What’s the best way to get to Madrid MAD Airport? We explain them all.

After four great days in Madrid, it was time to return home. We arrived into the city by train from Sevilla and were faced with several choices to get to the airport.

We quickly ruled out a taxi, a ride-hailing service or any other private transportation. About €30 was too expensive for just two Frugal Fliers.

I initially planned to take the Exprés Aeropuerto bus for €5 each from Atocha station, which would require an Uber ride from our hotel. The bus makes three stops to the airport and calls at all Terminals in numerical order.

Then, I realized we could take the Cercanías Madrid C1 train. Our hotel was a short bus ride away from Pirámides station, which had elevators to help us with our luggage. The C1 snakes through Madrid, making 9 stops to Terminal 4 at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in just 38 minutes. At €2.60 it was cheaper than the bus and took the same amount of time.
Unfortunately, when we traveled, we didn’t realize public transit was running on a holiday schedule for Holy Thursday, so the wait at Pirámides was a bit longer than anticipated. Still, it was well worth it. The train cars were clean and empty with plenty of space for our luggage.


It was an easy walk to the terminal with plenty of signage to direct us inside.

Metro Line 8 is the absolute cheapest way to get to the airport at just €2. However, it can require several transfers to get from some sections of the city (not ideal with luggage) and can take more time.
Keep in mind, the C1 only goes to Terminal 4. This is useful for those flying Iberia, Air Nostrum, Vueling or OneWorld alliance partners, like American, but may not be convenient for others because it requires the use of a free intra-terminal shuttle bus for T1-T3.

I don’t think Google Maps or Madrid do enough to publicize this route, so take time to see if it works for you.

Finally, OneWorld international service departs from T4S. The S is for satellite, which means you have to take a people mover train to passport control. It's a one-way train so don't leave anything behind. We found a man's passport and turned it over to an airport worker. I imagine he had a very rough day.


We allowed plenty of time for the process and to have breakfast at the Neptuno Lounge. However, we didn't realize, despite our plane having a gate number, it was actually parked at a remote stand. American called "final boarding" about 30-40 minutes before departure so we had to hustle to the gate. It was fine in the end and they kept the bus parked there for quite a while. Then we took the scenic route to the plane. The crew was already prepping for departure and seemed surprise when the bus full of people walked on.
What’s the best way to get to Madrid MAD Airport? We explain them all. What’s the best way to get to Madrid MAD Airport? We explain them all. Reviewed by Brandon on April 27, 2020 Rating: 5

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