The Cercanias train is a commuter train that runs all over the city. There is also a line that goes to/from the airport (terminal T4), which will save you a lot of money in taxi fares! It's also a lot quicker than taking the metro to the airport.
The airport line stops at Atocha and Chamartin train stations, and the ride between Atocha and the airport is less than 30min. A single ticket is very cheap, I think it's about 2-3 Euros.
AVE (alta velocidad espanola) is the high speed train run by the spanish national rail company.
The high speed network has been expanding quite rapidly. When I went to Spain in 2003-4 there was only the line to Andalucia, now it has expanded considerably.
The ride to Cordoba took about an hour and a half. I sat in Preferente, which is the first class, which wasn't substantially more expensive than the regular class. Being the first train in the morning we were served a nice breakfast and coffee and newspaper.
I met some people that commuted to Madrid to work from Ciudad Real and Cordoba and they were telling me that it was possible only because the train was so reliable. You will get your money back if the train is more than 15 minutes delayed. The times I took the train in Spain, the AVE was never late by more than one or two minutes if that
a very nice service, a bit pricey, but well worth it.)
Here is a link which discusses ways to save on Renfe train travel by planning ahead and using their online booking:
The Renfe online booking site seems to fail for Americans most of the time. After trying a few dozen times we were able to make a reservation. After that another 40 or so attempts could not get another reservation to go through. There is much speculation why reservations fail to go through, but in our case getting the same credit card to go through once shows there seems to be a communication problem on their side and it's not the US bank rejecting the charge (we also called our bank who told us they were not seeing all the attempts come through).
Atocha is one of the two main train stations in Madrid for long distance and high speed trains. Make sure you are getting off at the correct station, there is Puerta de Atocha which is in downtown Madrid and Puerta de Chamartin, which is a bit farther off from center. If you get off too late you can still go back to Atocha by metro or bus without much problem
The Atocha Railway Station is quite an amazing piece of architecture. It was built by Gustav Eiffel, famous for having built the Eiffel Tower) and the arched cast-iron building stands at 40 metres high. Inside is a palm garden. This is Madrid’s main rail hub and most of the main routes to the city, arrive at this station.
Location : Glorieta de Carlos V
Ci sono 2 treni che partono da Barcellona-Sants per Madrid. Il treno 'AVE' (treno ad alta velocità) che arriva a Madrid Puerta de Atocha e il treno 'Costa Brava' che arriva a Madrid-Chamartin. Il treno AVE viaggia durante il giorno e il treno Costa Brava durante la notte.
Quando parte il treno Barcellona Madrid?
Il treno AVE viaggia tutti i giorni e, per alcuni orari, solo certi giorni della settimana (vedi il collegamento al sito RENFE qui sotto).
Il treno AVE viaggia in maniera regolare durante tutto il giorno (vedi il collegamento dell'orario qui sotto). La durata del viaggio del treno AVE varia ma è di circa 3 ore. Ti suggeriamo di fare riferiamo al collegamento all'orario dei treni che c'è qui sotto per avere informazioni più precise sui tempi di percorrenza.
Il treno Costa Brava viaggia di notte facendo più fermate e impiega 9 ore. C'è solo un treno Costa Brava che parte alle 22:20.
After three trips to Spain, I can freely say that I am ready to write a thesis on the transportation system in the country.
Reaching Madrid: plane or train! The summer of 2002, I actually travelled by train, from Skopje to Malaga (not the smartest thing to do in case you aren't exactly prepared for 4 days of train hopping).
Spain gave me the most trouble, given the fact most frequent trains are TALGO, VERY nice, expensive and not interrail-friendly. Once you realize you HAVE TO HAVE reservations, things are not so bad.
There are two major train stations: Atocha and Chamartin! Metro links are perfect so need not worry about reaching the center. (Puerta del Sol or Gran Via)...
Now since finding a nice-price flight is something that needs no particular explanation (just good luck and an on-time search, hoping ur traveling agency will make an effort), I won't dwell on that issue.
BUS... I explored the bus possibilities during my second trip in Spain, and managed to cross about... 2000 kilometers, maybe even more, by bus.
I actually find it quite nice, since they were not crowded, some of the distances have a nicer price than a train (for example Madrid-Barcelona-Madrid).
So that is also an option.
CERCANIAS are local trains that run inside the Madrid province. They are cheap (1-2 euros), and can be accesed from many points within the city (Atocha, Recoletos Av, Nuevos Ministerios, Chamartin Railway St...).
With these trains you can reach Segovia (C8b line), Aranjuez (C3 line), the "sierra" mountains (c8 and then C9), El Escorial (C8a)...
I went to Madrid by train (TALGO) from Barcelona. Madrid has 3 train stations: The Charmatin Station is for trains from or to the north (e.g. France or Barcelona). The Atocha Station is for trains to and from the south (e.g. Cordoba or Sevilla). The Principe Pio Station is for local trains.
Depending on the type of train it is necessary to reserve a seat. The train I wanted to take was already booked up, and on the next train was only one seat left which was in fact enough for me ...
Easy but expensive way to go Seville is by AVE (High speed train) that you can take Atocha station, each hour one train depart to Serville(500KM away) aprox 2 hours.
price: 68 euros(July 05)