traffic system in Madrid is complex and demands careful planning if you are not
familiar with the city. Once you have arrived, our main piece of advice is to
leave your car in a safe place and use the public transport system. Although Madrid
is an important city both politically and financially for the whole of Spain,
its road signs are just not good enough, congestion is a major problem on access
roads during rush hours and holiday periods, roadworks are seemingly never-ending
and parking in the city center is limited and very expensive. Here is some advice
on driving in and around Madrid (see google map below).
on Madrid's ring roads (M-30) (M-40) y (M-50). As well as these three main
ring roads there are also the M-45, M-31, M-21 etc which are smaller ring roads
that allow you to travel to different parts of the city without having to cross
through the middle of it. Furthermore given Madrid's geographical position in
the centre of the country these ring roads are necessary in order to travel between
different cities without having to cross it (from Alicante to Vigo or Segovia
to Albacete for example). However driving on these roads can be stressful because
of the high volume of traffic. Here are a few useful tips to help you:
- M-30. Don't count on an easy drive along the M 30 which stretches for
33 kms around Madrid and is now almost inside the city given that the city has
spread outwards since the ring road was built. Apart from the density of traffic
- it is the busiest road in Spain with approximately 600,000 cars using it everyday
-much of it is full of road works especially the southern section around Ribera
del río Manzanares, Avenida de Portugal etc. which is in the process of
being renovated and placed underground. The provisional roads are deficient with
confusing signs and making it quite a dangerous drive even for the most experienced
- Madrid's other major ring roads M-40, M-50...
Bear in mind that during the morning and afternoon rush hours the circulation
on these roads can collapse for any reason like an accident, road works, bad weather...
Give yourself plenty of extra time for your journey if you are planning to drive
on one of these roads. (there are often problems around Boadilla del Monte in
the morning rush hour and at other points where there are companies with a large
- Other roads that circle the city (R-2, R-3,
R-4, R-5) These are circular roads with pay tolls which offer an alternative
road system to roads such as the A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5 etc to travel into the capital
from the rest of Spain. Being pay roads the density of traffic is much less and
you can get to certain central points in the capital without too much difficulty.
They also offer a good way of getting out of theMadrid. In our opinion these roads
should be considered a priority especially if you are travelling on days when
traffic jams are expected like the start of the summer holiday or long bank holiday
weekends when many of Madrid's citizens head elsewhere for a short break. See
our work calendar to find out more Calendario Laboral 2007.
Traffic and driving in Madrid: Here
is some advice on driving within the capital itself:
Paseo de la Castellana (See Paseo de la Castellana en Google Maps) is an easy
way of getting your bearings in the capital as it crosses from the North to the
South of the city. At its most Southern point, it continues as the Paseo del Pardo
and later the Paseo de las Delicias.
- Other important streets
in Madrid run parallel to the Paseo de la Castellana. These are: Príncipe
de Vergara, Serrano, (East), Bravo Murillo- Santa Engracia (West). Gran Vía,
Sagasta, Cea Bermúdez, Reina Victoria (West) and O´Donnell- Alcalá,
Avenida de América (airport exit) Costa Rica, (East) run perpendicular
to the Paseo de la Castellana.
- The centre of the old Madrid consists of a complex maze of streets and if you need to drive through this area
you should use the main roads that cross it such as the Gran Vía.
- Driving around Madrid is complex if you don't have a good sense of direction
and are not familiar with the city's roads. You need to know when to turn left
or right in order to negotiate the capital's main roads. Like in any other major
Spanish cities, drivers can get very impatient, don't tolerate cautious (or lost)
drivers very well - and can be expected to protest loudly when behind a slow or
unsure driver (Spanish drivers can - and do - user their horn at their will).
So if you do get lost, the best thing is to find somewhere to stop, get clear
instructions and start again.
- Using a GPS
can be a great help in a city like Madrid, except when there are road works and
diversions are in place.