By Lauren Linzer, Travel Writer
Groups of jovial young Spaniards laugh and banter; a couple shares adoring stares and kisses on the
nearby metal benches; an attractive solo commuter taps her foot to the mysterious tunes transporting
her through her headphones; tourists with their day packs and cameras analyze the metro map as their
eyes wander over the lively crowd. This is the Saturday night scene of one of the hottest spots to be in
town: the Madrid metro. Granted, waiting for the metro is not typically what people look forward to
as they set out for the evening. But of all the systems in the world, this is one of the most pleasant and
often surprisingly entertaining as various walks of life happily uses this mode of transport, whether it be
for the daily commute or to start an exciting evening.
The integrated network of high speed underground metro cars is arguably one of the best subway
systems in the world and among the fastest growing. Successfully connecting every barrio
(neighborhood) in the city with 13 lines that span almost 300 kilometers, there are few addresses in
the city that are more than a short stroll from one of the clearly marked entrances. The number and
color coding for each line is uniform and clear, making it remarkably easy to use, and the prices, while
they have risen by a few cents, are still incredibly cheap. Trains are virtually never late, lines are rarely
closed, and every platform is equipped with clear LCD timers to countdown the arrival of the next car.
My only quam that took adjusting to is the 1:30- 6:00am timeframe when the metro is closed. While it
may seem that the 1:30 deadline would mark a curfew appropriately timed to close out the evening, to
Spaniards the final train marks the perfect starting point to hit the town on any given weekend.
Aside for the underground, there are several other excellent and affordable options that cruise the
streets around the clock. The local taxis are all white and tagged with a signature red stripe down the
side and are never far away. I can’t recall a time when I’ve needed a cab and couldn’t find one boasting
the green vacancy light. The fair is reasonable priced and, much like for restaurant service in Spain,
tipping is not necessary; maybe just some spare change. Ample local buses thoroughly connect the city
as well, with several running on a 24 basis, providing yet another option to get around town.
The ease of movement from one part of town to another is just another detail that makes Madrid shine.
It may not be so glamorous to sit on a subway platform or catch a late night bus, but it achieves the task
of efficiently and safely getting you from point A to point B and does it with some style.
Find more insight and stories about Madrid and other destinations around the world at Lauren’s website,