Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (2023)

Madrid Puerta de Atocha:Click for station plan & location map...

It's one of my favourite stations, a beautiful historic trainshed now a tropical garden, next to a modern terminus for the high-speed trains south and southeast to Barcelona, Cordoba, Seville, Malaga, Cadiz, Algeciras, Granada, Alicante & Valencia. There has been a station here since 1851, although the old trainshed dates from 1892. Note that from August 2022 onwards, some trains to/from Alicante will use Madrid Chamartin.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (1)

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (2)Arriving at Madrid Atocha by high-speed train

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (3)Changing trains at Madrid Atocha

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (4)Leaving by train from Puerta de Atocha

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (5)Leaving by train from Atocha Cercanías

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (6)Left luggage

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (7)Sala Club 1st class lounge

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (8)Local transport to/from the city centre

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (9)

On other pages...

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (10)Madrid Chamartin station

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (11)Trains from Madrid to other European cities

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (12) Trains from other European cities to Madrid

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (13)General information for European train travel

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (14)How to buy European train tickets online

The historic station trainshed...

Madrid Atocha's beautiful original train shed opened in 1892. A hundred years later, in 1992 it had its tracks removed and is now a lovely tropical garden. There are several bars & restaurants with outside tables, making this a great place to wait for your train. Theleft luggage lockers are in the far right corner in the photo below. There's an exit to the ground level taxi rank on the left.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (15)

The old trainshed of 1892 with cafes, bars & tropical garden.See panorama photo of Madrid Atocha old hall. Courtesy ofDiscoverByRail.com.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (16)

A wider shot, showing the ramps up to the departures lounge. Taken from roughly where the white arrow is in the photo here.Courtesy ofDiscoverByRail.com.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (17)Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (18)

The former turtle pool in Atocha's tropical garden. Sadly, it's now been removed...

Egg, eels & chips (well, why not?) at a bistro table in Madrid Atocha's tropical garden...

Arriving at Madrid Atocha by high-speed train...

  • If you arrive in the Puerta de Atocha terminus platforms as all AVE trains and most other mainline trains do, you need to go up the travelators/escalators onto the arrivals footbridge then through the long arrivals passageway to the arrivals exit. From there you can head back down to the main concourse and the tropical garden in the old trainshed.

    (Video) Madrid Atocha Train Station-How to Catch the Train

    Unfortunately, you can't just walk forwards off the end of the platform straight ahead onto the concourse and into the tropical garden which would be much more direct!

Changing trains at Madrid Atocha...

  • Some journeys involve an easy same-station change at Madrid Atocha, such as Barcelona to Algeciras, or Barcelona to Seville or Malaga if the direct trains don't suit you.

  • Unfortunately, you can't just arrive on one platform, walk over to another platform and get on your onward train as you can anywhere else in Europe. You have to exit through the long arrivals passageway and out of the arrivals exit, thenre-enter the departures area as explained below complete with the X-ray baggage check and ticket check.

  • I'd allow at least half an hour between trains for this process.

Leaving by train from MadridPuerta de Atocha...

  • Today's high-speed trains leave from 15 modern terminus platforms built as a southward extension to the old trainshed, referred to as Madrid Puerta de Atocha. These are Puerta de Atocha platforms 1 to 15, numbered from left to right as you look towards the trains. There are two ways to access these platforms, depending on your destination.

  • To board an AVE to Barcelona, Zaragoza, Figueres, Girona, Cordoba, Seville, Malaga, Perpignan, Avignon, Marseille, or an Altaria train to Ronda, Algeciras, Jerez or Cadiz...

    Starting in the old trainshed with the tropical gardens, go up the travelators shown in the photo below and go through the gateway to the departures area marked by the big white arrow.

    At the entrance to the departures area there's a X-ray check of all baggage, it's immediately behind the white arrow in the photo below. There are no metal detectors so you can carry what you like on your person, it's only the baggage that's checked -make sure any penknives etc are in your pockets not your baggage so don't get scanned, to avoid a jobsworth refusing to allow them on, as happened to one passenger. The check is quick and simple, it only takes minutes, but don't arrive for your train with only seconds to spare! The baggage check can get busy at peak times, so I'd go through into departures at least 10-15 minutes before your train.

    Immediately after the baggage check you're in the departures waiting area. It has several shops, a cafe, and seating. You'll find theSala Club first class lounge in the corner to your right. When your train is ready for boarding, staff will check your ticket at the top of the relevant travelator, then you descend the travelator onto the platform below and board your train. They close the gate 2 minutes before departure.

