Apart from walking, there are four main ways to get around Madrid: subway (metro), bus (autobuses), taxi (taxis), and suburban train (cercanías). You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that nearly everywhere in the proper centro can we reached in less than 45 minutes on foot. Taxis are ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive, but there’s little reason to hop in a cab with such an efficient public transport system at your disposal. You’ll most likely resort to taxis between 2am and 6am, when the metro is closed and you can’t stomach the thought of trekking to the nearest night bus stop. Plans are in motion, however, for a nighttime system of buses to run along the metro lines, making nocturnal travel more manageable for Madrid’s hordes of partiers.
The subway and city buses operate under the same fare and ticket system. Most travelers prefer the metro, which is faster and more reliable. Buses, on the other hand, reach more points in the city. Cercanías trains run on a different ticket and fare system; you’ll depend on them if you need to get to the afueras, or outer parts of Madrid.