Driving in Madrid

  • Distintivo medioambiental obligatorio desde el 24 de abril de 2019 para circular en Madrid
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  • Conducción en Madrid
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  • Conducción en Madrid
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  • Conducción en Madrid - emov
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Spain’s road network is divided up into carreteras nacionales (toll-free national roads), autovías (toll-free dual carriageways) and autopistas (toll motorways). People drive on the right and, as a general rule, drivers approaching an intersection must give way to all vehicles coming from the right. Drivers on secondary roads must give way to vehicles on main roads.

Madrid Central

Madrid Central is a designated low pollution area with restricted traffic regulations that came into effect in late 2018. Following the European Union directive, this measure aims to improve air quality and give priority to the pedestrians, bicycles and public transportation that play an important role and get more space after the renovation of the Atocha Street and Gran Vía. Madrid Central is the area in the center of Madrid covering 472 hectares of a perimeter that includes the first belt road of Madrid (the main streets and boulevards that surround the center).

Remember that this area can be accessed without restrictions using public transportation (bus, underground and Cercanías), taxis, hired private transport with a driver, personal transporters, motorbikes with environmental stickers and short-term rental vehicles (cars and motorbikes), so your arrival to the hotel is guaranteed.

If you arrive by car, and it is a petrol vehicle that meets the EURO 3 standard (registered after January 2000) or diesel and meets the EURO 4 or 5 standard (registered after January 2006), you can enter Madrid Central if the hotel has parking and is part of the Madrid Central system, and park at the said parking. You can also enter if the hotel has the passenger drop-off reservation and they properly manage your license plate number.

If your hotel does not have either of these two resources, they can use one of the 10 monthly one-day passes that they have to manage through an Association that represent hotels that they are part of. Another option is to park in a public parking, private garage or reserved non-public parking space.

If you drive an ECO or 0 EMISIONES (0 pollution), apart from entering and driving around the area, you can park in the regulated parking areas (SER) (the 0 EMISIONES do not have a time limit, while the ECO have a two-hour limit)

If your vehicle does not belong to any of these categories, you cannot enter Madrid Central, except in special cases (like people with reduced mobility and residents).

Anti-pollution protocol

Madrid has a protocol for high pollution that affects traffic and parking. This protocol establishes five series of measures and gives priority to cleaner vehicles depending on their environment sticker.

If you are driving to Madrid by car, it is useful to check here if the protocol is activated and what measures it establishes.

Parking regulations

It is illegal to park a vehicle in places with yellow markings or where No Parking (Prohibido estacionar) signs are displayed. Regulated parking zones are signposted and have blue or green road markings. You can purchase a ticket from the nearest pay and display machine or by mobile.

Driving under the influence           

Spain has strict drink driving laws, with a legal alcohol limit of 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (25 milligrams for drivers who have less than 2 years driving experience). Driver found guilty of drink driving may receive fines of over 500 euros and prison sentences.

Speed limits

Speed limits are strictly enforced in Madrid and are controlled by speed cameras located around the city. General speed limits for vehicles, depending on the roads, are the following:

  • Motorways and dual carriageways: 120km/h
  • National roads: 100km/h
  • City roads: 30km/h (streets with more than one lane in each direction: limit is 50 km/h)
  • Shared bike lanes: 30 Km/h.
  • Residential areas: 20km/h

License and minimum age for driving

The minimum age to drive in Spain is 18. Tourists from EU countries can drive using their license but those visiting from non-EU countries require an International Driving License.

Travelling with children

Children over 12 may travel in the passenger seat. Those under 12 may only travel in the front unless they are using a special car seat. Children in the back who are under 135cm tall must use the correct car or booster seats.

Motorbikes and bicycles

It is compulsory for motorbike riders to use dipped headlights day and night. Both the driver and any passenger must always use a helmet. Helmets are only compulsory for cyclists when travelling outside urban areas.

Mobiles

Mobiles phones may not be used while driving, unless you have a hands-free set. Fines for this offence are usually around 200 euros.

Personal Transporters

Electric scooters, Segways and similar vehicles cannot drive on the sidewalks. They have to use bike lanes and streets at 30 km/h or less. Persons aged 16 and younger have to use the helmet. It is not allowed to drive with headphones.

You have to be 15 years and older to use them. If it is an organized tourist visit, the helmet must be used by all, the group cannot have more than 8 people and the vehicles can be used by children aged 10 and older.

 

OFFICIAL PRODUCTS

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Take in the city's top sights on board our hop on hop off bus, equipped with audio guides in 14 languages.

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  • Madrid's excellent transport system allows you to get around the city quickly and safely by bus, metro, train or taxi.

    Getting around Madrid
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  • Discover the city's most popular sights and attractions, from one of Europe's largest royal palaces to the magnificent Prado Museum and Real Madrid's stadium. 

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