Vigo is located in the northwestern corner of Spain. Although it has an international airport, there is not an overwhelming amount of connections to Vigo. Many travelers resort to the railways, and one option is to reach Vigo with the ALVIA train from Madrid.
A long trip: But highly worth it
At the moment, it takes over six hours to travel from Madrid to Vigo by train. It’s a long trip, but it is highly worth it. First of all, both of these cities are amazing to visit, so if you get a chance to see both – take it! But you will also see beautiful views along the way, and Spanish trains are very comfortable. So even though it takes between six and seven hours, it is not nearly as bad as you would imagine.
To bring some good news: A high-speed railway is currently under construction, which should make the trip much faster. In 2021, you might be able to travel between Madrid and Vigo in half the time that it takes now.
Price: Madrid to Vigo
If you book your ticket in advance and if you are flexible about your departure time, the ticket can cost as little as 17€. This is insanely cheap, and it makes it much cheaper than taking flying in.
The train is comfortable and the quality of service is high.
We advise you to book your ticket on RENFE’s website in advance. This is how you get the lowest possible price. However, you can simply buy your ticket at the station as well, but expect to pay a lot more since it will likely be at the last minute.
Station to station
The trip starts in Madrid’s Chamartin station. It is located in the northern part of the city, and assuming your starting point is somewhere else in Madrid, you will have to take the metro (line 1) or one of the RENFE Cercanías to get to the station.
Good news: When you book a long-distance ticket with RENFE in advance, you get a free Cercanías ticket as well. You will have a small code on your ticket that you fill in on the screen of the ticket vending machine at the Cercanías station you’re starting from.
From Madrid-Chamartin, the train will pass several other cities along the way, before ultimately reaching Vigo’s Guixar station. The train continues a bit further, to the nearby city of Pontevedra, so remember to get out in Vigo.
Vigo-Guixar is located somewhat central in Vigo – from there it should be easy to walk to your hotel, hostel or holiday apartment. Otherwise, find a taxi outside the station. Vigo does not have a metro or a light rail system, but there are buses as well.
Beautiful sights along the way
In between Madrid-Chamartin and Vigo-Guixar, you can enjoy some nice views. Be sure to get a window seat. When booking your ticket online, you can fill out if you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat. If you like space, take the aisle seat: But if you want to enjoy the view fully, take the window seat!
The train will first pass through the plains and mountains of Castilla y León. You can expect the train to run at a high-speed for the first hour and a half of the journey, before halving the speed due to older infrastructure as we get further into the countryside.
It will pass through a lot of tunnels, but when riding in the open, you can see some beautiful landscapes. The train will actually cross the Portuguese border along the way, allowing you to spot some small Portuguese towns and villages on the way.
The Galician area is very green, so this is arguably the most beautiful part of the journey. When approaching Vigo for the final part of the trip, enjoy the coastal view – Vigo has a huge harbor with a lot of commercial activity.
What to do in Vigo
Vigo is one of the coolest cities in Spain. It has a lot of young people, there are many interesting activities, you will be close to beautiful nature, and it is a city where there isn’t as much tourism as other coastal cities in Spain.
If you’re interested in a trip to Vigo, read our full guide to the best sights and attractions in Vigo. It will guide you towards the best things to do.