Student Guide: How to Get Around Madrid by Public Transportation

Madrid, Spain’s capital city encompasses 604.3 km2 and is quite expansive in comparison to its sister city in Spain, Barcelona which occupies 101.9 km2 of landscape. With the city center boasting a population of 3.3 million residents, the metropolitan area encapsulates 6.5 million residents, third in line behind London and Paris as one of the European Union’s largest cities.

The city, though rather large in comparison to other major European hubs does have an advantage. Most of Madrid’s exquisite monuments and notable places of interest are concentrated within a relatively small parameter. This means that essentially, Madrid is a pedestrian friendly city, able to be transgressed by foot. From one end to the other of the predominantly "tourist area" one can expect to walk for about 2 hours. This isn’t bad considering the city’s sheer overall size.

If walking is not of interest, Madrid’s extensive public transportation system can get you to your destination both quickly and conveniently without having to shed a bead of sweat.

Student Guide: How to Get Around Madrid

From the airport to the city center, bus and train terminals, students can easily grab the city’s underground metro. The metro services run every day from 6 am to 1:30 am. Metro entrances are marked with a distinguished letter "M".

Buses are also a reliable mode of transportation and operate Monday to Friday from 6 am to 11:30 pm and Saturday to Sunday from 7 am to 11 pm. Be mindful of backpack and luggage size. Foldable bikes are allowed.

Taxis are available around the clock and are white in color with a red stripe and the crest of Madrid identifying the cars. Taxi cabs can be hailed street side when they are displaying a green light. Cars can also be arranged by phone for pickup or students can find their nearest taxi que in the city center, often near tourist attractions and hotels.

Madrid’s Suburbs & Surrounding Areas

Buses or the RENFE local train service the outlying areas surrounding Madrid’s city center. These services typically run from 5 am to midnight, but do check times before heading out as public holidays and other events may impact their schedules. It is also important to note, when students want to head out of town to tourist destinations like Alcalá de Henares or Aranjuez, these public services are a practical and convenient alternative to renting a car.


A single metro ticket in Madrid costs 1,50€ which includes 5 stations. If you want to travel further afar, get the 10-station single ticket that will cost 2,00€. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines at the metro station. Buses also cost 1,50€ for a single jump and can be purchased from the bus driver.

Combination metro and bus passes are available. A 10-journey pass costs 12,20€ and does not have an expiration date. For more information and other fares, check out

GBSB Global Business School is excited to be opening its Madrid campus in October 2017. As a diverse institution bringing together a student body from around the globe, GBSB Global provides students with the resources they need to have a smooth and easy transition to living in Madrid, their home away from home. Studying abroad is an exciting experience but doesn’t come without questions. Students can contact GBSB Global Business School for more information.

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