Madrid Barajas Airport is one of the largest in Europe. Millions of people pass through the airport each year, and it is ranked as the busiest in all of Spain. Despite a large number of travelers, it is still a very spacious airport where you can usually get a pleasant wait.
Furthermore, the airport is only located approximately 12 kilometers from the center of Madrid, which makes it easy to get back and forward to the city. It’s a relatively short journey where you have several different options in regards to transportation.
In this article, we are looking into useful things such as:
- The different terminals
- How to get to and from the airport
- Shops in the airport
- Restaurants in the airport
- Flight information and visibility
- Stats and facts about Madrid Barajas Airport
Let’s start right off.
Terminals in Madrid Airport
Madrid Barajas Airport has 4 terminals. The first three are connected and located in the same place. The fourth is the newest one and a bit farther away.
It’s most likely that you will fly from one of the first three terminals, but if you are lucky, you might get a departure from Terminal 4. It has stunning architecture and is – as a whole – much nicer than the other terminals.
Terminal 1 used to be the main terminal and it’s still the one that services a lot of important, basic flights.
Terminal 2 is primarily used for domestic flights within Spain, along with many routes to EU Schengen countries. Terminal 3 is mostly used for specific flights to France and Portugal.
Terminal 4 is commonly used for Iberia flights. It’s also valid for a lot of long distance flights, for example to South America, although this might take place at the Terminal 4 Satellite which can be considered as a fifth terminal.
It is not difficult to change terminals if you have a layover in Madrid. There are shuttles that can help you get from one point to the other if you need it. Although there can be a bit of distance between T4 and the rest, it is usually not a huge issue, and you can make the transfer quite fast.
Get to and from the airport: Madrid Barajas to Madrid centre
It’s easy to get back and forward to the airport.
The cheapest and easiest solution is the metro. Each terminal has a metro station (one metro station is for T1-2-3 and T4 has one on its own). Expect to pay about 7,5 Euros, because you have to buy the metro card, the ride, and an extra airport fee. You buy it in a machine upon arrival, but there are people around to help if you need it. You can use cash, but only in Euros, and no notes higher than 20. You can also just use a credit or debit card.
The metro rides until 1.30 in the night. Technically until 2, but you will be advised not to take it after 1:30 (am) since you might not be able to change lines at that time.
The most common solution is to take the metro from the airport to the stop Nuevos Ministerios. From here, you can change to several other lines that pass on to the centre and many other areas of Madrid.
You can also take a bus. They are waiting outside most terminals and are about as cheap as the metro rides.
The Renfe Cercanías is another good option, although they don’t cover as many destinations. The Cercanías are city trains, and there is one line that goes from the airport and passes through Chamartín, Atocha and Príncipe Pío. Worth looking into if that is one of your final destinations.
A taxi ride is usually 30 euros to get from the airport to the centre. Easy and fast, but a bit more expensive. It can be useful if you are more than 3 people but is not advised for single travelers due to the price.
Shops and restaurants in Madrid Airport
Madrid Airport is huge and it also has several stores and restaurants.
Most of them are local shops, not large brands, although you will find some familiar franchises as well.
If you want to eat, you have all the basic fast food options such as McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. Also the Spanish franchise 100 Montaditos, which is super cheap, but not the highest quality.
For more fine dining, check out some of the more serious restaurants around the airport. You will find them in every terminal, and they sell great Spanish foods and drinks. You can get everything from a nice sandwich to a large plate meal.
There are more than 100 shops in total, ranging from clothing to electronics and sports. Plenty of souvenir shops as well, if you are collecting interesting things from your travels.
There are plenty of screens around the airport that shows information about the flights.
Most of the information will be up early. Time of departure, destination, gate, and so on. At the very least an hour before your flight, which gives you plenty of time to arrive at the right place.
You can also access all the flight information on the airport’s own website.
Facts about the airport
Madrid Barajas Airport is the fifth busiest in Europe. It’s the second largest by size. Large airlines such as Iberia and Air Europa use it as their main hub.
The airport has free Wi-Fi, although not very fast, and with a few issues. In fact, that is the only real downside. But: You can pay a few euros and get a better connection if you will be at the airport for a while.
The security area is large and usually it doesn’t take long to get through it.