please be aware that you may change freely between various metro lines once you are inside the metro system. But changing from metro to bus or from one bus to another means that you have to use your card again. That being said, you can also top up your Multi Card from the bus driver – but only in cash.

To read more about the Multi Card, please click here .

The Madrid tourist travel pass gives you unlimited usage of zone A and T between 1-7 days. This is a very practical and very affordable way to get around Madrid on a short-term basis. This is especially true because the majority of Madrid’s most popular locations for visitors and tourists are located within zone A. Additionally, zone T is perfect for those planning to make day trips to some of the small cities located outside of Madrid.

Madrid Tourist Travel Pass – Prices & Where to Buy

Prices are determined by number of days and by desired zones . Check out the table below for a price breakdown of each. To buy the Madrid tourist pass you simply visit any metro station and use the ticket machines located there. Alternatively, you can buy these passes at the sales points at the Madrid airport. The Madrid tourist pass comes with the Multi Card included. Once the pass expires, you can top up the Multi Card with single or ten trips tickets and keep using it. Finally, please keep in mind that Madrid tourist pass cannot be shared between several people. Therefore, each person in your group must hold their own card. For more details on the Madrid tourist pass, please click here .

citylife-madrid-zones-transportation-card-madrid

2. How to Get your Personal Public Transport Card

As we mentioned at the top of this article, we recommend that your order your personal public transport card online – ideally about 3 weeks before your arrival . It will save you time , money and hassle . To make the process of ordering your public transport card online as simple as possible, we’ve created a step by step guide . Continue reading below for all the details.

If you are already in Madrid or did not order your transport card on time online, you can use our FREE SERVICE to make an appointment for a time that suits you best ! Citylife has access to exclusive appointment dates and times so you can get a next-day or even a same-day appointment that you won’t find online! To do so, simply fill out our form below and we will be in touch.

2.1 Step by step Guide – How to Order your Public Transport Card Online

Order your public transport card online by filling out the official request form. Once your request has been processed by the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid, your card will be sent to the indicated shipment address usually within 10-15 working days. Here is a step by step description:

  • Access the CRTM webpage here !
  • Select the option “Individual”, close the pop-up screen by clicking on “Cerrar” proceed to the next screen
  • On the next screen you have to provide some personal information. You need to choose between “pasaporte” (if you have a passport) or “DNI no español” (if you have a valid national ID card.) At “Código ISO” you need to fill in the country code of your passport and at “Documento” you need to fill in the document number.
  • Next up you need to fill in your “nombre” (first name), apellido (last names) and your date of birth. And press “iniciar solicitud on-line” to continue.
  • On the next page you will have the chance to review your details. You will also need to add your email address (correo eletronico), Spanish phone number and the address in Spain where you would like the card to be sent ( please feel free to use our phone number and address ). Once done, click “Siguiente.”
  • You will be asked to upload a standard passport sized photo in colour, as well as a scanned copy of your passport or ID card.
  • Once uploaded, you need to accept the terms and conditions at the bottom and continue by clicking on “Siguiente”.

solicitud-tarjeta-transporte-publico-madrid-gran-via-33

  • Last but not least, you will be asked to review and confirm the information you have provided. You will also have to pay the mandatory standard fee of 4€ to the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid for issuing your public transport card. If the process is completed successfully you will receive a confirmation email.

The Consorcio de Transporte de Madrid only delivers personal public transport cards to Spanish addresses . Additionally, you can only input a Spanish phone number on the application form. To keep things stress free, you can indicate the Citylife mobile phone number and use our office address as the shipment location . We will happily store the card for you free of charge until you are able to pick it up.

While at our office you can also take advantage to ask all your questions, activate a free Spanish prepaid SIM card , open a free Spanish bank account , get free advice on housing or simply some hints & tips to explore this beautiful city.

To ensure that you correctly complete the online form when ordering your transport card, make sure to read the text above and have a look at the example image we included. We’ve also included the Citylife details that you will need to fill out the form and to ship it to our office for free storage, below:

IMPORTANT: Once you’ve ordered your card online and indicated our address as shipment address, please send us a short confirmation via WhatsApp to our official mobile phone . This way we are aware of it too and can notify you once it has arrived! Please don’t forget! Once you have picked up your public transport card upon your arrival, you can top it up with your monthly pass at any machine located in one of the many Madrid metro stations around the city.

If you couldn’t request the public transport card ahead of time or the online order didn’t work, send us a WhatsApp with your full name and arrival date . We will make an appointment for the day and time that is convenient for you at no cost!

3. Madrid Transport Options – a Comprehensive Outline

The following sections of this article will outline everything you need to know about getting around in Madrid by public transport. From all Madrid’s modes of transport and how to use them to convenient alternatives. In addition to a detailed and comprehensive explanation we will also include promo codes for Uber and Cabify at the bottom of this article, which will help you save money along the way!

bus travel madrid

3.1 Madrid Metro – Zones, Lines & All Available Passes

The Madrid metro is the most popular way to get around Madrid. Its 12 metro lines, 300+ stations and several other unique connections to some of the harder to reach places makes it one of the most accessible metro systems in Europe. Continue reading for a complete breakdown of the Madrid metro system.

  • Download the Full Madrid Metro Map
  • Download the Madrid Metro Map for Tourists

Metro Operating Hours

Typically, the metro runs from 06:00 – 01:30 with trains arriving every 2-15 minutes. Frequency is dictated by the city’s rush hours.

Metro Zones

The Madrid metro will take you to zones A, B1, B2 & B3. In most cases you will only need access to zone A to enjoy Madrid, especially as a tourist. However you might find that your workplace, university campus or home is located in Madrid’s farther zones. We go into detail on what tickets you need and their prices above, however we have summarized the ticket options for you.

Metro Tickets & Prices

  • Single Ticket (Zone A) – 1.50€ – 2.00€.
  • 10 Trip Ticket (Zone A) – 12.20€.
  • Unlimited Monthly Metro Pass – Please refer to our chart above by clicking here .

Recommended Apps to Download

bus travel madrid

3.2 Madrid Buses (EMT) – Routes, Night Buses & Airport Shuttle

The Municipal Transport Company of Madrid ( EMT ) is in charge of Madrid’s ultra efficient bus system. Comprised of over 200 bus lines with roughly 2,000 buses in operation, the bus system in Madrid is a great way to get around the city as it can take you to many places that the Madrid metro can’t reach. The EMT buses are blue city buses that operate within the central zone of Madrid – meaning they do not travel throughout the entire province of Madrid, but only the city of Madrid. Skip ahead for more info on how to travel through the Madrid province by bus .

Need to get to the Madrid airport ? The Madrid bus system is the cheapest way to get to Madrid Barajas Airport! They run all year round and the airport shuttle even runs for 24hrs a day! Read more in our guide to Madrid Airport Transportation Options and Discounts .

  • View the Interactive Bus Map
  • View the Tourist Bus Map

Bus Operating Hours

Typically, buses run from 06:00 – 23:30 with frequency ranging from every 5-20 minutes on weekdays. On weekends and holidays they run from 07.00-23:30 and with less frequency.

Night Buses

Madrid’s night buses, known as Búhos or Owls, run from 23:30 – 6:00 in 27 different routes. All routes start and end at the central Plaza de Cibeles. You can find the night bus schedule at bus stops in the city. Also check out the night bus map here .

Bus Tickets & Prices

You can access the bus with both your monthly transport card and the Multi Card which we cover above . If you have 10 rides loaded to your Multi Card you simply board the bus and tap your ticket. If you need to purchase a single ride you can do so right from the bus driver.

Airport Shuttle

Though you can certainly get to the airport via the standard metro and bus routes, there is a great airport shuttle available as well. It runs every 15 minutes during the day and every 35 during the night, stopping at Cibeles and Atocha. Tickets for the shuttle cost 5€. For more details, click here .

Electric Buses

Madrid is introducing eco friendly buses to the city, starting with lines 001 and 002 which operate within some of Madrid’s more heavily used routes.

bus travel madrid

3.3 Metro Ligero Madrid – The Light Rail of Madrid

The Metro Ligero is Madrid’s Light Rail system. It’s an above ground metro system that connects Madrid through 4 lines and over 50 stations. However, this transport system is different from the Madrid Metro as it connects travelers to the less central areas of the city. You will find them more in the suburban areas of Madrid, connecting Zone A with zone B1, B2 and B3.

Light Rail Maps

  • View the Light Rail Map
  • View the Madrid Metro & Light Rail Combo Map

Light Rail Operating Hours

Metro Ligero lines ML1-ML3 share the same hours as the Madrid Metro day hours (6:00 – 01:30. And line ML4 runs from 5:00 – 00:45.

