Dates, cuts and restrictions: guide for Madrid before the NATO summit

Next week the city of Madrid faces an important test. The capital hosts the NATO summit from Tuesday to Thursday, which in the words of the mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, is an “unbeatable opportunity for the city in the international arena, to continue generating that image of a city that is capable to organize any challenge”.

On the other side of the scale, that will translate for the people of Madrid into three impossible days, in which moving around an armored city will be a major headache —as it was, for example, during the visit of Benedict XVI in 2011—, and for which the authorities ask for large doses of patience.

This is all that Madrid residents and visitors must take into account to make the best of these days, full of both official acts and possible demonstrations.

What are the dates of the summit

June 28, 29 and 30 —especially the last two— are the key days, but the security measures will begin earlier with the aim of having everything ready before the arrival of the international delegations.

Among the leaders who will visit us are some heavyweights on the international board, such as Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron or Ursula von der Leyen. The event coincides with the 40th anniversary of Spain’s accession to the Atlantic Alliance and it will deal with issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – Zelensky is expected to participate telematically – and the possible accession of Finland and Sweden.

In total, the arrival of 5,000 people is expected, mainly through the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport and the Torrejón de Ardoz military base. What does it translate into? In possible complications on the roads linking these airfields and the city center both before the summit and at its end.

What will be the most difficult points?

“As far as possible, let’s limit movement, let’s be aware that in all the vicinity of the Castellana and Ifema it will be very complicated to be able to circulate,” the mayor urged in a video for which he has requested maximum dissemination.

Both are part of the hot spots in the city on those days, and to which are added the Paseo del Prado, Gran Vía, Paseo de Recoletos, Avenida de América, Plaza de Colón, Goya, the roundabouts of Bilbao and Ruiz Jiménez and the surroundings of the Royal Palace. Cuts are also expected on the M-11, the airport access highway, and the Barcelona highway.

Traffic in these areas will be altered mainly between 09:00 and 10:00 and between 17:00 and 18:00.

The main events and scenarios on the agenda

The President of the Government will hold various meetings in Moncloa. He will also meet with Joe Biden, President of the United States, and the day will conclude with a dinner with the king and queen to receive all the delegations at the Royal Palace.

The day begins with a visit to the Elcano Royal Institute, in Príncipe de Vergara, and then continues in Ifema. The day ends with dinner at the Prado Museum.

For her part, Queen Letizia will act as hostess for the leaders’ companions with a visit to La Granja de San Ildefonso. They will eat in the restaurant of the Reina Sofía Museum and then visit its interior, photographing themselves with the Guernika.

The summit will end at Ifema and some delegations will leave that same afternoon. Others will wait until Friday.

The queen and her companions will visit the Teatro Real, where they will enjoy an oil tasting, a talk about the Mediterranean diet and attend the rehearsal of Nabucco.

How can I move around Madrid on those days?

The main recommendation is to avoid the car and opt for public transport. There will be facilities to move by bus and metro:

The buses of the EMT (Empresa Municipal de Transportes) will be free on days 28, 29 and 30 (with the exception of the Exprés Aeropuerto line).

There will be a Special Service (SE) of the EMT on the occasion of the summit, which will be a shuttle without intermediate stops that will operate between the 27th and 30th from the Mar de Cristal station to the North Gate of Ifema. It will work from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., except on the 29th, when it will be operational 24 hours a day.

It is important to bear in mind that the Feria de Madrid station, which gives access to Ifema, will be closed from 28 to 30 —(Line 8 trains will continue to circulate to and from Barajas Airport, but without stopping at the stop) —.

Lines 1, 5, 6 and 10 will be reinforced and, if necessary, also 4 and 9. Staff will also be increased at the stations and at the terminals that have a connection with Barajas.

Be careful if you are tourist

Due to the agenda of the summit, the Prado Museum will close on the 28th and 29th. The Royal Palace will do the same from the 24th to the 29th.

On the other hand, the capacity and opening hours to the public of the Reina Sofía Museum and the Royal Theater will also be affected.

If you are thinking of visiting Madrid on those days and you do not have a reservation, it may be quite complicated, because hotel occupancy is estimated between 90 and 100%. The delegations will stay in more than 40 hotels, around which security perimeters will be established.

Telecommuting Recommendation

Both Martínez-Almeida and the Ministry of Labor and the unions have recommended that, whenever possible, companies facilitate teleworking for their employees during the days of the summit in order to mitigate the foreseeable collapse of the city.

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