15 Best Apps to Download Before Visiting Madrid
Travel has never been easier thanks to apps. From booking last-minute flights to organizing all of your travel plans and getting around a new destination — even helping to fight jet lag, apps help people travel better in a myriad of ways. Some apps, though, can be particularly useful in specific destinations.
If you have plans to visit Madrid, Spain, you'll surely want to download your standard currency converter or translation app. But there are certain apps designed specifically for Madrid that will help you get around the Spanish capital like a pro. So don't forget to download these 15 apps before you board your flight.
Madrid's market scene is having a moment. Besides all the permanent food markets around the city, pop-up markets specializing in everything from crafts and antiques to food trucks and holiday treats rule the Spanish capital. Some run on a once-a-month schedule or happen yearly; the famous Rastro happens each Sunday, while the San Anton market is open seven days a week. The Mercamad app will tell you what's happening while you're in the city, including which markets are where; for how long they'll be there; and what they're selling (including the permanent ones) so you can be sure to hit the coolest markets during your visit to Madrid. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Madrid has many excellent forms of transportation, including an expansive metro and bus system, but having a local ride-sharing app beyond Uber can be helpful, especially if it's late at night. Enter Cabify, which is popular in Madrid as well as other cities across Spain and Latin America.
If you're traveling to Barcelona, just be sure to check if the service is still available. In January, both Cabify and Uber pulled service from the Catalan city following new regulations — but Cabify returned shortly thereafter with a workaround. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Navigating the aforementioned public transport system can be difficult, and the EMT app helps by giving you information on where the buses go and how long you'll have to wait for one to come depending on your stop, allowing you to plan your route as needed. Just don't forget to press the button on the bus when you see your stop coming up to ensure the driver will stop and you can get off — sadly, there's no app for that yet. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Metro de Madrid
Madrid's metro system is extensive, though still fairly easy to navigate. But having the Metro app assists you in organizing your metro travels, offering things like wait times, maps, closure information, fare information and more. You can also submit things like incidents or even if you're disappointed with the cleanliness of a station -- apparently, the metro promises to listen. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
One of Europe's largest booking apps for reservations, The Fork, offers access to reservations at more than 50,000 restaurants in cities such as Madrid, Geneva, Florence, Lisbon, Stockholm, Amsterdam and more. The app also offers special discounts (think: 30% off your meal when reserving through The Fork), and you can even earn YUMS through its loyalty program, which can add up to even more discounts. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Stuck in your hotel room feeling sick and in need of aspirin? Is it pouring rain outside, but you're starving? Glovo will deliver anything you need to your hotel room or vacation rental, as well as help you complete errands, like getting your suit from the dry cleaners, by connecting you with couriers and partner businesses. In Madrid, the service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Madrid, meaning you can get what you need no matter what time of day or night it is. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
360Stories Madrid will not only help you map, find and learn about tourist attractions while walking around your destination, but it's also a fun way to plan your travel. Featuring 360-degree photos of attractions and landmarks, you'll be able select which spots to visit during your time in Madrid. You can also take virtual tours of spots such as parks and museums, helping you expertly curate your time in Madrid. You can also book tours and experiences at the destinations you're viewing, too.
Afterward, share your personal experiences with other travelers through the app. Download for free for iPhone and Android, or you can use it on VR devices for a more interactive experience.
Electric Vehicle-Sharing Apps
Madrid is all about electric vehicles, so travelers with a valid driver's license can use ride-sharing apps to find electric vehicles ranging from cars to bikes and scooters. There's Car2Go for smart cars, which are ideal for solo travelers or groups of two, or emov, which provides larger cars that can accommodate three or four people.
Travelers can also pick up an electric motorcycle with eCooltra, or use BiciMad for access to the city's electric bike-sharing system. Lime scooters are also growing in popularly. All of these services are operated by apps, which are free to download, but obviously, you'll have to pay to actually use the cars, bikes, scooters or motorcycles. If you're just not sure what to take (combining these with the metro, bus, taxi, and ride-sharing programs can be overwhelming), you can enter your destination into the Chipi app, and it will line up all of the options side-by-side, prices and timing included, so you can select the best transportation option for you.
Madrid is famous for its small plates of delicious food, called tapas, and tapeando (hopping from bar to bar sampling tapas) is one of the best ways to dig into Spanish culture and cuisine. But it can be complicated to decide where to go, especially if you want to visit a number of different spots. Create your route using the Tappas app, which shows you the best spots to indulge in these small plates of delicious food. Each restaurant or bar featured has relevant information (address, website and opening hours), reviews and photos. Download for free for iPhone.
Fever will help you find things to do in Madrid beyond just tourist attractions, including concerts, restaurants, cultural events and more. Search the app from several different categories, from brunch to Valentine's Day, or escape rooms and tours. You can buy tickets on the app, as well as packages, and even view set menus at restaurants. Whether you use the app to actually purchase or not, Fever will give you an excellent understanding of what's happening in Madrid while you're visiting, taking you beyond the usual museums and monuments. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
All images via Apple iTunes. Featured image by Illan Riestra Nava via Unsplash.