MADRID – Visitors to Madrid can benefit from activities, and discounts at the main tourist, cultural and leisure attractions in the Spanish capital. This is thanks to the new Madrid City Card. In this article, we list the pros and cons for you.
The new tourist map was presented last month to make visiting Madrid easier for tourists. The card offers discounts in museums, emblematic buildings and services throughout the Community of Madrid, not just in the capital.
31 institutions participate in the initiative
The Madrid City Card allows visitors to enjoy several benefits established by the 31 institutions currently participating in the initiative. Below, the wax museum, the bullring Las Ventas or visits to the stadiums of Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, among others. In addition, there are public transport passes for the EMT, Metro and Cercanías trains.
Where to buy the Madrid City Card?
Physically, the tourist card can be purchased at the following tourist offices;
- Plaza Mayor
- Palacio Real
- Paseo del Prado
- Plaza de Cibeles
- Museo Reina Sofía
Digital purchase is possible through the official website to pick up the card later at the same offices.
Prices Madrid City Card
Madrid City Card can be charged for a minimum of one day and a maximum of five consecutive days, with a price between €8.40 and €26.80. Children under the age of 11 receive a 50% discount, children under the age of four have free access to all benefits included in the subscription.
Tourist card also exists in other European cities
Madrid is not the first city to come up with such an initiative. More and more cities offer these cards that integrate access to the most emblematic places and public transport in a single purchase. However, buying a City Card is not always the most cost effective option. Moreover, there are many aspects you must take into account in advance.
Tourist card for transport
The public transport flat rate offered by the Madrid City Card is one of its main attractions. The price includes unlimited travel on the metro, the Cercanías short-distance trains and the EMT, as well as Bicimad’s rental bicycles and a 5% discount on Madrid City Tour buses. Prices are €8.80 for one day, €14.20 for two, €18.40 for three, €22.60 for four and €26.80 for five days.
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However, the fact is that at the moment it is not profitable to access public transport in the city and region using the tourist card. Until June 30, 2023, there is a 60% discount on transport passes for the entire region. For young people under the age of 26, this will be reduced from €20 to €8 per month. So the price of just one day with this card is 40 cents higher than the subscription for a whole month.
For people over the age of 26 who do not leave the centre of Madrid during their stay, a transport pass is also cheaper. Charging a month for zone A (the centre) currently costs €21.80. That is a few euros cheaper than the tourist card for four or five days.
Ten-ride ticket is cheaper
Since Madrid is a city where you can walk to most of the major downtown attractions, a 10-ride ticket is also a cheaper option than the tourist card if you don’t use public transport much. The cheapest costs €6.10, while the most expensive, which covers zones A to C2, costs €18.70.
Bicycle service Bicimad is still free for the time being
In the case of Bicimad, the situation is similar. The bike service is free until July 31, so you don’t need a tourist card to cycle through the city. You also have no advantage for the tourist bus. It offers a 10% discount on tickets if you book them online, while the tourist card only gives a 5% discount.
However, there are exceptions where the Madrid City Card is recommended. If you do not have the option to apply for the transport pass, it is indeed advantageous to use the tourist card.
Cultural benefits and museum tickets
The cultural offer of the capital is very extensive. Furthermore, there are very interesting free opportunities that you can take advantage of without spending a single euro. The vast majority of museums in Madrid give free entry to students and young people, as well as people over 65 years old.
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If you are not eligible for these benefits, many museums offer free admission on certain days and times. Therefore, check the websites of the museums you want to visit in advance. With the Madrid City Card you get free access to the municipal museums, the Temple of Debod, the temporary exhibition space Conde Duque, the historical archive of the Real Hermandad del Refugio, the hermitage of San Antonio of Florida, the Prado Museum, the Planetarium and the Castillo de la Alameda.
What is special is that most of these sights are already free without you needing the tourist card. There are also other buildings that have a discount in their price, such as the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the guided tours of the Bernabéu and the Cívitas Metropolitano, the wax museum, the Palacio de Liria, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the visit to the bullring Las Ventas, the Lázaro Galdiano Museum, the funicular, the Thyssen Museum and the lighthouse of Moncloa.
Card mainly aimed at international tourists
With a little effort, it is quite possible to explore Madrid and see its most emblematic places without spending a lot of money. The Madrid City Card is clearly aimed at an international tourist, British, German or American, who wants to make it easy for himself and does not have enough information about the city to organise his stay on his own.
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