Madrid hitchhiking and transport tips

Spanish looking car complete with flags and bulls - Madrid, Spain (69)


Perhaps, unsurprisingly given its size and position in the middle of the peninsula, Madrid is the best connected city in Spain by air, road and rail.

The Madrid-Barajas Airport serves as the Iberian Peninsula’s gateway to Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world. It is 13km outside the historical centre and is the 4th busiest airport in Europe.

The Cercanías Madrid is a commuter train service that serves Madrid and its metropolitan areas. Cercanías Madrid is part of the larger RENFE system than connects Madrid by rail to the rest of Spain. The AVE high speed train system also uses Madrid as its hub and connects the capital to numerous cities in Spain all in under four hours. The bulk of national trains leave from Puerta de Atocha (Calle Tortosa, 10), at the southern end of the city centre, whilst international trains tend to go from Estación de Chamartín (Calle Agustín de Foxa s/n), which lies to the north of the city.

Street art on the back of a kiosk, taken on Calle de Atocha - Madrid, Spain (65), Madrid hitchhiking and transport tips

The Madrid Metro is used by four million people daily and is one the largest networks in the world. 12 lines run all over the city with one ride costing €1.50 and a 10 ride ticket €12. Clink the link to see a Madrid Metro map.

Intercity buses run frequently across the country with most leaving from Estacion Sur de Autobuses (Calle de Méndez Álvaro, 83), just south of the M30 ring road. Major bus companies serving Madrid include ALSA and Avanzabus.

City buses are run by EMT and stop all over town, a useful interactive map can be found by following the link here 

The city is surrounded by four ring roads the M30, M40, M45 and M50. The M30 is the most inward and circles the central districts, the largest and most outwardly is the M50. From the body shoot the many legged motorways all over Spain:

  • A-1 Autovía del Norte to San Sebastián,
  • A-2 Autovía del Nordeste to Barcelona,
  • A-3 Autovía del Este to Valencia,
  • A-4 Autovía del Sur to Cádiz,
  • A-5 Autovía del Suroeste to Portugal,
  • A-6  Autovía del Noroeste to La Coruña,
  • A-42 Autovía de Toledo to Toledo.

Put simply, it’s a minefield out of roads out there, so if you are driving be patient and expect to get lost.

Madrid Hitchhiking Out

Spanish looking car complete with flags and bulls - Madrid, Spain (69), Madrid hitchhiking and transport tips

South towards Cordoba

As with all Madrid hitchhiking, you must get to the outskirts first. Take a train to San Cristolbal metro stop (line 3), outside there is a bus stop right outside. This road (Av. De Andulsia leads south to A-4 Autovía del Sur. From the bus stop if you can go about 10/15km along the Autovia there is a petrol station, get there and the whole hitch-hike is a lot easier.
Take the cercanias C-3 to Valdemoro. Leave the stations and walk down Paseo de la Estacion until you can turn left onto Avenida de Andalucia. Follow it until you get to the petrol station. In total it is a 30 minute walk.

South towards Toledo

Take the train to from Atocha to Las Margaritas Universidad. Cross the A42 to Av. de la Paz using the pedestrian flyover, turn right and head for the large unmistakable El Corte Ingles, it’s huge. Behind it is a motorway slip road where it is possible to catch a lift. We have tried this ourselves and we got to Toledo relatively quickly.

East towards Valencia

Take the metro to Rivas Vaciamadrid (line 9). Leave the station, turn right, and go under a bridge to a roundabout. Take the bridge that leads over the motorway, on the left there is a petrol station.

Northeast towards Barcelona

Take the train from Atoche to San Fernando, just outside Madrid. Behind San Fernando is an entrance to the motorway that is hitchhikeable.
Take the RENFE to La Garena (lines C7 or C2). Leave the station and turn right onto Av. Juan Carlos. Keep walking straight as the road turns into Av. Europa until you reach Daganzo where you take a left. Take the 1st left again to C/ Louis Pasteux. There is a petrol station here from which to hitch-hike.

North towards Burgos

Take the metro to Pinar de Chamartín, and head north along C/Arturo Soria, cross the M11 and follow Camino de la Fuente de la Mora, until a left hand turn called Avenudo de Manoteras. On the left there is a petrol station after 300 metres or you try at the end of the road.

West towards Portugal

Take the metro to Alto de Extremadura (line 6). Behind the station there is the major road Avenida de Portugal you can try from the roundabout but it doesn’t look ideal.. It might be necessary to hitch a ride to the next petrol station 48km along the A5 before continuing on your journey.

Written by: Jon

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