In general, the municipalities to the south and east of the capital have more working-class populations, whereas those to the north and west are more affluent.
- 1 Madrid — capital city and largest city of Spain with busy nightlife and great art museums and monuments.
World Heritage Sites
- 2 Alcalá de Henares — the city where Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote, was baptized and almost certainly born. Its university and historical centre have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
- 3 Aranjuez — highlights include the Palacio Real, the summer home for the Bourbons, and the lavishly designed Casa del Labrador near the Tagus River.
- 4 El Escorial — a mountainous retreat home to Spain's largest monastery, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and to the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen).
- 5 Buitrago del Lozoya — surrounded by the Lozoya river, it is a unique, preserved walled enclosure.
- 6 Chinchón — typical Spanish town which retains its character from the 1700s.
- 7 Colmenar de Oreja — in Las Vegas region with rich historical monuments and excellent gourmet products, such as olive oil, cheese, wine or garlic.
- 8 — in the southwest, is a town with a well preserved architecture and famous for the quality of its wine.
- 9 Nuevo Baztán — founded in the early years of 18th century, it was planned to serve as an industrial town following the ideas of the Enlightenment period.
- 10 Rascafría — below the Sierra de Guadarrama area, apart from its natural richness, it also hosts the iconic Monastery of El Paular.
- Móstoles — second largest city in the region, it hosts the CA2M museum with the contemporary art collection of the Community of Madrid.
- 11 Getafe — one of the five major cities that surround Madrid in its southern part.
- Leganés — the closest of these five cities to the center of Madrid. It borders the districts of Carabanchel to the north and Villaverde to the east. It is connected to Getafe to its south and to Alcorcon to its west.
- Alcorcón — one of the five major cities that surround Madrid in its southern part.
- Fuenlabrada — one of the five major cities that surround Madrid in its southern part.
- 1 Las Rozas — a middle-class satellite city with excellent modern cultural, shopping and leisure facilities
- San Martín de Valdeiglesias —
- Torrelaguna —
- Manzanares el Real —
- 2 Galapagar — bullfighting, stock-breeding, meadows and beef are its main features
- Sierra de Guadarrama — a mountainous area with the Guadarrama National Park.
The community is served by Madrid–Barajas Airport. Any town within the metropolitan area can be reached by taxi from the airport. A ride to some towns which are close to the airport (for example Alcobendas/San Sebastián de los Reyes) costs less than to the centre of Madrid.
You can reach Atocha or Chamartín station in Madrid Capital by Renfe trains from anywhere in Spain. From either of those stations you can transfer to Cercanías commuter trains.
After reaching one of the capital's long-distance stations by bus, you can transfer to the frequent green buses serving most towns of the community.
An extensive network of commuter railways serves the Community of Madrid. Besides the Metro which dips into several municipalities that border the capital, you can use the Cercanías network to reach the more remote towns like Alcalá de Henares and El Escorial. The T-zone Tourist Pass (from €17 for one day up to €70.80 for 7 days) covers all the Metro, Cercanías and bus lines and stations of the whole community. If you are under 26 years of age, a monthly transport pass, also covering all the zones, is available for €20 with an application made in advance and a copy of your passport/EU ID.
Blue buses of the EMT serve routes within the capital, while green ones serve the other municipalities from the capital's major stations (Avenida de América, Moncloa, Principe Pío, Plaza de Castilla, Estación Sur/Mendez Alvaro). Some locations in the Community of Madrid are more conveniently reachable by bus than by train. If you don't have a transport pass, single tickets are available from the driver on all buses.
- El Escorial is a monastery and palace of gargantuan size built for Philipp II who wanted to get away from it all. You can see the surprisingly austere room from where Phillip ruled an empire reaching from the Philippines to the Americas. It's also the site of the Spanish royal mausoleum where most kings of Spain since Charles I/V and all queens who reigned in their own right or gave birth to kings are interred. To get there, take Cercanías to the eponymous station and then a bus or hike up the mountain to the monastery
- Valle de los Caídos is a gargantuan work built during the Franco era by forced labor of political prisoners. Its official purpose is as a memorial and final resting place of the fallen of the Spanish Civil War, however, the design makes it clear that Franco's side is the one being honored here. A giant cross sits atop a church built inside the mountain with fascist architecture reminiscent of the Nazi Party Rallying Grounds in Nuremberg. In October 2019, the Spanish government exhumed the remains of Franco and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and transferred them to the Franco family crypt in Madrid. This might decrease the attraction of this site for fascists making pilgrimage to it. There's a public bus from El Escorial, but from its dropoff point it's a 6-km hike. Taxi drivers will gladly take visitors all the way to the entrance and back and even wait there for a while; negotiate a fare at or below €50 per cab for this instead of taking the metered rate.