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It’s official: Madrid and Lisbon will soon be connected by a direct train

The new high speed service should reduce journey times between the capitals by 2027

Liv Kelly
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Liv Kelly
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Lisbon and Madrid have gotta be two of Europe’s most vibrant, exciting capitals, but getting between them isn’t the easiest as they’re not directly connected by train. 

That could all be about to change though – in 2027 at least. Portuguese authorities have announced that they’re aiming to launch a six-hour direct service between Lisbon and Madrid in three years' time. 

Spanish train operator Renfe used to run a direct sleeper service, but that was scrapped in 2020 and is yet to be reintroduced. At the moment, the journey can take over nine hours, longer than catching the bus (seven hours) and driving (six), and often involves up to four changes. 

But travellers can rejoice, as a direct service is now looking possible thanks to the construction of a third bridge over the Tagus River, and both Spain’s and Portugal’s governments are working to build their share of the line. 

Spain has already constructed 150km of track between Plasencia, Cáceres and Aragón, and the local government of Castilla-La Mancha is in talks with Spain’s Secretary of Transport and Sustainable mobility to build another section of the route. 

In Portugal, construction has begun between Évora and Elvas, and should be operational in 2025. When the new line is complete, the train between Lisbon and Madrid should take six hours, and there are ambitious aims to cut that to three hours by 2034. 

But that’s not all – there are also plans to improve existing connections between Porto and Vigo and Porto and Lisbon. The train between Porto and Lisbon will be twice as fast, and there could also be a direct route from Vigo to Lisbon (at the moment, passengers have to change at least once).

So, journeying between these two Iberian capitals should soon be a whole lot smoother. And in a win for the environment, there are hopes that the 40 daily flights between Lisbon and Madrid – and the 20 between Lisbon and Porto – will be drastically cut too, according to The Local.

Have a read of all the ways you can become a more sustainable tourist

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