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Take the train from Madrid to Essen in 13 hours 58 minutes

If you want to travel from Madrid to Essen by train, you've come to the right place.

You can expect the journey from Madrid to Essen by train to take around 20 hours 14 minutes. If you want to get there as quickly as possible, it can take as little as 13 hours 58 minutes on the fastest services. You’ll usually find around 4 trains per day running on this route, which spans 857 miles (1379 km). You’ll have to make 3 changes along the way on your journey to Essen. TGV, AVE or Thalys are the main rail operators on this route, all of which offer modern trains with plenty of space for luggage and comfortable seating.

You can save money on train tickets from Madrid to Essen if you book in Use our Journey Planner at the top of the page to search for cheap ticket prices – we'll show you how much you can save on train tickets from Madrid to Essen if you book in advance.. Use our Journey Planner at the top of the page to compare ticket prices and get the cheapest fares.

If you want to know more about the journey, keep reading for timetables, tips on finding cheap tickets and FAQs, including first and last train times. Want to go straight to booking? Start a search with us today!

Madrid to Essen by train

First train

06:15

Last train

21:10

Departure station

Madrid

Arrival station

Essen

Journey time

From 13h 58m

Distance

857 miles (1379 km)

Frequency

4 trains per day

Changes

3 changes

Train and bus operators

OUIGO, SNCB, SNCF, iryo, Renfe

Madrid to Essen train times

Check out the next trains departing from Madrid to Essen for Tuesday 27th February 2024. For the full train timetable/schedule, or to search for a later time or date, click here.
DepartsArrivesDuration
05:15 19:13 13h 58m, 3 changes
09:05 08:13 23h 8m, 3 changes
12:25 10:13 21h 48m, 3 changes
20:10 18:13 22h 3m, 3 changes

AVE, OUIGO, iryo and Renfe trains from Madrid to Essen

You can travel from Madrid to Essen on AVE, OUIGO, iryo and Renfe trains. When you search for times and tickets, we might also show you some other options with multiple connections or operators if they’re available.

AVE is Renfe's flagship high-speed service, with trains capable of reaching up to 193 mph (310 km/h). It’s one of the fastest trains in Europe and connects the main cities of Spain. Most AVE trains offer two comfort classes – Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class equivalent, with 1-1 configuration, ultra-wide seats, gourmet food and drink and lounge access). All AVE trains have air conditioning, power sockets, free WiFi and a buffet carriage serving a selection of food and drinks. There are three fares for AVE services: the cheapest but least flexible Básico fare, the Elige fare (slightly pricier but more flexible), and the Premium fare for seats in Confort Class.

PhotoCramos, under licence CC BY-SA 4.0

OUIGO is the low-cost brand of French rail company SNCF, who operate trains in France and Spain. In France, all seats on OUIGO are Second Class and tickets can only be purchased online. You can also pay for additional extras, such as reserving a seat in the ‘quiet area’, at-seat power sockets and extra luggage. OUIGO has been operating in Spain since May 2021, and their trains include an onboard bar and a premium class of service called OUIGO Plus.

Operating since the end of 2022, iryo is a new high-speed train company in Spain. It’s a consortium between the Spanish airline Air Norstrum and the train company Trenitalia, one of the greatest leaders in European rail transport. The first private Spanish high-speed company to operate, iryo runs high-speed services on the Madrid – Zaragoza – Barcelona route and connects Madrid – Cuenca – Valencia/Alicante and Madrid – Cordoba – Seville/Malaga. They are doing this all with a fleet of ETR1000 model trains that offer the highest level of comfort in Spain, with a combination of advanced propulsion and highest quality onboard services, including WiFi connection and catering service. 98% of the parts of the trains are 100% recyclable, making this trip sustainable as well!

Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It operates trains on the longest high-speed railway network in Europe, and the second-longest in the world. The country's major cities are linked up by the high-speed AVE and Avlo trains, while other long-distance routes are served by Altaria, Talgo, Alvia and Euromed trains. Renfe also operates cross-border services into neighbouring Portugal and France. Depending on which service you are travelling on, you'll usually find two classes on Renfe trains - Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class). Fare types range from the cheapest (but least flexible) Básico fare, to the more flexible Elige fares, to the Premium fare for seats in Confort carriages.

TGV INOUI, SNCB, iryo and AVE classes from Madrid to Essen

Compare the different travel classes offered by TGV INOUI, SNCB, iryo and AVE when travelling from Madrid to Essen.

Onboard services on TGV INOUI, SNCB, iryo and AVE

Discover more about the onboard services offered on trains from Madrid to Essen.

LuggageLuggageLuggage

On TGV INOUI services, there's no weight limit for your luggage - you can travel your way! However, remember that your suitcases, overnight bags and rucksacks can't be larger than 130 x 90 cm, and you must be able to carry them and store them in the dedicated luggage racks on board by yourself. All luggage must be labelled before being stored.

RestaurantRestaurantFood and drink

All TGV INOUI trains are equipped with a café-bar carriage offering a range of food and drink to suit you at any time of day. The Bar is always situated in carriage 4 or 14 of the train. There's a range of local and responsibly sourced products on offer to whet your appetite.

