Madrid to Lisbon by train using this railcar

Madrid to Lisbon by train...

Buy Madrid to Lisbon train tickets

Incredibly, there is now no direct train between Madrid & Lisbon, two adjacent EU capitals.  The overnight sleeper train Trenhotel Lusitania was temporarily suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Renfe (Spanish Railways) then used this as an excuse to discontinue it permanently.  New fast lines are under construction in both Spain & Portugal, we may yet see a Madrid-Lisbon high-speed train from 2024.  But in the meantime, you can travel the 737 km (458 miles) between Madrid & Lisbon using a 3-train combo with 2 bookings and 3 tickets, not fast, but a comfortable, interesting and scenic ride.  Feedback or photos if you take this route would be appreciated.

small bullet point  Train times

small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Route map

small bullet point  What's the journey like?

Timetable 2023

From 9 October CP doubles its Badajoz-Entroncamento cross-border regional service from one train to two per day, allowing 2 Madrid-Lisbon services on most days as shown below.  On the early morning departure from Madrid you take a Spanish intercity train from Madrid Atocha Cercanias to Badajoz, then a Portuguese regional train to Entroncamento and a Portuguese Intercity train to Lisbon.  On the late morning departure, you take a Spanish Media Distancia train from Madrid to Merida & a connecting one from Merida to Badajoz, then a Portuguese regional train to Abrantes & a Portuguese Intercity train to Lisbon.

 Madrid Lisbon


 Lisbon ► Madrid

 Days of running





Mon-Fri, Sun

Spanish train:



 Portuguese train:



 Madrid Chamartin depart:



 Lisbon Santa Apolonia depart:



 Madrid Atocha Cercanias depart:



 Entroncamento arrive:



 Badajoz arrive:



Portuguese regional train:



Portuguese regional train:



 Entroncamento depart:



 Badajoz depart:



 Badajoz arrive:



 Abrantes arrive



Spanish train:



 Entroncamento arrive:



 Badajoz depart:



Portuguese train:



 Madrid Atocha Cercanias arrive:



 Abrantes depart



 Madrid Chamartin arrive:



 Entroncamento depart



 Lisbon Santa Apolonia arrive:




SIC = Spanish Intercity train, an articulated air-conditioned Talgo train hauled by a separate locomotive.  It has standard & comfort class with power sockets at all seats and a cafe-bar, reservation compulsory.

MD-MD = Media Distancia express train between Madrid & Merida & another between Merida & Badajoz.  2nd class only, limited catering.  You also need to change trains at Merida if you use this option.

R = Portuguese regional train, a single-coach Allan railcar, built in 1954-55 but completely modernised in 2000 and fully air-conditioned.  2nd class only, there is no catering, so bring your own food & drink.  There are no seat reservations, you sit where you like.

IC = Portuguese Intercity train, reservation compulsory, 1st & 2nd class, cafe-bar.

Tip:  There's a cafe at Badajoz station which you can use between trains.

Tip:  Spanish time is 1 hour ahead of Portuguese time, all the times shown above are local time.  Badajoz is in Spain so all Badajoz times are Spanish time.

Tip:  Westbound, don't worry about tight connections at Entroncamento or Abrantes, Portuguese IC and R trains are designed to connect and the onward train may be held if there's a delay.

Tip:  Eastbound, I recommend taking the earlier of the two services if you have important eastward connections from Madrid next day.  Connections at Badajoz are not guaranteed, but the Portuguese local train usually keeps good time with slack in the schedule and I believe the 10-minute connection into the 17:36 IC to Madrid is intended to work.  Although Badajoz is a good town for an overnight stop if not!  Feedback appreciated.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

The easy way to buy tickets is using, this is currently the only ticket website that links to both the Spanish and Portuguese ticketing systems so you can buy both tickets in one place, in plain English, in , or $.  However, it cannot book the whole trip as one transaction, you need to split the booking as shown below:

Westbound from Madrid to Lisbon...

Eastbound from Lisbon to Madrid...

How to buy tickets, another way...

Westbound from Madrid to Lisbon...

Eastbound from Lisbon to Madrid...

Interrail & Eurail passes

Route map

Madrid to Lisbon train route map

Click for larger mapHighlighted = Madrid-Lisbon route.  Green = scenic sections.  Red = high-speed line

Reproduced with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  Buy a copy of the European Rail Map at

Madrid Atocha to Lisbon Santa Apolonia is 737 km (458 miles) by train via this route.

What's the journey like?

Step 1, Madrid to Badajoz

The Intercity train from Madrid to Badajoz

This is the modern air-conditioned Intercity train between Madrid & Badajoz, at Badajoz.  Courtesy of

1st class on the train from Madrid to Badajoz, en route to Lisbon   2nd class on the train from Madrid to Badajoz, en route to Lisbon

1st & 2nd class seats on the modern air-conditioned Intercity train to Badajoz.  Courtesy of

Scenery between Madrid & Badajoz, en route to Lisbon

Wonderful arid scenery on the Spanish plateau between Madrid & Badajoz.  Photo courtesy of

Step 2, Badajoz to Entroncamento

Madrid to Lisbon by train: Changing trains at Badajoz

It's an here change at Badajoz.  Above, the express from Madrid to Badajoz is on the left, the single-car Allan Railcar from Badajoz to Entroncamento is in the centre.  On this particular day it was unusually formed of 3 single-cars coupled together.  Photo courtesy of

Allan railcar from Badajoz to Entroncamento   Inside the Allan railcar

The single-coach Allan railcar from Badajoz to Entroncamento.  It's comfortable and looks modern, but in fact dates from 1954-55.  2nd class only.  Bring your own food & drink.  Photos courtesy of (left) & @AscotPhill

Madrid to Lisbon by train: Castle between Badajoz & Entroncamento

Castle, seen from the Badajoz to Entroncamento railcar..  Photo courtesy of

The railcar stops at Elvas station in Portugal...   The railcar stops at Elvas station in Portugal...

The railcar pauses at wayside stations such as Elvas, with lovely tiling.  Courtesy of

Step 3, Entroncamento to Lisbon

Westbound, there are two possible connections, an earlier but slower regional train which admittedly gets you to Lisbon 20 minutes earlier, or a later but faster connection by Alfa Pendular train like the one shown below.  I'd have a cup of coffee or a beer in Entroncamento and take the swisher train!  Eastbound, the Lisbon to Entroncamento connection is by Intercity train.

Alfa Pendular train to Lisbon

Alfa Pendular trains reach 220 km/h (136 mph) between Lisbon & Porto.  Courtesy of

1st class on an Alfa Pendular train to Lisbon

1st class leather seats on an Alfa Pendular train, arranged 2+1 across the car width.  Photo courtesy of @rexybexy

Lisbon Santa Apolonia station. Click for city map

For the city centre, you want Lisbon Santa Apolonia station, the train's terminus.  If you're heading to Faro & the Algarve, these trains start at Lisbon Oriente station so change there.  Trains from Lisbon to Porto usually leave from Santa Apolonia and also call at Oriente.

Lisbon Santa Apolonia station   Inside Lisbon Santa Apolonia station

Lisbon's central Santa Apolonia stationPhotos courtesy of Ian Moffat.

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