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This website has a simple metro guide in English:interactive Metro map, using Flash.
When you purchase your ticket, you will need to validate it as you enter the station. The station has automatic gates that open after you insert a ticket. The ticket is stamped, and you need to take the ticket to open the gate and enter the station.
Keep your ticket with you whenever you are on the Metro. You need the ticket to exit the station (same procedure as getting into the Metro). Transfers between lines do not require additional tickets.
Following are the step-by-step instructions for each direction.
Madrid Barajas (Aeropuerto) to Madrid Atocha (Renfe station)
The Madrid Metro has stations at Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 4 (T4). The T2 station connects to T1 and T3 via moving walkways. Note: It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk from the T1-T2-T3 station to the T1 check-in and arrivals area. Line 8 (Pink) serves the airport.
Note: The Atocha Renfe station is separate from the Atocha station. Make sure you get off at the correct station.
Madrid Atocha (Renfe station) to Madrid Barajas (Aeropuerto)The Madrid Metro station is connected to the Renfe train station, about five minutes walk. When arriving at Atocha, turn right and following the "M" signs to the Metro. Tickets can be purchased from machine or the ticket station at the Metro entrance.
Note: travel to the airport has a small surcharge. A one-zone ticket on the Metro is 1.60 Euro, however tickets to the airport are 2 Euro.