My wife and I are coming from LA and we're landing in Madrid in mid September, but we would like to start our trip in Barcelona. We are wondering, is there a train station close by MAD for us to take to Barcelona? If so, how do I book tickets from the US? Thank you in advance!
1. Take the line 203 airport bus (safe, comfortable, room for bags, no need to book in advance) or an official white taxi (obviously more expensive) from Madrid-Barajas Airport to Atocha Renfe train station.
Buses run roughly every 15-20 minutes throughout the day. One-way fare is 5 euro.
Bus info in English on the official site:
and on the official airport site:
Allow around an hour for the journey by bus or taxi. It won't actually take that long (unless there is very bad traffic congestion) but it's worth allowing plenty of time to avoid missing your train.
2. Take the train from Atocha to Barcelona Sants station. There are plenty of departures throughout the day. Journey time is from 2.5 hours.
Train times, details and fares in English on the official Spanish railway website:
It is worth booking online in advance for this journey (it isn't necessary for all rail journeys in Europe) because there are good savings on advance online fares. You can buy directly through the Renfe site but if you prefer you can buy (with added admin fees) through the long-established European rail agency
Allow at least 30 minutes to get off the bus, get you & your bags into Atocha (a large, modern station), find your departure platform and go through security scanning onto the platform.
3. Personally, I'd want to book a train no earlier than 4 hours after touchdown, and preferably longer, to allow for inbound flight and in-airport delays. Atocha has pleasant sitting areas and cafes to while away any waiting time. :-)
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As in all of Europe, the train service is spectacular. Buy your tickets before leaving home. They are much more expensive as you get closer to the date. Don't bother paying for first class. All seats are assigned like on a plane.
Although it may be worth taking a plane from the airlift (they leave every 30 minutes) to go from Madrid to Barcelona.
If you decide to go from the airport to Atocha train station you can go by taxi (30 or 40 minutes and about 30 or 40 euros) by subway and train or by bus. I think the bus option is the easiest, here is the route:
Bus Line 203 or Airport Express is the express line that connects Atocha train station and Madrid-Barajas airport. Bus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Atocha stop only operates during the day, from 6:00 to 23:30 hours; during the night the stop is in the centre of Madrid (Cibeles). During this time slot the bus takes the name of N27 Airport Express.
Frequency of passage: every 15-20 minutes during daytime service (from 6:00 to 23:30) and every 35 minutes during nighttime service (from 23:30 to 6:00).
The journey usually takes 30 minutes from Atocha station to terminal T1.
With stops at:
Terminal T1 floor 0, Arrivals area,
Terminal T1 floor 1, Departures area.
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