Navigating Public Transportation in Madrid

Authored by:
Leyre Carrasco Alonso

Leyre Carrasco Alonso

Afraid because you have never taken the metro? Tired of waiting endless hours for the bus to come? Or maybe, broke because public transport fees in your city are too way expensive?

If you’re thinking of studying abroad in Madrid, you won’t have to worry about any of the stated above!

Madrid, as the capital city of Spain, has one of the best public transport systems in the world: cheap, punctual, intuitive and what’s more, it takes you wherever you want. It has three different means of public transport and your choice will depend on whatever you are looking for.

1.- If you seek to move quickly around downtown Madrid, maybe go from A to B doing some errands or get fast enough because you are meeting this one friend, the METRO is your best option. With more than 300 stations this system is the easiest transport in town. Lines are divided in colors and numbers, stations are full of signs about destination, exits, elevator or escalator alternatives, closest metro stop indications are spread all over the city and metro cars run approximately every 3-5 minutes – depending on the time and day.




2.- CERCANIAS RENFE is the commuter rail service that serves the capital. It reaches long distance destinations within the region of Madrid and it’s characterized for being a comfortable and spacious way of public transport. It runs every 7-10 minutes and having less stations makes it quicker than the metro. However, because you don’t have such a volume of stops, you will have to choose the most suitable for you. This way, if you are looking for visiting someplace a little bit further, perhaps getting into the nature or discovering hidden places in Madrid province, this is your choice.


3.- BUSES are the third option to get around the city. This efficient system is composed of 2000 vehicles and over 200 bus lines and to ensure the free transport flow through busier sides of town, there are thoroughfares specifically created for them. They run every 4 to 15 minutes and they only stop upon request, so if you wish to alight the bus at the next stop, you must press the button before you reach it. Blue buses take you around the inner city while green ones are for longer distance destinations in the region. The best part is that you can enjoy great views so if you want to take delight of this extraordinary city in your commute, don’t think it twice and take the bus!

But what about the price? Since 2016 young people get the best deal. You will only have to get a Public Transport Personal and Contactless card called “Abono de Transporte” and certify you’re under 26. You will get an unlimited pass for a period of 30 calendar consecutive days for only 20€ a month which works for metro, Cercanias Renfe and buses. Can any other city beat this?

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