If you’ve read our guide to arriving into Madrid Airport, you’ll know it comprises 4 terminals with T1 and T4 dealing with the majority of international flights. Here we focus again on Madrid’s T1 which accommodates flights with airlines including Ryanair and easyJet.
Getting to the airport
If you’re not driving your Madrid Airport car hire to the airport, your best bet is probably the Airport Express bus – a bright yellow bus that picks people up from 3 stops in the city centre and stops at each of Madrid’s terminals. The bus stops at O’Donnell, Plaza Cibeles and Atocha Railway Station in the city centre. A one-way fare is €5 and is available 24 hours a day - although note that the bus only picks up from Atocha Railway Station during the day.. Buses run every 15 minutes during the day and every half an hour at night. The journey to the city takes around 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. Find more information on the Airport Express website but note information is currently only available in Spanish.
You could also take the Metro but there’s more of a walk from the Metro station to Terminal 1. The Metro is, however, a great option if you’re departing from either T4 or T2 (or just don't mind the walk!).
Legend in art outside the airport
If you’ve reached the airport a bit early, why not sit by the sculpture of a woman on a bull outside T1. You’ll find it on the island in the middle of the road between the car hire car park and the entrance to T1.
Created by Fernando Botero who is possibly Colombia’s most famous artist, it depicts the taking of Europa (a Phoenician woman) by Zeus who disguised himself as a bull. If you like Botero’s large rounded figures of things, you might spot a Botero hand in Madrid’s city centre and if you’re in Barcelona, you’ll find more there too!
To get to departures
up to departures
Entering the airport, you’ll note you’re in arrivals but don’t worry, departures is just on the level above. You’ll find steps and a lift by the car hire desks in the airport to go up.
need to check-in?
Once up, check the screens for which check-in desk you need. These ones are just on your left once you’ve gone up the steps or in the lift just mentioned.
After you’ve checked in or if you don’t need to because you’ve done it online and have only hand luggage, you’ll find Security Control on your left from those stairs and lift from the arrivals hall. You’ll just need your boarding pass at this point as departures to domestic and Shenghen destinations also go through here.
Getting ready to line up for security control. Don't worry - it moves quickly! The only small pain is that once you've got your stuff in those trays, you have to carry them to the actual security screening machine which is only a pain if your stuff ends up needing more than one tray.
Once through Security Control, you’ll find that directions to gate zones A to F covering departures for T1, T2 and T3. Gate zones closest to the T1 entrance to the departures lounge are A, B and C. Flights heading to the UK tend to depart from zone B which is towards your right and to you’ll need to pass through Passport Control to get to it.
Eating and shopping in the departures lounge
If you’re not rushing to board your flights, here’s a quick run down of shops and eateries you’ll find at the airport…
El Corte Ingles
Right in front of the Security Control point where your hand luggage and you are checked, you’ll find an El Corte Ingles – not quite the size of its department stores you’ll find in most Spanish cities.
And to your left, you’ll find a big Duty Free store (you’ll find more of these dotted around the departures lounge including one on your way to Zone B after passing Passport Control.
On either side of El Corte Ingles, you’ll find a Relay for your reading needs and a Thinking Espana for your Spanish trinket and souvenir requirements.
Also towards gate zones C to D, there is an Adidas shop and a Crystal Media shop for electronics.
For eating in this area, there is the Cafeteria so you can get your caffeine fill as well as a pastry or sandwich or both if you’re hungry! The Cafeteria’s dark wood makes for a nice change from some of the brighter colours and lights that decorate other places. Located by windows facing the runway area, it’s a nice location to sit for some natural light too.
Beyond Passport Control in zones A & B
If you wished you’d had a look or bought something from Relay, Thinking España and Crystal, don’t worry, there is more of the same beyond Passport Control.
Another Thinking España can be found on the other side of Passport Control. This one though features stands where you can take a photo of yourself as a flamenco dancer or bullfighter... you know, if that's your thing (you know you want to!).
neon Carolina Herrera
But you’ll also find luxury brands including Cartier, Mont Blanc, Bulgari and Carolina Herrera.
There is also a Sweet Shop just on the other side of the Duty Free in this area if you're looking for a sugar fix and if you can't get enough of Spanish jamon, cheeses, olives and wine, head on over to Sibarium Deli also this side of Passport Control.
For eating, as you walk down wide hallway lined with shops, you’ll also come across a Medas, which features ready to eat sandwiches and salads as well as refreshments and portion of chicken nuggets or onion rings if that’s what you were really craving. Further down just before the connecting corridor to Zone A, is a large Ars – great if you’re looking for cooked food. They do sandwiches and salads too – as well as ice cream, which was exactly what I was craving! They have a large space with windows on two sides of the restaurant facing the runway area.
Just don’t forget to keep on top of time and where you need to be for boarding!
More about Madrid Airport
You might also like to read:
Arriving into Madrid Airport
Collecting your car hire at Madrid Airport
Returning your car hire to Madrid Airport