USEFUL GUIDE TO MADRID
Map of Madrid
Madrid is the heart of the peninsular communications network. All the main roads and motorways begin at the capital, connecting it with the rest of the country and Europe. The region enjoys a modern infrastructure of air, railway, and road transport, constantly expanded and improved.
Madrid is the core of the Spanish railway network, serving international destinations with long-distance, high-speed trains, and regional trains. RENFE is the company in charge of all these services, including the suburban trains.
The two big railway stations are located in the capital: Puerta de Atocha and Chamartín, from where international trains depart, linking the city with Paris and Lisbon, as well as long-distance trains, linking Madrid with the other Spanish cities.
Madrid's airport is located just 13 kilometres from the city centre. Access to the airport can be achieved by road, using the N-II (exits 10 and 11), or M-40 (exits 8 and 9). There is also a public bus service from the Plaza de Colón, running approximately every 9 to 12 minutes. Underground line 8 also reaches the airport from Nuevos Ministerios station, located in the centre of Madrid, where luggage can be checked-in. The underground takes 12 minutes to reach the airport.(The taxi service charges an extra fee for trips to the airport)
Madrid boasts one of the largest and most efficient public transport systems in the world, not to mention an extensive and modern taxi service.
Madrid’s public transport system is made up of:
- EMT Bus Network
Madrid ’s underground network comprises 12 lines, 226.90 km long with 190 stations, 19 of them with RENFE links. It is open all year round from 6:00 in the morning to 1.30 a.m.
The hotel Melia Castilla is located around 3 minutes walk from Cuzco Station
For more information and train schedule: http://www.metromadrid.es
EMT Bus Network
Madrid ’s EMT bus network consists of 181 lines, including those to the universities, night buses, lines to the zoo and the special Barajas Airport bus.
The times vary according to each line, but they generally operate from 6:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night. In the early hours there is a night bus service, known as the “búho” (night-owl), with 20 lines. There are 2 types of underground and bus tickets. The single for one journey on a particular line, costing 1.15 Euros or a “Metrobús” ten journey bus/underground pass costing 5.35 Euros.
For more information and train schedule : http://www.emtmadrid.es
To reach the Melia Castilla Hotel from the Airport - take the City Shuttle to Piazza Colon and then Line 27 to the hotel.
RENFE. Suburban Railway Network
Renfe Suburban Railway Network has more than 90 stations in Madrid, 19 of which are also underground stations. Train times vary, with the service starting between 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning and finishing around 1:00 AM.
There are several types of tickets: One way, return, ten journey pass and monthly suburban rail card, the price of which depends on the number of zones crossed.
For more information and train schedule : http://www.renfe.es
The city of Madrid have over 15,500 taxis. All official taxis are painted white with a red diagonal stripe across the front doors. There are many different taxi companies the biggest being.
To reach the Melia Castilla Hotel from the airport will cost you around Euro 25.
Art and Culture
Madrid offers a wide artistic range, influenced by the many styles that have marked the city through the centuries
From the ruins of the ancient Arab wall, Madrid's development is a showcase for a variety of artistic periods. Although it grew under Arab rule for two hundred years, little is left of the Arab presence: only some ruins of the wall are preserved, and a tower, which was later turned into a bellower. With the coming of the Austrias in the 16th century and the height of their splendour in the 17th century, the great monuments of Madrid began to emerge in the area that is nowadays referred to as the Madrid de los Austrias, one of the most famous areas of the city where, in addition to the Plaza Mayor, there are many outstanding spots, churches, and convents, full of art and atmosphere. The austere façades of the Baroque style contrast with the lavish interiors of the palaces.
The 18th century left its Neoclassical mark on the splendid Royal Palace complex, the Sabatini Gardens and Campo del Moro, located in the city centre. The church of San Francisco El Grande, the fountains of Paseo del Prado, the Toledo Bridge, the Prado Museum, and Puerta de Alcalá are also good examples of this splendid style. The most avant-garde and modern Madrid is located in the area of newer districts, mainly along its two main arteries: Gran Vía and Paseo de la Castellana. Gran Vía, whose construction began at the beginning of the 20th century, is nowadays a nerve centre of shops, leisure establishments, and hotels. Paseo de La Castellana, a magnificent avenue that crosses the city from north to south, has some of the most elegant hotels in the capital, as well as the offices of many firms that have opted for modern, avant-garde buildings.