  • To board an AVE to Alicante or Valencia or an Avant, Alvia or AV City train...

    (Video) A Walk Around Atocha Railway Station, Madrid

    Walk from the tropical garden through the ground floor passageway marked by the smaller blue arrow in the photo below into a small concourse area with shops, and look for the entrance to the ground floor departures area. There's a simple X-ray baggage check at the entrance to the departures area which can get busy at peak times, so I'd go through into the departures area at least 10-15 minutes before your train. There's a Sala Club first class lounge here too. Staff will check your ticket as you pass through the glass doors onto the relevant platform. The door will be closed 2 minutes before departure.

  • If your train is shown as leaving from Madrid-Atocha Cercanias, see the section below.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (19)

This photo shows the south end of the old historic trainshed, facing away from the tropical garden. It shows the travelators up to the departures area on the first floor. The white arrow indicates the gateway with the X-ray baggage check through to the departures lounge. The modern high-speed platforms are out of sight behind all of this. To reach the Atocha-Cercanias platforms, walk through the wide passageway on the ground floor in this photo and turn left. Courtesy of Willy Kaemena.

The modern high-speed terminus platforms. This photo is taken from the arrivals overbridge. Courtesy ofDiscoverByRail.com.

Leaving by train from Madrid-Atocha Cercanías...

  • Immediately on the east side of the 15 high-speed terminus platforms which constitute Madrid Puerta de Atocha, there are 10 through platforms one level below ground referred to as Madrid Atocha-Cercanías.

    These are used by suburban trains (= cercanias in Spanish, hence the name) which pass through Madrid linking the southern suburbs with the northern suburbs via the long tunnels under the city between Madrid Atocha & Madrid Chamartin.

    They are also used by Media Distancia trains to Badajoz & Jaen plus a handful of mainline Talgo & Altaria trains which pass through Madrid on cross-country routes such as Alicante-Santander or Gijon-Cartagena.

  • If your train is shown on your ticket or atwww.raileurope.com or www.renfe.com as leaving from Madrid-Atocha Cercanías, (sometimes abbreviated on tickets as Madrid A.C.) do not go upstairs to the normal high-speed departures area. Follow the signs to Atocha-Cercanías until you reach these suburban platforms, accessed on the ground floor two minutes walk from the tropical gardens in the old trainshed.

    (Video) Madrid Atocha Station To Madrid Airport: Bus And Train Options Explained

  • If you're catching a suburban train you simply you go through automatic ticket gates at ground level then down escalators to the platforms.

  • If you're catching a Media Distancia or Longa Distancia mainline train, you must go through a staffed entrance at ground level a little way from the gateline, through a brief X-ray bag check then down the escalators onto the platform. The staffed Media Distancia & Longa Distancia entrance takes a little finding, see the photo below so you know what you are looking for!

  • Atocha-Cercanías platforms are numbered 1 to 10 from left to right as you look south. The Altaria & Talgo trains northwards to Santander or Gijon usually use platform 5, as do trains arriving from Badajoz or Jaen. Media Distancia trains heading south to Badajoz & Jaen, and Talgo & Altaria trains to Murcia, Cartagena or Alicante usually use platform 6. But of course the departure screens will confirm the platform.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (21)Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (22)

The staffed entrance to Atocha-Cercanias platforms for long-distance passengers.

A media distancia service to Badajoz about to leave platform 6 at Atocha-Cercanias. Photos courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

Left luggage lockers...

  • There are luggage lockers (Consigna in Spanish) in the northeast corner of the old trainshed.See the left luggage page for opening hours & prices. Bags are X-rayed just inside the entrance before being deposited.

The Sala Club 1st class lounge...

  • Anyone with a Premium ticket can use the Sala Club 1st class lounge. You can also use it with a 1st class ticket on the international AVE to France. You cannot use the lounge with an Elige ticket.

  • The main Sala Club at Madrid Atocha is open 05:15-21:30 Mondays-Saturdays, 06:00-21:30 Saturdays & Sundays, with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks & beer as well as free WiFi. It is located inside the main high-speed train departures area on the first floor.

  • There's a second lounge for the ground floor departures area with different opening hours.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (23)Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (24)

Madrid Atocha Sala Club with complimentary WiFi and refreshments...

Down the travelator from departures area to platform to board an AVE to Barcelona...

To or from central Madrid...

Walking...

  • You can walk between Atocha station and the Puerta del Sol in the heart of Madrid in around 26 minutes.See walking map.

