Getting to Madrid Airport by Train: A Comprehensive Guide

Madrid boasts one of the best, most interconnected public transport systems in Spain, and one of its most convenient highlights is that you can reach the airport with it directly!

Getting to Madrid Airport by train is easy, and you’ll have plenty of different options depending on your preferences and where you’re coming from.

Whether you’re a solo traveler or with a group, getting around Madrid is a breeze courtesy of this extensive train network. It’s pretty cost effective too if you’re looking to save some cash during your trip!

In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about commuting to the airport by train, including:

  • All the different options for taking the train to Madrid Airport
  • Each option’s advantages and disadvantages
  • Other helpful tips for commuting by train to the airport.

Let’s get into it!

Train Lines That Connect to Madrid Airport

Cercanias Train

An image of passenger train arriving at Atocha railway station in Madrid

If you want a speedy option or to get to the airport as soon as possible, then the Cercanias train is the ideal one for you. This is also the train of choice for those who are staying in the center of Madrid.

You can catch this train from several busy city train stations, including major hubs such as Atocha, Nuevos Ministerios, and Chamartín. 

Wherever you’re coming from in Madrid, you’ll eventually have to take either Lines 1 (from Príncipe Pío) or 10 (from Villalba). 

Both train lines terminate at the Madrid Airport, but be aware that Cercanias currently only serves Airport Terminal 4. Once you arrive at the airport, though, there’s a free shuttle bus to take you to other terminals (this runs 24/7).  

Check out a full route map here or more detailed stations per line here.

The trains are frequent, departing every half an hour, but if you want to see the full schedule you can download the Renfe app or visit their website

The cost of a ticket is 2,60 € for a one-way ticket or 5,20 € for a round-trip ticket. Tickets can be purchased directly from the app, the website, or at a ticket counter at the train station. Isn’t that convenient?


  • The cheapest option among the train lines
  • Efficient as it only has fewer stations per line, so it’s much faster
  • Easy and convenient ticketing.


  • Only serves Terminal 4, so if you’re departing from the other airports you’ll need to take the bus shuttle or use a different train option.

Metro Train

Metro train arrives at Madrid metro platform

Complementing the Cercanias lines is Madrid’s metro train option, which also serves as Madrid’s underground train network. 

It’s another suitable way for getting to the Madrid airport as it’s also just as efficient and convenient.

To travel on Metro de Madrid, you need a Public Transport Card (TTP) loaded with a valid ticket type for the journey you’re looking to make. You can buy one of these cards at any Metro station. 

If this is your chosen option, you’ll need to travel along the Metro Line 8 (from Nuevos Ministerios). 

Unlike Cercanias, the Metro has two stations at the airport, one that stops at Terminal 2 and also serves Terminals 1 and 3, and another station that stops at Terminal 4.

If you take the Metro from the central Nuevos Ministerios station, it will take you 15 minutes to get to Terminal 2 and 20 minutes to get to Terminal 4 — extremely quick and efficient!

Check the full route map here.

Note that there’s a €3 extra charge for Metro trips that go to the airport, bringing the total cost of your journey to €6. Not too bad at all!


  • Stops at two different terminals, so you’re less likely to need a shuttle bus transfer
  • Very quick and efficient.


  • Comes out to be more expensive than the Cercanias
  • You’ll need to buy a Public Transport Card as you can’t just get a ticket on your phone.

AVE Train

High speed AVE train arriving at Atocha railway station

If your itinerary takes you outside of Madrid and around other areas in Spain, returning to Madrid Airport quickly means you’ll have to use the AVE train network.

The AVE train is a high-speed rail system that connects many cities across Spain, such as Barcelona, Zaragoza, and Seville. 

While you can’t get an AVE train directly to Madrid Airport, you still can reach the city in the blink of an eye and then simply transfer to the Cercanias or Metro networks.

The AVE in Madrid stops at two main train stations: Puerta de Atocha-Almudena Grandes and Chamartín. From Atocha and Chamartín, you can follow the steps outlined in the guide above for taking the Cercanias train. 

If you’re more interested in taking the Metro, Chamartín allows you to transfer to the network. However, keep in mind that it’ll be a longer ride (and involves transferring to another Metro line).


  • Allows you convenient travel between major Spanish cities


  • Doesn’t directly serve Madrid Airport, so you need to switch to either Cercanias or the Metro
  • High-speed lines are available only between selected cities.

Additional Tips for Getting to Madrid Airport by Train

  • Check (And Double Check) The Timetable: As is always the case when traveling, it’s always a good idea to check the schedule of your transportation options and to plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than the last-minute realization that you won’t make it to the airport in time because you just missed your train!
  • Buy Tickets in Advance: Whenever possible, you should always consider buying your tickets in advance. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it’ll also mean you won’t have to worry about queues or not getting to the airport in time.
  • Arrive at the Station Early: When visiting an unfamiliar city, there’s always a real risk that you get carried away by all the sights and sounds and forget how much time has passed. Getting lost while navigating to the airport is also a major possibility, and it can cost you precious time trying to find the way back. As such, it’s a good idea to arrive at the train station early to account for potential hiccups along the way!
  • Choose Non-Peak Travel Hours: Of course, this isn’t always possible because it also largely depends on the time of your departing flight. However, as much as you can, always try booking a later flight to avoid peak hours when catching the train. This won’t just result in a much less stressful (and crowded!) experience, but it’ll also give you more time to appreciate Madrid’s impressive train network – a real treat in itself.
  • Use Official Train Websites/Apps: Luckily for visitors commuting to the airport, there are official train mobile apps you can install on your phone ahead of time to purchase tickets or look up train schedules.  This way, getting around Madrid becomes a breeze! Make sure to also download offline maps so you’ve got everything covered — even if you can only find a dicey public Wi-Fi connection.
  • Keep Documents Easily Accessible: Having your travel documents in an easily accessible place can save you plenty of time, especially if you end up arriving at the airport with barely any to spare!  These include your tickets, boarding passes, and passports — make sure you can quickly present them whenever needed!

FAQs on Train to Madrid Airport

Can you get to Madrid airport by train?

Yes, and it’s actually a great idea to do so. You have two options for reaching Madrid Airport by train: the Metro and the Cercanias networks. These are not only convenient, but they’re also a lot cheaper and faster compared to other transport options.

How far is Madrid airport from the train station?

You’ll find these train stations just outside Madrid Airport, making it a very convenient choice. All you have to do after getting off the train is walk a short distance to get to the airport, where you can transfer to other terminals without too much hassle.

What is the closest metro to Madrid airport?

When it comes to Metro stations, Madrid Airport has two: one located at Terminal 4 and another located at Terminal 2. If your flight is departing from Terminals 1 or 3, your closest Metro station will be the one at Terminal 2, as Terminal 4 is quite far away.

How early to arrive at Madrid airport?

Because of how many people leave and enter Spain through Madrid Airport, it’s a great idea to arrive about 2 to 3 hours before your flight departs. This should leave enough time for you to check in, clear passport control, and avoid unexpected delays.

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