Money in Madrid

  • Dinero en Madrid

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).


  • 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. 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.

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.

You do not need to wait till you get to the airport, however, to reclaim VAT. In El Corte Inglés department store chain, for example, there are offices where you can get VAT refunds of up to 15.7% of the total amount spent on items purchased in their store.

In Madrid, there are three main Tax Free operators: Global BluePlanet (formerly Premier Tax Free), and Innova Tax Free. All of them have refund points in the centre of the city, thanks to collaborations with currency exchange entities (in the case of Innova Tax Free) and establishments like FNAC and El Corte Inglés (Global Blue and Planet).

El Corte Inglés has three early VAT refund points:

  • Global Blue Lounge Madrid at El Corte Inglés Serrano (entrance at no 3. Calle Marqués de Villamagna)
  • Global Blue Lounge Madrid at El Corte Inglés Preciados (no 3. Calle Preciados 3, 1st floor)
  • Customer Lounge at El Corte Inglés Castellana (no 65. Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde)

In all three points, you can get instant VAT refunds for all purchases you made in establishments affiliated with Global Blue. The department store also offers a "Gold Card," which gives you an additional 20% on the total taxes to be refunded, which you can then redeem within the offerings of their shopping centres.

The operator Planet also has its own independent space at street level in the heart of the golden mile (Claudio Coello Street, 113): Tax Free Planet Lounge - VIP Tax refund center. An exclusive service with a multilingual team that allows tourists from outside the European Union to claim a VAT refund 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.

Almost all establishments accept card payments, although some ask for a minimum purchase (between €5 and €10). Most establishments also offer the option of paying by card via a mobile phone.

Tipping etiquette

In some restaurants, it is common to charge an additional €2 or €3 for bread or snacks - something the establishment is obliged to inform you about, and you can refuse if you don't want it - but, generally speaking, the customer decides when it comes to appreciating staff for their friendliness and quality of service in the final bill. Furthermore, the option of tipping in Spain is being introduced simply by using a mobile phone application, without the need for cash.

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.


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 the Real Madrid football stadium. 


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

  • 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


The city’s new official sightseeing and tourist travel pass.

An observation deck at 92 metres.

Our online store (in Spanish) sells artisan souvenirs.