If Madrid is privileged in terms of public transport, the city center is more so. You can reach VillaJardines by various means of public transport (subway, train or bus).
Before deciding your means of transport, please note that public transport may be more economical, but if you are carrying more than one suitcase you may not find the experience so enjoyable.
Madrid’s metro network is one of the largest in the world and is one of the most efficient transportation of the city, covering the whole area. The Madrid Metro is currently the second most extensive underground network of the European Union and the fourth in the world with 293 km and 13 lines. The Madrid Metro has a very useful online simulator.
From the Barajas airport station take the pink line (line 8) to Nuevos Ministerios station, then change to the dark blue (line 10) to Alonso Martinez station and change there to pick up the green line to Gran Via station. Here you can see the route from Barajas to Gran Via.
If you have gone through a long journey, you are tired from the trip and appreciate some fresh air, you can continue one more stop in the dark blue line to Tribunal station and go walking to VillaJardines through the pedestrian Fuencarral street. It does not take more than 10 minutes and it is a very nice walk.
There are several options to choose from and the most recommended ones are:
- Single ticket. Valid for one trip in the MetroMadrid. It costs 1.50 euros per trip if you travel up to 5 stations, and then 0.10 euros are added per station.
- Metrobús. Valid for 10 journeys for both metro and urban buses. It costs 12,20 € and this is the best value for a few days visit.
- Combined Metro ticket. Valid for one journey in all the Greater Madrid metro network.
- From/to the airport. Tickets to terminals T1, T2, T3 and T4 have a supplementary charge which can be paid on arrival at the metro station or bought included in the valid ticket fare. Travelers who have a Tourist Pass or the AENA card needn’t pay this extra charge
- Tourist Travel Pass. Ideal for tourists, this travel pass allows you to use all transport in Madrid during a determined number of days (1, 2, 3, 5 o 7). There are two versions: just for zone A or also for zone T (which includes the whole Madrid Region, Guadalajara and Toledo).
Tickets may be acquired at ticket booths at any of the Metro network stations. There are automatic ticket machines located in the entrance halls of the Metro stations.
If you take the metro from the Airport to the city center you must make two transfers, so if you are traveling with lots of luggage this transport is not recommended.
If the Metro system is very good, so is the bus one. There is a bus network with more than 200 lines. Not too crowded, apart from peak hours, it is a very pleasant means of transportation in sunny days. It is not expensive and bus tickets costs just like the metro.
There is very good online service that tells you exactly when is the next bus coming to the station you chose.
There is a bus that goes straight from the Airport to the Plaza de Cibeles (just 10 minutes walking from VillaJardines). It provides a direct connection between Plaza de Cibeles and the Barajas airport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is great news for all those travelers who need to reach or get back from the airport between 1h30 and 6h00 in the morning, when the Metro is closed. The service is every 13 to 20 minutes during the day and every 35 overnight. The trip is a quick one, as it takes approximately 40 minutes to reach the center of Madrid in normal traffic. This is an express route which has only four stops and costs 5 euros. Purchase on the bus itself.
There are only three stops on the airport-Madrid route: O’Donnell, Plaza de Cibeles (nerve center of the night buses, known as the búhos, or owls) and Atocha station. The bus stops at airport terminals T1, T2 and T4, where the end of the line is located. This special bus line is easy to identify thanks to its distinctive yellow colour scheme. Each bus features modern luggage storage facilities.
There are some funny tiny vans called Minibus that go through narrow streets, inaccessible to conventional buses. It is worth a trip for the fun of it and it is the regular price. There are two lines and both are close to VillaJardines.
For night services, the night buses are commonly referred to as “owls” (not to be confused with the Metro Owl service). They form a set of radial lines with a common header at the Plaza de Cibeles, which runs every day of the year.
The train also connects the Barajas airport to the city center. If you wish to take it, take C1 line from Barajas Airport to Nuevos Ministerios station and then change to any line going to Sol train station, which are many. A little more than 200 meters from the Renfe station at Sol station is VillaJardines.
