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Cercanías Train Tickets

Cercanías train tickets are essential since you can’t use a Metrobús on the train network.

Actually, riding the Madrid trains is quite different from the Metro. Here’s all the information you need to know about how to ride the Cercanías.

Alternatively, you can purchase a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, if you want to avoid the hassle of getting tickets every time or plan to use public transport frequently.


Buying Your Ticket

Enter the station that serves the Cercanías line you want to use. Chances are you will likely use one of the stations located in the center of the city, or one of the main train stations (Atocha or Chamartín).

If you are lost or don’t where to go to, download a map with all the Cercanías lines.

Cercanías fares are based on a zone system: the further you travel to, the more you have to pay. In Madrid and the rest of the region, areas are numbered from A to E2 where A is the city center and E2 is the furthest area from the capital. It’s easier to understand if you have a look at the map suggested above.

Cercanías train tickets can be bought from machines at the train station and if available, ticket windows where Renfe staff can help you out. It’s easier to use the machines, but you can always go to a ticket window if you speak a bit of Spanish and need extra help.

Metrobús tickets are not valid on Cercanías services. So you need to buy a specific train ticket to get on the train.

Using the machine is easy.

  • Select your preferred language.
  • Select the type of ticket. You will probably need a single ticket (billete sencillo), but you can also get a Bonotren (10 trips). A Bonotren is not personal, so you can share it with the rest of the group you are traveling with.
  • Choose your origin and destination.
  • Pay for your ticket. You can do so using cash or your credit card.

Keep your ticket, as you will need it to exit the station at the end of your journey. Also, if you’re traveling from central Madrid to Barajas airport, buy your Cercanías ticket before beginning your trip.

If you need extra help, read how to exit the airport or how to get there from the city.


Validating Your Train Ticket

Cercanías train tickets have a magnetic strip that is read by electronic turnstiles at the station. You must insert your Cercanías ticket in to a card reader to release the turnstile before boarding your train.

In rare occasions, you might find no turnstile, just a card reader. If that’s the case, follow the example of other passengers and use the card reader immediately before heading to your train platform.


Getting To Your Train

Follow signs such as this to your Cercanías train platform.

Either before getting to the platform or at the platform itself, have a look at the printed train schedules posted in each station, or the monitors and electronic signs. All show the trains departing from that platform.

Cercanías trains do not have seat assignments. You can seat wherever you want.

Remember to keep your Cercanías train ticket until you are outside your arrival station –you will need it to exit the station.