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Ther are four terminals: T1, T2 and T3 are linked, and the new T4 is in a separate building.
Easyjet, Ryanair and other low-cost operators use T1. Iberia and British Airways use T4.
Barajas is 12km (7.5 miles) north east of the city centre.
Taxi: Depending on traffic and which side of town you are going to, the journey takes anything from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. There is usually a small queue for cabs, but it moves very quickly.
Taxis are white with a red diagonal stripe on the side. Ignore anyone who approaches you in the airport offering a cab. Make sure the driver puts the meter on when you start. Taxi fare to a downtown location costs 25-35 euros. Flagfall is between 2.10 euros and 3.10 euros depending on whether it is day or night, weekday or weekend. There is an airport supplement of 5.50 euros, which the driver will add to the meter when you arrive at your destination. These charges are detailed in a small panel on the rear side window. The amount you pay is the amount on the meter.
Although things have been cleaned up a lot, it is certainly not out of the question that a driver might try and rip off an unsuspecting tourist, so keep that 25-35 euros total in mind, check your change and ask for un recibo.
Metro: If you aren’t weighed down with luggage, this is the easiest and cheapest way to get to the centre. There are metro stations at T2 (about 10 minutes' walk through the airport from T1 and T3) and T4.
The fare is 2 euros, composed of a normal one-ride ticket (one euro) plus an airport supplement ticket (one euro) and can be bought from machines or a booth. If that isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is.
If you are staying longer than a day or two and might be using public transport during your stay, it is a good idea to buy a 10-ride Metrobus ticket (9.30 euros), plus the supplement ticket.
Line 8 (pink) from the airport terminates at Nuevos Ministerios, which is about 12 minutes from T1, T2 and T3, and 20 minutes from T4. There are lifts to other lines but you do need to negotiate a few steps. Line 10 (dark blue) gets you downtown fastest, but you are likely to need to change again.
A direct connection to the Puerta del Sol is under construction. Let’s hope it doesn’t take too long!
You can always get a taxi from Nuevos Ministerios station if you can’t face the palaver of changing, which will cost about 10 euros to the Gran Vía.
Bus: There is a new 24-hour bus service which stops at Cibeles and Atocha station. The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs 2 euros.
See www.emtmadrid.es for information on all these services.
Car: The most direct way to the city centre is to follow signs to the A-2, Avenida de América. If you are thinking of renting, read my advice on Madrid car hire.
Follow this link to read my advice about How to get around Madrid.