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Madrid Metro and Taxis: Cheapo tips for getting around

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Follow the red diamonds (and our advice) to use the Metro wisely. Photo by Diorama Sky.
Follow the red diamonds (and our advice) to use the Metro wisely. Photo by Diorama Sky.

Transportation is easy in Madrid, but if you aren’t aware of your options, you may end up losing money when you’re trying to save it. Here are some tips to help you get to where you’re going and still have money to spend once you get there!

10 bus or metro rides with the “billete de diez”

Although metro tickets are only €1 for a single ride within Madrid, buying multiple single journey tickets can actually cost you more than if you buy a metro pack. One option is to buy a ticket for 10 rides, which is otherwise known as a “billete de diez” or “Metrobús.” The cost is €7.40 and you can use this ticket to travel anywhere within Zone A, which is where most of the tourist attractions in the city are located.

What’s great about these tickets is that they can be used on both the metro and buses, and there is no expiration date! You can buy the “billete de diez” at any metro station, “estanco” (tobacco shop), and at the kiosks located in the metro station. You can’t, however, buy these passes on the bus.

Unlimited travel with the “Abono Turistico” pass

The second option for cheap metro travel is the “Abono Turístico.” This pass gives you unlimited travel throughout the city of Madrid on the metro and buses, and is also valid on the “cercanías,” trains that take you to Madrid’s surrounding areas. You can buy a pass for either 1-5 days or 7 days, and for either zone A or to for the entire Community of Madrid.

This pass is a great option if you know you are going to be traveling outside the city center for day trips. A one-day adult pass for only zone A is €5.20. For a 1-day pass that includes the Community of Madrid the cost is €10.40. A seven-day pass for travel in zone A is €23.60, and for travel that includes the Community of Madrid it is €47.20.

You will need your passport to buy the “Abono Turistico.” It can be purchased in metro stations, the tourism office in Madrid, at hotels, or online.

The “Abono” ticket for longer stays

A third option if you are in town for a month is to buy a season ticket, simply called an “Abono.” The “Abono” is valid for the entire calendar month, so it’s beneficial to buy the pass before the month begins. Zone A should cover everywhere you’d want to go, unless you are planning to travel outside the city.

An adult “Abono” for travel within Zone A costs €46. There are reductions in cost for young people and those over 65. To purchase the “Abono,” you will need your passport and a small passport size photo, and they can be purchased at most tobacco shops around the city.

Taxi Tips

Two quick tips about taking a taxi in Madrid:

For normal rides you do not need to tip the driver. Of course if you want to, go ahead. But again, you can save an extra euro just by knowing it’s not customary to do so.

Secondly, the meter always starts at €2.05, but depending on where you’re going and the time of day, you may be charged an extra fee on top of that.

There is an additional charge from 11 PM to 6 AM, on Sundays and public holidays, and there are extra supplements for travel starting from a bus or train station (€2.95), from the airport (€5.50), and to and from the IFEMA fair complex (€2.95).

About the author

Cynthia Kane

About the author: Cynthia Blair Kane is a freelance writer and editor who splits her time between New York and Madrid. She is the Madrid city guide writer for Blackbook Magazine, and recently co authored Take a Hike: The Best 50 Routes in the Community of Madrid.

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One thought on “Madrid Metro and Taxis: Cheapo tips for getting around”

  1. Been a taxi driver in Colchester, essex for many years now, spent two weeks in madrid and naturally looking to see how things in there taxi industry works, for some reason you expect things to be diffrent where ever you go, but always am hugely dissapointed to realise its pretty much the same everwhere, how ever the weather was much nicer!

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