Metro: www.metromadrid.es...

  • Madrid's modern air-conditioned metro links Madrid Atocha with all parts of Madrid, seewww.metromadrid.es. Metro line 1 (coloured light blue on maps) connects Atocha Renfe metro station with Sol (the Puerta del Sol in the heart of central Madrid) andChamartin (for Renfe trains to Lisbon & northern Spain). You can buy a ticket from the touch-screen machines (which have an English-language facility) for a couple of euros and hop on the next train.

Taxi: Taxi fare calculator

  • There's a taxi rank on the top level, on part of the roof of the modern terminus easily reached up travelators from the arrivals hall when arriving by high-speed train. There's another taxi rank at ground level, just outside a west-side exit from the tropical garden in the old trainshed.

    (Video) 🚅EP124 Madrid Atocha Station to Barcelona AVE Check in 🚆Boarding Walking tour Spain Renfe 🇪🇸マドリード

  • A taxi to Puerta del Sol costs around €8, to Chamartin station around €21.

How to transfer between Madrid Atocha & Madrid Chamartin...

Trains to and from northern Spain usually use Madrid Chamartin station in the north of the city. The trains south to Seville, Granada, Malaga leave from Madrid Atocha station. Metro line 1 links these two stations, but it's easier and faster to transfer between stations by frequent suburban train as this is just a handful of stops. The Spanish for suburban train is Cercanias, look for the orange and white 'C' logo.

Madrid Atocha ► Madrid Chamartin

  • You can buy a suburban ticket to Chamartin from the self-service machines which have an English language facility. The fare is only around €1.70, the machines accept euro notes & coins. If you have an AVE or other long-distance train ticket you may get a suburban ticket free,see the advice here.

  • Go to platforms 1 & 2. Trains from these platforms all go to Chamartin, every 5-10 minutes. The journey is 3 stops and it takes just 10-15 minutes.

  • If you have a Premium-fare Comfort class ticket you can use the Sala Club 1st class lounge at Madrid Chamartin station, through a poorly marked door next to platform 14. In the Sala Club you'll find a quiet, civilised and relaxing place to wait, with complimentary tea, coffee, juices and free beer. It's open 06:00-22:45 Mon-Fri, 06:10-22:45 Sat, 07:10-22:45 Sun.

Madrid Chamartin ► Madrid Atocha

  • You can buy a suburban ticket to Atocha from the self-service machines which have an English language facility. The fare is around €1.70, the machines accept euro notes & coins. If you have an AVE or other long-distance train ticket, you may get a suburban ticket free, see the advice here.

  • Go to platform 8. Trains from this platform all go to Atocha, leaving every 5-10 minutes. The journey is 3 stops and it takes just 10-15 minutes.

  • On arrival at Puerta de Atocha Cercanias platforms, follow the Salida (Way out) then Grandes Lineas (Main Line Trains) signs to the mainline concourse. For departures, take the escalators one floor up. Your luggage will be X-rayed before access to the departure area. When your train is ready for boarding you descend via a travelator to the platform to board your train. Note that a handful of mainline trains start at Chamartin and call at Atocha suburban platforms (Atocha Cercanias) rather than starting from Atocha's terminal platforms like other mainline trains.

  • If you have a Premium-fare Comfort class ticket you can use the Sala Club 1st class lounge at Madrid Atocha station just off the first floor departure area (turn right after going through the luggage X-ray check, walk along a bit, then the door it's on your right). In the Sala Club you'll find a quiet, civilised and relaxing lounge in which to wait, with complimentary tea, coffee, juices and free beer. It's open 06:00-22:00 Mondays-Saturday, 06:30-22:00 Sundays.

Madrid Atocha station - a short guide (25)

An air-conditioned suburban train (Cercanias) at Madrid Chamartin. Courtesy ofDiscoverByRail.com.

Back to home page

Videos

1. Madrid Atocha Station Luggage Storage
(Pano Voyages)
2. High Speed Train Trip from Barcelona Sants Station to Madrid Atocha Station.
(Travel Addict Guy)
3. Taking the Train in Spain for Beginners - RENFE
(WhereIsMayLing)
4. Madrid walking tour: wandering at Atocha train station
(Madrileñeando)
5. How to Take the Easy to Use Metro in Madrid
(Sheila Simkin)
6. What's it like Taking the Train in Spain? La Línea to Madrid Atocha
(THE SPAIN GIBRALTAR CHANNEL)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 01/14/2023

Views: 5453

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.