No need to fly if you want see the Spanish capital...
Madrid is a wonderful city and easy to reach by train. On the way there you travel through 2 of Europe's great cities, Paris and Barcelona, and also pass through some wonderful scenery. Until recently you could take an overnight Elipsos service direct to Madrid but, sadly, that was discontinued in December 2013.
You now have several new options.
You can travel to Madrid in a day from London if you wish (leave on Eurostar in the morning, take the 14.07 from Paris, the 21.00 from Barcelona and arrive in Madrid at 00.02), but this may be quite tiring, so you could stopover in Barcelona on the way there and Paris on the way back. The train from Barcelona to Madrid, on the hi-speed AVE, takes no more than 3 hours and there are frequent services.
You can also travel via Perpignan on the overnight service. You have to change at Perpignan at 7.20 in the morning but it's still a decent option.
The booking links are below each stage of the journey. If you need advice you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd rather have a real human do all the work for you then we advise that you call Ffestiniog Travel where a friendly Welsh voice will guide you through all the options ( their profits go to supporting the Ffestiniog Steam railway too..) Call 01766 772 030 and quote RRS.
Go from the champagne bar of St Pancras to the heart of Paris in under three hours.
Check-in at The Eurostar terminal is smooth and simple, with e-ticket machines and a brisk security scan. Queues are usually short, though there may be a slight delay at rush-hour and weekends.
Check-in is open until 30 minutes before departure, and once checked in, there is a large passenger lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops and cafes including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating, with a travelator which delivers passengers directly to the platform, and makes it easy to manoeuvre luggage. There’s also a lift if you prefer.
There is a buffet car on board the train, and an optional executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
The Eurostar sets off from the beautifully refurbished St Pancras station, speeds through the countryside and takes just twenty minutes to dash through the Channel Tunnel and emerge in France. The journey is deceptively fast- the comfortable train rockets trough Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
Leave in the morning and the Eurostar will pull into the Gare Du Nord two hours and fifteen minutes later, in time for lunch.
Days 1 - 2
Take the hi-speed AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid, arriving just a few hours later.
If arriving in Barcelona in the evening from Paris, you may want to stay overnight before carrying on your journey to Madrid, as the afternoon train from Paris means that you don't reach Madrid until just after midnight ( 21.00 from Barcelona - Madrid at 00.02.)
Days 2 - 4
Now you've arrived in Madrid it's time to explore this great city. It’s a city of culture, where art is taken as seriously as music, and food and drink are equally vital. But Madrid is not content to wallow in the past. Its citizens are driven, determined and stylish; so there’s always an undercurrent of excitement, new projects unfolding, exciting independent shops and bars opening up and a sense that armed with curiosity and a Metro ticket, a visitor could travel through centuries of art, innovation and excitement in just one afternoon.
It’s a city of whirling, stomping Flamenco, and of quiet, contemplative strolling; where you can spend a day exploring what you love, and a night forgetting who you are- before waking up and doing it all again.
Days 4 - 5
If you're coming from Gare de Lyon (or Gare D'Austerlitz and Gare Montparnase) you'll need at least 90 minutes to allow for check-in time at Gare du Nord. Gare De L'Est is much closer, just a 10 minute walk.
Book it yourself
How To Book
Road, Rail And Sea recommends the best rail journeys and destinations throughout Europe.
Booking rail travel between different cities and countries can be time- comsuming and complex. Instead, we plan the best routes, journey times, and destinations for you. we work with trusted affiliates, so you can book your whole trip simply and easily, for no extra cost.
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