As important as the architectural legacy of Madrid is, however, the city's artistic wealth is found in its art galleries. The well-known Paseo del Arte is made up of three remarkable museums, situated very close to one another: the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and the Queen Sofía National Art Centre Museum.
The Prado Museum is considered by many experts to be the best art gallery of the world, as it has the most complete and impressive collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century art, with the best works from the Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools. It is in the Prado Museum where artists of the stature of Hieronymus Bosch, Rubens, Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Fra Angélico, Botticelli, Titian, Rafael, Watteau, Tintorretto, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, and very many others, can be admired, along with a magnificent collection of classical sculptures. The Prado Museum offers private guided tours to groups outside normal hours, providing an unforgettable encounter with art.
Paseo del Prado. Metro: Banco de España & Atocha.
Open: 9 AM to 7 PM; Sunday 9 AM to 2 PM. Closed: Monday.
Telephone: 91 3302800
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum keeps a private collection, finally donated to the capital in 1993, that has been classified as the most important for having the widest variety of periods and styles, from primitive 13th century paintings to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Dürer, Tintoretto, Degas, Kandinsky, Goya, Cezanne, Matisse, Dalí, Miró, Picasso, and Renoir, are just a few of the artists whose work forms part of this collection.
Villahermosa Palace, Paseo del Prado, 8. Metro: Banco de España.
Open: 10 AM to 7 PM. Closed: Monday.
Telephone: 91 4203944 & 91 3690151
The Paseo del Arte ends at the Queen Sofía National Art Centre Museum, very famous for having Picasso's Guernika in its collection, and for its collection of contemporary paintings, mainly Spanish ones.
Calle Santa Isabel, 52. Metro: Atocha.
Open: 10 AM to 9 PM; Sunday 10 AM to 2:30PM; Closed: Tuesday.
Telephone: 91 4675062 & 91 4674761
Spare Time & Shopping
From antique shops to the latest fashion designs: furniture, the most prestigious fashion houses, gifts, souvenirs or specialist foodstuffs can be found in the shop windows of the city. Shops, shopping centres and street markets mean Madrid offers almost infinite shopping possibilities.
There are five main shopping areas in Madrid: Salamanca, Chueca, Centro, Princesa and Cuatro Caminos
Salamanca: The "golden mile" for fashion
The best and most exclusive national and international fashion firms together with antique shops, bookshops, jewellers, galleries and other prestigious establishments can be found in the streets of Serrano, Velázquez, Castelló, Goya, Jorge Juan and Lagasca and the other streets which go to make up the Salamanca quarter. Each square metre of the specialist shops along the so called "golden mile" offer a world of luxury, distinction and elegance .
Avant-garde in Chueca
If you are looking for the very latest, alternative fashions and designs you must visit Chueca, which consists of the streets Fuencarral, Hortaleza, Barquillo and Almirante. The most daring hairstyles, tattoos and the latest CDs and books, shoes or cosmetics are all available in these narrow streets with their lively bohemian atmosphere
Crafts in the Centre
The Plaza Mayor, the Gran Via, the Puerta del Sol and adjacent streets make up the oldest shopping area in Madrid where there are myriad small shops specialising in all kinds of traditional, typical and craft products. In this, the neuralgic centre of the city, you can buy craft work, ceramics, pottery, leather products, fans, guitars and other musical instruments, flamenco dresses, accessories and foodstuffs, together with all kinds of clothes, CDs and books.
The Rastro, an open air flea market
The Rastro is one of the symbols of the city. Every Sunday and bank holiday, from 9.00 to 14.00 hours, the streets around the Ribera de Curtidores and leading to the Ronda de Toledo receive hundreds of visitors all looking through stalls of second-hand records and CDs, books and clothes, antiques, coins, furniture and craft work. There are other specialist street markets in the capital, such as the market in the Plaza Mayor, which specialises in stamps, or the crafts market in the Plaza de las Comendadoras
Other information of interest
Opening times : most of the shops and shopping centres are open from 10.00 to 20.30 or 21.30 hours. Traditional shops open from 10.00 to 14.00 hours and from 16.30 to 20.30 hours.
