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Trains to Madrid

Madrid now has direct high-speed trains from half a dozen French cities. Most passengers coming from the north (including travellers from London and Paris) route through Barcelona (which is just 2 hrs 30 mins away from Madrid on the fastest trains). London to Madrid by train is feasible in a long day – it takes just under 14 hours, routing via Paris and Barcelona.

Most long-distance rail services to and from Madrid run from Atocha station (referred to in some timetables and on many maps as Puerta de Atocha). This is the jumping-off point for the high-speed trains to Alicante, Barcelona, Córdoba, Málaga, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza. A second station at Atocha, called Atocha Cercanías, serves local trains and a few long-distance services to western Spain. Another major rail station is Chamartín in the northern suburbs of Madrid. It is the departure point for journeys to Bilbao, Salamanca, San Sebastián, Irun and cities in Galicia. All night trains from Madrid leave from Chamartín. These include the overnight sleeper services (branded Trenhotel) to Lisbon, Vigo and Santiago de Compostela.

Spain’s bustling capital is a place for Bourbon style, serious culture, sport aplenty and some of Europe’s best bars and cafés. As the hub of Spain’s impressive high-speed rail network, devotees of Spanish rail travel inevitably return to Madrid time and time again. It’s a wonderful city, a place that deserves a week or more, but even an overnight stay is enough to catch the flavour of Madrid. Do it once, and you’ll be hooked. in 2019, Madrid's celebrated Museo del Prado is marking its bicentenary. Those less inclined to art might head instead to Madrid's excellent Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway Museum) located at the old Delicias station.

There are many superb day trips from Madrid by train. Favourites include Toledo, El Escorial, Ávila and Segovia. Some of these rely on local trains (which don't need to be booked in advance), but other destinations (eg. Toledo) are served by high-speed trains where advance booking is advisable and on peak days an absolute necessity.

Travel to Madrid by train from anywhere in the UK or across Europe.

Barcelona to Madrid by train

from $36.80

Avg 0 changes 2hr 30m

Paris to Madrid by train

from $77.33

Avg 1 change 9hr 38m

Lisbon to Madrid by train

from $28.06

Avg 0 changes 10hr 6m

London to Madrid by train

from $154.04

Avg 2 changes 13hr 38m

Bilbao to Madrid by train

from $17.46

Avg 0 changes 5hr 6m

Montpellier to Madrid by train

from $33.05

Avg 0 changes 6hr 7m

Perpignan to Madrid by train

from $86.69

Avg 0 changes 4hr 28m

Lyon to Madrid by train

from $59.25

Avg 1 change 8hr 26m

Girona to Madrid by train

from $39.29

Avg 0 changes 3hr 19m

Valencia to Madrid by train

from $14.97

Avg 0 changes 1hr 38m

Córdoba to Madrid by train

from $23.70

Avg 0 changes 1hr 43m

Ronda to Madrid by train

from $23.70

Avg 0 changes 3hr 56m

Granada to Madrid by train

from $34.92

Avg 0 changes 3hr 5m

Santiago de Compostela to Madrid by train

from $19.96

Avg 0 changes 5hr 5m

Almería to Madrid by train

from $16.22

Avg 0 changes 6hr 8m

Country guide

Trains to Spain

Read our country guide

Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.