Light Rail Lines

Get a better look at how the Metro Ligero connects with the Madrid Metro by checking out each of the four lines below. The CRTM has layed out all the Metro Ligero lines, stops and connections for you to easily plan your commute around Madrid.

Additionally, make sure to take a look at each individual stop on the Metro Ligero routes.

  • View the Metro Ligero Lines
  • View the Metro Ligero Stations

Light Rail Tickets & Prices

  • With the standard Multi Card pass and zone A monthly pass you will have access to the ML1 line. Single tickets cost between 1.50€ – 2.00€ and 10 ride tickets cost 12,20€.
  • To access the ML2 and ML3 lines you will need to top up an additional pass to your Multi Card or pay a supplement with your monthly pass. Single tickets/supplement costs 2.00€ and 10 ride tickets cost 12,20€.
  • If you plan your trip ahead you can combine your Madrid Metro access and your Metro Ligero access in one top up. Single combo tickets cost 3.00€ and 10 ride combo tickets cost 18.30€.
  • To access the ML4 (Parla Tram) you will need to top up an additional pass to your Multi Card or pay a supplement with your Monthly Pass. Single tickets cost 1.30€ and 10 ride tickets cost 8.50€.

For all details on these tickets and fares, please refer to the official website of the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid.

bus travel madrid

3.4 Cercanías Madrid – The Regional Trains of Madrid

Like the Metro Ligero, the Cercanías Madrid is an above ground train system. However, the Cercanías system takes travellers through the entire region of Madrid. Not just the suburbs of the of Madrid city, but the actual province of Madrid. The Cercanías trains operate in partnership with Spain’s high speed train network – called Renfe – allowing it to be fast, reliable and comfortable. With 9 lines and over 90 stations, Cercanías offers great connections to the small towns and areas within the Madrid region.

Cercanías Maps

  • View the basic Cercanías Station Map
  • View the detailed Madrid Cercanías Map

Cercanías Operating Hours

The Cercanías Madrid trains run everyday from 5:30 – 23:30.

Cercanías Lines

Get a better look at how the Cercanías system connects with the Madrid Metro by checking out each of the 9 lines below. The Concorcio de Madrid has layed out all the Cercanías lines, stops and connections for you to easily plan your commute around Madrid.

  • View the Cercanías Madrid Lines
  • View the Cercanías Madrid Stations

Cercanías Tickets & Prices

  • If you have the monthly transport pass you will have access to the Cercanías stations that are located within the zones that your pass covers. If you need to go beyond the zones of your monthly pass, you will need to pay a supplement that covers the distance you will be going. Prices vary based on where you start and end your journey, so please check the detailed pricing table here .
  • The Cercanías system is operated by Renfe, which means that you cannot access these trains with your Multi Card. They have their own ticket systems and zones. For a detailed pricing info please check the pricing tables here .

bus travel madrid

Unlike the rest of the Madrid public transport system, the suburban buses are run by a network of private companies that travel throughout the region of Madrid. There are over 300 lines in operation with roughly 20,000 operations each day. These buses depart from various central stations in Madrid, connecting travelers to hundreds of stops outside of the city.

Suburban Bus Maps

  • View the complete Suburban Bus Route Map
  • View the Regional Suburban Bus Maps

Suburban Bus Operating Hours

Typically the suburban buses run between 6:00 – 23:30. However some buses will operate at night as well. Please refer to the official time table for each region here .

Suburban Bus Lines

Use the trip calculator facilitated by the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid to get all the information on the suburban bus lines that you need to take.

  • View the Suburban Bus Line Calculator

You can access these suburban buses at the following major stations in Madrid: Plaza de Castilla, Avenida de América, Plaza Elíptica, Príncipe Pío and Moncloa

Suburban Bus Tickets & Prices

  • If you have the monthly public transport pass you will have access to the suburban bus lines that are located within the zones that your pass covers. If you need to go beyond the zones in your monthly pass, you will need to pay a supplement that covers the distance you will be going. Prices vary based on where you start and end your journey so please check the detailed pricing table here .
  • Single tickets and 10 trip tickets are available but are not associated with the same Multi Card that we have mentioned throughout this article. The suburban bus system has it’s own tickets and pricing system. Single ride tickets can be purchased directly from the bus and 10 trip tickets can be bought at the bus stations and other licensed ticket points.

For all details on these tickets, fares and where to buy them, please refer to the official website of the Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid.

4. Traveling Long Distance Around Spain

4.1 long distance trains.

Renfe is Spain’s high speed train network that connects travelers all over Spain. The trains can also take travelers across the border form Spain to Portugal and France. Check out the official Renfe website to learn more. Also check out the new lost-cost train routes offered by Ouigo .

4.2 Long Distance Buses

There are several private bus companies that can take you all over Spain and beyond. The most popular being Avanza Group , Flixbus and Alsa .

You can compare the train times, destinations and prices among Spain’s top long distance train and bus operators by using Trainline ! Additionally you can check out trains and buses across Europe and compare those prices as well. If you want to compare across all modes of long distance transportation (bus, train, car rental & flights) we recommend that you use Comparabus !

Looking for additional travel options? Check out our other articles on Bike and Scooter Rentals as well as our top recommendations for car sharing and car services including available promo codes to save money.

5. Private Transport & Alternative Transport Options

Even though Madrid’s public transport system can easily get you where you need to go, you might be looking for some alternative options. Whether you want to get to your destination faster , you’d just like some privacy or maybe you’re trying to adopt a more eco friendly lifestyle . Whatever your case might be, Madrid is home to some great private transport and alternative transport options that suit everyone’s preferred lifestyle.

5.1 Renting e-Scooters, e-Bikes & Motor Scooters in Madrid with Discounts

bus travel madrid

Electric transportation is on the rise around the world and Madrid is no different! If you’re looking for a unique and affordable way to travel around Madrid while reducing your carbon footprint, then we recommend downloading one of the many apps out there! In Madrid you’ll find e-Scooters (kick scooters), e-Bikes and Motor Scooters parked in the streets just waiting to be used. All you need to do is download the corresponding app, hire one of them and off you go!

Check out our detailed list of top recommended e-Scooter, e-Bike and Motor Scooter companies in Madrid companies in the city and receive some exclusive discounts on your next ride !

Madrid is a big city. It can take time to get from one end of the Spanish capital to another with public transportation. Many people would prefer to drive to to their destination but they don’t have the means to own a car themselves. This is where car rentals , carsharing and ridesharing comes into the fold! You can either hop in a car and be driven across town (rideshares like Free Now & Uber ), or drive an electric car yourself from one point of the city to another (carshare, e.g. Free2Move ), or even rent a car for several days to explore beyond the Madrid city limits. Whatever it is, Madrid has something for you!

Take a look at our comprehensive guide to Car Rentals, Carsharing & Ridesharing in Madrid to find the top companies in the city and also receive some great discounts for your next trip !

Save 5€ on your next taxi ride by downloading the Free Now app and using Citylife’s exclusive promo code! It’s quick, reliable and incredibly easy!

6. Make Your Transport Card Appointment with our Free Service

If you’re struggling to make the appointment to obtain your public transport card, we can help! Fill out this form below, follow the instructions and we will let you know the available options!

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There are several different types of tickets for the Madrid metro. From a quick pay as you go type metro card to the monthly subscription card known as the abono. Check out our chapter called “ Ticket Options & Prices ” to read about how to get a Madrid metro card.

If you have lost your Madrid metro card then all you need to do is cancel the old card and order a new one. You can either do this online or at any CRTM website! For more details take a look at our article on replacing a lost or stolen metro card .

The tourist travel pass for Madrid is loaded onto a red plastic card called the Multi Card. You simply top up the card with a tourist travel pass choosing how many days you want the pass for. This is all done at any Madrid metro station at the machines. Check out our chapter called “ Madrid Tourist Travel Pass ” for more information on how to get a tourist travel pass for Madrid.

Getting around in Madrid by public transport is easy and quick. In general, the Madrid metro and the Madrid bus services are the best way to get around Madrid. Check out our chapter called “ Madrid Transport Options – A Comprehensive Outline ” for a break down on all transport types available in Madrid.

The cost to ride the metro in Madrid depends on which ticket you use and where you go. Single rides can start from 1,5€ and monthly passes can start between 20€ (abono joven) to 55€ (Zone A, normal tariff). Check out chapter “ Ticket Options & Prices ” for a full breakdown of all costs related to public transport in Madrid.

The Madrid metro does go to the airport, but you need to pay an additional supplement of 3€ in addition to the metro pass ticket. Simply visit any ticket machine at any metro stop to find out how the supplement works.

