Have you ever been to Madrid Airport? Especially Terminal 4? It is the 11th biggest of the world and the 4th in Europe.

Well if you haven’t been, let me advise you something; arrive 3 hours in prior to your flight.

Cause it takes 30 minutes to check in, 45 minutes to pass the security control, and an hour and a half to reach your gate….

Sure there are nice stores, but that is not the reason, cause you don’t have time to shop. The reason is you need to walk, take the train, get lost, and walk again to catch your flight. In such big airport, you expect to have stores near your gate, well they exist, but they are closed, I guess hiring so many people will cost a lot….

Don’t get me wrong, beautiful airport…. But here are few problems….

As I have mentioned before they have an underground train to bring you to the gates; so instead of walking 45 minutes you walk 20 minutes before and after the train.

On the other hand, they don’t have a train station to bring you to the city or to other destinations… even our little Geneva airport has that….

And you better be sure about your Terminal before arriving at the airport, there are no indications on the road about companies and their Terminal. Once you arrive, there is no one who really tells you what to do… you are basically on your own.

My friend who traveled with us, after asking few people learned that she should take the bus shuttle between Terminals… these buses are supposed to pass every 5 minutes, but actually it was every 20 minutes.

Basically, she was stuck in the wrong Terminal and the cabs refused to take her as it wasn’t far enough, so she barely made to her flight.

I am telling you Madrid airport is beautiful and big. But if you want to enjoy your trip and not miss your flight, you have to arrive 3 hours in advance, wear comfortable shoes, know your terminal… and have a little picnic (drinks and a little snack) with you. Because from the moment you leave your cab, to the moment you arrive to your gate, it is a journey in itself ;)