At present, the city of Madrid represents the perfect symbiosis and harmony between efficiency and quality of life. It is a city where you will find everything: cutting-edge facilities, devoted professionals and a modern infrastructure, allowing you to comply with the most demanding quality levels. Furthermore, you will find a booming culture, a thriving lifestyle, warm people and blue skies. Thanks to all this, we are sure the event will be a unique experience.
Madrid is plenty of possibilities:
By Air: Barajas Airport
Madrid-Barajas Airport it is just 13 km away from the city, and its connections by public transportation are some of the quickest and easiest to use in the world: besides bus or taxi, travelers may take the Metro, where every five minutes a train to/from Madrid-Barajas Airport leaves from Nuevos Ministerios Station in the City Centre at a cost of 2 € while you will pay only 1 € for a ticket within the City!
In 2007, the airport handled 52,143,275 passengers, 483,284 operations and 322,244 tonnes of cargo. Madrid-Barajas International Airport receives flights from over 166 destinations, including several low cost airlines, and is the main European air hub for Latin America. The inauguration of the new terminal that has set its capacity in 70 million passengers a year took place on 5th of February 2006. The building was designed by Richard Rodgers and Lamela and it has received the Stirling Architecture Award.
To take a taxi you must go to the appropriate taxi rank. Signs of taxi stops are well indicated at the arrival area of each terminal. The official taxis are white with red line. Ignore any drivers who offer their services unsolicited inside the terminals. Make sure that the taxi driver has started up the taximeter at the start of the journey (minimum fare). You may request a free receipt with the tax ID, amount, date, license number and vehicle registration number, or a printed receipt. The estimated cost of a taxi from the airport to the city centre is 30 – 40 €, and from the airport to the venue is 15 – 20 €.
International trains arrive at Atocha or Chamartín train stations. Atocha is the station located in the south center of the city and Chamartín is in the north. Both stations have access to metro stations.
Avenida de América and Méndez Álvaro bus stations are the main bus stations in the city. Both stations have routes to other Spanish cities. Méndez Alvaro is located in the south of the city and Avenida de América is located in the north east.
Bus Line 204 and 200 connect Barajas airport with the bus station Avenida de América.
The underground (Metro) is the fastest, most efficient and most affordable way to move around Madrid. The city has a vast metropolitan network, one of the most comprehensive in Europe, and covers almost all the points in the capital and many of the neighboring areas. Currently, there are twelve metro lines and three Metro Ligero (tramway) lines. Out of all these, Line 8 (Nuevos Ministerios – Airport-T4 terminal) is particularly noteworthy. This modern line connects the capital to Barajas international airport, arriving in only 12 minutes to the rest of terminals, and to Madrid’s Trade Fair grounds (Ifema).
The underground system covers a total of 283.3 km. The price of a single ticket with a validity of 1 hour is 1,50 €, and can be purchased at all Metro stations.
Madrid has an extensive city bus network, run by the company Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT), which covers the whole city. All the vehicles that make up the EMT fleet, 2,022 in total, are air-conditioned. Madrid’s buses have special facilities for handicapped people. The cost for a single ticket with a validity of 1 hour is 1 €.
There are more than 15,000 taxis in Madrid, so it is not usually difficult to find one available in the city’s main thoroughfares. You can order them by phone or through internet. In the streets, just make a sign and they will be keen to stop! Prices are quite reasonable, considering that a one-way trip from the city centre to the airport costs around 20-25 euros.
Journeys beginning or ending at the airport, including those within the airport grounds: 5.50 €.
Journeys originating or ending at bus stations, train stations or the Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I (IFEMA) fairs complex: 2.95 €.
Shops in Madrid open at 9 or 10am and close between 8 and 10pm, and most of them don’t close over lunch. Some – especially those far from the city centre – close from 2 to 4 or 5pm.
In Madrid, shops don’t have restricted opening hours, as local regulations governing shopping days and times grant retailers freedom to close or remain open. The shops and businesses in the districts on the tourist map, mostly Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, will be open even on Sunday and bank holidays.
To have lunch at a restaurant table, it’s advisable to arrive before 3.30pm, or before 11pm for dinner. However, you can still find kitchens open later than this. And if you don’t, you can always have tapas, as tapas bars and restaurants have more flexible hours.
Electricity supply in Spain is 220V. Plugs have two round pins and an additional ground pin. A standard travel adaptor plug will enable you to use appliances from abroad. Most hotels will supply you with one.
In Madrid, you’ll find one of the safest tap waters in Spain. The capital’s excellent drinking water comes directly from Sierra Norte to the points of consumption.
During your stay in Madrid, you’ll need euros, the single European currency of the euro area whose notes and coins were introduced in 2002. The euro has eight coin denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros, while bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, Atocha and Chamartín train stations, and the main transport hubs – Avenida de América, Méndez Álvaro and Moncloa – are dotted with foreign currency exchange offices. There are several foreign exchange outlets in central Madrid, especially in Puerta del Sol. Most banks and some hotels offer currency exchange services as well. Market conditions usually cause price fluctuations, so you should check the euro’s exchange rates beforehand on the day of the transaction.
Running out of cash isn’t a problem in Madrid, since chances are you’ll find an ATM within walking distance wherever you are. Also, most establishments accept credit cards, which you can even use to purchase your tickets to get around Madrid on the underground.
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards, American Express and Diners are less common. You should contact your bank if you wish to find out what commission they’ll charge you for using your card in Spain.
In Madrid, you may tip or not depending exclusively on how happy you are with the service you get. Among the locals, at least, it’s always been up to the consumer to decide whether and how much to tip. Your waiter won’t protest if you just get up and leave.
Some restaurants may add a 2- or 3-euro charge to the bill for bread and appetizers, a service which they have the obligation to tell you about and which you can refuse. As a general rule, it’s you who decides whether to reward the quality of the service and the kindness of the staff with a gratuity.
The same rule applies in hotels, taxis, beauty or hair salons, and other one-on-one services.
Remember that in all establishments, service is included in the price. This isn’t the case in hotels and restaurants, where the legend ‘IVA NO INCLUIDO’ (VAT NOT INCLUDED) usually comes next to the price. This means you should add 10%.
If you come from a non-EU country, you can reclaim VAT on items worth over 90.15 euros. Show your tickets or receipts for the goods at the tax refund counters at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.
Once customs officials have gone through your purchases and stamped your tickets, you can choose to post them back to the retailer in order to have the money credited to your credit card or bank account. Alternatively, you can get paid on the spot by registered VAT refund agents, which usually charge handling fees.
In order to get VAT refund in cash at the airport, you should buy in shops displaying a ‘Tax Free for Tourists’ sign and ask the sales assistant for a tax-free form showing the refund amount. The VAT refund agent will ask you to hand in your forms before they give you the money.
In case of emergency (ambulance, fire and rescue, police), call 112, a toll-free number that works 24/7 across the EU, Spain included. The 112 call centre immediately identifies the caller’s location. It has interpreting services covering as many as 80 languages.
The Foreign Tourist Assistance Service (SATE) offers personal assistance to tourists who need to visit a police station for whatever reason.
Assistance is provided by a qualified team at the official tourism agency or by police officers. They help tourists lodge complaints or fill in forms