Warning to Visitors

Some of the information below may be out of date as a result of changing timetables and services. Please double check the accuracy of all information before travelling.

The booking forms should be up to date however, so if tickets for a particular service are available, then the service should be operational.


Madrid is the capital and largest city in Spain, with a population of around 3.3m. The city is situated on the Manzanares river, and is host to a number of imortant organisations and institutions. The city is a mix of old a new, with historic neighbourhoods and buildings found in the city's centre. 

The city benefits from a mixture of local, regional and international transport links. Cercanias Madrid is the city's commuter rail system, while high-speed AVE trains also serve the city. Its main stations are Madrid Atocha (in the south) and Madrid Chamartin (in the north).

The city also has a metro system, as well as an extensive network of buses, operated by EMT.

How to get to Madrid from
Route 1:

There is only one direct train service between Madrid and Lisbon each day, and it is an overnight sleeper train, taking around 9 hours, and called the Lusitania Trainhotel, operated by Renfe. There is a daytime alternative to this journey, but it involves two changes, and actually takes longer than the sleeper train.

If you are travelling from elsewehere in Europe, it may also be worth considering the Sud Express, which links the French border with Lisbon via Irun in Spain. This journey is a little bit more interesting in terms of landscape.

Route 2:

The overnight train journey between Paris and Madrid is made onboard the 'Francisco de Goya" sleeper train. This Elipsos Train Hotel is effectively a hotel on rails, with a full restaurant and bar. There are a range of seating and sleeping options, which you can tailor to your budget. The Elipsos website offers a virtual tour of the train so that you can get a better idea of what to expect.

In the middle of the night, the train pauses at Hendaye to switch gauge. This process doesn't involve passengers getting off the train (unlike some daytime alternative routes), but the wheels are changed with passengers on-board.

As with any night train, it can be difficult to get to sleep if you are a light sleeper. If you are worried that you might get woken up, take a pair of earplugs, which should help. We recommend paying for a couchette or sleeping berth, rather than trying to sleep in a reclining chair. Berths are significantly more civilised, offering greater security, comfort and overall level of service. Surprisingly, they can also be cheaper than reclining chairs, as the operator offers special reduced rates on berths, but not for reclining seats (view the pricing section for more information).

Route 3:

This journey, between Madrid and Barcelona is made on-board high-speed Alta Velocidad Espanola trains. There are services roughly every half an hour, making this journey very convenient. The AVE service is very punctual, with the operator RENFE offering a refund if your train arrives over fifteen minutes late. This journey is one of the fastest long-distance trains in operation, as you can take a non-stop service between the two cities, which takes only 2hrs and 40minutes.

Route 4:

The overland journey between Helsinki and Lisbon is by no means short, involving a number of overnight train journeys, and crossing much of western Europe.