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Getting to Madrid by plane: Barajas Airport

With a capacity for 70 million passengers each year, Madrid’s Barajas International Airport is the main airport in Spain, the second in Europe and one of the most important logistic centers in Europe. Madrid’s Barajas airport is also the main connection port between Europe and South America.

Madrid Barajas international airportMadrid Barajas Airport has four terminals: T1, T2, T3 and T4. There is also a satellite terminal at T4: T4S. These two terminals (T4 and T4S) are connected by a continuous automatic underground train (APT) that takes about 4 minutes to complete its run. The four terminals are connected by 2 subway stations and by a free shuttle bus system that runs every three minutes, 24 hours a day.

Madrid Barajas international airportT1 is used for international destinations on AirEurope, Air France, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Spanair and another 30 airlines. T2 is used only for national destinations and Schengen territory (the majority of European countries). T3 is used for Lagun Air only. T4 is used for all Iberia flights, the main international airlines (American Airlines, British Airways, Avianca, Lan, Japan Airlines, among others) and some less expensive airlines like Vueling and Virgin Express. For more information about the terminal needed for check-in, one can check the Aena Web site, call 902 404 704 or send and SMS to 5551 with the name of the airline (cost of the message, 0.15€).

Madrid Barajas Airport has three checkrooms open 24 hours a day (T1, T2 and T4), two pharmacies (T1 and T2), three car rental points (T1, T2 and T4), two business centers (T1 and T4), a tourism office and ATMs in all terminals.

The airport is located 13 kilometres (8 miles) to the northeast of the capital on the A-2 national highway that connects Madrid with Barcelona. The transportation options between Barajas airport and the city vary. We suggest using taxi, the metro and the transfer service AresMobile.

  • Taxi: There are taxi stops at the four terminals in the arrival area. The approximate cost between Barajas Airport and Madrid and the center of Madrid (Puerta del Sol for example) usually is about 20€ PLUS THE 4.50€ airport tax. Luggage and companion animal (in proper travel case) transport is always free. It is recommended not to go with strangers that sometimes offer services from inside the airport. The taxi fare is always indicated on the taxi meter in the cab, and it is unadvisable (and illegal) to make a deal on a “closed price” with the taxi driver. The trip between the airport and the city center can vary between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on traffic and the time of day. The taxi is the most comfortable transportation between the airport and the city center, especially when travelling with luggage and not knowing how to arrive at one’s destination.
  • Metro: Barajas Airport is connected to Madrid by metro (line 8) with 2 subway stations: Metro Aeropuerto T1-T2-T3 found at Terminal 2, and Metro Aeropuerto T4 found at Terminal 4. Taking the metro to Madrid is comfortable, fast (about 40 minutes to Puerta del Sol), inexpensive and efficient. It is unadvisable to use the metro with a lot of luggage. Keep in mind that it is common to find groups of pickpockets that operate within the Madrid metro. Take special precaution as well if travelling in a group (the pickpockets’ preference are large groups that do not speak Spanish and are distracted among themselves). Avoid carrying bags on one’s back or having easily accessible pockets and bags. The cost of a single use metro ticket is 1€ and 7€ for a pack of 10 trips. Remember that it is necessary to pay extra to enter and exit the airport stations (T1, T2, T3 and T4). The amount is 1€ extra. The metro runs from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Transfer Service to the airport: The AresMobile/AeroCITY company offers an inexpensive and comfortable transfer service between Barajas Airport and one’s destination point in Madrid. It offers minivans with driver for transporting passengers in groups. The company is the official Barajas Airport supplier for vehicle rentals with a driver. There are counters in terminals T1 and T2, and services can also be contracted on the Web: http://www.aresmobile.com
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