Money in Madrid

  • Dinero en Madrid
    dinero_en_madrid.jpg

Tax-free (VAT Refund)​

If you have permanent residence in a non-EU country, and your purchases meet certain conditions, you can reclaim VAT (IVA in Spanish) on items bought during your stay in Spain (mainland and the Balearic Islands).

Conditions:

  • Items must be purchased from stores that offer digital DIVA tax free forms (mandatory since January 2019)
  • Items must be purchased for personal use, in other words, not for the purpose of sale.
  • You must return to your country of residence with the purchased goods within three months of buying them.

You must get your Tax Free Forms validated at your final point of departure from the EU. If Spain is your last exit point, this is done at the electronic DIVA machines (generally located close to customs offices at airports, seaports and land borders) by scanning the barcode on your form. Click here to find out more about how to validate your Tax Free Form.

Please note: All UK residents, just like residents from other non-EU countries, must validate their forms in their final point of departure from the EU. You are not allowed to validate them upon arrival in the UK.

Once you have successfully validated your form at Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport, you can obtain your refund from the Tax Free offices in the boarding areas. It is also worth noting that there are shops in the city, such as El Corte Inglés department store chain, which have offices where you can get VAT refunds on items purchased in that store.

In addition, the international tax refund operator Global Blue has opened its first VIP Free Shopping establishment in Madrid, in Calle de Claudio Coello. Led by a multilingual team, they offer an exclusive service that allows tourists from non-EU countries to get VAT refunds without having to wait until the last day of their trip. 

Exchanging money

During your stay in Madrid, you’ll need euros, the official currency for 19 of the 27 EU member countries. The euro has eight coin denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros, while bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.

You'll find several currency exchange offices at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas AirportAtocha and Madrid - Chamartín - Clara Campoamor train stations; and the main bus stations – Avenida de América, Méndez Álvaro and Moncloa. There are also a number of bureaux de change in central Madrid, especially in Puerta del Sol. Most banks and many hotels also offer their own currency exchange services.

Credit cards and ATMs

Most establishments accept credit and debit cards (although a few may set a minimum amount for card payments). You can use your card to buy metro tickets and to pay for bus and taxi rides. If you need to take cash out, you will find ATMs all around the city. As a result of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, many establishments that did not previously offer the option of paying by credit card have adapted their payment methods to accept this system in order to comply with health measures.

Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards (American Express and Diners are much less common). You should contact your bank if you wish to find out what commission they’ll charge you for using your card in Spain.

Tipping etiquette

In Madrid, tipping is entirely optional. Some restaurants may add a 2- or 3-euro charge onto the bill for bread or a small tapa, a service which they are obliged to warn you about and which you are entitled to turn down.

Since it's not customery to tip, it’s up to you to whether you leave a little extra as a thank you for the service received.

The same rule applies in hotels, taxis, beauty and hair salons, and other one-on-one services.

In hotels, bars and restaurants you will sometimes come across the phrase ‘IVA NO INCLUIDO’  (VAT NOT INCLUDED). This means that they will add on an extra 10% to the bill.

 

DON'T MISS

Download free maps and guides to the city to help you plan your trip.

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. 

  • Art, fashion, luxury goods, antiques, music, technology gadgets… There’s nothing you can’t buy in Madrid.

    Shopping
  • Dos mujeres comprando un abanico. Compras
  • Some guidelines to help you fully enjoy your stay and make sure that nothing catches you off guard.

    Practical information
  • Consejos prácticos
  • Find out why Spaniards tend to eat later than the rest of the continent, when it's traditional to munch on a "saint's bones" and where you take in a flamenco show with a drink or a meal

    Eating in Madrid (PDF)
  • Guide Eating in Madrid

OFFICIAL PRODUCTS

An observation deck at 92 metres.

Our online store (in Spanish) sells artisan souvenirs.

Hop on board the city's official sightseeing bus!

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