There are several options to travel from the Madrid airport to the city. You can take the Madrid metro, the bus shuttle, a taxi or a car service. Check out our article called Madrid Airport Transportation for all the details plus some amazing discounts!

Typically, the metro runs from 06:00 – 01:30 with trains arriving every 2-15 minutes. Frequency is dictated by the city’s rush hours. At night you have the Madrid night buses, also known as Búhos, that run in and around Madrid (27 different routes). All routes start and end at the central Plaza de Cibeles. You can find the night bus schedule at bus stops in the city. For a night bus map click here .

To pay for the metro in Madrid you must have either your personal transport card or the Multi Card. You either top up your monthly subscription or you top up your single ride/10 rides to your card at the machines in any metro station. You can pay with cash or card.

If you lost your Madrid metro card you can print a replacement for 6€ at any of the major Metro stations in Madrid – Sol, Plaza de Castilla, Moncloa, etc. You do not need an appointment (cita previa), you can simply go there and get your metro card replaced.

There is no student metro card in Madrid nor a special price for students. Madrid sets its prices based on age groups. Those under the age of 26 only pay 20€ per month for their monthly transport plan (abono joven). It includes all zones. Those older than 26 will need to buy a monthly plan (abono) according to the zones they need to travel. For more info on pricing, please refer to our chapter called “ Monthly Pass – Prices and Where to Buy “.

If you need to rent a car in Madrid then you have several options available. You can either use one of the many carsharing apps to rent an electric car to use within the community of Madrid. Or, you can rent a full sized car from a classic car rental company for a longer period which you can take outside of the city limits. Check out all the options by reading our guide on How to Rent a Car in Madrid .

If you are looking for a more eco-friendly kind of transportation, there are many options for renting bikes, e-bikes and e-Scooters in the city of Madrid. To see all the different companies that are running in Madrid, take a look at our article called Best eScooters, Motor Scooters, Bike Rentals & Segway Rentals in Madrid .

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Leah warner.

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Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. She started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth!

16 Comments . Leave new

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We bought a 10 journey multi card yesterday and used it twice. Today it did not work on the bus. Do you have to use them all in one day? Nothing anywhere will give us this answer. We feel swindled.

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Hi, when we are EU Citizens over 65 year, can we travel in Madrid free of charge? Do we need to have personal transport card or passport/ID is enought? thanks

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Hello, Can I use 4 day Tourist Travel Pass including Zone T for traveling to Toledo by ALSA bus?

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Hi I am living in Madrid for three months have an over 65 transport card which I believe gives me free travel on the Metro. Can this also be used for the bus to Toledo? Thank you

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Hello! I cannot find my Unibersity in the list: Alfonso X el Sabio university (UAX). I cant get a public transport card when I will attend classes at that university?

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Hi! If you don’t have a Spanish phone number, does that mean you can’t order a public transport card? Thanks!

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Hey there Manon! You do need to have a Spanish phone number in order to order the madrid metro card. But you are more than welcome to use the Citylife office number and address! We will save the card at our office until you are ready to pick it up.

Calle Gran Vía 22 – Duplicado, 2nd Floor, 28013 Madrid, Spain +34 915 296 673

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Hi! If my friends and I take the metro using 1 multi card, does it mean we can tap the same card 4x to enter?

Hey there Crystal! You can share the Multi-card as many times as you need.

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I charged the card for 10 trips for A zone by mistake, can I change it to compindo zone to include the B1 zone any by the difference in price

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How many individuals can use a single multi card. If we have 6 people in our travel party and we’re only in Madrid a few days, can all 6 of us travel using the same card?

Hi there Jarom! Yes! You can share the multicard with several people. You will just need to top it up more often.

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Can I go to Toledo with my student pass?

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Yes. You can take the ALSA bus for free with public transportation card from the Plaza Eliptica bus station.

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I have a problem. The internet page to buy the card has an error. when I type in my credit card name and click “siguiente” nothing happens. The page loads itself again. what can I do?

Hi Sarah! Sometimes the page gets stuck and you need to close it down and start again. Another problem could be that your card is not accepted. Unfortunately I can’t give you further info about the problem unless I see it. Feel free to send an email to [email protected] and we can help you order your transport card.

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bus travel madrid

Madrid Traveller

Getting around using Madrid buses

madrid buses

Madrid buses are, along with the Metro , the best way to move around the city. Apart from being an efficient and cheap means of transport, you can get anywhere you want, including the airport , and the main bus ( Estación Sur and Avenida de América ) and train stations ( Atocha and Chamartín ).

Table of Contents

Regular Madrid buses: practical information

City buses are run by EMT Madrid (Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid), a public company. It has a network of 170+ bus lines, plus 27 night ones.

More than 2,000 buses cover this wide network. All are clean, safe, efficient, and have disabled access. Each one has heating, air-conditioning, and offers free Wi-Fi access.

Buses generally operate from 5:30 to 23:30 although each line has its own schedule and it may not match. All the buses are blue and white except the ones operating the airport express line, which are yellow and white.

The bus won’t stop unless you waive or raise your hand.

If you want to get off at a stop, press one of the red buttons scattered around the bus with some time in advance.

As a rule of thumb, bus passengers form a line to enter the vehicle one by one. Please respect it.

Night Madrid buses or Búhos : practical information

Night buses start to operate as soon as the regular ones end their shifts. The large majority do so around midnight when departing from Plaza de Cibeles and around 23:30 when departing from the suburbs.

These buses are called búhos (owls) and there are 25+ routes. Most of them operate from Plaza de Cibeles terminus stop, but there are a couple of routes that start at Alonso Martínez.

The frequency varies depending on the lines and goes from 15 to 30 minutes. The fare is the same as during the day service.

For more information, download a brochure of Madrid night buses network .

Fares at Madrid buses

In order to get on one of Madrid buses you must pay the corresponding fare.

You can do so paying in cash for the number of single tickets you intend to purchase. Please note that in Madrid, bus drivers have a minimum amount of money for change in the vehicle. Don’t try to pay with bank notes higher than 5€.

However, my recommendation is that you purchase one of these two cards first.

1. The Madrid Multi Card . The Madrid Multi Card is not personal, so anyone can use it. If you are traveling in a group all of you can use the same Multi Card until you have no credit on it.

  • A Billete sencillo (Single ticket) is valid for one trip in any bus, except the Airport Express one. You can only purchase them on board.
  • The Metrobús is valid for 10 trips in the whole EMT network, as well as in the subway network ( Metro ) and the tram Metro Ligero ML1.

2. The Madrid Tourist Travel Pass . This is a Tourist Ticket. In other words, it’s a transport pass allowing you to get free unlimited rides using all public transport services ( subway , light rail, buses and trains ) in Madrid and the rest of the region ( comunidad autónoma ). The pass is available for 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days, and it is personal and non transferable.

It will help you save money and avoid the hassle of having change in your pockets.

Always validate your Multi Card or Tourist Travel Pass. You can get a fine of 30€ for being caught without a ticket.

How to reach your destination with Madrid buses

You can have all the information on Madrid buses on your smartphone downloading the free EMT app ( iPhone or Android ).

The EMT Madrid site is the best source to have a look at the timetables and routes.

Alternatively, you can use one of my traveling tools: Citymapper . It’s the best public transit app (and website!) integrating data for all urban modes of transport.

Finally, you can download a Madrid buses tourist map . It provides all the information of the routes you are probably be using, a summary of all the Búhos stops locations at Plaza de Cibeles, and other practical information about fares and services. You should definitely get it!

How to reach or exit Madrid Airport by bus

Madrid buses are one of the many alternatives you can use to reach or exit Madrid Airport .

You have two complete tutorials on the subject that will guide you step by step:

  • Going to Madrid Airport by bus
  • Getting to Madrid from the airport using the bus

How to reach or exit Atocha Train Station by bus

Once again, Madrid buses are a good public transport option to reach or exit Atocha , Madrid’s main train station.

You can reach the station taking the 10, 14, 24, 26, 32, 37, 54, 57, 59, 85, 86, 102, 121, 203 and C2 buses.

Start planning your upcoming trip to Madrid

  • Find the cheapest flights to Madrid
  • Book the best hotels at the lowest rates
  • Find the cheapest train tickets ( tutorial )
  • Save by choosing the best Madrid city pass for you with my exclusive discounts. My favorite is the Madrid Pass ( review ).
  • Book the best tours and day trips in Madrid in English
  • Pay in Euros and avoid commissions with your Wise debit card ( tutorial )
  • Buy your prepaid SIM card online to have internet connection as soon as you arrive ( tutorial )
  • Get your travel insurance to avoid bad surprises ( review )
  • Rent a car at the lowest rate
  • Book your Madrid Airport transfer

Public Transport in Madrid

Public Transport in Madrid

Madrid’s public transport system is extremely efficient ; it connects the city’s main interest points and is quite cheap, compared to other European cities.

