Train from London to Madrid

 
Madrid city centre
Photo © Turespaña

Overview

Route: London St Pancras International to Madrid via Paris
Journey time: About 18 hours
Journey highlights:

The proposed journey presents a fantastic opportunity to visit three of the main cultural European capitals: Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. Once you get to Barcelona you can access the Spanish high-speed rail network, the largest in Europe, providing an excellent service to travel to most of the big cities in the country. The AVE from Barcelona will take you to Madrid in the fastest, most comfortable way. There, you will enjoy a sensory, cultural immersion with all the splendour of a great European capital: Madrid is always alive, always bustling, and always inviting you to join in the experience.

 

Detailed itinerary

Option 1: via Paris and Barcelona

Sample itinerary: London-Madrid can be made in one day if you take an early Eurostar train leaving London St Pancras at 0819 arriving in Paris Gare du Nord at 1049. Transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon and connect to the 1407 TGV Duplex arriving in Barcelona Sants at 2034. Take the 2120 AVE from Barcelona Sants arriving in Madrid Atocha at 2355.
Price: London to Paris by Eurostar from £44 one way or £58 return in 2nd class. Paris to Barcelona by TGV Duplex from €59 one way or €116 return in second class. Barcelona to Madrid by AVE from 32€ one way in second class.
Leg 1:

London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord in the heart of Paris. Don't forget check-in time for Eurostar is at least 30 mins before departure.

First train departs 0540 (Mon-Fri), 0618 (Sat), 0819 (Sun).

Last train departs 2001 (Mon-Sat), 2031 (Sun).

Frequency of service: 18 trains Mon-Thur, 20 trains Friday, 22 on Saturday, 17 on Sunday.
Operator:

Eurostar

Journey time: From 2 hrs 16 mins
Transfer

Take RER-D two stops to Gare de Lyon. It's just 2 stops from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon and takes a little over 10 minutes (plus there's a short 5 minute walk to the connecting TGV departure platforms), but we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer.

Long hop

Transfer time: We recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer.
 
Book a hotel near Gare du Nord
 
 
Book a hotel near Gare de Lyon
 
Leg 2:

Paris Gare de Lyon to Barcelona Sants

Departs from Gare de Lyon at 0715, 1007 and 1407 (direct journey to Barcelona Sants)

Frequency of service: 3 trains par day/ Daily
Operator:

TGV Duplex

Journey time: 6 hrs 27 min
Transfer

Change from TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants to the AVE high-speed train to Madrid. Barcelona Sants is the biggest railway station in the city so we suggest you allow at least 30 mins to change from one train to another. The station is fully accessible for travellers with limited mobility.

If you wish to stay in Barcelona for a while before catching you next train there is a 24/7 coin-operated locker service for baggage consignment and the metro station (lines 3 and 5) is a 5 min-walk from the railway station.

Short hop

Transfer time: Around 5 mins
 
Book a hotel near Barcelona Sants station
 
Leg 3:

Barcelona Sants to Madrid Atocha

High-speed Renfe AVE: first departure at 0550 and last departure at 2125 (Mon-Fri). First departure is at 0605 on Saturdays and at 0705 on Sundays. 

Frequency of service: Almost every 0.5hr (Mon-Fri)/ Hourly (weekends)
Operator:

Renfe AVE

Journey time: From 2 hrs 30 mins
Destination

Bienvenido a Madrid

Mainline and international train services arrive at one of Madrid’s two principal railway stations, Chamartín (in the north, on metro lines one and ten) and Atocha (in the south-east, on metro line one).

The simplest way to get around Madrid is by metro: the second largest network in Western Europe, it is constantly being expanded and offers regular, rapid services and is easy to navigate thanks to a clear, colour coded network map. Almost all of central Madrid and points of interest are within easy walking distance of a metro station; and much of the centre (including the old town) is surprisingly walkable – allowing you to explore and see the sights at the same time. Most of Madrid is located in metro fare zone A, and the metro website has a breakdown of tickets and fares in English. The bus network has a similar fare structure,Madrid bus information in English can be found on the city’s tourist website, whilst bus operator EMT offers a journey plannerand map of key visitor bus routes (in Spanish). There is also a range of tourist-orientated simplified public transport passesavailable.

Should you want to travel around Madrid by bike, the city’s tourist website offers visitor cycling information, including recommended cycle hire providers. On this website, you will also find information about Madrid's eco-friendly extensive bike-hire system BIcIMAD and a cycling guide.

 
Book a hotel near Madrid Atocha
 

Your route to Madrid

The lines on the map are for illustrative purposes only - they don't show the exact route taken by the train.

 

Through-fare tickets

>> You can now buy a 'through-fare' ticket from over 300 UK rail stations to London that connect with Eurostar departures to Europe. These tickets cut the cost of the journey from your local station to London when used in conjunction with a Eurostar ticket. See: Through-fare tickets connecting with Eurostar

Changing Stations

The key to travelling by train to Europe is to plan the most convenient connections. Here's our guide to how to change stations within the key hub cities of Paris, Brussels and Lille for onward connections to the rest of Europe.

>> How to Change Train Stations in Paris, Brussels and Lille