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Isaac

Traveling from Madrid-Barajas airport

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Isaac

I know that for British AVENites it can be cheaper to fly to a touristic destination at then take the train to Madrid, but some people (including American AVENites?) will fly to Madrid. Contrary to other major European cities (like Orly and CDG in Paris), Madrid has only one civil airport, Madrid-Barajas “Adolfo Suárez,” with code MAD, which takes its name from the town Barajas (a North-East district of Madrid) where it is located. The name “Adolfo Suárez” is a recent addition in honor to the president of Spanish transition into democracy, and most people would call it Barajas airport.

 

Despite being a single airport and operating as such a unity, Barajas airport has two separate zones: the old one for terminals T1, T2 and T3, and the new one for terminal T4 and its satellite T4S. If you check the underground map, these two zones correspond to different Metro stations of the pink line, with the station of Barajas town between them. This may give you an idea of how apart the two zones are. The terminals are distributed by airline or alliances. You can check the terminal where your airline operates in this webpage of AENA, the manager of the airport. It’s important to keep in mind which is your terminal because they have different ways to get the city center.

 

As I said before, both zones of the airport have an underground station of the Metro network. These two stations at the airport have a supplement of 3€ in the Metro ticket, so a typical ticket to central Madrid costs about 4,70€. Reaching the Metro station inside the airport is as easy as following the icon of Metro in the signs. This way you have access to all the Metro network in Madrid, leaving at the closest station to your destination. If you travel with heavy luggage, I advise you to check if your destination of transfer stations are adapted for handicapped people, choosing another trip in order to take only adapted stations if you want to avoid long flights of stairs. If you travel with light luggage, you may prefer a shorter trip over an easier one.

   

Apart of the underground, there is a train station in the new zone of the airport, but not in the old one. So if you arrive at terminal T4 or T4S, maybe the train is the best option. This train station belongs to the Cercanías network and is included in the line C1, which joins the airport with several transport hubs in Madrid. According to AENA, the ticket for this station is subject to a special fare, costing 2,60€ a trip, which is much lower that the underground, but with the drawback that you have less stations to choose. Moreover, a Cercanías trip is usually faster than a Metro one.

   

If you prefer to take the train but your landing is in the old zone of the airport, there is a shuttle bus joining both zones of the airport. According to AENA, this bus is free and passes every 5 minutes during the daytime, with less frequency in the nighttime. The shuttle trip takes 10 minutes, but all this time compensates the time you can save with the Cercanías train, so the decision is up to you. I have never used the Cercanías train or the shuttle bus, so I can’t speak from experience here, but I expect their stations to be as easy to get as the Metro ones.

 

The same considerations apply for the return trip from central Madrid to the airport. Notice that both Metro and Cercanías are linked with Google Maps, so you can search for trips and get the timings. (EDIT: See the next post for further considerations.)

Edited by Isaac
Adding a reference to next post

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Isaac

I had forgotten an important variable: the frequency of the trains. According to CRTM (the consortium of public transport in Madrid) [timetable in Spanish], the frequency of the line C1 is 30 minutes, leaving the airport at minutes 28 and 58 of each hour within its operation time. The schedule for coming back to the airport [timetable in Spanish] has also a frequency of 30 minutes. In this table you can check the frequency of the Metro line that serves both zones of the airport, and it is between 5 minutes and 8 minutes, depending on the time and weekday. For returning to the airport it may be feasible to choose a train suitable for your flight and to go to your chosen station at that time, but for the arrival to Madrid you could have to wait for a long time at the station.

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Skycaptain

As one who is going to take advantage of this, many thanks for the advice :cake::cake:

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motheaten

Thanks so much for this. I'm indebted to you!

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chandrakirti

Just the ticket @Isaac. literally and metaphorically! :D

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Alex.andra

On a side note, cercanias from airport is cheaper than subway (subway has an extra fee for airport).

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chandrakirti

I might have to get the metro, as Easyjet use T1, but that's ok, as my hostel is near the Alonso Martinez station.

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Isaac

The CRTM has issued the following warning: Cercanías to airport T4 will have a frequency of 15 minutes during WorldPride. It's not clear which days will have this double frequency of Cercanías in the airport line, nor if this frequency affects to both ways of the line. I assume this will affect both ways of the line, to and from the airport, and will last the days of the official schedule. Anyway, you can check the times of your desired trains, e.g. in Google Maps.

 

This new information removes one of the disadvantages of Cercanías, but it still has less stations than Metro and, if your flight arrives at T1, you would have to take the shuttle to T4, though it's free.

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