Madrid is the capital of Spain, located in the center of the country. The city’s airport is Barajas, located a short distance away from the city, in the northeastern part.
The airport has three main terminals that are connected between them, and a fourth, newer terminal located a shuttle bus ride away. In the T1, T2 and T3 terminals visitors will find several boutique stores, souvenir shops and cafés, and in the larger T4 there are many fast food joints, lounges and even more shops.
Madrid’s airport has become a hub for long haul flights connecting Europe with Latin America. Those passengers who have a long transit will be able to walk around the shops, many of which are Spanish brands, including Zara and Adolfo Dominguez. Several bars offer traditional tapas and cañas, small snacks that accompany a beer.
The airport is connected to the city by bus, metro, train and taxi.
- Bus 200 connects the airport to Avenida de América, a central hub that serves as a bus station and a metro stop with access to four metro lines.
- The Airport Express is a shuttle bus that connects the centric Atocha Renfe station with the airport.
- The older three terminals and the newer terminal are located on line eight of the Madrid Metro, the pink line. The metro stop Aeropuerto T1, T2, T3 is the stop that has access to the older three terminals, and the new terminal is Aeropuerto T4. An extra fee has to be paid for travelers traveling to and from the airport.
- A new regional train line connects Terminal 4 to Chamartin, a main station located in the central business district near the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Aside from the historic city center, where most of the main museums, royal palaces, shopping streets and traditional plazas are located, the city has many more attractions, enough for several short visits. Allowing for a maximum of one hour each way from and to the airport, there are many places to explore during a layover.
Located near the Chamartín station, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is home to the Real Madrid Football Club, one of the most influential clubs in the country. Guided tours are offered around this stadium, and visitors will be able to enjoy a drink in the official café before heading to the club’s official museum and its store, where uniforms, football balls and even toys with the club’s logo can be purchased.
Just a couple of metro stops away from the Avenida de America station, Serrano is an area known for its boutique stores. This street and the neighboring streets are filled with designer stores, chic cafés and posh restaurants. El Corte Inglés is one of the country’s largest department store chains, and several of these stores are located in this area.
This district, located between the Serrano area and the historic center, is one of the city’s most hip neighborhoods. Even during the day there are many terrazas where visitors can enjoy a caña beer with some traditional tapas. During lunch most bars serve the Menú del Día, a menu that costs between 8 and 15€ consisting of two main courses, fresh bread, a dessert and a drink. Nearby there are many shops, boutique stores selling the latest creations of local designers and retro and vintage stores.
Located between Atocha train station, the Prado Museum and Alcala street, this large city park is an option for those who want to relax before another long flight. The park has many gardens decorated with fountains and paths lined with statues. In the center there is a large pond where visitors can feed the ducks and even rent a boat.
Madrid City Tour
As many main cities, Madrid has a tourist bus with two routes that allow visitors to catch a glimpse of the city. The hop on, hop off buses are double decker buses, and tickets can be bought online and near the Prado Museum. One route is along the Castellana street, one of the city’s main streets, which is lined with office buildings, gleaming towers and is next to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Another route travels around the historic city center, where visitors will be able to see the city’s three main museums, the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza, before heading to the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace, which are on the same route.