Getting Around in Madrid: Find out What Public Transport Ticket is Best for You!

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[Pincha aquí para la versión en español]

Madrid has one of the best underground systems in the world. It’s very well organized and can get you almost everywhere in the city. Aside from the metro, Madrid train and city bus system is also extremely accessible! Almost all students in Madrid use the public transportation system on a daily basis. The cheapest and most convenient way is to get your monthly transportation pass which gives you full access to all Madrid public transportation. The first step is to order your transportation card. Once you have your card, you can top it up with a monthly credit called “Abono” (valid for 30 days). If you’ve lost your card, then click here to find out what to do next. To read in detail all there is about the different means of transport around the community of Madrid & Spain, click here.

The Monthly Transport Card (Abono)

The abono grants you access to all public transport in the city depending on the type of card you get. The price of your monthly abono depends on your age and the zone of Madrid where you will be traveling within. You will be required to choose between the abono “Jóven” (less than 26 years of age, only 20€, all zones included!) and the abono “Normal” (between 26 and 65 years of age). The Zones are: A, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, etc.. Zone A includes the city’s central areas. Please click here for more details on abono fares per zone.

In order to save time, money and hassle (huge waiting lines student during peak arrival times at the beginning of each semester), we recommend that you apply for your transportation card online about 4 weeks before you come to Madrid! Below is a step by step guide detailing how to get your card the stress free way! You can use the Citylife Madrid office address as the shipment address: Citylife Madrid  | Calle Gran Vía 22 – Duplicado, 2nd Floor | 28013 Madrid Once ordered online, you simply stop by our office to pick up your card after your arrival in Madrid – we will store it for you (free service). While at our office you will get the chance to get to know us, ask all your questions, get your free Madrid Starter Pack, and pick up your new Spanish SIM card for your phone. As always, all of our Getting Settled services are completely free of charge :)! Once you have picked up your transportation card you can top it up e.g. at any machine located in one of the many metro stations around the city.

Order your public transportation card now and receive it upon arrival!

Order your transportation card now online by simply filling out the official request form online. You will need to upload a standard passport sized photo, and you will be asked to also attach a copy of your passport or ID. Once your request has been processed by the Consorcio de Transporte, your card will be sent to the indicated shipping address within 5 to 15 days (you can indicate the Citylife office as the shipping address):

1. Please access the CRTM webpage here!

2. Select the value “Quiero obtener una Tarjeta Transporte Público” and proceed to the next screen. Indicate your your age and click “Aceptar”.

3. On the next screen you have to choose between “pasaporte” (if you have passport) or “DNI no español” (if you have your national ID as a valid document). Proceed by clicking “Aceptar”.

4. In order to continue the request of your transportation card online, select “iniciar solicitud on-line”. Alternatively you can request an appointment in person for the time of your arrival at one of the offices of the Consorcio de Transporte. In this case please follow the instructions provided online.

5. If you choose “iniciar solicitud on-line”, on the next screen, you will need to fill out all mandatory personal data. You can use our office address as the pick-up location. We will store the card for you for free until you arrive.

6. You will be asked to upload a standard passport sized photo in colour, as well as a scanned copy of your passport or ID card.

7. Once uploaded, you need to accept the terms and conditions at the bottom and continue by clicking on “Siguiente”.

8. Last but not least, you will be asked to review and confirm the information you just provided. You will also have to pay the mandatory fee of 4€ to the Consorcio de Transporte for issuing your transportation.

IMPORTANT: Once you’ve ordered your card online, please send us a short confirmation via WhatsApp to: +34656190745 – This way we are aware of it too and can notify you once it has arrived! Please click on the screenshot to the right for details on how to correctly fill out the form. In the event that you don’t have a Spanish cell phone number yet, you can use the Citylife Madrid phone number in the request form: 656 190 745. On the same page, select “Primera solicitud nueva Tarjeta” as value and click on “Siguiente” to proceed.

