In this day and age, everyone relies on their smartphones more than anything else, especially when they are traveling. Being in a new, unfamiliar place requires you to step out of your comfort zone, perhaps by speaking a new language, learning a new city’s metro system, or discovering where the best restaurants are. How can you overcome these obstacles? Apps, of course! Here is a list of the eight most practical apps for you to download while traveling in Madrid.
1. Speak & Translate – Voice and Text Translator
This translation app understands 54 languages, including Spanish, and holds written conversations in more than 100 languages. It detects where you are automatically and switches languages as you travel around the world, displaying your flag and the flag of the country where you are staying. Simply tap your country’s flag, speak in your native language, and tap the flag once more. The app will type what you have said and repeat it back to you in the desired language. Also, if you’d prefer to type what you are looking to translate, rather than say it out loud, you can do so as well.
Citymapper will be your ultimate guide for getting around Madrid. Give the app access to your location, and it will display a map of your surroundings, a map of all of the metro lines, and the ability to find any bus or metro line. Type in a desired location, and Citymapper will suggest multiple different routes, including walking and biking routes, which show the number of calories you could burn by choosing them. It also provides more practical routes for longer distances, such as the metro or bus, or a combination of both, with an estimated time of arrival.
3. WiFi Finder
You don’t always have the ability to use data while traveling, so finding wifi is an absolute must. Wifi Finder provides hotspots and passwords to access the Internet without roaming, 3G, or any extra cost. Enter the address or city of your current location, and a map of the nearby wifi will appear. Click on one of the options for wifi that comes up on the bottom of the screen, and copy the password displayed. Turn on the wifi in your settings, and paste the password to gain wifi access.
The RenfeTicket app is the perfect way to plan, manage, and book trips by train. The app provides a way for you to find a timetable and purchase or link train tickets, as well as change or cancel them. Your favorite routes are always readily available to you if you tap the grey star. Manuel Reyes, who has lived in Madrid for the past seven years, describes how useful this app truly is for him. “I use the train to visit my sister very often, and the app knows my route, so it is so easy to book right away.” Additionally, the RenfeTicket allows you to view schedule updates and book car rentals, hotels, or leisure activities for your destination.
5. Official Metro de Madrid
This app will give you all of the information there is to know about the metro in Madrid. There is a tab which shows a map of all of the nearby stations, as well as a full metro map and a tourist map, which marks the nearest station to the most important spots. You can also create a list of your favorite stations and look up a route from your current location, using the nearest station. The side tabs provide information about metro cards, alternative routes, fares, service hours, and access with bicycles and dogs as well.
Cabify is very similar to the Uber app, but it is what the locals use, and for long rides, it is cheaper than using a taxi. Cabify will give you the option of using a Lite car, which is the standard, common option that tends to be the most quickly available. Cabify also offers everything from Baby cars to large vehicles to motorbikes. You can order vehicles to pick you up immediately or reserve vehicles for a later date and time. Mario, who has lived in Madrid for his entire life, recommends using Cabify over Uber or MyTaxi in Madrid, which are two apps commonly used for rides. “Cabify is much better than MyTaxi, and the price is good. It’s convenient for the taxi to come to your home, or wherever you are. I also feel better knowing that my son has Cabify to use when he is out at night. It is very safe and helpful”, he explains.
Madrid has some amazing markets daily, and Mercamad provides information about all of them, including new and secret ones. Tap the Markets tab to view all of Madrid’s markets, either in an alphabetical list, a list based on distance, or on a map. Click on one that interests you and learn where it is, its opening and closing hours, how many stalls it has, how to contact the market, and how to get there via public transportation. You can even add it to your favorites and return to it later.
TheFork allows you to discover the top rated and most popular restaurants nearby and book a table at any of them. Also, each reservation you make on the app gives you access to 100 Yums, and for every 1,000 Yums you get, you earn a discount at any restaurant. Simply type in your location and fill out the desired date, time, and number of people for your reservation. TheFork will provide results of the top restaurants around you and will show you a restaurant’s menu, location, discounts, and reviews.
All of these apps are free to download and compatible with an iPhone and iPad. They also work with Androids, except for Speak & Translate – Voice and Text Translator, but there are many similar alternatives available for Android.