Madrid Airport—officially Barajas International Airport—is located about eight miles from the major attractions in the city center, and is connected to it by Madrid Metro and trains. The journey takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The Metro is connected directly to Terminals 1, 2, and 3. If you have flights to or from Terminal 4, getting to the Metro requires a little bit of a walk. In addition to subway and rail service, there are buses, taxis, and car rentals available.
Barajas International Airport is pretty much the only Madrid airport used by tourists and other visitors on vacations. It is the only international passenger facility in the region, and is the busiest airport in Spain. It is a very large, very modern hub with flights to virtually all corners of the world, flown by nearly every major international airline. Whether you are spending time in Madrid, the beaches around Barcelona and Valencia, or the Balearic Islands such as Ibiza in the Mediterranean, you will find numerous convenient flights. Facilities and passenger services include numerous dining spots, bars and lounges, shopping arcades, and currency changing facilities. There are a few airport hotels, including the deluxe Hilton. Most people using these hotels are business travelers and tourists who have an early flight the next morning or arrive late at night. Those who are spending any significant time in Madrid will usually choose to stay in city hotels that are closest to the major attractions.
The fact that there are no other commercial passenger airports in Madrid Spain is due to a number of factors. Barajas is such an ultramodern facility that it is capable of handling all the passenger traffic into the central part of the country. Additionally, the network of rail service throughout the nation is extensive, modern, and relatively inexpensive. It is generally more economical and time efficient to take a train to many destinations than it is to take short flights. This even includes the bordering countries of Portugal and France.
However, there are other airports in Madrid Spain in the suburbs. The Cuatro Vientos Airport is about six miles from the city center on the southwestern boundary of the metropolitan area. There is a flying school here, and it is used by many business travelers and their small private jets. One of the city’s lesser known museums is also located here, and will be fascinating to those with an interest in aviation history. This Madrid airport was the first airfield in the region, opened in 1911, and houses an impressive collection of more than 150 vintage aircraft. In addition, there is an extensive display of photographs, model planes, weapons, and other memorabilia documenting the history of flying in Spain. Entrance is free, and there is service by city metro and trains.
Another of the airports in Madrid Spain is the Torrejon Airport. It is located about fifteen miles northeast of the city, and is also used primarily by private aircraft. It had served as a military airbase for the United States Air Force until it was turned back over to Spain in 1996. This is primarily an industrial and residential suburb, and the airport is located virtually on the boundary of Barajas International Airport that is even closer to the city center.