Madrid Metro

Madrid city tour, electric bikes, prices and passes, tourist travel pass.

If your hotel is not in the city centre, you might want to check out Madrid’s tourist travel pass in our article on money saving tips to make the most of your holidays in Spain’s capital.

bus travel madrid

Tourist Information Guide

Essential information about the madrid bus system, page content.

This page explains where and how the Madrid bus system network operates and when and where to catch a bus in Madrid. You will learn about prices, and the different tickets available, where the main bus stations are and which destinations outside of Madrid the buses travel to.

Madrid Airport Transport

Where Are The Bus Terminals?

The Estacion del Sur Bus Station in Madrid

There are 3 main Madrid bus terminals. See details of each below, and links to their official websites where available. I've also detailed the destinations you can travel to from each station.

Estación Sur de Madrid Méndez Álvaro, 83 28045 Madrid, España.

Telephone:  +34 91 468 4200 Official website

Car parking

Main bus transit companies:.

Alsa. Tel.:  +34 90 242 2242. Buses travelling to all parts of Spain. Socibus. Tel.:  +34 90 222 9292. Services operating to Sevilla, Cádiz, Córodoba, Huelva and Jerez de la Frontera.

Estación de Avenida de América Avda. de América, 9 28002 Madrid, España. Telephone:  012

Main transit company:

Continental-Auto They go to Bilbao, San Sebastián, Vitoria, Burgos, Santander, Pamplona, Logroño, Soria, Guadalajara, Toledo and Granada.

Estacion de Conde de Casal Plaza Conde de Casal 28007 Madrid, España. Telephone:  012

The company, 'Avanza' operates out of this station. You can take buses from Madrid to Barcelona, Valencia, Castellón, Toledo, Extremadura, Salamanca, Valladolid, Ávila, Segovia and Pontevedra. Tel:  +34 90 202 0999

Travelling Within The City on a Bus

An EMT City Bus

The buses within Madrid are red, and called EMT (Empresa Municipal de Transporte). They can get you to any part of the city, and operate mainly in their own bus lanes, which helps them to avoid traffic most of the time. The buses operate between more or less from 06:00 and 23:30 , depending on the line. From 23:30 - 05:00 am there are night buses running, exact times depend on the line. Waiting times depend on each line as not every line has the same amount of buses available. The red bus stops are easily spotted and each has a timetable attached to it.

If you want to consult up to date timetables, or find out which number bus you need for your journey, then visit the official EMT site

Our Insider Tip

The bus won't stop unless you flag it down. If you are inside the bus, you must ring the bell for the next stop.

Facilities on A Madrid Bus

There are nearly 2000 buses in total, and they are clean, safe and efficient. Each one has air-conditioning, and you will find that they all have disabled access. Although, they can get pretty crowded.

Catching A Bus At Night Time

You can catch buses at night. These buses are affectionately termed 'búhos', which means 'owls'. You may have to wait up to 30 minutes at night time, but the good news is that the fare is the same as for the day time. The night buses run along 20 different routes, and every single one of them travels through Plaza de la Cibeles. This is handy, as it is only 15 minutes walk from the centre (Sol and Gran Via), where most of the night life is.

The Madrid Bus Network From The Airport

The airport is well served by the EMT buses. Line 200 travels daily from Barajas Airport to Avenida de América (T1, T2 and T3). Line 204 will take you from T4 to Avenida de América.

Single ticket:  €1.50

The best value if you are going to be travelling around Madrid, is probably to buy a Metrobús ticket, which allows you 10 journeys on the metro or bus. When you get on the bus, you have to stamp your ticket in the machine.

Single ticket:  €1.50 Metrobús ticket:  €12.20

You can't buy the Metrobus ticket on the bus. Get it either in the metro station, newspaper stands or tobacco shops (estanco).

I'm looking for more information about travelling to or from Madrid by coach

If you don't think that a Madrid bus covers the route that you need to know about. We've provided links below to several coach companies that operate out of the Madrid bus terminals.

National coach companies:

Avanza Group

Save Money Using The Bus Network

The Madrid Bus network runs at night, and so if you use this page to find out in advance, the route you want to travel at night, you can save money that you would have spent on a taxi. There are 3 bus terminals in Madrid that have departures to other cities in Spain, and they are all well connected by the metro, making travel in and out of the city easy. You can use your bus ticket on the metro system too.

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Find cheap bus tickets to Madrid

Easily compare and book your next trip with Busbud

What are the most popular bus routes to Madrid?

We've found the top bus routes travelers take to get to Madrid! Every day our bus partners (BlaBlaCar, ALSA, Grupo Samar) bring people from major cities to Madrid. Enjoy the convenience of taking the bus to Madrid!

What bus companies operate from Madrid?

BlaBlaCar

Easily book cheap bus tickets to Madrid

We recommend booking as early as possible. You can also create a Busbud account and sign up for email updates on your favorite travel routes and bus companies!

When you book a bus trip from Barcelos to Madrid with Busbud, you pay an average price of $45. There are 2 scheduled buses per day. The bus trip takes an average of 13h 40m. Departures are between 16:30:00 and 16:30:00.

Each day 5 buses connect Girona to Madrid. The average travel time for this route is 1d 4h. When you book with Busbud, you can expect an average price of $158. Daily departures are between 00:10:00 and 19:35:00.

You can take the bus from Girona to Madrid for an average price of $51. There are 3 buses operating this route every day. The earliest bus leaves at 00:40:00 and the latest bus departs at 21:30:00. The average travel time for this route is 7h 30m.

Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Madrid is both the capital and largest city in Spain, making it an instant magnet for intrepid travelers seeking an unforgettable getaway. If you want to soak up some of the most famous highlights of the country, hop on an affordable bus to Madrid. With Busbud, it's easy to find the right itinerary for your schedule and your budget.

Buses to Madrid

Buses are a popular option for traveling to Madrid, especially for budget-conscious travelers. Bus companies such as ALSA, Avanza, and FlixBus offer regular services from different cities in Spain and across Europe to Madrid.

These buses are equipped with comfortable seats, air conditioning, and onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi and toilets. Traveling by bus is also an excellent option for those who prefer to enjoy scenic routes.

Bus companies

Madrid is a well-connected city, and several bus companies offer services to and from the city. Some of the main bus companies that operate in Madrid include Alsa, Socibus, Avanza, FlixBus, and Damas.

Alsa : Alsa is one of the leading bus companies in Spain and it operates several bus routes to Madrid from various cities within Spain, including Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Malaga and Granada, and from some international destinations, like Lisbon. Alsa's buses are comfortable, modern, and equipped with amenities such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and reclining seats. The company has different bus classes, so you can select trips in their economy buses or in their extra comfortable executive buses.

Socibus offers regular services from Northern to Southern Spain, traveling between cities like San Sebastian, Bilbao, Madrid, Sevilla and Cadiz. Their buses are equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, footrests, bathrooms, trays, power outlets and onboard amenities.

Avanza is another famous bus company that offers services to Madrid from different cities in Spain and Portugal, including cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Cuenca, Marbella, Vigo, Valladolid, Valencia and Salamanca. The buses are quite comfortable, and travelers can enjoy reclining seats, air conditioning, footrests, reading lights, and, in some buses, Wi-Fi and multimedia screens.

FlixBus is a budget-friendly option that offers services to Madrid from cities in Spain, Portugal, and other European countries. Their buses are equipped with comfortable seats, free Wi-Fi, and electrical outlets.

Finally, Damas is a bus company that offers services from cities in the south of Spain, such as Malaga and Almeria, to Madrid, with comfortable and modern buses. These bus companies offer travelers a range of options to choose from, ensuring a comfortable and convenient journey to Madrid.

Other bus companies also travel to Spain's capital, but these are some of the most popular ones.

Bus Stations in Madrid

The largest bus station in Madrid is Estación Sur de Autobuses , or Bus Station South. If you're headed into the city, there's a good chance this is where you'll arrive. Forty bus companies operate out of this station, and there are about 30 shops and cafés here to meet your travel needs. The metro and Cercanias trains service this station.

The Intercambiador de Avenida de América is another important transport interchange in Madrid. This station services long-haul buses reaching the city via Barcelona Highway A-2. Intercity buses and several metro lines service this station as well, so you can easily reach points throughout the city from this arrival point.

