Car hire in Madrid
Hiring a car in Madrid
The capital of Spain is a fantastic destination to explore with a hire car. It is known for its wide avenues, vast stretches of green spaces and incredible art galleries. Like many large cities, it is made up of a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own charm and specific delights to discover. From the sweeping Plaza Mayor to the tiny, tucked away tapas restaurants, Madrid will draw you in.
Getting to the city centre from the airport can be easily achieved by driving on the M-14 and A-2. If departing from Terminal four, then the M-12 and M-13 should be used.
What you need to know
Hire cars can be arranged from Madrid Airport (MAD), the city centre or four train stations, including Atocha. The largest selection is available from the airport; with a dozen car hire companies operating out of the hub. The majority of these are rated excellent, very good and good. To find out all the options, compare prices and practicalities, use our website and we’re confident you’ll uncover the best deal for you. Whatever choice you make you can rest assured it will be covered by our free cancellation policy and 24/7 support.
Where to pick up your car
You can collect your hire car at terminals one and four at Madrid Airport, depending on which terminal you are arriving at. Some hire car companies that don’t have desks inside the airport offer complimentary shuttle bus services to ensure you can get your vehicle with minimum fuss and set off to check into your hotel without the need for a transfer.
Similarly, cars picked up from train stations can be found conveniently close by. With Atocha being such a landmark and connecting to many destinations in Europe, it is a good place to order a car from, as there are more than ten companies to choose from.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time. Booking with Holiday Autos was easy and I received the car that I had asked for, just perfect!”
Where to go
You’ll want to dedicate some of your time in Madrid going to the world-class art galleries. The Prado is renowned for housing works by the likes of Goya and Velazquez, while the Reina Sofia art centre boasts the Guernica. This work by Picasso sheds like on a dark period in Spain’s history and is on such a large scale that you can stare at it for hours and still spot new elements.
Once you have filled yourself with art to capacity, head to Retiro Park to stretch your legs. These beautiful gardens have something for everyone, from climbing frames for the kids to marble monuments and elegant buildings for the older members of the family. Throw a picnic into the back of the car and spend a happy afternoon outside.
If you want to get out of the city for a short time, then you have your own set of wheels to do it. Toledo is less than an hour’s drive from Madrid along the A-42 and has much to offer once you get there. The walled old city still has monuments put there by the Christians, Arabs and Jews, making it a fascinating mixture of cultures. Set on a hill above the surrounding area, Toledo also offers some beautiful views.
To come up close with a stereotypical castle that has been brilliantly preserved, complete with all its towers and ramparts, then the Castle of Manzanares el Real is the place for you. It is located about three-quarters of an hour away from Madrid and can be accessed by taking the M-607 road into the foothills of the Guardarrama Mountains.
If you really want to turn your holiday into a road trip, why not head south and experience the gold triangle of Granada, Cordoba and Seville? These three Andalusian cities all have much to thank the Moorish influence of north Africa for. You can experience the stunning Alhambra Palace and wander the streets of the Albaicin in Granada, take in the mosque-cathedral, known as the Mezquita in Cordoba, and see Christopher Columbus’ tomb in Seville. It takes just under four hours via the A-4 to drive from Madrid to Cordoba, but it’s well worth it.
For those not so keen to take on quite so much, then Caceres lies less than three hour’s drive away along the A-5. There’s Gothic and Renaissance architecture to enjoy, as well as some fine examples of Roman and Moorish culture. All of this is held within Caceres’ 12-century walls, which still have 30 defence towers standing and storks that nesting atop them.
Top attractions to visit in Madrid
As with many capital cities, you won’t be short of things to keep you entertained in Madrid, but here is a selection of the best.
Madrid’s main square is the city’s beating heart and is a great spot for people watching. As well as being a hive of activity, it is surrounded by stunning architecture and has no fewer than nine ornate entrances. The statue you can see in the centre of the square is of King Philip III and was erected in 1916.
The Gran Via is a wide boulevard that was constructed in 1910. Strolling along its length you will take in numerous interesting and historic buildings. These include the Telefonica building, which dates back to the 1920s and was the tallest building in Madrid for many years. Also of note is Edificio Carrion, which was the first tower block apartment hotel to the built in the city before World War One.
While the royal palace is no longer use except for the occasional ceremony, it is still fascinating to visit and a tour will take you through 50 of the 2,800 rooms it consists of. It is ornately decorated and home to all sorts of treasures, such as Goya paintings lining the walls and five Stradivarius violins.