madrid metro train book cover

The Ultimate Guide to Madrid’s Transportation Networks

**Updated version coming sometime in 2024. Grab the first edition while you still can!**

After scouring the Internet for information over the years, I have always noticed that when it came to finding information about Madrid’s metro, bus, and train networks, written guides were very basic and were rarely updated to reflect changes made to the networks, new improvements or station closures. In fact, there wasn’t one place you could go and get complete information about all of the major networks to help you navigate the city of Madrid. Let alone find that all of that information in well-written, non-literally translated English!

Well, once I realized I not only had the head knowledge but also personal experience with most of the city’s transportation networks, I decided to write the book on it!

Of all the years I’ve been living in Spain, I’ve spent over 5 years here in Madrid, learning the streets, trying new restaurants, understanding its history, seeing the sights, and really getting to know the city on a deep, personal level. I’ve walked hundreds of streets and traveled hundreds of miles using Madrid’s Metro, bus, and Cercanías (commuter train) networks and there is still more I have left to learn about this city!

I lay it all out in this comprehensive guide sharing how each network works, what types of tickets and passes you can buy, why you should sometimes choose a Cercanías train route over a Madrid Metro train route, and tips and tricks that I have learned throughout my years of living here. This is the guide I wish I had had in 2010 when I first landed in Spain and mapped out the slowest way possible to get to my connecting train in the Puerta de Atocha Station and later on when I moved to Madrid back in 2016.

Estación de Chamartín (waiting for a Cercanías train for the first time post-lockdown in Madrid)

You’ve often seen other guides to Madrid’s public transportation networks but have most likely left those blog posts feeling like the writers didn’t cover them fully. What if you want to know what certain Metro lines are like and what key things to watch out for when traveling at night or as a woman? What’s the proper etiquette on the bus when speaking to the driver or other passengers? How do you figure out where to find information on buying monthly Cercanías passes?

You don’t have to wonder or hunt for information around the Internet any longer – because I’ve done all of that for you! And what’s more, I actually live in and commute around Madrid so you have a full guarantee that this book was written by an experienced local.

Take a Look Inside


Understanding Madrid’s Transportation Zones

  • Zone A (most popular)
  • Zones B1, B2 & B3
  • Zones C1 & C2
  • Zones E1 & E2

Available Maps (Linked)

Single Metro & EMT Ticket Prices

10-Trip Metro & Bus Prices (Reduced Rate for Multiple Trips)

Tourist Passes & Prices (+ Table 1)

Cercanías Madrid Tickets & Prices

  • Single Tickets & Monthly Pass Prices
  • Table 2: Monthly Cercanías Madrid Prices Calculated by Zone
  • Table 3: Quarterly University Cercanías Madrid Prices Calculated by Zone

The MultiCard (La Tarjeta Multi)

  • What It Is, Cost & How to Get It

Tarjeta de Transporte Público Personal (Monthly Transportation Pass)

  • What It Is, Cost (+Replacement fee), How to Get It (In-Person Appointment or Online)

Types of 30-Day Passes

  • Adult/Normal (Ages 26-64)
  • Youth/Joven (Ages 7-25)
  • Senior/Tercera Edad (65+)
  • Table 4: Monthly Transportation Pass Prices – Single & Multiple Zones

Annual Passes

  • What It Is, How to Get It & Table 5: Annual Transportation Pass – Single Zone
  • Table 6: Cost of Suburban Bus Tickets Calculated by Zone (*Bonus)

EMT & Suburban Buses


Lime-S Scooters

Metro de Madrid

  • The 13 Lines of the Metro de Madrid
    • Line 1: Pinar de Chamartín-Valdecarros
      • Overall Description
      • Notable Stations
      • For Commuters
      • For Visitors
    • Line 2: Cuatro Caminos – Las Rosas
    • Line 3: Moncloa – Villaverde Alto
    • Line 4: Pinar de ChamartÍn-Argüelles
    • Line 5: Alameda de Osuna – Casa de Campo
    • Line 6: Círcular
    • Line 7: Pitis-Hospital de Henares
    • Line 8: Nuevos Ministerios-Aeropuerto (Barajas)
    • Line 9: Paco de LucIa-Arganda del Rey
    • Line 10: Hospital Infanta Sofía-Puerta del Sur
    • Line 11: Plaza Elíptica-La Fortuna
    • Line 12: MetroSur
    • R: Ramal Opera-Príncipe Pío

Metro Ligero

Special Safety Tips for Women

Metro de Madrid App

EMT Madrid (Bus) App

Cercanías Madrid (Operated by Renfe)

Historical Spaces

Future Improvements (+Links)

Sources Consulted (+Links)

Useful Vocabulary (Spanish to English)

Madrid is generally a very safe city but there are times when letting your guard down can put you in a vulnerable position. I will teach you tricks on how to keep yourself safe, travel smart, and help you become more confident no matter which mode of transportation you choose to travel on!

Whether you are a tourist or visitor, a study abroad student, a Master’s student, an intern, or starting a new job, this guide has something for everyone! It’s not specific for any one type of person but for many different types of people and covers all aspects of living in and enjoying the city of Madrid to its fullest. And if real-life travel isn’t an option for you right now, you can always purchase this guide to help you plan your future visit or move, putting you ahead of the crowd!

Buen viaje,

<3 Sarah

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