The Aeropuerto Madrid-Barajas T4 station is located at the airport. City buses, intercity buses, taxis, and car rentals are all readily available at the airport, so you can easily plan the next leg of your journey from this point.

Trains to Madrid

Trains are a popular and convenient mode of transportation to Madrid, with the city being well-connected by train services.

Spain's national railway company, Renfe , operates two types of trains: high-speed trains (AVE) and regular trains. The high-speed trains travel at speeds of up to 310 km/h, connecting Madrid to big cities, like Barcelona and Valencia. Regular trains are usually more affordable and travel to many different cities across the country. These trains are equipped with comfortable seats, air conditioning, and onboard amenities such as food and drink service.

Besides Renfe, two other train companies offer intercity services from Madrid: Ouigo and Iryo. Ouigo is a low-cost high-speed option for trips between Madrid and Barcelona, with stops in Zaragoza and Tarragona. The company also travels to Valencia.

Iryo , on the other hand, offers a more exclusive and comfortable experience, in modern high-speed trains. These trains offer premium onboard services and a fast, quiet and sustainable way to travel to Madrid from Barcelona, Zaragoza, Cuenca, Valencia, Cordoba and Sevilla.

Train stations in Madrid

Atocha Station is the city's main train station, located in the southern part of Madrid. It is the primary station for high-speed trains connecting Madrid with different cities across Spain. It is also a significant transportation hub for suburban trains and metro services, making it easy for travelers to access different parts of the city.

Atocha Station is a beautiful and historic building, with a tropical garden and pond located in the center of the station. It offers a range of facilities for travelers, including shops, restaurants, and luggage storage. Atocha Station is an essential transportation hub for those traveling to and from Madrid by train.

Chamartin Station is located in the northern part of the city and primarily serves as a hub for long-distance trains and regional services. It is a modern and spacious station with a range of facilities for travelers, including shops, restaurants, and luggage storage. Chamartin Station is an essential transportation hub for those traveling to the northern regions of Spain, such as Galicia, Asturias, and Cantabria.

Where are the popular bus stations and stops in Madrid?

Locations map

Why choose Busbud?

The best way to book bus and train tickets.

Busbud.com makes it easy for you to find, compare and book city-to-city bus tickets, all over the world. We save you the extra trip to the bus station. With Busbud, wherever you go, you have a worldwide bus station within reach and available in your own language and currency. Busbud partners with safe and reliable bus companies throughout the world such as Greyhound, Eurolines, ALSA, OUIBUS (BlaBlaBus), National Express and many others so you can buy tickets without a worry.

Popular bus routes to and from Madrid

Buses going to madrid.

  • Bus from Madrid to Almería
  • Bus Madrid - Leipzig
  • Madrid - Paris
  • Bus from Madrid to Granada
  • Bus Madrid - Cádiz
  • Madrid - Alicante
  • Bus from Madrid to Bilbao
  • Bus Madrid - Seville
  • Madrid - Córdoba
  • Bus from Madrid to Pamplona
  • Bus Madrid - Ávila
  • Madrid - Marbella
  • Bus from Madrid to Oviedo
  • Bus Madrid - Logroño
  • Madrid - Burgos
  • Madrid to Madrid Airport
  • Madrid to Valladolid Airport
  • Madrid to Frankfurt Airport
  • Madrid to Barcelona Airport

Buses Leaving from Madrid

Top traveled bus routes in spain.

  • Bus from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona
  • Bus Madrid - Toledo
  • Madrid - Valencia
  • Bus from Barcelona to Valencia
  • Bus Bilbao - San Sebastian
  • Marbella - Málaga
  • Bus from Valencia to Madrid
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Madrid Traveling

Public transport in Madrid: best options and tips from a local

Public transport in Madrid is cheap, fast, clean, and one of the safest in the world.

Madrid offers excellent alternatives when walking is not an option, such as the subway, bus, train, and taxi.

Besides, electric bikes are an entertaining, sustainable, and healthy way to discover the city.

Table of contents

What to expect from public transport in Madrid

Subway | metro madrid, urban buses | emt madrid, train | renfe cercanias madrid, electric bike | bicimad, what is the best public transport in madrid, is public transport in madrid safe, is public transport in madrid expensive, what types of public transport are there in madrid.

I believe that walking is the best way to experience any city in the world firsthand. But travelers with a tight schedule will appreciate the outstanding public transport in Madrid.

You can reach any point in the city center in just a few minutes and at an affordable price, compared to other cities in Europe and America. 

» Check out my popular post: How to Get from Madrid Airport to the City Center .

Public transport in Madrid will help you to save time and make the most of your trip to Spain.

There are several options to get around . But if you are planning to use public transport in Madrid you must read this guide with the necessary information and tips to use Madrid´s public transport like a local.

Ready to start? Here’s my practical guide to using means of public transport in Madrid.

Public transport in Madrid: Best alternatives

Madrid offers an integral and extensive network of public transport.

Metro Madrid, EMT buses, Renfe Cercanias, taxis, and BiciMAD electric bikes will help you to make the most of your trip to Spain. 

Subway is one of the best options to get around Madrid

There is nothing better than walking in Madrid but if you want to travel fast you have to go underground .

Metro Madrid is probably the most popular public transport in Madrid. More than 2 million travelers enjoy every day this fast and efficient way to move around Madrid.

▷ Is Metro Madrid safe?

Metro Madrid is one of the safest subways in the world. More than 7,000 workers, 5,000 intercoms, and 9,000 cameras will guarantee your safety.

I have always felt safe traveling in Metro Madrid even at night.

▷ What are the Metro Madrid zones?

The subway network in Madrid is divided into 12 main lines and 4 additional branch lines. Metro Madrid lines are identified by both their number and their color .

Metro Madrid network covers the whole metropolitan and the main suburbs of the city. With more than 300 hundred stations, 294 km of network, and 2,400 trains, Madrid´s subway is the most extensive public transport in Madrid.

, Madrid´s subway is one of the best and safest in the world

▷ Where can I get a Metro Madrid map?

Maps are available at every station, on the official website, and in the Metro Madrid App.

▷ What is the price of the Madrid subway tickets?

The price of a single ticket for Zone A, the most popular for tourists, is currently between 1.50€ and 2 €, depending on the number of stops to your final destination. The 10-journey ticket for Zone A is 12.20 €.

Single tickets must be used on the day of purchase. And all tickets must be loaded on a Public Transport Card . Remember that you can easily reload your transport card with your cell phone .

▷ Do kids need a ticket?

Children under the age of four may use Metro Madrid without a ticket . Children from 4 to 7 years old may obtain a child’s Public Transport Card free of charge.

You will need a transport card for getting around Madrid by subway

▷ What is a Public Transport Card?

To travel on the underground public transport in Madrid you need a Public Transport Card loaded with a valid ticket.

The most popular Public Transport Card among locals and tourists is the contactless Multi Card . The price of a Multi card is 2.50 €.

▷ How many people can use the same Public Transport Card?

The card for this public transport in Madrid can be consecutively validated as many times as there are passengers using the service with the same card.

Just be aware that passengers have to begin and end their journey together .

Metro Madrid is the most widely used means of public transport in Madrid

▷ Where to buy a metro ticket?

You can purchase the tickets and the Public Transport Cards at the user-friendly ticket machines in subway stations. Credit cards are accepted.

Metro Madrid staff will help you with any doubts you could have.

▷ Can I get rid of the ticket once I have entered Metro Madrid?

No. You must keep your valid ticket until you get to your final destination and have passed through the exit turnstile.

You could be required to show the ticket by agents of inspectors. Passengers without a valid public transport ticket could be required to pay up to an 80 € fine.

bus travel madrid

▷ What are the service times of Metro Madrid?

Metro Madrid operates from 6 a.m. to 1.30 a.m. The subway is one of the best public transport services in Madrid and it is open almost 24/7.

The frequency of trains during peak hours is approximately every 3-4 minutes. Check out my post about the Madrid Metro hours for more details.

▷ How to find an entrance to Metro Madrid?

Madrid´s subway stations can be accessed from the street. You will find signs on lampposts guiding you to the nearest station.

Subway entrances are marked with the recognizable Metro Madrid logo and you will see the name of the station and the color and number of the lines passing through the station.

Getting around Madrid by subway will get you to the top-rated monuments in just a few minutes

▷ How is a journey in Metro Madrid?

In order to get to the station platform, just swipe the Multi Card through the active turnstiles which are highlighted with a green arrow.

Inside the Madrid Metro stations, you will find plenty of information and orientation signs to help you find out where you are and how to get to your destination.

