Arriving into Madrid Atocha
This page is all about arrivals on Spain’s long-haul train services which have different names depending on the type of train. There are Alvia & Talgo services which run at normal speeds and then high-speed trains called AVE.
When disembarking the trains, you’ll find both escalators and a moving ramp to take you to the top floor of the station, which is actually ground level.
Trains to Madrid Airport?
At the top of the ramps, you’ll find a connector area that will take you down directly to the local Cercanias trains on platforms 1 & 2 which go directly to Madrid Airport.
Ticket machines for the airport
There are also automated ticketing machines – a very helpful addition for passengers using the high-speed rail network before picking up a flight in Madrid.
If for any reason the trains are not running, remember that Madrid Atocha is also on the Metro underground network and Madrid can be reached on the Metro – although it does involve two changes of line and the stations are not step-free.
Do you really need a ticket?
Many of the long-haul train tickets are sold with an inclusive fare to anywhere within Madrid on the Cercanias (local trains) network. Check your ticket against the gates first – why pay twice!
Follow the signs for Salida
The exit (salida) is immediately after the connector to the Madrid Airport trains. To be honest, you’ll be probably just be swept along with your fellow passengers here anyway!
Just behind the entrance to the Madrid Barajas trains, you’ll see the signs for SALIDA (Exit). A long, long, long moving walkway will deliver you into the long-haul station’s arrivals area.
This was probably a really stunning piece of design but somebody has decided to plaster every available surface with advertising which makes for a very miserable journey indeed!
The long-haul arrivals area (largo trayecto) is on the top floor of Madrid Atocha train station. After the total over-kill of publicity in the tunnel itself, this is nice peaceful area, flooded with natural light.
Apart from the usual group of friends and family waiting for your fellow travellers, this area also contains a Lavazza Expresso Bar, a Bureau de Change and the four main car rental companies that operate officially as franchisees inside the station. They are :
If you’ve arrange to collect a car from somewhere else that is being delivered to you at the station, the chances are that the representative for that firm will be waiting for you somewhere in this area.
Need a taxi?
Take the escalator up to street level. You’ll probably find around a quarter of a million taxis! – It certainly feels like that. Check out our page on taxis for more information.
Access into the main station area
From here, just past the car rental offices, you’ll find a connector to the main access to the station.
View down into the atrium
Pay toilets 2theloo
And to your right, a 2theloo pay toilet. There are more of these downstairs in the main station area too. 2theloo is a Belgian “concept toilet store” (!)
Pizza N Go & Metro Station
There is also an access to the Atocha Renfe Metro station on your right plus a restaurant called PIZZA N GO which is probably the best place to eat inside the station.
Not that you’re probably interested on arrival, but remember it if you need to eat before departing the station at a later date. Don’t say you weren’t warned later!
Connecting to a Cercanias train?
You’ve arrived into the upper floor of the station, so you’ll need to go down into the station itself which is called Atocha Cercanias. The Cercanias trains are local services connecting the centre of Madrid with the towns outside the city that have become Greater Madrid.
Connecting to a high-speed train?
Depending on the destination of your AVE/long-haul train you’ll need either Salidas Primera Planta (Upstairs Departures) or Salidas Planta Baja (Ground Floor Departures). Read our guide on this clicking Departing by train from Madrid Aotcha. It will smooth your connection.
Metro station Atocha Renfe
From both the Upper & Lower levels you’ll find Metro Stations for the Atocha Renfe station. From the Upper level, it’s just to the right of the Pizza N Go restaurant.
Pay attention to “Madrid Atocha” because the station next door is called simply Atocha, which is the name of the neighbourhood but frankly confuses the hell out of first-time visitors. The metro station is on the blue [ 1 ] line which will connect you with a lot of the main central strip of Madrid including Gran Via, Tribunal etc. More on the Metro system on our Metro de Madrid page.
Tip: Madrid’s metro is now cashless and a plastic RFID card is needed. These are available for sale at the metro stations and cost 2,50 EUR + the value of journies loaded on them. Nobody thought about tourists when coming up with this brainchild of an idea. Expect some queues/lines inside the busier stations.