Taking the train to Madrid is often the best transport option. With direct services from major Spanish cities like Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao, as well as international connections to Lisbon, Paris, and Milan, Madrid has strong rail connections. Arrival is easy too, with Atocha Station enjoying a convenient central location and plenty of links to all of the Spanish capital's major districts.
Most trains to Madrid will arrive at the city's Atocha Station. Located just south of the city center, Atocha is well connected to every other part of Madrid. The station is a hub for overground Cercanias trains and the Madrid Metro. Some services also arrive at Chamartin, around one and a half miles north of the city center and ideally placed for visits to Real Madrid or airport transfers.
Most rail services into Madrid are provided by Renfe, Spain's national rail carrier. Renfe offers a wide network of domestic routes, linking Atocha and Chamartin with cities like Valencia, Leon, Bilbao, and Seville. With its central location, Madrid is usually less than three hours away. Those coming from France, Italy, or the UK may also require journeys with SNCF, Trenitalia, or Eurostar.
Traveling by train within Spain is usually the best way to travel. Renfe's trains are efficient, fast, and comfortable, and run throughout the day. Journey times are competitive with flights, which is especially the case when travelers factor in transfers to and from airports. For those coming from abroad, trains are a leisurely, enjoyable way to travel, providing a chance to watch Spain's scenery unfold. They are also an eco-friendly alternative to flying.
When visiting Madrid, it's advisable to purchase a Tourist Travel Pass. This provides unlimited transport on local trains, buses, and Metro services and can be purchased for durations of 1-7 days. Visitors should see the Prado Gallery with its magnificent artworks, as well as Plaza Mayor and El Retiro Park, but offbeat attractions have much to offer as well. Don't miss the beautiful creations of the Royal Tapestry Museum or the gastronomic delights of the Mercado San Miguel. There's no better place to stock up for picnics during a stay in Madrid.