Lisbon-Madrid Night Train
Lusitánia Comboio Trenhotel
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.
by Durant Imboden
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).
A 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
current timetable at the CP Portuguese Railways Web site before going to the
station. (The timetable also shows intermediate stops.)
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.
Map scan copyright © Nicholas Belton.
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