How To Use The Madrid Metro

September 27, 2019

The capital of Spain has finally made it to the top of your next best destination list! Madrid, with its bustling city life, hidden culinary secrets (tapas and cava, anyone?) and elegant boulevards, is a wonderful place to explore the beauty and charm that Spain has to offer.

Get ready, because this city never sleeps and it’s waiting on you to be explored.

Getting around Madrid can be quite easy. We’ve put together a guide on how to use the metro system in Madrid to find your way around town. When there is so much to discover and so little time, you’ll want to hop on the next train so you can reach your destination as fast as possible!

Another exciting way to explore the city is on a Madrid bike tour! This is a more slow form of travel, and will allow you to observe the locals and Spanish monuments you pass. We definitely suggest it if you have the time – otherwise, hop on the metro and get where you’re going fast!

Guide On Using The Metro In Madrid

The metro (or subway) is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to move around the fast-paced Madrid. Why is it so convenient? There are more than 300 subway stations throughout the city, ensuring that no matter where you go, you will always be able to catch a train!

Madrid Metro Map – Getting Around Town

Get yourself a map of the Madrid Subway system. It can be very helpful to look at a map to figure out how the lines work, which direction you need to head to and picking the best line to reach your destination. Take a look at this map to help you figure out your way to your next sightseeing location.

Madrid has 12 operating metro lines. So, how do you know how to use the subway correctly? No worries, every line has a number and a colour you can use to identify them. Each line has a start and an end station with stops (other stations) located in between them.

Most of the lines cross the city centre of Madrid and are intertwined with each other, making it super easy to figure out the best combination of metro lines to reach your final stop.

The metro lines in Madrid:

  • Line 1 | Light Blue | Pinar de Chamartín – Valdecarros
  • Line 2 | Red | Las Rosas – Cuatro Caminos
  • Line 3 | Yellow | Villaverde Alto – Moncloa
  • Line 4 | Brown | Argüelles – Pinar de Chamartín
  • Line 5 | Light Green | Alameda de Osuna – Casa de Campo
  • Line 6 | Grey | Círcular
  • Line 7 | Orange | Hospital del Henares – Pitis
  • Line 8 | Pink | Nuevos Ministerios – Aeropuerto T4
  • Line 9 | Purple | Mirasierra – Arganda del Rey
  • Line 10 | Dark Blue | Hospital Infanta Sofía – Puerta del Sur
  • Line 11 | Dark Green | Plaza Elíptica – La Fortuna
  • Line 12 | Khaki | MetroSur

Metros are fast and well-connected to the rest of the city. On most of your journeys, you will need to change lines at least once. Keep in mind that the walk can be between 5 to 10 minutes between larger stations, which could affect your traveling time.

Need to head towards the airport? Take line 8, and it will be more or less an hour to reach your destination!

When Can I Use The Metro? – Madrid Metro Hours

The Madrid metro system operates daily from 06:00 to 01:30. During working hours (peak-hours) the trains arrive every 2-4 minutes, but outside peak-hours you might have to wait 10-15 minutes before a new train arrives.

Which Metro Ticket To Buy In Madrid, Spain

If you only plan on staying in Madrid for a few days there are a few ticket options you can consider.

Multi Card (Multi Tarjeta)

The Multi Card offers you 10 trips within the entire Metrobus network, including the subways and tram Metro Ligero ML1. If you transfer to a different line and your ticket is still valid, you don’t have to pay for the transfer.

This is a good option since tickets can be used by everyone in your group. You can also purchase single tickets on board for one trip, excluding the Airport Express metro. The single ticket option is the most expensive – if you want to save on transport costs, we recommend using the single ticket option on your last day of traveling in and around Madrid.

Tourist Travel Pass, Madrid

If you are planning on making a few day trips to the outskirts of Madrid or nearby towns, to enjoy wine tours or explore the smaller cities nearby, a tourist travel pass might be the option for you.

This ticket allows you unlimited travel on all forms of public transport in Madrid (subway, light rail, buses and trains). Pick this option if you have a feeling that you will make use of a lot of metro’s and buses during your stay in Madrid, Spain.

Using The Metro: Safety & Traveling Tips

  • Make sure that the line of the train you’re getting on, is heading in the right direction. Each line heads in two directions, so make sure that the station you need to get off at, is listed on the sign on your way to the metro.
  • Beware of pickpockets close to metro stations as this is the ideal location for them to find tourists to target. Avoid crowded trains, people offering help when you didn’t ask for it, drop coins on the ground close to you, or any interaction that might seem odd to you.
  • Download the Metro De Madrid app for Android and iOS devices to help you plan your metro trips around town.


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