Wait for the train to completely stop before approaching it and let people out before going in.

When the train arrives at your destination station, you will find green signs on the platforms and corridors indicating the exit and the nearest streets.

▷ How can I know the waiting times for the next trains?

The panels located on the platforms of all stations inform travelers about the waiting times for the next trains.

Chueca station in Metro Madrid

▷ What is the best route to my final destination?

The Metro Madrid website and the official app will inform you about the best route to your destination.

▷ How can I download the Metro Madrid official app?

The Metro Madrid official app is available for both Android and iOS. It is really convenient as, among others, you can get information about:

  • The waiting time for the following trains at any station in the network.
  • The stations closest to your location and the services available.
  • The network map and the tourist map.
  • The best route to your destination.
  • Fares, passes, tickets, and opening hours.

▷ How accessible is Metro Madrid?

Metro Madrid is working to facilitate accessibility in the underground network through more than 1,700 escalators and 550 elevators .

You can check at the Metro Madrid website and in the App if there are escalators and elevators in every station of the network.

▷ Can I travel with a bicycle?

Yes. But only one bike per passenger is allowed. Besides, a maximum of two bicycles can be placed in the front car and other two in the rear car.

Remember that riding the bike in the installations is forbidden.

Entrance to the subway, one of the best means of public transport in Madrid

▷ Can I travel with a dog?

Yes. But each passenger can take only one dog, fitted with a muzzle and on a leash shorter than 50 centimeters.

You will have to travel in the rear car of each train and dogs may not occupy seats.

▷ How should I act in an emergency situation in Metro Madrid?

During the trip, an unexpected situation may arise that you may need help with.

Metro staff will be happy to help you, they usually wear yellow or orange waistcoats. You will also find intercoms in lobbies, on platforms, and at turnstiles.

There are numerous signs indicating the direction of the emergency exits. Remember to avoid lifts and escalators in emergency situations.

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in Metro Madrid?

You can call the Interactive Passenger Service Centre at +34 900 444 404, and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

An online form is also available for users to contact the lost and found service and for other communications with Metro Madrid.

It is a good idea to avoid driving in Madrid, due to the heavy traffic at peak times and the limited parking in certain areas

▷ Is the subway a sustainable way of public transport in Madrid?

Madrid´s subway is a respectful and sustainable mode of public transport since no fossil fuels are used to provide the service.

Besides, as most of the service is provided underground, it helps to reduce traffic jams and environmental pollution .

Madrid´s underground is 2.5 times less polluting than private cars.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s subway?

I am sure the following tips will help you to better enjoy and stay safe on public transport in Madrid:

  • Try to avoid rush hours during the weekdays, especially at 8-9 a.m.
  • Check the information in the front of the train for the correct destination.
  • Stand on the right when using escalators.
  • Wait for the train to completely stop before approaching it.
  • Let passengers leave the train before boarding.
  • Hold onto the rails if you are standing.
  • Mind the gap between the train and the platform.

Save time and stress on your trip using public transport in Madrid.

Buses are a convenient and cheap way to move, and they offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.

▷ Are Madrid urban buses safe?

Yes. They are totally safe.

You can easily recognize official public EMT buses as their current colors are blue and white.

Madrid´s public buses are a convenient and cheap way to move

▷ How many routes are available?

With more than 215 routes and 2000 buses, EMT is an excellent way to enjoy public transport in Madrid.

▷ Where can I get information about the routes?

You will find all the necessary information about bus stops and routes on the EMT official website .

▷ What is the price of the EMT bus tickets?

Currently, the price of a single ticket is 1.5 € , and notes larger than 5 € are usually not accepted.

In case you are using the Multi Card, it must be validated in the ticket stamping machines on EMT buses.

End-to-end Madrid travel guide | Best things to do

As it happens in the subway, children under the age of 4 travel for free .

▷ Where to buy a bus ticket?

In case you are not carrying available tickets in your Muti Card, tickets can be purchased on board too. Credit cards are accepted and you cannot pay with notes larger than 5 €.

No. You need to keep a valid ticket until you get off the bus.

▷ What are the service times of EMT Madrid?

Buses in Madrid run from 6 a.m. till 11.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and the usual frequency is 4-15 minutes, depending on the line and the time of day.

On weekends and public holidays, they run from 7 a.m. till 11 p.m. and buses are slightly less frequent.

Madrid´s buses offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way

▷ Is the public transport in Madrid offering night bus services?

After 11.30 p.m. the city operates night buses (a.k.a “buhos”, the Spanish word for owls) for some specific routes. They run till the early hours of the morning and the fare is the same as for daytime buses.

There are currently 28 lines and almost all of them start or end in Plaza de Cibeles. They run every 35 minutes from Sunday to Friday and on public holidays, and every 15-20 minutes on Saturdays and the eve of a public holiday.

You can check the frequency for each line at the corresponding bus stop.

▷ How is a journey on Madrid´s public buses?

You must signal to the driver that you wish to board as the bus approaches. If not, the bus could skip the stop and continue its route.

The line number and direction are indicated on the front of the bus and both sides of the bus. Anyway, in case you are not completely sure, ask the driver.

You get on the bus at the front and get off at the rear door of the bus. You will find electronic displays inside the buses with information about the next stops.

Buses stop at designated bus stops, and only upon request . To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, you must press the button before you reach it.

▷ How can I know the waiting times for the next buses?

Most of the bus stops of Madrid´s public transport have electronic displays which indicate the waiting times.

Most of the bus stops in Madrid have electronic displays which indicate the waiting time for the next bus to arrive

EMT has created this website with an interactive map that allows you to check the estimated waiting times and calculate the best bus route plan between two points.

▷ How accessible are Madrid´s public buses?

EMT is working to extend the “ Accessibility for all ” concept for public transport in Madrid.

This way you will find, among others, bus stops with audiovisual information at bus stops, access ramps, reserved seats, spaces designed for wheelchairs, and information in Braille.

▷ Are EMT buses a sustainable way of transport?

Yes, they are.

Besides, Madrid is currently the Spanish city with more electrified bus lines and the second in Europe, behind Berlin. The EMT forecasts that the electric fleet will reach 329 vehicles by the end of 2023.

Furthermore, the Madrid City Council expects that by 2033 the entire fleet will be ‘zero emissions’ to provide citizens with sustainable, safe, integrated, and innovative public transport.

Depending on the occupation of the vehicle, one folding bike is allowed per bus.

The rest of the bikes can only be transported just in the buses with a specific carrier outside the vehicle.

Top-rated Madrid’s Landmarks and Monuments

It has been recently approved that dogs can enter public buses, except during rush hours on weekdays.

There is a limit of one dog per vehicle , and they must travel at all times on a leash, with a muzzle, and lying under the seat occupied by their owner on the front side of the bus.

▷ How can I contact EMT Madrid?

Public transport in Madrid is always seeking to improve. You can communicate with EMT through their official website, e-mailing [email protected], and calling +34 91 406 88 10.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s buses?

Buses can sometimes be faster than the subway and passengers can enjoy the views. Anyway, be aware of the time and skip rush hours to avoid traffic jams.

The next public transport in Madrid is the train. The Renfe Cercanias network is top-quality and is the fastest way to move to the outskirts.

Trains have fewer stops than Metro Madrid and EMT buses, which is why they are more convenient for long distances .

▷ Are Madrid´s trains safe?

▷ how many railway lines are there in madrid.

The Renfe service consists of 9 train lines connecting the center to its surrounding suburbs.

Trains in Madrid are excellent

▷ Where can I get a Renfe map?

You can find maps of the whole Madrid train network in all the stations, on the Renfe website, and on the Renfe Cercanias App.

▷ What is the price of the Cercanias Madrid train tickets?

Getting around Madrid by train is quite affordable too, although the price varies depending on the distance traveled. For instance, the current price of a single ticket for 1-2 zones is 1.70 € .

Remember that Renfe & Tú card is needed to load the tickets. The price of the card is 2€ and it is reusable and rechargeable.

▷ Do kids need a train ticket?

Children under the age of 6 travel for free , with a maximum of 2 kids for every adult ticket.

Public Transport in Madrid

▷ Where to buy a Cercanias Madrid train ticket?

You can purchase your train tickets through the self-service machines located in all the Renfe stations.

There are also ticket offices for this public transport in Madrid where staff can advise you and solve any doubt you can have. Credit cards are allowed.

▷ Can I get rid of the ticket once I have entered the train?

No. You must keep your valid ticket until you get to your final destination and have passed through the exit turnstile. You could be required to show the ticket by agents of inspectors.

▷ What are the service times of Renfe Madrid?

