Moving to Spain: Getting a Metro Card

Madrid’s public transit system rocks. Coming from a city in which it’s essentially impossible to get around without a car, I appreciate Madrid’s metro, light rail, commuter train, and bus routes that weave throughout the whole city and province.

You can either buy 1 ride tickets (for 1,50), 10 ride ticket (12,20), multiple day tourist passes, or a monthly pass. Luckily for those of us under 26, every zone’s montly cost is just 20 euros. You can get your monthly pass 1) online, 2) with an appointment at a few of the major metro stations, or 3) at an estanco (tobacco shop). I have to admit here is where I made an error. In all the blogs I’d read, you’d be mailed the card regardless of the location in which you applied for it. I thus waited until I found an apartment before applying for mine online. You can read a little bit more about this mistake and others here. I found out the day after that my friend managed to get hers printed in the same day at an estanco on Calle Fuencarral 80.

The steps for getting a monthly card are very easy:

  1. Take yourself, 24 euros and your passport to the estanco on Fuencarral.
  2. Get your picture taken at the shop!
  3. Get your card printed!

What’s nice is all the commuter trains to the outlying rest of the province of Madrid are included. These trains can take you to a few different tourist spots for essentially free, because you’d have to have the transit card anyway! These cercanias take you to Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of Cervantes and Queen Catherine, Aranjuez, and a few other places good for day trips. 



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