There is a metro-train combination which may be faster than the others. Take the metro to Nuevos Ministerios (six stops on the pink line). Get off there and look for the Renfe Cercanias (commuter trains). It’s easy to find, as soon as you exit the metro. For less than a couple of euros, you can get a ticket from Nuevos Ministerios to Sol. The machines will show the most common destinations, you will have to hit “more destinations” and then the options for Sol and other in-town places will show up. It’s a 5 minutes trip. Some commuter trains heading in the Atocha direction stop at Sol, and there are many train lines (all of which stop on the same platform), so you won’t have a very long wait.
The train station and ticket machines are located in the Sol station. Buy a ticket to Nuevos Ministerios, two stops, four minutes, less than 2 euros. At Nuevos Ministerios, exit Renfe Cercanias, buy a metro ticket and hop on the pink line, which goes straight to the airport in just 11 minutes. Nuevos Ministerios to Sol on the metro is a half hour. On the train it is 5 minutes. A big time saver for an extra 2 euros.
From Sol train station you can do 1-day trips to:
- TOLEDO is a great favorite among those who have a deep interest in the Spain of the “three cultures”. It is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage. There are only a handful of medieval Spanish synagogues left in all of Spain and two are in Toledo. Toledo is also home to the tiny Cristo de la Luz mosque (which has a Roman road, some Visigoth columns still in use, a Mosque which was later turned into a small Romanesque basilica with remains of Romanesque, Mudejar and Gothic frescoes). Toledo has a breath-taking cathedral. It is worth visiting El Greco museum and tasting local gastronomy. Toledo is usually far too crowded with tourists and too hot in August. Better during weekdays.
- EL ESCORIAL. The Monastery of El Escorial was built by King Philip II between 1563 and 1584. The palace treasures Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Luca Giordano, Ribera, Zurbaran and El Greco paintings. There are Chapter Rooms decorated with paintings by Titian, Bosch, El Greco, Ribera and Velazquez. The Royal Pantheon has the burial vaults of all the Kings of Spain since Charles V, 16th century, and the Polygonal Mausoleum in the 6th chamber looks like the top of a wedding cake. The Basilica is very impressive. The main altar is very high and is done in marble and jasper, with paintings by Tibaldi and Zuccaro. A total of 45 altars. A great favorite among those who have an interest in the “Spanish Empire”. You can taste the local gastronomy in numerous restaurants.
- AVILA is a walled nice quiet city, but the train might be too slow for a day trip (1.5 hrs). Saint Theresa was from Avila as well as Saint John of the Cross. Avila is perfect if you travel with young children. The city is a walled city and the city walls can be climbed and walked around. You can really play knight up there looking out from the battlements. There is also great food in Avila. It is a great favorite of those interested in “Stones and Saints”.
- SEGOVIA is a wonderful historical city with a 2.000 y.o. Roman aqueduct. The city hosts a fairy castle with incredible views. Segovia is maybe historically less important than Toledo, but is just as rich in natural beauty. If you are looking for the Spain of “knights and kings and castles”, Segovia is your place. Plus it is the home of truly outstanding cochinillo (roast suckling pig) and that is a dish some people die for. The AVE train takes 25 minutes from Chamartin train station and when you reach Segovia, hop on a city bus for 15 mins. The city has shops, restaurants, a quiet calm atmosphere, an outstandingly huge cathedral and a castle. Segovia’s weather is much cooler than Madrid.
Please take into account that VillaJardines is in a semipedestrian street in the center of Madrid and if your kids are old enough to walk, you can really live the Madrid experience without a car. The closest parking spaces are as follows.
There is a parking space just in front of VillaJardines, in the same street. It is private and has private security 24 hours a day. Very expensive. Other options seem to be fairer and should be considered.
One parking spot 5 minutes walking from VillaJardines, merging art and a public service, is the car park in Chueca, in Plaza Vázquez de Mella. Designed by Teresa Sapey, the main colors are black for the ceilings and bright red for the walls. It illustrates Dante’s hell, though the whole parking space is devoted to love. The walls are covered with black and white pictures that represent equality and love. It is worth a visit.
All the above information intends simply to inform about the center of Madrid. Please let me know if any of this information is inappropriate or outdated.
The Madrid experience by VillaJardines is licensed under Creative Commons Reconocimiento – No Comercial – Compartir Igual 3.0 Unported License.