Good luck when trying to buy train tickets in Atocha Station. Unfortuneatly I didn't speak Spanish while I was there so I realize that I myself can be blamed. I tried to do three day trips out of Madrid to Segovia, Cordoba and Toledo. Each of these trip uses a different railway system so we had to buy our tickets at three different locations in the station and I don't think a single person in the station spoke english. It was really difficult trying to sort this all out. And make sure you save your ticket because you need the ticket to exit out of the station. don't be like me and trow it out after they have checked it on the train. I agrued with the gaurd for 15 minutes before he would let me out of the station. Well, more like he yelled at me in spanish and I looked dumb because I didn't understand.
Atocha is the main station in Madrid. It is a large building built 100 years ago. Inside the original building was transformed into an amazing tropical forest. It has birds, even turtles, and the result is very nice. This is definitely the nicest train station I have been to.
To buy long-distance tickets, you need to arrive sometime early, or you might miss your preferred departure (especially if you are going to the very popular Toledo). You might order tickets online, but you still need to come early to claim them, and BE SURE to write down the LOCALIZADOR code, or they will not have your information. You can check departures and buy tickets at www.renfe.es.
Check the times of the train before you come, Our train to Toledo left @ 9:20am and only took 30 minutes to get there. The train station has a large display of plants along with some turtles in the station. We paid 8.60 euros.
Built in the 19th century, Estación de Atocha was Madrid's first cast iron building. The elegant red façade is crowned with two winged mythical creatures (half lion, half dragon). The interior is home to an impressive indoor tropical garden. Trains depart from Atocha to destinations south of Madrid, such as Sevilla and Córdoba, in addition to Toledo. It is worth stopping by to admire the architecture and the tropical garden even if a trip is not contemplated.
Getting through the subways was quite an adventure. Especially worrying about gypsies all the time! The Madrid subway system is designed really well, color coded, and easy to navigate. For us, it was a struggle though, we were exhausted after a looooong plane ride, and carrying around heavy bags, to boot!
Then at the Atocha train station it took forever to find where to buy tickets. The station is huge!
And listening to and understanding spoken Spanish is much harder than reading it! Most definitely a baptism by fire - bautizo por fuego - en la estación del tren en Madrid.
I am exhausted - haven't slept yet, hope to soon. The car is quiet except for a little 2 year old girl next to me who loves to talk. But she is so cute and has a sweet, innocent voice, so I don't mind.
I'm in a separate car than Dave and Pat. Note to first time travelers in Spain - you can't just sit wherever you want! They are really picky about assigned seats. Unfortunately I'm in a different car, or "coche." It's crazy here! And who would have thought that "plaza" means "seat"? I suppose it has the connotation of "place," as in, "place to sit."
The Spanish countryside is beautiful! We are passing olive groves and green fields. I'm going to stop writing and look out the window.
Estacion de Atocha:Madrid's first railroad service,from Atocha to Aranjuez, was inaugurated in 1851.Fourty years later Atohca station was replaced by a new building that was given a modern extention in the 1980s.The older part of the station, bulit of glass and wrought iron, now houses a pleasant indoor palm garden. There is a restaurant also next to this palm garden .We had a lunch there,they have delicious deserts.(chocolate sufle!!!mmmm)
The Atocha train station is one of the two mayor stations of Madrid. From here you can go everywhere. Even if you dont want to take a train it is recommended to visit the station. Especially for its spectacular tropical garden.
This is a clasic and an important point of reference of the city, a blend of old and new.
What impressed me most in my first visit was the indoor tropical garden.
Built in 1889-91 by Alberto de Palacio Elissagne and the help of Gustave Eiffel. It got a face lift in the early ninety'swhit the construction of AVE (Te fast speed train that serves the Region of Catalunya).
Atocha, train station, close to the Reina Sofia and Del Prado musseums and El Retiro Park.
Special tips for sundays: in the morning go to the flea market: El Rastro, and before 2:30 (they close at that time) try to visit any of this two musseums that are free on this day.
Atocha is not only the mayor train hub of southern Madrid, but also a delicious visit by itself. The station has three different sections: the commuting trains one, the long distance and the oldest and most beautiful: the tropical garden. Right now is under restoration, but when it works at "full capacity" the humidifiers create a REAL tropical atmosphere there. It’s an spectacular visit… but be aware that the human body tends to sweat copiously when facing such humid atmospheres ;-)
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