Travel to Madrid
Flying to Madrid
Airlines offering direct flights to Madrid from the UK include Air Europa, British Airways, easyJet, Iberia, Iberia Express, Norwegian and Ryanair. With so much competition on the route, cheap flights are available year-round. The warmer, summer months are peak season, so fares tend to rise at this time, but you can still bag a bargain if you book well in advance. From the USA, there are direct flights with Air Europa, American Airlines, Delta, Iberia and United.
From London - 2 hours 25 minutes; New York - 7 hours 20 minutes; Los Angeles - 11 hours; Toronto - 9 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 24 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).
Travel by road
Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18. Speed limits are 120kph (75mph) on motorways, 100kph (62mph) on dual carriageways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (31mph) within towns.
Foreign visitors require a valid driving licence to drive in Spain. National licences from EU countries are accepted, while nationals of other countries are advised to obtain an International Driving Permit. Third-party insurance is required and documents should be carried at all times. A Green Card is strongly recommended for all visitors and is compulsory for those from outside the EU.
Emergency breakdown services
Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE) (tel: +34 900 100 992; www.race.es) has reciprocal agreements with the AA and RAC in the UK and the AAA in the USA. Alternatively, drivers in distress can contact the Ayuda en Carretera (Help on the Road) (operated by the Guardia Civil) on the roadside SOS telephones, who will contact the breakdown services.
Motorways radiate outward from Madrid. The NI links Madrid to the French border (via Burgos and Irún), the NII to Barcelona(via Zaragoza) and the French border. The NIII weaves its way to Valencia and Alicante, the NIV to Seville and Cádiz, the NV to Badajoz at the Portuguese border (where the A6/E90 continues to Lisbon) and the N401 to Toledo. There are also three ring motorways, M30 and M40 and M50.
Estación Sur de Autobuses, Calle Méndez Alvaro 83, is Madrid's most important bus terminal for long-distance coach travel. Destinations served include Albacete, Avila, Alicante, Toledo, Barcelona, Benidorm and Santiago.
ALSA (www.alsa.es) provides coach services to other Spanish cities.
Eurolines (tel: +34 902 405 040; www.eurolines.com) runs coach connections to major cities throughout Europe. Services from London Victoria Coach Station to Madrid involve a change at Area Suco Interchange (total journey time - 15 hours 30 minutes).
Time to city
From Barcelona - 6 hours 30 minutes; Seville - 5 hours; Lisbon - 6 hours.
Travel by Rail
Mainline services in Spain are frequent, reliable and efficient. It is essential to book ahead for long-distance trains. Tickets are available online, from stations or from travel agents.
Madrid has two main railway stations - Estación de Chamartín (Chamartín Station), Calle Agustín de Foxá, in northern Madrid, and Estación de Atocha (Atocha Station), at Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona, in southern Madrid.
Madrid's rail network includes services to provincial capitals in Spain and connections to the European railway network. Chamartín Station serves trains from Franceand northern Spain, including Bilbao and Oviedo. Atocha serves trains from Andalusia, Extremadura and Portugal, including Malaga and Valencia. Many trains stop at both Atocha and Chamartín. Atocha is the arrival and departure point for AVE trains, high-speed services between Madrid and Seville via Córdoba; between Madrid-Barcelona and Madrid-Valencia.
RENFE (tel: +34 902 320 320; www.renfe.com) operates the Spanish railway network. RENFE also operates the Cercanías suburban network. Atocha Station is the hub of the Cercanías suburban rail network.
From Barcelona - 2 hours 50 minutes; Valencia - 1 hour 40 minutes; Córdoba - 1 hour 45 minutes; Seville - 2 hours 30 minutes.