Trains start running in Madrid every day between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and stop at around midnight . They normally run every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the line and day of the week.

▷ How to find an entrance to Renfe Madrid?

Madrid´s train stations can be accessed from the street and are marked with the recognizable Renfe Cercanias logo .

▷ How is a journey in Renfe Cercanias Madrid?

In order to get to the station platform, just swipe the Renfe & Tú card through the active turnstiles.

Inside the station, you will find plenty of information and orientation signs to help you find out where you are and how to get to your destination.

The same line can sometimes have different destinations . Be sure you take a look at the information displays placed on the platforms to get on the right train.

The next public transport in Madrid is the Renfe Cercanias

You will find displays on the station platforms informing about the waiting times for the next trains.

Your bicycle travels for free when the occupation of the train allows for this.

If there are no marked spaces, place them on the train’s access platform, without invading corridors or non-folding seating areas.

There is a limit of one dog per person, and they must travel at all times on a leash and with a muzzle.

▷ How can I contact Renfe Madrid?

You can communicate with Renfe to get further information by calling +34 912 320 320.

Customers can also send any suggestions, complaints, or comments about Renfe Madrid through the form on the Renfe website .

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in Renfe Madrid?

You can call the Lost Property at +34 91 506 69 69, and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

▷ Is Renfe a sustainable way of public transport in Madrid?

As informed on their website, Renfe operates eco-friendly, electric trains with zero emissions .

The vast majority of the trains run 100% on electricity from renewable sources. Rail transport emits between 5 and 7 times less CO2 than road transport.

▷ What are other useful tips for Madrid´s public trains?

Try to avoid rush hours , especially in the mornings. As many locals leave outside the city center, every morning they use the train to go to work and to get back home in the afternoon.

A taxi is probably the most comfortable option for public transport in Madrid.

It is often the fastest too although it depends on the traffic. With over 15,000 taxis in Madrid, you will easily find a free vehicle.

A taxi is probably the most comfortable option for getting around Madrid

▷ How to identify official taxis in Madrid?

Madrid´s official taxis are easily recognizable. They are white-colored with a red stripe and the coat-of-arms of the city on their doors.

▷ Where can I find an official taxi in Madrid?

If a taxi is free, the green light on its roof sign is lit. All you have to do is raise your hand to hail it.

There are also taxi ranks throughout the city with a recognizable blue signpost.

▷ What is the price of a taxi in Madrid?

There is a minimum fare of 2.5 € – 3.15 € and a price per kilometer of 1.15 € – 1.40 € depending on the day of the week and the time. All vehicles accept credit cards.

In the TxMAD App, you will find at all times all the updated fares. In case you ask for a taxi through App, you will get an estimation of the final price of your journey.

▷ How much does it cost to get from the airport to the city center?

If you want to use public transport in Madrid to get from the airport to downtown, taxis are an excellent option, especially if you are carrying heavy luggage.

The price is quite affordable and a fixed rate of 30 € has been set.

▷ Traveling with small children?

Some taxis are equipped with children’s car seats but it is not compulsory. Probably the best way to avoid problems is to book a taxi in advance and request a child seat.

▷ What are the service times of Madrid´s taxis?

You can get a taxi in Madrid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

▷ Does taxi Madrid offer wheelchair-accessible taxis?

Yes. They are called Eurotaxi. Be sure to point out you need this type of vehicle when you ask for a vehicle.

Before you travel, learn if you can use your foreign driving license during your trip to Spain.

▷ Can I take my dog in a taxi?

Small pets can travel at the discretion of the driver . Guide dogs are always allowed.

▷ How many passengers are allowed in a taxi?

It depends on the size and maximum occupation allowed for every type of vehicle. But, normal taxis can take up to 4 passengers .

▷ Can taxi drivers speak English?

Just some taxi drivers in Madrid speak and understand English. It is always convenient to show them a paper or a cell phone screen with the address.

▷ Have you lost a personal belonging in a public taxi?

You can call +34 915 298 210 and email [email protected] and you will be informed on whether it has been found.

Besides, if you have the taxi license plate number of the vehicle, you can claim the belonging through the TxMAD App.

Madrid is increasingly bike-friendly, and the network of cycling lanes is growing every day.

Public transport in Madrid is now more sustainable than ever with the BiciMAD program offering 7,500 electric bikes to discover the city.

▷ How can I rent a BiciMAD electric bike in Madrid?

BiciMAD is really simple to use. You can sign up as an occasional user at the docking station totem , where you can choose among a 1, 3, or 5-day pass.

You will insert the requested information in the totems as well as the credit card number where you will receive the charge (cash payments are not allowed).

The 5 Best (and cheapest) Bike Tours in Madrid

▷ What is the price of BiciMAD?

Although BiciMAD will immediately block 150€, they will charge you 2 € for the first hour and 4 € for every additional hour .

You will be billed at the end of the selected period depending on the use of the service.

▷ How can I identify available bikes?

There are more than 600 points around Madrid where you can pick a bike.

The BiciMAD mobile app also allows you to check in real time if any bikes are available at the nearest pick-up point

▷ Can I leave my bike at a different station?

Yes. You can rent a bike at any of the docking stations and leave it in any other.

▷ How can I release and lock the BiciMAD bikes?

There are two possibilities to start the trip: with the card or through the application.

The user can swipe the BiciMAD card or the public transport card on the right side of the base or on the side of the lock. You can also scan the QR code from the app and wait for the green light to turn on.

To finish the trip, place your BiciMAD bicycle on the base at any station and wait for the green light to confirm that it is properly placed. The new e-bikes lock themselves, no need for the user to manually lock them.

For more information, check out my specific article about how to use BiciMAD Madrid .

BiciMAD Madrid

▷ How do BiciMAD electric bikes work?

The BiciMAD e-bikes provide users with electric technology to help them with pedaling assistance.

The LCD display integrated into the bike frame determines the speed and battery charge level.

▷ What are the service times of the electric bikes in Madrid?

Like some of the other means of public transport in Madrid, BiciMAD works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

▷ What is BiciMAD Go?

BiciMAD Go is the most recent service of electric bikes in Madrid. It works in a similar way to BiciMAD, and the App is the same.

The main difference is that bikes do not need to be locked at the BiciMAD stations but they can also be parked in other designated spaces for bikes.

You can unlock the bikes with the App and the QR code on the bike. To finish the service, you need to manually lock the bike and confirm on the app that the journey has been properly finished.

▷ What is the minimum age to use BiciMAD?

14 years old. Users under 16 must be registered by an adult.

▷ Is BiciMAD a sustainable means of public transport in Madrid?

Yes. BiciMAD is the most sustainable public transport in Madrid.

BiciMAD is the public electric bicycle rental service in Madrid

▷ How can I contact BiciMAD?

For any incident with the service, you can contact BiciMAD through the totems in every station, calling +34 900 878 331, and through the BiciMAD app.

▷ Are electric bikes in Madrid safe?

Getting around Madrid by bike is safe but requires extra care. Take always into account the following tips:

  • Verify the proper conditions of the bike before using it. Take special care with wheels, brakes, seat, and bell.
  • Bicycles shall drive on the road, preferably on the right lane, and avoid the bus lane.
  • It is forbidden to drive on the sidewalks and pedestrian areas.
  • Make yourself more visible to other drivers by using reflective gear and by driving in the center of the lane.
  • Remember to sign all the maneuvers and turns in advance.
  • Obey all the traffic signs and lights.
  • Children under 16 years old using this public transport in Madrid must wear a helmet.

Final Words

Metro Madrid is the most widely used means of public transport in Madrid. It is fast, clean, safe, and cheap, what else can you ask for? A single ticket can get you anywhere in the city.

Yes. Public transport in Madrid is one of the safest in the world, even at night.

Not at all. Public Transport in Madrid is top-quality and prices are affordable, especially if we compare them with other European and American cities.

There is a wide offer of public transport in Madrid such as the subway, buses, trains, taxis, and electric bikes.

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Public Transportation

Getting Around Madrid: Guide to Public Transportation

How to use the metro and EMT buses

bus travel madrid

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As Spain's capital and largest city, Madrid teems with must-see sights , scores of excellent bars and restaurants , and a nightlife scene unlike any other. In order to make the most of your time, figuring out the city's extensive public transportation network is a must.

Luckily, it's not as overwhelming as it seems. Public transportation in Madrid is efficient and easy to navigate. Here's everything you need to know about getting around this thriving, happening city like a local.

How to Ride the Madrid Metro

By far, the most frequently used method of public transportation in Madrid is the metro . Stations can be identified by a red and white diamond-shaped sign marked "Metro" with the name of the stop below it. As you make your way into the station, you'll be able to see which lines (identified by number and color) that location serves. Follow the blue signs that say "Entrada."

