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Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Depending on where you live—in the city or in the suburbs—you may need to drive your own vehicle to conduct your everyday life. In some areas of the city itself, it is possible to get about by walking and by using public transportation.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
A U.S. driver's license is acceptable if you are staying less than 90 days in Spain. It is recommended that you obtain an International driver's license prior to arrival in Spain. If you are not able to do so, upon your arrival in Spain, have your driver's license translated into Spanish by an approved notary. (Lists of government-approved notaries are available through the U.S. embassy or consulate.) Once the Spanish residence certificate is obtained, your International driver's license/translated license will no longer be valid. At this point you must make arrangements to take the Spanish driver's examination.
EU citizens are not required to change their original driver's license for a Spanish license; however, if you intended stay in Spain is greater than six months, you will need to go to the local traffic authority to have your driver's license stamped.
What side of the road do people drive on?
The right side.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
The Madrid metro is a cheap and easy way to maneuver around the city, especially in the center. An individual ticket will cost about €1 and the "abono" of ten rides will cost about €5. More recently, the Metro has expanded its service and now connects the city to Madrid Barajas airport. Baggage can be checked directly to the airport at the Nuevos Ministerios station.
Bus services are frequent, cover an extensive area and can be very useful if you live in the Madrid suburbs. The Metrobus ticket can be used for both bus and metro travel.
Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive when compared to other major cities.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Rail and bus links are plentiful to the suburbs and to the surrounding areas (cercanias). It is easy to get out by train to towns of interest, such as Segovia, El Escorial, etc.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
While public transportation in Madrid is considered quite safe, you must be vigilant at all times, especially when traveling on the metro.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Tickets can be purchased in bus/metro stations, newspaper kiosks and estancos (shops that sell cigarettes and stamps and are marked by a "Tabacos" sign).
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.