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Car rental in Madrid

With more than three million residents, Madrid is not only Spain's capital but also one of Europe's most important cultural centers. It is the highest-nestled European capital - 670 meters above sea-level (similar to Jerusalem) and it combines the modern treasures of the royalty and the rich past of the Spanish Empire with a welcoming cosmopolitan atmosphere enjoyed by millions of tourists each year (ranked 4th in Europe).

Madrid is divided to 21 quarters. It's the home of the "golden triangle of art" (Prado Museum, Museo Nacional Cetro de Atre Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisa Museum) as well as Real Madrid and its home stadium. Madrid offers a bustling nightlife, with hundreds of cafes, fashionable bars, expensive boutiques and popular retro shops, especially along Goya and Serrano streets.

In addition, Madrid is at the heart of Spain and serves as a compass, especially for those who wish to experience Spain to the fullest with the rental car. From here it is easy getting anywhere in the Iberian Peninsula. Driving south will lead you to Toledo, Seville, Grenada and Costa del Sol. Further west is Portugal and the scenic shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and Barcelona and the Mediterranean strip are just couple of hours to the East.

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Car rental in Madrid

Driving a rental car in Madrid

Barajas International Airport is a major traffic junction in the Iberian Peninsula. It's located 9km northeast of the city's business center and 13km from its historical center, Puerta del Sol.

In addition to the airport, there are several car rental locations in the city center and railway stations. If you intend to rent a car in one of these locations and get there from the airport by public transportation, you can take the 8 line of the metro (the pink line) and change trains on the way. Those who prefer to stay above ground can take a tramway from Nuevos Ministerios or a bus.

Madrid enjoys a great motorway system that turns driving into an easy experience, especially when it comes to driving a rental car. The city is surrounded by four major ring roads: M-30, M-40, M-45 and M-50, that span around the city in different distances. M-30 and M-40 are the central ones. They are multi-lane roads and most of them have long curved tunnels. The other ring roads mainly serve the suburbs. In addition to the ring roads, there is a radial grid (marked with the letter R), which turns entering and exiting the city to an easy job from every direction. Radial roads are mostly toll roads (Autopista) and are connected to the national motorway system (marked in A).

The ring roads make it easy to get around Madrid, but as a rental car driver, it's also recommended to get a good map. GPS devices, despite their benefits for tourists, can suffer from connection problems in the tunnels and make it difficult to know where you are. The city itself suffers from congestion and a lack in parking spots. It is advised to use underground parking lots that are scattered around the city and are connected efficiently to the Metro and the upper public transportation.

As mentioned before, Madrid is an ideal gateway for exploring Spain. Routes R-5 and AP-41 lead from city center to southern Spain. Likewise, routes A-2 and AP-42 lead east. If you are interested driving to Bilbao and Basque country, you'll find motorway A-1 as a valuable option.

It's also possible to travel with the rental car to Portugal, France or Gibraltar (subject to prior confirmation from the suppliers), but traveling to The Canaries and Balearic Islands or Morocco is not allowed. Driving to Lisbon takes around six hours, mainly on the beautiful route A-5.

Have a safe and pleasant journey.

Madrid travel guide