Madrid Barajas AirportIATA Code: MAD
Location: Madrid airport is located eight miles (13km) from the city centre.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 between March and October).
Contacts: Tel: +34 (0)91 393 60 00.
Transfer between terminals: Moving walkways connect three of the airport's four terminals. A free metro service and transfer bus is available for passengers changing flights and terminals, this service includes all of the airport's four terminals.
Transfer to the city: Trains on the Spanish Railway Network (RENFE) do not run directly to the Madrid-Barajas Airport but long-distance, AVE and suburban train stations are accessible using the Underground. Trains run daily, linking to the city and stations connected to the main rail network. The airport is served by regular EMT and Intercity buses, as well as the Metro system and local taxis. The airport bus connects to the Plaza de Colon, departing from the Arrivals level of each terminal every 15 minutes, day and night. Several car hire companies are represented at the airport. Madrid Barajas Airport is about a half-hour drive from the centre of Madrid.
Taxis: There are official taxi stands outside each terminal, and visitors are advised to use these rather than unofficial taxis. Journey time to the city centre is around half an hour and official taxis charge EUR2.95 for journeys originating or ending at bus stations, train stations or the Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I (IFEMA) fairs complex.
Car rental: Several car hire companies are represented at the airport including Avis, Hertz, National and Europcar.
Facilities: Facilities at the airport include banks, currency exchange, ATMs, shops, restaurants and bars, chapels, business centres, a post office and pharmacies. The new Terminal 4 has a Turkish bath, and foot spa and hydro-massage area. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
Parking: Long- and short-term parking, as well as an 'express' short-stay area for periods of up to 30 minutes are available. Long-term parking may be booked in advance on the airport website.
Departure tax: None.
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Madrid may be lacking in architectural beauty compared with other major Spanish cities, but it makes up for this with its boundless energy, blue skies, art, culture and some of the most exhilarating and exhausting nightlife in Europe. The city is compact and easy to navigate on foot - most of the sights of interest are found in the downtown area between the Royal Palace and Parque del Retiro.
The capital of Spain since 1562, Madrid sits in the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula and has long been an important stop on any art tour through Europe. The famous Museo del Prado on the city's 'Museum Mile' houses important works by Spanish and European masters from the Renaissance onwards, while the Museo Thyssen-Bornemiza houses one of the most extensive private collections in the world. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is devoted to 20th century Spanish art, with works by Miro, Dali and Picasso.
Visitors wishing to take a break from all that art may want to see the Plaza de Toros, Spain's largest bullring, where regular bullfights are still held. Sports fanatics who like something a little less bloodthirsty can watch Real Madrid, or Atletico de Madrid, Spain's most famous football teams kick off.
The city sits atop a plateau and is the highest capital in Europe, making its climate somewhat extreme with steaming hot summers and bitterly cold winters. Spring is the best time to visit and explore the squares and alleyways in the heart of this crowded city.