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Getting around Madrid

Public transport

Central Madrid is served by a network of bus routes, an extensive metro system and trains. The main hub is Puerta del Sol. The Consorcio de Transportes de Madrid (tel: 112, in Spain only; offers maps and information.

The metro (tel: +34 902 444 403; runs regularly until 0130. Each of the 12 metro lines is distinguished by a colour and number. 

EMT (tel: +34 902 507 850; runs Madrid's bus service. Night buses depart from Plaza de Cibeles between 2330 and 0600.

The local train network, operated by Cercanías (, comprises 12 lines with a link between Charmartín and Atocha stations.

The Tarjeta Transporte Público ( is Madrid's transport smartcard. A tourist version for one, two, three, five or seven days is available in metro stations, at the tourist office on Plaza Mayor and online.


Taxis can be hired at ranks or on the street, with surcharges for additional passengers, luggage and telephone pick-ups.

Private taxi companies include TeleTaxi (tel: +34 91 371 2131) and Radio Taxi Independiente (tel: +34 91 405 1213).


Driving in central Madrid is not recommended. It's much easier to get around on foot and using public transport. If you choose to drive, consult the rules of Servicio de Estacionamiento Regulado (SER) (Regulated Parking Service).

Car hire

Drivers aged 21 years and above need a passport, a valid insurance policy and valid driving licence held for at least one year. A Green Card is strongly recommended for all visitors and is compulsory for those from outside the EU.

Recommended car hire companies include Avis (tel: +34 902 110 291;, Europcar (tel: +34 902 105 055; and Hertz (tel: +34 902 023 932;

Bicycle hire

You can hire bikes through Madrid's bikeshare scheme, BiciMAD (tel: 010, in Spain only or +34 91 529 8210;, which has 165 stations stocked with more than 2,000 electric bikes across the city.

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Featured Hotels


Petit Palace Ducal Chueca

Located close to the Gran Via, this Madrid hotel can truly boast 'all mod cons'. Part of the state-of-the-art High Tech hotel chain, its 58 boutique rooms are full of electronic knobs and whistles, including a flat screen TV and a hydro-massage shower. That doesn't impinge on comfort levels, though, and the red and black décor gives it a classy feel.

Vincci Soma

The location is one of the main attractions of this 170-room boutique hotel in Madrid, opposite Goya Metro station in the upmarket Salamanca district, 1km (0.6 miles) from Retiro Park and the chic shops of Calle Serrano. There are a few forays into the realm of luxury service, with a pillow menu and a book delivery service. The restaurant serves creative Mediterranean dishes.

Hotel Trafalgar

Less than 10 minutes from the centre of town by metro (Iglesia or Bilbao), the Trafalgar is a modern hotel that is popular with both tourists and businesspeople. It lies in a residential neighbourhood, well provided with shops, restaurants and other amenities. The 48 en-suite rooms, while unexceptional, are air-conditioned and have direct-dial telephones and TV. There is also a laundry service and currency exchange. The English-speaking staff are friendly and helpful.

Hotel Paris

One of the popular cheap options in Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá area, Hotel Paris' 120 rooms are surprisingly spacious, decorated in classic style – this was one of the first luxury hotels in Madrid at the start of the 20th century. It was only when the Ritz was established in 1910 that it was relegated to a more modest category. Its main attraction is its location, right on the Puerta del Sol, with the main cultural stops right on its doorstep.

Hotel Unico

Despite the name, this five-star property in the heart of Madrid's most affluent neighbourhood, Salamanca, is not exactly unique – at least in terms of interior design. But based in a 19th-century palace, it is smart and elegant, with numerous luxurious touches such as the coffee machine in the rooms, the ground-floor garden that manages to block out the noise of the city and the staff who deliver complimentary chocolates and water to your room in the afternoon. Breakfast in the aforementioned garden is an extravagant affair, with fresh-baked pastries, Iberico ham, fine cheese and eggs to order.

The Principal

Concealed behind a palatial facade, The Principal is situated on the corner of one of Madrid's most important streets, Gran Vía. The entrance, reception and dining area are handsomely decorated, with portraits of aristocrats and fine wooden furnishings conjuring 19th century grandeur. Rooms are stylish without being ostentatious; expect carpeted floors and elegant but simple furniture. Ask for a room overlooking Gran Vía for terrific views over the city, or you can always pop up to the roof terrace for a drink.