As Madrid is the capital of Spain, getting there is quite easy. There are a number of options to take - all depending on your starting point, your budget and your choice of convenience.
By plane. Travelling by plane is still the easiest and fastest way to get to Madrid. The Madrid-Barajas International Airport (IATA: MAD) is just 8 miles away from the city center, Puerta del Sol. It is the largest airport in Spain and serves almost 100 airlines. At present, it serves as a hub for the following airlines: Air Europa, Air Pullmantur, EasyJet, Iberia, Mint Airways, Ryanair and Spanair.
As an added convenience, visitors who fly in can get to the city by taking the Metro (€2 for a Metro ticket to and from the airport), the Express Bus Service (€2 to get to O’Donell, Cibeles or Atocha), or a taxi (roughly €30-32 from the airport to the city center). There is also a night bus that operates between the airport and the city (€10).
By train. Depending on your point of origin, there are a number of ways by which you can get to Madrid by train. The city is well-connected to almost all points across Spain as well as major cities around Europe. Another advantage of travelling by train is that most would have dining cars and two seat classes (1st class and 2nd class) so you can sit back and relax while enjoying the scenery.
International direct services run from a number of countries to Madrid – from France, Portugal, UK, Switzerland, Italy and other points. These are usually cooperative or joint efforts by the national train companies of the countries involved. In Spain, the national rail company is RENFE (www.renfe.com). It operates the high-speed train AVE, which runs between Huesca/Lerida in the Pyrennes (north) to Sevilla in Andalucia in the south. AVE trains service routes between Madrid and Seville, Valladolid, Toledo, Malaga and Barcelona. There is also the Cercanias – regional high-frequency trains servicing the city of Madrid and outlying barrios and districts. The two main stations for these trains are the Chamartin station (northbound) and the Atocha station (southbound).
By bus. There are several bus operators servicing Madrid – some are international and others service different points of the country. The international buses use the Estacion Sur de Autobuses which is also Madrid’s main bus station. Local buses also use Estacion Sur but some would arrive and depart from the Moncloa Bus Station. International bus operators include Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) and ALSA Internacional (www.alsa.es). The domestic bus operators are the following: ALSA (northbound, Leon, Gijon, Barcelona, Bilbao and Zaragoza); AutoRes (Extremadura, Castilla y Leon, Valencia, Lisbon in Portugal); Autocares Herranz (Pozuelo, Majadahonda, Villalba); La Sepulvedana (Segovia, Mendez Alvaro); La Veloz (Chinchon).
By car. Visitors coming from the UK can take their car and put it on a ferry with P&O Ferries (www.poportsmouth.com) via Portsmouth to Bilbao, or with Brittany Ferries (www.brittany-ferries.com) via Plymouth to Santander. From Bilbao or Santander you can then drive heading south towards Madrid. Those who plan to drive by car to Madrid should be aware of the six main motorways heading in and out of the city: A1 (Northbound – Burgos, Bilbao up to Bordeaux in France); A2 (Eastbound – Zaragoza, Barcelona to Nimes in France); A3 (Southbound and East Coast – Valencia); A4 (South – Cordoba and Andalucia); A5 (Westbound – Badajoz, Extremadura to Lisbon in Portugal); and A6 (Northwest – Galicia and Oporto in North Portugal).