Madrid is easy to get around and is served by an extensive network of buses, a modern and efficient metro, and trains. Taxis are plentiful and cheap although a list of surcharges will increase the fare. Visitors should check that the meter isn't already running and is in working order, as foreigners are often the victims of overcharging. The quickest way to get around is on the fast and very efficient metro that reaches most places and operates from 6am to 1:30am, although it is best to avoid rush hours. Otherwise the comprehensive bus network is there to fill in the gaps from 6am to midnight. Buses have designated lanes so they are able to avoid traffic congestion, and night buses operate after midnight. The 10-trip ticket package allows for cheaper travel and is valid on both the metro and buses. The Madrid Card also entitles the holder to free public transport. Driving in Madrid is best avoided because it is unnecessarily stressful when public transport is so cheap and convenient. Rented cars can be left at parking garages while in Madrid. The city is very compact and it is best to walk when possible; most of the touristic sights of interest are found in the downtown area between the Royal Palace and Parque del Retiro.
GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
Electrical current is 220 or 225 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.
Spain's official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro 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.
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.
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. Madrid Barajas Airport is about a half-hour drive from the centre of Madrid.
Several car hire companies are represented at the airport including Avis, Hertz and Europcar.
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.
Moving walkways connect three of the airport's four terminals. A free transfer bus is available for passengers changing flights and terminals, this service includes all of the airport's four terminals.
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 at Madrid Barajas Airport is available outside each terminal.
Wifi is available from kubi wireless with the first 15 minutes free.