Where to Buy Madrid Metro Tickets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Exploring Madrid is a delightful experience, and using the city’s efficient metro system is one of the best ways to get around. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, knowing where and how to buy metro tickets is essential for a smooth journey. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about purchasing Madrid Metro tickets, from the types available to the various purchasing methods.

Overview of Madrid Metro System

The Madrid Metro is one of the most extensive and modern subway systems in the world, boasting over 300 kilometers of tracks and serving more than 300 stations. With 12 main lines and several auxiliary ones, it covers all major areas of the city and its outskirts, making it an indispensable mode of transport for daily commuters and visitors alike.

Importance of Having a Ticket

Riding the metro without a valid ticket can result in hefty fines, not to mention the inconvenience and embarrassment. Therefore, you should have a valid ticket before you board. This guide will ensure you are well-prepared to navigate the ticketing system with ease, saving you time and trouble during your travels.

Types of Madrid Metro Tickets

Single Journey Tickets

Single journey tickets are perfect for occasional travelers who need to make a one-time trip across the metro network. These tickets are valid for a single ride between any two stations and must be used on the day of purchase.

Multi-Journey Tickets (10-trip ticket, Tourist Travel Pass)

For those planning to use the metro multiple times in a day or over a few days, multi-journey tickets offer significant savings. The 10-trip ticket is a popular choice, allowing ten rides at a discounted rate. Alternatively, the Tourist Travel Pass offers unlimited travel within a specified period (1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days), ideal for tourists who want to explore the city extensively.

Monthly and Annual Passes

If you’re staying in Madrid for an extended period, consider getting a monthly or annual pass. These passes provide unlimited access to the metro and other public transportation, making them a cost-effective option for regular commuters. They can be loaded onto a personal transportation card, which simplifies the process of renewing and using the pass.

Where to Buy Madrid Metro Tickets

Ticket Machines at Metro Stations

One of the most convenient ways to purchase metro tickets is through the ticket machines available at all metro stations. These machines are user-friendly and offer instructions in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and French.

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How to Use the Ticket Machines

Using a ticket machine is straightforward. Begin by selecting your preferred language. Next, choose the type of ticket you need, whether it’s a single journey, multi-journey, or a tourist pass. Finally, insert cash or use a credit/debit card to make the payment. The machine will dispense your ticket, and you’re ready to go.

Metro Station Ticket Offices

For those who prefer a more personal touch, ticket offices at metro stations are a great option. Here, you can interact with a clerk who can assist you with your ticket purchase, answer any questions, and provide recommendations based on your travel needs.

Tobacco Shops (Estancos)

In addition to metro stations, metro tickets can also be purchased at tobacco shops, known locally as “estancos.” These shops are scattered throughout the city and often stay open later than the ticket offices at metro stations, providing an alternative for late-night travelers.

Online Purchase Options

For the tech-savvy traveler, buying metro tickets online is an excellent choice. The Madrid Metro offers a variety of digital options, allowing you to purchase tickets from the comfort of your home or while on the go.

Madrid Metro App

The Madrid Metro app is available for both Android and iOS devices. It allows you to purchase tickets, check metro schedules, and plan your routes. After purchasing your ticket through the app, you can use your phone to enter and exit the metro system.

Official Website

Alternatively, you can buy tickets through the official Madrid Metro website. The website is easy to navigate and offers comprehensive information about ticket types, prices, and the metro network. Once you complete your purchase, you can print your ticket or use a digital version on your mobile device.

Step-by-Step Guide to Buying Tickets

Using a Ticket Machine

Selecting the Language

Upon approaching a ticket machine, start by selecting your preferred language. This ensures that all subsequent instructions are easy to understand and follow.

Choosing the Ticket Type

Next, choose the type of ticket that best suits your travel needs. Options include single journey tickets, 10-trip tickets, and tourist passes. If you’re unsure, the machine provides descriptions and prices for each ticket type.

Making the Payment

After selecting your ticket, proceed to the payment screen. The machines accept both cash and card payments. Once the payment is processed, your ticket will be dispensed, and a receipt will be printed if needed.

Purchasing at a Ticket Office

Communicating with the Clerk

When buying a ticket at a metro station ticket office, it’s helpful to know a few basic phrases in Spanish. However, many clerks speak English and can assist you in your preferred language.

Payment Methods

Ticket offices accept various payment methods, including cash, credit cards, and debit cards. The clerk will provide you with your ticket and a receipt after the transaction is complete.

Buying from Tobacco Shops


Tobacco shops are widespread in Madrid, often located in busy commercial areas and neighborhoods. Look for the distinctive “Tabacos” sign outside the shops.

Accepted Payment Methods

Estancos accept cash and, in some cases, credit or debit cards. After purchasing your ticket, ensure it’s valid for the date and time of your intended travel.

Online Purchase

Navigating the App/Website

To buy tickets online, download the Madrid Metro app or visit the official website. Both platforms are user-friendly, with clear instructions and intuitive navigation.

Payment Process

Online purchases can be made using a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. Once the transaction is complete, you will receive a digital ticket that can be stored on your mobile device.

Retrieving Your Ticket

After purchasing your ticket online, you can either print it out or save it to your phone. At the metro entrance, simply scan the QR code on your digital ticket to enter.

Tips for Buying Madrid Metro Tickets

Best Times to Buy Tickets

To avoid long queues, try to purchase your tickets during off-peak hours. Early mornings, late evenings, and midday on weekdays are typically less crowded times at metro stations.

Avoiding Long Queues

If you find yourself at a busy station, consider using the ticket machines or purchasing your ticket at a nearby tobacco shop. Alternatively, buying your ticket online can save you time and hassle.

Using Contactless Payment Options

Many metro stations now support contactless payments, allowing you to use your credit or debit card directly at the turnstile. This option is fast and convenient, especially for those who prefer not to carry cash.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I buy metro tickets in advance?

Yes, you can purchase metro tickets in advance online, through the Madrid Metro app, or at ticket offices and tobacco shops.

What should I do if the ticket machine is not working?

If a ticket machine is not working, try another machine or visit the ticket office at the station. You can also purchase tickets online or at a nearby tobacco shop.

Are there discounts for students or seniors?

Yes, Madrid Metro offers discounts for students, seniors, and other eligible groups. You may need to provide proof of eligibility when purchasing discounted tickets.

Can I use my ticket on other forms of public transport?

Some tickets, like the Tourist Travel Pass, allow unlimited travel on the metro, buses, and commuter trains within the selected zones. Check the ticket details for specific usage rules.

How can I reload my monthly or annual pass?

Monthly and annual passes can be reloaded at ticket machines, ticket offices, or online through the Madrid Metro app or website.


Recap of Key Points

Navigating the Madrid Metro ticketing system is straightforward once you know your options. Whether you prefer using ticket machines, purchasing at a ticket office, or buying online, there are multiple convenient ways to get your metro tickets.

Additional Resources

For more detailed information and updates, visit the official Madrid Metro website or download the Madrid Metro app. Safe travels!


  1. Madrid Metro Official Website
  2. Madrid Metro App – Android
  3. Madrid Metro App – iOS

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