Making your way to the airport after a long, deserving holiday can always feel a little overwhelming!
The stress of missing public transport and having to spend an excessive amount of money on taxis to make it to your flight on time is a constant fear.
As a recent holiday goer in Madrid who has had the same dilemma as you, please learn from my mistakes and save yourself precious time and money.
This article will be your guide for the cheapest and fastest modes of transport to ensure you arrive safely and cheaply to your flight!
We will highlight:
- Different modes of transport, such as trains, airport express buses, taxis, metros, Ubers, and private shuttle services
- Additional tips to help you navigate to the airport with time to spare.
Let’s get into it!
Transport options available from Atocha Train Station to Madrid Airport
|5 am – 11.20 pm
|< 30 mins
|Affordable, direct to Terminal 4
|Limited hours (no late-night option)
|Airport Express Bus
|6 am – 11.30 pm
|< 40 mins
|Ideal for night flights, frequent
|No service from Atocha during late night
|Convenient, 24/7 availability
|Expensive, potential delays, night surcharges
|Varies (usually 6 am-1 am)
|< 35 mins
|Affordable, frequent service
|Potential system complexity
|Varies (private services)
|Starts at 7€
|Great for groups, 24/7 availability
|Cost may vary, especially for individuals
Madrid is a great city when it comes to public transport.
It’s no surprise: the bustling capital of Spain has to cater to 6 million residents and the millions of tourists who come to explore Madrid each year!
Madrid boasts highly convenient public transportation which takes you directly to the busiest Airport in Spain (Madrid International Airport).
The city offers different mediums of transport to cater to all needs, both financially and in terms of comfort. Below is a list of the different ways and all the information you need to know to make your journey planning easier.
Renfe Cercanías Train
Renfe Cercanías train is a commuting railway service that serves Madrid and its residential area.
This is a great option when commuting to the airport, due to its regular services which run from 5 am to 11.20 pm seven days a week.
The train leaves Atocha roughly every 15 minutes and takes you through to Airport Terminal 4 in under 30 minutes.
Click this link to see the timetable for yourself! Note: two train lines take you to the same spot, so keep an eye out for train lines C1 and C10.
If you have been staying in Madrid, then you might already have a Renfe contactless card. If this is the case, then all you need to do is top up and scan on!
However, if you don’t have a card and don’t plan on getting one, then you will need to buy a ticket online or at the train station before you depart.
The pricing will depend on how many areas you cross through; however, it shouldn’t be more than 8.70 euros per person, one way.
Can I travel with my bags and bikes?
Yes. If you have excessive luggage or a bike, you can still get on the train! Just make sure to watch your belongings at all times.
- Very affordable option
- The trains are reliable and come often
- It takes you directly to Terminal 4
- It’s fast and takes under 30 minutes
- You can take bigger pieces of luggage with you.
- If you have a night flight, this option won’t work for you as trains only operate from 5 am to 11.30 pm.
Airport Express Bus
Airport Express Buses are another excellent option!
The Express line 203 leaves from Atocha between 6 am and 11.30 pm every day and takes under 40 minutes.
The bus is easy to find due to its yellow color and leaves every 20-30 minutes. The bus also offers contactless payment, so don’t worry if you’re low on cash!
The Airport bus is perfect for night flights arriving at Madrid airport; the service runs throughout the night (11.30 pm-6 am) and costs only 5 euros!
This bus prides itself on being “one of the cheapest and most comfortable systems” in Madrid. Click here to find out more.
- 5 Euros per person. No additional fee for luggage or bikes.
- Caters for night flights arriving in Madrid
- Easy to find
- It’s contactless
- Runs frequently.
- It doesn’t leave from Atocha in the night (11.20 pm-6 am), making it difficult for night flights out of Madrid.
This is a more expensive but luxurious way to travel to the airport.
Madrid has readily accessible regular taxi and Uber services. If you have the Uber app, you can simply request a ride and they will be with you in minutes.
A huge positive of this mode of transport is that you don’t need to worry about how you will get to and from Atocha. Instead, the service will pick you up and drop you off right at the door!
Usually, taxis have a fixed price of 25 Euros to the airport. I find Uber to be cheaper than taxis.
However, if you are traveling late at night, Ubers often bump up their night fare prices – making it less affordable.
- You get dropped off at the door
- No need to wait for public transport
- It will get you to the airport the quickest out of all modes of transport
- Available 24 hours a day
- Expensive option
- Could be subject to unexpected delays on the road.
Metros work similar to the Renfe Trains. Simply head to the underground metro station and catch the metro to Madrid airport!
The train comes regularly and will get you to the airport in under 35 minutes. You can take your luggage onboard without paying extra, too.
- The cost of a ticket is between 4.50- 6 euros
- Children travel cheaply.
- Can take luggage with you
- Runs frequently.
- Can sometimes be hard to figure out how the train services work, especially when trying to figure out the difference between Renfe train services and the Metro.
Hot tip: make sure you are standing on the right side of the platform to avoid traveling the wrong way!
If you are traveling in big groups, then getting a shuttle service could be the easiest option for you – especially if your flight departs or arrives at night!
Each private shuttle service charges differently, so I would recommend do your research and booking before you arrive or depart. Click this link to be taken to a website that will compare private shuttle costs.
Pricing starts at 7 euros per person.
- Perfect for big groups traveling together
- Are available at all times
- Will drop you off and pick you up at your door.
- Can be expensive.
Additional tips for Getting from Atocha Train Station to Madrid Airport
Traveling to the airport to catch a flight can always be nerve-wracking, especially if you are in charge of a bigger group!
So, to help you out, I have compiled a list of additional tips for you to take into account when planning your next journey.
- Check the train or bus schedule in advance: Sometimes delays will occur, and other times trains run faster than expected! So, make sure you always keep an eye on departure times. The buses and trains run frequently, so I would recommend aiming for an earlier train or bus. In case you somehow miss it, you’ll have nothing to worry about!
- Allow extra time for potential delays: You never know what delays could occur — Give yourself more time than needed, especially if you’re traveling in big groups.
- Purchase tickets or fares before boarding: Save yourself time at the train station. Instead, purchase the tickets online beforehand! That way, you can keep all copies safe and won’t have to worry about where to go when arriving at the train or bus station.
Is there a direct train from Atocha to Madrid airport?
Yes, there is! It will take you directly to the airport in under 35 minutes. Read the section on trains further up to find out more.
How far is Madrid Atocha station from the airport?
The airport is 20 km away from Atocha Station. In a car, this takes roughly 20-25 minutes to drive.
How long does it take from Madrid airport to Atocha?
This depends on your mode of transport. Usually, the journey should take between 20-50 minutes.
There’s no need to freak yourself out on your next trip to or from the airport!
Instead, use this handy guide to arrive safely and on time. I hope this article has helped you learn about the best modes of transport to get you to the airport, from trains and buses to shuttles and Uber/taxis. Safe travels!