Midnight Train to Lisbon


A great way to fully experience Spain and Portugal is by train. Sure you can easily jet off from Madrid to Lisbon but in cases like mine, it just made more sense to take the Trenhotel. I already had a Spain and Portugal Rail Pass and I wanted to experience an overnight train firsthand.

This is a very popular trip so I  recommend making reservations days before. Or if you’re like me, wait last minute and hope for the best!

Madrid to Lisbon is roughly an eleven hour train ride that leaves around 11 o’clock at night and arrives in Lisbon at 7:30 in the morning. I  didn’t take any of the sleeper options which were more expensive and opted for the regular seat.


The train was ok. It was one of the oldest and outdated trains I’ve been on in Europe. I mean it didn’t even have plugs to charge phones! I was asleep the whole time so it didn’t bother me as much.

What bothered me was that I was seated next to the most obnoxious traveler ever!  This guy looked like he hasn’t showered for days…or ever and carried a big plastic sword with him. Yes, a plastic sword. He then got mad that he didn’t get the window seat and muttered how he hated Spain for an entire hour. Just because he didn’t get a window seat.  I ignored him.The whole train ignored him. Clearly, he was American.

After giving him my death stare that clearly said, ‘Dude, Spain hates you too’, he moved to an empty seat away from me. And so the rest of my train ride was peaceful.

I would probably splurge a little and take the sleeper room next time if I have a rail pass. Besides my horrible seat mate, I’ve met some nice people who helped me with my luggage and were actually pleasant. Overall, it was an ok experience. It did its job. It got me to Portugal!

For more information about the Trenhotel, visit Eurail (For US and Canada travelers) and Renfe (For EU Citizens).


Have you been on the Trenhotel? How was your experience? Feel free to e-mail me your questions!



Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.