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Lisbon-Madrid Night Train

Lusitánia Comboio Trenhotel

Lisbon-Madrid night train photo

ABOVE: Sleeping cars in Lisbon's Santa Apolónia Station. INSET: An illuminated sign on Coche 13, and a map with Lisbon and Madrid highlighted in red.

photo Lisbon and Madrid are the two major capitals of the Iberian Peninsula, and no trip to Portugal and Spain is complete without a visit to both. By air, the two cities are only about an hour apart, but ground transportation, check-in time, and security checks will add several hours to the trip (especially if you need to wait for a checked suitcase).

MapA pleasant alternative worth considering is the Lisbon-Madrid or Madrid-Lisbon Night Train--especially if you're traveling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, which provide substantial discounts for passholders. By sleeping on the train, you'll save the cost of a hotel for one night, and you won't waste your daylight vacation hours at an airport.

The night train between the Lisbon and Madrid--also known as the Lusitánia Comboio Trenhotel--is operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railways, on Portuguese and Spanish railroad tracks. Departure and arrival times are:

Lisbon - Madrid
Depart Lisbon Santa Apolónia Station 10:30 p.m.
Arrive Madrid Chamartin Station 9:03 a.m.

Madrid - Lisbon
Depart Madrid Chamartin Station 10:25 p.m.
Arrive Lisbon Santa Apolónia Station 7:41 a.m.

Times are subject to change, so check the train's current timetable at the CP Portuguese Railways Web site before going to the station. (The timetable also shows intermediate stops.)

Please note:

  • Madrid's time zone is one hour ahead of Lisbon's, so remember to reset your watch before going to bed.

  • If you're connecting between Madrid and other major Spanish cities (such as Seville) by high-speed AVE train, you'll need to transfer between Chamartin Station and Atocha Station across town. This is easy, since local and regional trains run frequently between the two stations.

  • The Lusitánia Comboio Trenhotel isn't a luxury train like the Venice-Simplon Orient Express or the Royal Scotsman. It's clean and comfortable, but its purpose is to transport you between Lisbon and Madrid, not to pamper you with the railway equivalent of a five-star cruise.

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