How to pay : most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card.
Tax Free : residents from outside the European Union may have their Value Added Tax (VAT) returned for purchases of more than €90.15 .
Madrid Card : you can buy this card from the Municipal Tourist Office and you will be given interesting discounts in certain shops, restaurants, shows and leisure centres. Using this card you can get free entrance to the 40 main museums in the city and you can have a guided tour of the Austrian Quarter of Madrid
Alcalá de Henares - 32 km
Located 30 kilometers East of Madrid by the N II road. It is a rich and young cultural capital in the important area of the Henares River. Its foundation came with the Celtic city of Ikensankom Kombouto, later known as Complutum during the Roman period, where the gentilic name of its inhabitants comes from. The University of Alcalá transformed the city and developed an urban plan thought out for and by mankind. The idea of Alcalá as a cultural place of development of the Spanish language was even increased in 1547 with the birth in Alcalá of Miguel de Cervantes,“Don Quixote’s” author Currently, the historical precinct of the city, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1998, is once of the nicest and best preserved ones of Europe. Alcalá also belongs to the Spanish Group of World Heritages Cities (with nine member cities) and to cultural ways
like the Spanish language Road.
Chinchón - 45 km
All over the province, and especially up in the Sierra, you will find villages which have managed to preserve their character despite the housing estates which have sprung up nearby. But if one had to name a village near Madrid set in scenery very different from the Sierra, undoubtedly would say Chinchón, which has a beautiful square, full of local colors, lined with irregular but tremendously harmonious columns and galleries. Chinchón is a medieval town. Traditional bullfights and craft markets are held in its square. It is known for its excellent food.
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez - 47 km
Set in the midst of lovely and romantic gardens, it was the summer residence of the Spanish Royalty, from whom the beautiful palace was built. Phillip II entrusted the naturalist Dr. Laguna with the creation of the first botanical garden in Spain and one of the firsts in Europe; in the 18th century, it was moved to Madrid by Charles III. The royal of the Hapsburg dynasty abandoned Aranjuez after a fire there, and was not to regain its status until the time of the first Bourbons, when several architects collaborated to build the palace,with its splendid surrounding gardens.
The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial - 49 km
The Monastery is one of the greatest architectural works in the world. Built by Juan de Herrera, in the 16 th century. The nearby village, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, is set in the majestic mountains surrounding Madrid. For King Phillip II, who built El Escorial to commemorate victory at the battle of St. Quintin, it was his life's work. El Escorial was seen by King Phillip as a monastery, a palace and a crypt for the sarcophagus of his father, the Emperor Charles. All the Kings of Spain are buried in its impressive crypt. The monastery also has a very fine art collection and an outstanding library.
Turespaña Tel: 900 300 600
Municipal Office of Tourist Information
Plaza Mayor, 3
91 366 54 77 Fax: 91 588 16 36
Madrid Community Tourist Information Offices
Calle Duque de Medinaceli, 2
91 429 49 51
Puerta de Toledo Market
91 364 18 76
Estación de Chamartín
Central vestibule, gate 16
91 315 99 76
Municipal Board of Tourism and Congress Offices
Calle Mayor, 69
91 588 29 00
Barajas Airport T1 Terminal
91 305 86 56
Atocha Railway Station
Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V
91 563 02 02
Chamartín Railway Station
Agustín de Foxá
91 323 21 21
RENFE (Spanish National Railway)
91 563 02
Main Bus Station
91 468 42 00
Emergency Phone Numbers
- National: 091
- Municipal: 092
- Guardia Civil: 062
LOST OR STOLEN CREDIT CARDS:
- Samur (Accidents in public places): 092
- Insalud (Urgencies): 061
- Red Cross:
- Emergencies: 91 522 22 22
- Intoxications: 91 562 04 20
- Ambulances: 91 473 93 61
- American Express: 91 572 03 03
- CajaMadrid: 91 519 38 00
- 4B: 91 726 00 00
- Eurocard-MasterCard: 91 519 21 00
- Dinner's: 91 547 40 00
- Sistema 6000: 91 355 30 00
- Visa: 91 519 21 00.