The Madrid Cercanías trains are the local commuter trains that serve Madrid and its metropolitan area. These suburban Madrid trains cross the city center, and run frequently to small towns in the outskirts.
Cercanías trains are very useful if you plan to include one or several day trips from Madrid.
If you plan to take the train to travel around Spain, you should definitely have a look at my complete guide on train travel in Spain.
Alternatively, you can also read more about getting to Madrid by train from other cities in Spain.
The Madrid Cercanías trains network
Renfe Operadora currently operates 370 km (230 mi) of railway infrastructure and 89 stations (20 of them linked to the Metro) in the Madrid region (comunidad autónoma). It’s a public company in charge of managing all the passenger train routes throughout Spain.
The Cercanías or commuter service comprises 11 railway lines that run all over the Madrid region.
The suburban service lines currently offer the following routes:
- C-1 (light blue): Príncipe Pío – Atocha – Nuevos Ministerios – Chamartín – Aeropuerto T4
- C-2 (dark green): Guadalajara – Alcalá – Atocha – Chamartín
- C-3 (purple): Aranjuez – Atocha – Sol – Chamartín
- C-3a (pink): Aranjuez – Atocha – Sol – Chamartín – El Escorial – Santa María de la Alameda
- C-4a (dark blue): Parla – Atocha – Sol – Chamartín – Cantoblanco – Alcobendas-San Sebastián de los Reyes
- C-4b (dark blue): Parla – Atocha – Sol – Chamartín – Cantoblanco – Colmenar Viejo
- C-5 (yellow): Móstoles-El Soto – Atocha – Fuenlabrada – Humanes
- C-7 (red): Alcalá de Henares – Atocha – Chamartín – Príncipe Pío
- C-8 (grey): Guadalajara – Alcalá de Henares – Atocha – Chamartín – Villalba – Cercedilla
- C-9 (orange): Cercedilla – Cotos
- C-10 (light green): Villalba – Príncipe Pío – Atocha – Recoletos – Chamartín – Aeropuerto T4
Except C-9, they all leave from Atocha or pass through it, making it Madrid’s most important transportation hub.
For more information, you can download a Cercanías map that provides all the details.
There are 2 Cercanías train lines linking the Madrid airport with the city center. Just in case you need it, here’s everything you need to know when arriving to Madrid airport and how to get there from the city center.
The Madrid Cercanías trains operating times and trips
Cercanías trains start running every day between 5:00 and 6:00 and stop at around midnight.
Trains normally run every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the line. At weekends and in the evening they are less frequent, and you may have to wait up to 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the time.
Download the Renfe Cercanías app (for iOS or Android) to access a complete schedule of all Cercanías trains.
Alternatively, you can also check the Cercanías schedules at Renfe’s website.
The Madrid Cercanías trains tickets and fares
The price of the Cercanías train tickets varies according to the distance covered. You can buy, for example, a single ticket or a Bonotren with 10 trips.
Unfortunately, you can use the same transport tickets as you would for Metro and buses.
Do not throw out your Cercanías train ticket and receipt until you are well away from your destination train station. On arriving at your destination you will need your ticket again in order to exit the train platform area.
If you arrive to Madrid by AVE, you can use your Combinado Cercanías.
The main Cercanías train stations
You can also take the Cercanías within the city. Getting from the stations of Chamartín to Atocha, for example, is much faster on this local train than by Metro.
- Atocha. Madrid’s main station is the most important Cercanías hub. As I mentioned before, all the lines leave from or go through it. It’s also a Metro station (line 1 – light blue) and many EMT buses stop here.
- Chamartín. It the second big station of the city and all Cercanías lines (except C-5 and C-9) stop here. The station is also well connected with 2 subway lines (line 1 – light blue, and line 10 – dark blue) stopping.
- Sol. Located in the city center, Sol station has 2 Cercanías lines (C-3 and C-4) and 3 Metro lines (line 1 – light blue, line 2 – red, and line 3 – yellow).
- Nuevos Ministerios. It is also a very important transportation hub. All Cercanías lines (except C-5 and C-9) stop here. Additionally, Metro lines 6 (grey), 8 (pink) and 10 (dark blue) go through the station.
- Recoletos. Smaller than Nuevos Ministerios but also very well located in the city center. Lines C-1, C-2, C-7 and C-10 stop here.
- Méndez Álvaro. Apart from being a Cercanías train station, it’s also Madrid’s biggest bus station (also known as Estación Sur). Lines C-1, C-5, C-7 and C-10 stop here. The subway station connects with line 6 (grey).