On foot. Excellent urban planning, pedestrian-friendly directions and large green spaces make exploring Madrid by walking a pleasurable experience. First-time visitors will be pleased to note that most of the important attractions can be found within walking distance of each other. The centerpoint is Puerta del Sol and all street numbers run outwards from it (Sol, marked by a sign that says Kilometro 0). Just pick up a map from the tourist office in Plaza Mayor and you can make your own walking tour of the city.
By Metro. The Madrid Metro is still the fastest way to get around the city. One of the best in Europe, the metro has 13 color-coded lines and about 290 stations with the central converging point in Sol station. It is open 365 days a year and run from 6 am to 2 am, with trains coming in every three to five minutes during the weekdays. Fares are charged by zones – a single trip in Zone A costs 1€. To get to the airport using the Metro there is a surcharge of 1€ on top of the fare. Regular commuters can buy the monthly pass or tickets in packs of 10. More information about travelling on the Metro can be found in their website www.metromadrid.es.
By bus. Equally excellent in terms of network and convenience is the bus system in Madrid. The city buses are operated by Empresa Municipal de Transporte (www.emtmadrid.es) with a 150-line network and run from 6 am to 11:30 pm daily. There are also night services running from midnight to 6 am (from midnight to 3 am the buses operate every 30 minutes and hourly from 3 am to 6 am). Like the Metro, fares are by zones – a single trip is 1€ and a value pack of 10 Metrobus tickets for 9.30€. Tickets for the bus can be bought not only from the metro counters and vending machines but also from newspaper kiosks.
By train. There is also a local network of trains that service the Madrid area spanning from the north end (Chamartin and Nuevos Ministros) to the southern areas (Sol and Atocha). The Cercanias trains are high frequency trains that are better used when travelling to outlying areas of the city or for regular commuters living outside of Metro Madrid but work in the city. They run daily from 5 am to 1 am and pass through the stations every 15 to 30 minutes. The trains are operated by state-owned Renfe (www.renfe.com) and ticket prices are also charged by zones – a single ticket for one to two zones is 1.35€ and a 10-trip ticket costs 7.40€. There are also Tourist Travel passes available from 1 to 7 days.
By taxi. The city cabs are easily recognizable from afar – white or black with a diagonal red band on the front doors and the symbols of the bear and madrono tree (the city insignias) on the side. If the taxi is available there is a lit green light on top or a placard that shows “libre” (free). If you want to book a taxi in advance you can call taxi operators such as: Teletaxi (91 3712131), Radio Taxi Independent (91 4051213) or Euro Taxi (91 5478500). Fares start at €1.85 and go up according to distance, the time of the day and day of the week.