IATA Code: MAD
Address: Avenida de la Hispanidad.s/n
Terminal Plan: Here
Distance from City: 12km
Day Trip Possible: Yes
Passenger Numbers: 48,400,000 (2009)
Overview: As one of the biggest airports in Europe and the world, Madrid was too big a destination to ignore for the low-costs, also underscored by the relatively usual fact that Madrid does not have any secondary airports (such as London’s Luton and Stansted), although things may change if Ciudad Real gets a fast rail connection. Madrid operates as a key gateway between Europe and Latin America, with a host of flights passing through here. With a newly opened Terminal 4 (the Spanish equivalent of Terminal 5 at Heathrow), unfortunately if you are travelling on a low-cost airline you won’t get to see it, with the newest facilities being earmarked for Iberia, other flag carriers and longer distance routes.
Getting there: A heap of transport options, as you might expect. The Metro is undoubtedly the easiest way, with a station in the airport (Terminal 2). The service is frequent, and in true Spanish style, you’ll be able to get one even for the latest of flights, with services up to 2.00am. At 12km, it’s a short ride. Do consider buying a Metro Tourist Pass or multi-ticket, as it works out better value. Bus is also an option – with the local buses serving the city centre serving all terminals. The long-distance buses are outside Terminal 4 so you may need to take the free transfer bus to access them. Car hire is easy at the airport in all terminals, as is taxi hire.
General Tips: A vast airport and one of the biggest on the low-cost circuit. If you are so inclined, do check out Terminal 4, which is an excellent work of architecture and is one of the biggest terminals in terms of area anywhere. A similar theme runs throughout Terminals 1,2, and 3 although they are a little more dated but facilities are still good. A fair walk to the Metro – depending on your gate position you could be in for a very long walk. There is a huge range of shops and places to eat and prices are not too bad. Normally if you like wandering around, you’ll be in for a treat as the place is vast. Clearly built for handling passengers, security clearance is relatively quick.
Budget Travellers Guide: At only 2 Euro (less if you use other methods) for a transfer to the city centre, this compares really favourably on other main airports such as Heathrow, which is more expensive and further out. Allied to the availability of cheap flights, this makes Madrid high on anyone’s list – there are plenty of things to do in the city to keep you distracted for a week. A huge range of connections here: Ryanair fly to all their major bases, as do Easyjet, as well as Wizz, Vueling and Air Berlin. A great place to fly through.
Need a pre-paid card to dodge Ryanair fees? We’ve teamed up with FairFX to offer you their anywhere card – get one for FREE (usually £9.95 for loading under £500). Any currency – anywhere – it’s ideal for everyone.