Once inside the station, you'll need to purchase a public transport card from one of the machines. Simply follow the self-explanatory instructions on the screen (changing the text to your preferred language if need be). Once you have your card, you can then load your metro trips onto it, eliminating the need for paper tickets. Single journey and 10-trip passes are available .

To access the metro, scan your card over the electronic reader at the turnstiles. Do the same as you exit once you reach your destination.

Madrid Metro Fast Facts :

  • Cost : €2.50 for the transport card; single journeys range from €1.50–€2. A 10-trip ticket costs €12.20.
  • How to pay : With cash or card (where available) at the electronic ticket machines.
  • Hours of operation : 6 a.m.–1:30 a.m.
  • Transfer information : At the transfer station, follow the signs indicating where to board the train for your final destination. Once you arrive, exit the station as normal.
  • Accessibility : More than two thirds of Madrid's 300-plus metro stations are completely accessible, and that number is increasing every year.

The Madrid Metro website offers an easy-to-use trip planner that can help you plan your route.

Riding the EMT Bus

Another popular method of public transportation in Madrid is the bus, with more than 200 lines serving all corners of the city. Local buses are blue and are operated by the company EMT. All bus stops throughout the city have digital screens showing the wait time until the arrival of the next bus from each line serving that stop.

A single-journey ticket on the bus costs €1.50 and can be purchased from the driver. The largest bill admitted is five euros. If you've purchased a 10-journey ticket on your metro card, you can also use these trips on the bus.

Once on board the bus, keep an eye on the screens inside which show the next stop. In order to signal to the driver that you need to get off, simply press the nearest button.

Normal bus service runs from 6 a.m.–11:30 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m.–11 p.m. on weekends. After hours, a limited number of night buses (known as búhos ) are available on some lines.

To start exploring, use the route planner on the EMT website.

The Cercanías Commuter Rail

If you need to go further afield, Madrid's commuter rail system—known as Cercanías —is incredibly useful. Many popular day trips from Madrid are accessible via these trains.

Cercanías stations are marked with a backwards white C against a red circular background. Inside, purchase your tickets at the electronic kiosk or from an employee at the desk. Hold onto your ticket throughout the entire trip—you'll need it both to access the train as well as to leave the station at your destination.

Information on routes and timetables can be found on the Cercanías website .

Airport Transportation

Travelers headed to or from Madrid-Barajas Airport have several options.

  • Airport Express shuttle : Connects the city center (with stops at Atocha train station and Plaza de Cibeles) with all terminals of the airport. Luggage racks are available. Tickets cost five euros and are purchased on board.
  • Metro : Line 8 from the Nuevos Ministerios station stops at the airport, with access to all four terminals. An additional three-euro supplement is charged.
  • Cercanías : Line C1 connects Atocha station to terminal T4 at the airport. Tickets cost €2.60 for a single journey and €5.20 for a return trip. If you have a ticket for the AVE high-speed train , this journey is free. Ask a staff member for help if need be.

Official Madrid taxis are white with a red diagonal stripe on the front doors. You can hail one yourself on the street, online , or by calling +34 915 478 200. Another option is to have your hotel call a cab for you, or head to a designated taxi stop (indicated by a blue sign reading TAXI in white letters).

Biking in Madrid

If you'd like to see the city from two wheels and get in a great workout at the same time, you're in luck. Madrid's bike share program, BiciMAD , offers dozens of docking stations all around town. One, three, and five-day passes are available and can be purchased at the stations themselves.

Renting a Car

While it may seem like renting your own vehicle allows you more freedom and accessibility, it's not the best idea when visiting Madrid. The city's streets can be confusing to navigate for drivers unfamiliar with the area, traffic in central areas tends to be heavy throughout the day, and parking is next to impossible. If you're used to automatic cars, these tend to be more expensive to rent than their manual counterparts, which are more commonly driven in Spain. Save yourself the trouble and stick to public transportation.

Tips for Getting Around Madrid

  • Many of the main sights within Madrid's city center—such as Puerta del Sol , Plaza Mayor , and the Royal Palace —are within walking distance from one another. Consider exploring on foot.
  • Late at night, the only public transportation available are taxis and the búho buses , and even these don't operate on all normal bus lines. Plan your night out accordingly.
  • Renovations and other improvement works are a near constant with the metro, and some stations may be temporarily closed as a result. Keep an eye on the Metro website for up-to-date information.
  • Though generally safe, Madrid's public transportation network does draw its fair share of pickpockets, particularly at peak travel hours when trains and buses are more crowded. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your things.

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Spain: EIB and EMT Madrid sign €50 million loan to expand zero-emissions urban bus fleet

bus travel madrid

  • Project includes the purchase of 250 electric buses and 10 hydrogen buses to replace units nearing the end of their useful life.
  • With EIB support, Madrid's public urban transport company EMT will also acquire charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
  • The operation is aligned with the EIB’s Transport Lending Policy and contributes to have sustainable cities and regions.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Madrid's Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT) have signed a €50 million loan to finance the expansion of EMT's zero-emissions bus fleet, boosting support for sustainable urban public transport. The project includes the purchase of 250 electric buses and 10 hydrogen buses to replace the vehicles that have been in service in Madrid the longest, and are nearing the end of their useful life.

With EIB support, EMT will also acquire charging infrastructure to power the electric vehicles added to the city fleet. The financing will pay to equip one of its operations centres with this technology, located in Madrid’s Sanchinarro district.

Using electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles and the accompanying infrastructure helps reduce the carbon footprint of transport and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as noise and pollution. The planned investments will increase the number of zero-emissions vehicles on the roads and improve the quality of public transport in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, adding a more sustainable alternative to meet the urban mobility needs of residents.

The operation is aligned with the EIB’s Transport Lending Policy, which prioritises investments to improve the sustainability and resilience of existing transport infrastructure, along with new sustainable mobility projects. It also contributes to the EIB Group’s goal of sustainable cities and regions and is in line with its objectives with respect to climate action and environmental sustainability, a cross-cutting line of action of the Bank.

The arrangement is in line with EU transport and mobility policies that have climate change mitigation as the objective, like the Clean Vehicles Directive and the Sustainable and the Smart Mobility Strategy.

At the local level, the project is part of the Madrid 360 Sustainable Mobility Plan that underpins the city’s mobility policies to 2030, one strategy of which is helping to shift the fleet in use towards less polluting vehicles. Madrid currently has 30 zero-emissions bus lines, and is the city in Spain with the most routes that are fully electric.

The EIB and sustainable transport

The EIB finances projects that drive greener, safer and more accessible transport, in line with its Transport Lending Policy , updated in July 2022 following the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap and the European Green Deal. This policy sets the investment priorities needed to surmount the challenges facing the transport sector, and those most apt to power the shift to a more sustainable model. Sustainable transport is based on four interdependent pillars: It must be safe, accessible, green and efficient.

Find out more about the EIB’s support for the transport sector here .

Background information

European Investment Bank

The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by the Member States. It finances sound investments to pursue EU policy objectives . EIB projects bolster competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, and support a just and swift transition to climate neutrality.

The EIB Group, made up of the EIB and the European Investment Fund, reported total financing signatures in Spain of €11.4 billion in 2023, approximately €6.8 billion of which went to climate action and environmental sustainability projects. Overall, the EIB Group signed €88 billion in new financing in 2023.

Related pages

  • Spain and the EIB

Maite Cordero

Press Office

2024-238-EN

Related tags

  • public transport
  • urban mobility
  • sustainable transport

More press releases

Spain: advisory hub helps emt de madrid to develop its new la elipa operations centre.

The Advisory Hub, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), is set to advise Empresa Municipal de Transporte de Madrid (EMT — Madrid Municipal Transport Company) on the design and development of its new La Elipa operations centre. The agreement was signed by EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix and EMT President Borja Carabante.

Spain: Investment Plan for Europe - EIB provides EUR 30m loan for renewal of Palma de Mallorca’s urban bus fleet

The EU bank’s support will enable 180 diesel vehicles to be replaced by new compressed natural gas-powered buses. Some of the new vehicles will have greater transport capacity.

Spain: Climate action - EIB finances replacement of Barcelona's fleet of city buses with new, less polluting alternatives

The EIB is financing the modernisation of Barcelona's fleet of city buses by granting a EUR 73.5m loan helping Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) put 254 new, safer, less polluting and more modern vehicles into service. The agreement was signed in Barcelona by EIB head of public sector operations in Spain Joan Basora and TMB Chief Executive Officer Enric Cañas.

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