Those of you who couldn’t request the transportation card ahead of time or the online order didn’t work, you can always stop by the Citylife Madrid office to obtain your card instantly!

Other Alternatives: “Tarjeta Multi” & “Abono Trimestral Universitario” 

Madrid’s transport authorities recently introduced a new contactless “multi-card. With this innovative move you can now top up and use your “multi-card” to store all of your transport tickets, such as simple Metro and Light Metro tickets or ten-trip tickets for the interurban. This fairly new monetary card will act like a wallet card, leaving behind many of the old magnetic-striped metrobus tickets that litter the streets and Metro stations of the capital. The price of the card is only €2.50, available at any metro station. The University trimestral transport card allows students of universities outside the centre of Madrid to avail of an unlimited amount of journeys to and from their campus, for a fixed price. To get your hands on the card, students must have the correct student ID of their university, including Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Autónoma de Cantoblanco, Carlos III de Madrid, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and all Erasmus students. This unique transport card is especially useful for students of the universities outlined above, but even more so for those above the age of 26 who cannot avail of the cheap student abono. The prices of the university travel cards vary depending on the zone in which the university is located. For Zones 1 & 2, the price of the card is €87,75 trimester, and €110,90 for Zone 3. These prices will most certainly be welcomed by those of you who are required to spend a lot of money travelling to and from your university campus, with prices varying by the time and date on which you travel.

Don’t forget to reserve your free Madrid Starter Pack here, so that you can conveniently pick it up upon your arrival in the city. Once in our office you can take the opportunity to ask us all your questions and to get all the help you may need for free!

Your friendly neighbourhood travel guide,

– Leah



Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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15 Comments. Leave new

  • Hello,

    is there a monthly pass for EMT bus as well? Thanks in advance.

  • Hi, I was wondering if I could receive help because I lost my public transportation card?

    • Hi Jourdan!

      To replace your card I recommend that you head to the metro station Sol and visit the office there. They can easily re-print it for you for a fee of 6€ 🙂

  • karim Azzam
    23/07/2019 15:36


    Can someone please tell me the cost for Annual Public Transport Card? and does it include all zones or only zone A?

  • Hi, when I arrive in Madrid in September I will be 25, but turn 26 in beginning of October. Will I recieve the abono joven for September and then it will automatically switch to adult fare for october onward? I will need a B1 card when I am paying the full adult fare.

    • Yes exactly! The physical card will stay the same but when you do the top up at the machines in the metro stations it will update you to the new plan 🙂

  • Nataly Brenda
    05/01/2019 23:49

    Hola. ¿Cuánto tiempo se demoran en entregar la tarjeta de transporte mensual abono de manera presencial en oficina?.

  • Hi, I have a youth abono transport card and it has been working for Metro and train but when I used the bus for the first time today it didn’t work. I had just been on metro and it worked and its not time for top up. Is there a reason why it didn’t work as I thought it could be used for all transport in Madrid.

  • Hi, I’ve just attempted to buy an abono online and was just wondering why the cost is only 4€ when its 20€ per month for a youth? Do you have to activate the card at a metro station once you receive it and then you are charged the 20€?

  • tusharpawar49
    07/08/2018 00:20

    My birthdate is 29th Aug 1992, so now I am 25, but I am arriving in Madrid on 3 sept, so I will be 26 at that moment. I already tried to fill online form, but was declined as currently I am not 26. What should I do?

  • If you’re 26 years old, do you disqualify for the abono joven?

    And is there a way to top up the abono joven for more than one month?


  • Paula Arevalo
    26/08/2017 19:41


    I’ll be studying my masters at IE BUSINESS SCHOOL and i’m 28 years old. I was wondering if there’s a cheaper transportation card than the normal €54?


    • Hi Paula!

      Unfortunately the prices of the Transport cards are dictated by age and not by student status. So if you are over 26 then you will have to purchase the standard card at the standard price!


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