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Madrid

Plaza de la Cibeles, Madrid

Practical Info about Madrid

Getting around the city

Madrid is served by an extensive network of buses, a modern and efficient Metro, and trains. The quickest way to get around is on the Metro, which reaches most places and operates from 6am to 1:30am, although it is best to avoid rush hours. Otherwise the comprehensive bus network fills in the gaps between 6am and midnight. Buses have designated lanes so they are able to avoid traffic congestion, and night buses operate after midnight. Taxis are plentiful and cheap, although surcharges will increase the fare. Driving in Madrid is best avoided because it is unnecessarily stressful when public transport is so cheap and convenient. The city is very compact and it is best to walk when possible.

Time

GMT +1 (GMT +2 between March and October).

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 or 225 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Currency

Spain's official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at bureaux de change and major hotels, but banks give the best rates. All major credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining money.

Communication

The international access code for Spain is +34. Pay phones are either blue or green and accept either coins or phone cards, which are sold at post offices, tobacco shops and newsagents. Mobile phone operators provide thorough GSM 900/1800 coverage throughout the country and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Email and internet access is available at internet cafes in most towns and resorts.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 112

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Year’s Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Good Friday 18 Apr 3 Apr
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Assumption of Mary 15 Aug 15 Aug
Hispanic Day 12 Oct 12 Oct
All Saints Day 1 Nov 1 Nov
Constitution Day 6 Dec 6 Dec
Immaculate Conception 8 Dec 8 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec

Climate

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Madrid has a Mediterranean climate, with dry, warm and pleasant weather most of the year: winters are cold, but not as chilly as winters in many other European cities; and summers are hot. In summer, between June and August, average temperatures range between 65°F (18°C) and 88°F (31°C) and the heat at midday can be intense, though evenings are often pleasantly cool. Summer temperatures can rise above 95°F (35°C) during occasional heat waves. Winters, between December and February, bring temperatures dropping to just below freezing, averaging between 36.7°F (2.6°C) and 50°F (10°C). Rain in Madrid is a rarity and no season is marred by heavy rain, but what rain the city does receive falls mostly in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. The wettest months are April, May, November and December. The most popular time to visit Madrid is in the summer months between June and August, as this is the peak tourist season in the whole country, but the best time to visit is just before or after summer, in May or October.

Madrid Barajas Airport

www.aena.es/csee/Satellite/Home/en/

Getting to the city

RENFE has service to the airport, running to Terminal 4. 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. Madrid Barajas Airport is about a half-hour drive from the centre of Madrid.

Car rental

Several car hire companies are represented at the airport including Avis, Hertz, National and Europcar.

Airport taxi's

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.

Transfer between terminals

Moving walkways connect three of the airport's four terminals. A free metro service and transfer bus is available, and services four terminals.

Facilities

Facilities at the airport include banks, currency exchange, ATMs, shops, restaurants and bars, chapels, business centres, a post office and pharmacies. Terminal 4 has a Turkish bath, foot spa and hydro-massage area.

Parking

Parking at Madrid Barajas Airport is available outside each terminal. Rates are charged at roughly €0.02 per minute for the first half hour, and increase slightly after that up to a daily limit of €18.

Internet

Wifi is available in the dining areas of Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and all of Terminals 4 and 4S.