Navigating the Capital of Spain: Madrid

Catherine Heredia

If you plan on traveling to Madrid, this guide will tell you the best means to discover this beautiful city. Madrid is a huge city, but using the transportation system will get you wherever you need to go quicker and easier compared to walking. Luckily, Madrid’s transportation system is cheaper than most other European cities and is one of the best systems in the world!


With 12 lines, the metro reaches all areas of the city and into the suburbs. The metro’s hours are 6:00 AM to 1:30 AM every day and is safe to take even in the late hours of the night.

The machines located inside the metro stations sell one trip passes for €1.50 or 10 trip passes for €12.20. What many people don’t know is there’s an unlimited transportation pass that is valid for 30 days called the abono, which goes to all zones within the Community of Madrid. This is a well-kept secret since you cannot buy the pass at any of the machines inside the metro stations. The abono is the best metro pass to buy if you’re staying in Madrid for more than one month, costing only €20 every 30 days if you are under 26 years old. If you are older than 26 years old, this pass will cost €54.60 for Zone A, Madrid’s central areas.

One of the easiest ways to acquire this unlimited pass is to go to the Estancos tabaco store located on Calle Fuencarral, 80. You must bring your passport and take a photo for your card there. This is one of the few places where you can buy this special metro card and receive it the same day without an appointment or any paperwork. Buying this card will save a lot of money and will make traveling around Madrid easier. I highly recommend taking the metro in Madrid to get around the city no matter how long you are staying. 


The cercanías is the regional train that connects the city of Madrid to some of the towns outside the center. For a day trip to towns outside the capital, the cercanías would be useful. The hours are 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM, and the abono can also be used here.

City Bus System

Since frequent stops are made, the bus can be a better way to travel around the city. Buses can take you closer to where you need to be compared to the metro. They usually run from 6:00 AM to 11:30 PM. The buses even include heating, air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

To make the bus stop at a necessary stop, press one of the buttons located inside the bus before the stop you want to get off at or the bus will not stop. Your metro pass can also be used for the buses. A helpful app to navigate the bus system is Moovit. 


Madrid taxis are white rather than yellow, and operate at all hours of the day. Taxis can be the best option when the metro or bus is closed and you want to have more personal space. The taxis in Madrid are cheaper than other big cities. 

Madrid’s transportation system is very efficient and economical. Enjoy your time in Madrid and happy traveling!