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.

It seems as though the high speed trains are at ground level, but you may need to ascend/descend through the multiple levels in the station when arriving or departing by train.

So the info below will hopefully help you to make sense of the huge space.

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.

(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 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 high speed trains depart from, by passing through this departure lounge.

(iii) Planta/Level 0 is the location of:

the Metro station

the concourse for the Cercanias station.

- the main RENFE ticket office, which is by the spectacular indoor garden.

The ticket machines/offices for the Cercanias trains are located here - as well as a departure gate for the non-high speed express trains.

A somewhat dingy passage way - where most of the shops at the station are located is also on this level.

It resembles an 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 station easier to comprehend is that the main terminal sits in a valley - so Levels 2 and 1 and not 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 High Speed Train

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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 AVE (high speed) 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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