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Practically speaking .. Madrid Airport -> Madrid City Center?

Hi, I have taken the advice and booked at the Hotel Europa in the heart of Madrid. I have read the guidance in Rick's books on bus, train, taxi .. if you have done this recently what would you recommend for two adults, minimal luggage, traveling early morning late January. thanks Kate

Posted by
6602 posts

I just flew from Madrid yesterday. Metro line M 8 stops right at the Terminals.
It costs about 6 euros one way more or less. We left for the airport at 8 am the train was empty. There were 3 of us with 1 carry on size bag a piece.

Posted by
1220 posts

Well practicality speaking - I'd take a taxi. It's more expensive than alternatives to Sol, but much easier and fixed price, I think €30, so €15 per person. Of course there are cheaper ways to the centre, but if you've just come off an overnight transatlantic flight, I don't think now is the time to be niggardly; so take the taxi!

Posted by
2388 posts

Yes you can take the metro but pulling your luggage, jet lagged, you are pickpocket bait, and there are plenty of them in Madrid. Be kind to yourself, take a taxi. As for the hotel, it has it’s fans including Rick. I’m not one of them.. We stayed twice. Once was as part of the RS Spain tour. The room was bare bones, the safe impossible to work, it overlooked the plaza and even ear plugs were not enough to keep out the noise. On the way back we pre-booked a room prior to our flight home. The room was much nicer and it was away from the noise below. So, when you check in, if the room is not what you want, ask to change it. We would not return.

Posted by
2975 posts

We always take the metro (line 8, pink) from the airport. Switch to line 9 (purple) at the Colombia station and take it to the Principe de Vergara station where you’ll change to line 2 (red). Take the red line to the Sol station. Total time is about 40 minutes. Watch your belongings and pickpockets are not an issue, but yes, there are plenty of them in the city. We’ve stayed at hotel Europa twice, both times overlooking the Puerta del Sol. With the windows closed, we couldn’t hear much of anything, so our experiences were different than Alan’s. I did not like it’s breakfast (served at the attached cafeteria), so we go elsewhere for it. A renovation of the rooms began in 2015 and was continuing when we were there in 2017. New rooms were being added at that time too.

Posted by
2442 posts

I’m not big on taking local trains with luggage (even minimal) and jet lag, especially if there’s a transfer of lines involves. I’d suggest a taxi if you have room in the budget. It’s more expensive but I find taxis right to my hotel on day 1 help ease the flight stress and make the trip start smoothly. Once you drop your luggage and orient yourself the metro is a great way to get around.

Another option - I don’t remember where that hotel is, but if it’s near Atocha, I highly recommend the express bus if budget is a concern. Not the regular city bus but the one that only stops at the airport and the train station, we took that and it was very easy.

Posted by
2975 posts

Mira, the hotel is right at the Puerta del Sol, about 50 yards from the metro station.

Posted by
578 posts

I agree with Nick, Alan, and Mira. Practically speaking, be kind to yourself, and take the taxi from the Airport directly to your hotel. The trip by Metro that jaimeelsabio sounds painful to me. You will be jetlagged and exhausted, so probably not very careful, and even if you are careful, it doesn't matter with experienced pickpockets. In every story I have heard about someone being pickpocketed, they had absolutely no idea what was happening until it was too late. The cost of the taxi is nothing compared to the entire cost of your trip!

While I found Plaza del Sol interesting to walk through once, I would not want to stay there. We stayed at the Mercure Madrid Centro on Calle Lope de Vega 49, and loved our stay there. Our room was clean, a good size, and has hardwood floors, which I prefer to walk to wall carpeting. Bathroom is a comfortable size. Breakfast was not included in the price, but we chose to pay for the breakfast buffet because it was convenient, ample, and delicious. I don't know if you are willing to change hotels, but the Mercure is a short walk from the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen Museums, and within walking distance of Retiro Park. And a block away from Calle de Jesus with all its tapas restaurants. We also walked from our hotel to Plaza del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and Mercado San Miguel. We took a taxi to Palacio Real. Taxis in Spain are inexpensive.

Posted by
84 posts

The taxi from the airport is a set amount - 30 Euros. In November I took the 24/7 airport express (yellow bus) for 5 Euros as my hotel was a few minutes walk from it’s first stop. Pay driver when you get on the bus. It makes three stops in Madrid at O’Donnell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha railway station. You could take it to Plaza de Cibeles then walk (less than 15 minutes) or take a taxi to your hotel from there. Once in the city I found the taxis quite reasonable. My trip from the airport (to first stop at O’Donnell) took about 20 minutes. It was crowded and everyone had luggage but it was very easy and I would do it again. I’m a 59 year old female who was traveling alone.

Posted by
14222 posts

The metro is one way. You'll have a flight of stairs to street level at Puerto del Sol (also called Vodaphone Sol, or simply Sol). Also, depending on how early you get on, you may end up in rush hour traffic into the center.

Another way is to take the Cercanias and change at Chamartin. I find Chamartin confusing but maybe that's me. At Sol, there is an elevator from Cercanias to street level. Be careful, if you go up from the Cercanias to the metro, you'll only have the aforementioned stairs. It is an easy walk from the station to the hotel just meters away, once you spot the hotel.

Taxi seems much the preferred way to go. BTW I've stayed at the Europa twice, it's fine and the location is very good.

Posted by
2975 posts

There’s is an elevator at the Sol metro station that goes to street level. It’s at the end of the Puerta del Sol closest to the Plaza Mayor. We used it in September.

Posted by
2490 posts

We stayed at Hotel Europa several years ago. When we arrived we chose to take a taxi. We tend to transfer per taxi when arriving in a city we are unfamiliar with. We enjoyed staying at Hotel Europa. We had an upper floor room with a great view.

Posted by
20 posts

Dear All, Thanks for all the suggestions - I really appreciate them. The good news is that I have been in Barcelona all week for work and will meet my husband in Madrid Friday am. He will be jetlagged as he is coming from Boston. I have been to Madrid several times for work, though it has been a couple years (my husband has not thus the visit). My recall is the taxi simplifies things until we get the lay of the land. Weather in Barcelona has been lovely, frost in the morning though mid 50s and sunny in the afternoons.
Any must do restaurants in Madrid?
Thanks again!

Posted by
2490 posts

Our favorite neighborhood restaurant is La Sanabresa. It’s a 10-12 minute walk from your hotel. It is open for lunch until 4:30 and reopens for dinner at 8:30 pm. Reasonable prices, great vibe, good food that included wine and dessert. We enjoyed it so much we ate there twice. It’s a popular restaurant in the quaint Huertas area. We arrived without reservations by 8:15 to secure a table.
Edit to add, perhaps the 8:30 dinner time may not work the first night due to your husband being jet lagged!

Posted by
417 posts

We stayed at Hotel Europa last November. We took a taxi from the airport for 30€. The taxi will drop you off close, but not directly in front of the hotel. The hotel is just off the plaza, just behind the Orange store.

The metro and train stops are right in the plaza, so those are easy options. But jet-lagged and with luggage, I feel like more of a target for pickpockets. I wouldn’t want to deal with all that during a morning rush. I like hopping in a taxi, seeing a little of the town, and being delivered to my hotel.