The magnificent Madrid stands at the heart of a wonderful mountainous area in the center of the country. From the relentless energy of inner-city Castile to the beautiful cuisine around the region, it's truly a wondrous place to explore. One of the best ways to get around this exciting widespread city and the fascinating region all around it is with your own rental car.
We’ve got convenient car hire pick-up locations right across the city, including one at the International Airport, the underground metro station, and the central public square. Whether you’re in Madrid for business or for a holiday, we’ll always be close by, ready to help provide you with a rental vehicle.
All our offices in Madrid offer our famous best-price guarantee and remember that we never charge for cancellations, amendments* or the use of a credit card.
*when canceled/changed seven days prior to booking date
The inspiring grand boulevards and impressive formal parks of Madrid, as well as the spectacular mountain roads outside the city, will all be within a short drive if you have a rental car. It’s the best way to explore both the vast area of Europe’s third-largest city and the historic and cultural attractions of central Castile.
You can get around the outskirts of Madrid easily using the encircling motorways: the M30, M40, and M50. These routes can help you to work your way around the city with ease and reach far flung districts quickly. The city also offers an array of wide multi-lane roads – Paseo de la Castellana is the perfect road to find your bearings, as it runs from the north to the south of the city.
Be careful if you're driving your rental car around the Old Town, as the maze of narrow streets can become difficult to navigate. The Gran Via is the best way to take in this historic part of the city.
If you're wanting to head out of the city, the A42 will take you south to the ancient former capital of Toledo and the A6 north to the historic city of Segovia.
You’ll find that traffic in Madrid and Spain drives on the right. Other rules include: you mustn’t use main beam lights in built-up areas, everyone must wear seatbelts and you must give way to vehicles coming from the right unless signs indicate otherwise.
Madrid is the huge, bustling, urban focus of the whole of Spain. You’ll find it’s the biggest city and the center of culture, business, politics, and entertainment. All these different sides to the city are spread widely across a high plateau in the middle of Spain.
Madrid has grown to become a major world-class city, with a collection of major landmarks in the center and modern suburbs stretching out far in all directions. There are also important sights in the mountains that are a short drive outside the city, so car hire is very useful in Madrid.
The central highlights
You’ll gasp as you step into the Plaza Major, the impressive public piazza in the heart of Madrid. This 400-year-old pedestrian space is flanked by neatly symmetrical period buildings and is a grand spot to sit at a pavement café. It’s regarded as one of Europe’s finest squares.
Not far way is the imposing 18th century Royal Palace, where the Spanish monarchy holds official functions. It’s Madrid’s largest building and, of course, inside the baroque exterior are rooms full of tapestries and antique furniture. You can take a tour inside and around the formal palace gardens too.
The city’s Cathedral de la Almudena is a much more modern landmark. The twin-towered gothic revival church was only completed in 1993 but inside you can see fascinating treasures and religious artifacts.
And save time for the Prado Museum. You’ll need it. The elegant buildings house the enormous national art collection. The Prado is one of the biggest art galleries in the world.
Life in Madrid
Explore the city to find the best shops, restaurants, and galleries in Spain. And look out for local traditions, like a visit to vast sprawling El Rastro flea market every Sunday in La Latina district. The bohemian cafes and tapas bars around here are another highlight of the city.
Wandering around Madrid, look out for some of the special sights that don’t feature in the guidebooks, like the protected period neon signs above shops and bars, and the proud fountains and statues around every corner. And try to stay awake for the Madrid nightlife – it’s famously lively and long lasting. The city claims to have more cafes and restaurants than any other city in the world.
A short drive away
The Castilian countryside around Madrid is full of major attractions. One of the most impressive is Franco’s spectacular tomb in the Valle de los Caidos. The former ruler of Spain is commemorated with an extraordinary monument more than 3,000ft up in the mountains to the west. There’s a towering 500ft stone cross and a huge Catholic basilica tunneled inside the mountain.
King Philip II’s enormous monastic palace at El Escorial pays homage to the former head of state. The vast ‘city’ of bureaucrats that controlled Philip’s 16th century New World Empire is now a World Heritage Site.
South of Madrid, the old walled hilltop city of Toledo makes another great day trip. Strolling through the narrow medieval streets is a trip back in time. You’ll stumble upon impressive monuments like the ancient Gothic cathedral, tall stone fortress, and the cloistered monastery.
Opening hours:Mo-Su 0700-2400
Address:Barajas Airport, Terminal 1 and 4
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 1000-1400 1600-1900, Sa 1000-1400, Su closed
Address:C/ Arturo Soria 126-128
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0730-2100, Sa 0800-1300, Su closed
Address:Plaza de Castilla, Ground floor
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0830-1930, Sa 0900-1400, Su closed
Address:C/ Princesa 14
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0900-1300 1500-1900, Sa-Su Closed.
Address:Jacinto Benavente 2, Ground floor
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 1000-1400 1600-1900, Sa 0900-1400, Su closed
Address:Paseo de la Castellana 22,
Parking - First floor
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0930-1330 1530-1830, Sa-Su closed
Address:Calle Catamaran 1
Opening hours:Mo-Su 0800-2400
Address:Glorieta Emperador Carlos V