Madrid Atocha/Puerta De Atocha

Madrid, (Spain)

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About the station

Irrespective of an interest in modern architecture, it's undeniable that Madrid's primary train station has the power to make an impression, particularly when arriving on a high speed train.

However, Madrid Atocha station can also be a bewildering space to navigate if you are a first time user - hence this guide to what to look out for when arriving and departing from here by train.

It is the scale of the Puerta de Atocha high speed station that has earned it a place on our list of Awe Inspiring Stations - and yes the indoor garden/jungle also can't fail to impress.

It's a huge building, but the trick to understanding how Madrid Atocha functions, is to set aside assumptions of how you would normally use a station.

So the info below will hopefully help you to make sense of navigating your way around Madrid Atocha.

Seven Things Knowing About Atocha Station:

(1) The signage is comparatively easy to follow and is bi-lingual- so you can trust it to navigate your way through the vast complex.

(2) Madrid Atocha in effect three stations in one building:

(i) the main terminal, known as Puerta De Atocha, used by the high speed trains.

(ii) the Cercanias station - used by the commuter, regional AND non-high speed long distance trains.

(iii) the Metro station.

(3) Atocha is also operated similarly to an airport - as arriving and departing passengers are largely kept apart.

Salidas = departures

Llegadas = arrivals

(4) So the experience of using the station is very different if you are departing by long distance train - compared to arriving by train.

(5) Madrid Atocha is also on four levels:

(i) Planta/Level 2 is the top level

It is the location of the main taxi rank.

It is located above the Cercanias station - which is to the side of the main high speed terminal.

(ii) Planta/Level 1 is the location of the main entrance for  departure hall (Sala de embarque) for the high speed train services.

This departure hall resembles an airport terminal for domestic flights.

It houses food/drink outlets - and has banks of seating in which you can wait for the details of your departure to be confirmed.

You can only access the platforms/tracks/vias, which the AVE, Alvia and Avant trains depart from, by passing through this departure lounge.

Thouugh this hall is now on two levels.

(iii) Planta/Level 0 is the level of on which:

(a)  the entrance to the Metro station and the concourse for the Cercanias part of the station is located

The ticket machines/offices for the Cercanias trains are on the Cercanias concourse.

The Cercanias concoure also houses a departure gate for the small number of long distance 'larga-distancia' trains that leave from this part of the station.

(b) the main ticket office 'venta de billetes' is on this level by the indoor garden.

(c) Most of the shops at the station are located is also on this level.

The main retail area is more like and indoor market and not the malls that can be found at some large stations.

(iv) Planta/Level -1

This lowest level is where the platforms/vias in the Cercanias station are located.

(6) You can move between the multiple levels by escalator - at Atocha the lifts are only available to those that require mobility assistance.

(7) What can make the geography of the Atocha station easier to comprehend is that the main terminal sits in a valley - so Levels 2 and 1 and not level 0, are at street level.

1st Class Lounge
Bus Station
Car Hire
Information Desk
Left Luggage
Step Free
Taxi Rank
Terminus Station

Useful links

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Departing By AVE, Alvia and AvantTrains

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Accessing the AVE train departure lounge

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Buying Tickets for the AVE trains

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Departing by Other Express Trains

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Arriving by Larga-Distancia express train

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Accessing the City Centre and Tourist Sites

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Connecting to Chamartin Station By Train

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From Atocha to Barajas Airport By Train

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Convenient Hotels/Hostels

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