WiFiWiFiEntertainment

TGV INOUI trains have free WiFi on board for you to use throughout your journey, allowing you to stay connected, reply to emails or even relax and enjoy what's offered on the TGV INOUI entertainment portal.

ChildPassengerChildPassengerTravel with children

Children under 12 can get a half price ticket on TGV INOUI trains. Children under 4 travel free when they travel on your lap.

ModeOfTransportBikeModeOfTransportBikeBikes

If you've got a foldable bicycle, you can take it on the train as hand luggage, so long as it's no larger than 130 x 90 cm once folded. Or, if you can dismantle your bike, you can transport it in a cover or case no larger than 130 x 90 cm. You can still travel with a bike that cannot be folded or dismantled - you'll need to reserve a bike space on the train when you buy your ticket. Bike tickets cost €10 per bike, per journey.

PetPetPets

Small pets are allowed on board TGV INOUI trains provided they weigh less than 10kg. They must travel in a carrier no larger than 45 x 30 x 25 cm. Tickets for small pets cost €7. Larger dogs can also travel on TGV INOUI services, provided they are wearing a muzzle and are kept on a lead. Tickets for larger dogs cost €20. Guide dogs and assistance dogs travel free of charge on all SNCF trains.

WheelchairWheelchairSpecial Assistance

For disabled passengers or those with reduced mobility, you can request assistance through 'Accès Plus'. With this service, a member of staff will meet you at the station and help you get to your seat on the train. To book assistance, contact Accès Plus after you book your tickets (and no later than 48 hours before your train is due to depart).

LuggageLuggageLuggage

When travelling with SNCB, each passenger can take 3 items of luggage on board, as long as the total weight does not exceed 30kg. Once you’ve found your seat, you can stow your luggage in the space provided above and below your seat. You can take the following luggage on board for free:

  • Briefcases, rucksacks and suitcases
  • Wheelchairs (manual or automatic)
  • Pushchairs and prams
  • Folding bikes, unicycles, scooters
  • Sports equipment (e.g. skis)
RestaurantRestaurantFood and drink

Currently, SNCB does not offer a food and drink service. Although, you may bring food and drink with you to enjoy on the train.

WiFiWiFiEntertainment

SNCB offer free WiFi in their main stations, including Brussels Central, Bruges, Antwerp Central and more. Currently, SNCB do not offer WiFi onboard their trains.

ChildPassengerChildPassengerTravel with children

As long as they are travelling with a person aged 12 or above with a valid ticket, children under 12 can travel for free without a ticket. However, please note that this only applies to a maximum of 4 children per passenger with a valid ticket. If you have any additional children travelling with you, they will need a half-price Kids Ticket.

ModeOfTransportBikeModeOfTransportBikeBikes

Hoping to travel with your bike? You’ll need to add a Bike Supplement to your ticket. However, if you’re travelling with a folding bike, you don’t need to worry about paying. Bike Supplements are paid on top of your rail fare and cost €4 for a single journey.

When boarding, speak to the train conductor and they will tell you if there are spaces available and where you can put your bicycle. SNCB advise you not to travel with a bike at Peak times, because bicycle spaces may not be available.

PetPetPets

Guide and assistance dogs

Travel is free for guide and assistance dogs. You won’t need to add a Pet Supplement to your ticket.

Pets

Pets are welcome to travel on SNCB trains if they are on a lead or in a small basket, cage or box. For animals on a lead, a Pet Supplement costs €3 for a single trip. If your pet is in a small basket, cage or box that is smaller than 30 x 55 x 30 cm, you do not need to pay for a Pet Supplement. Finally, your pet is not allowed to sit on the seats or tables.

WheelchairWheelchairSpecial Assistance

Passengers with reduced mobility should directly contact SNCB to make use of their free assistance service. You can take your wheelchair on board the train for free, regardless of whether or not you use the SNCB's free assistance service. If you are blind or partially sighted, you can take the train for free in 2nd class.

LuggageLuggageLuggage

You can carry up to 3 pieces of luggage on iryo trains, as long as they do not exceed 25kg in total. These 3 pieces can be 2 suitcases with a maximum size of 85 x 55 x 35cm and a backpack or handbag that does not exceed the dimensions of 36 x 27 x 15cm.

RestaurantRestaurantFood and drink

iryo offers different menus with high-quality products in all classes. You can buy your favourite meal from their onboard restaurant/bar carriage, which is usually near coach 2.

If you’re travelling in the Infinita Class, you can enjoy the Infinita Bistró service – your meal will be served straight to your seat. Please note that you’ll need to book your meal at least 24 hours in advance.

WiFiWiFiEntertainment

You can enjoy free WiFi in all classes on iryo trains, as well as an onboard entertainment platform providing a wide selection of movies, TV series, live news and Spotify.

ChildPassengerChildPassengerTravel with children

Children aged 0-3 travel for free on all iryo trains. Children aged 4-13 get a discounted ticket while those aged 14-18 need to pay the full price. Please note that children aged under 18 need to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.

ModeOfTransportBikeModeOfTransportBikeBikes

You can take your bike on board iryo trains for free if it’s folded and does not exceed 90 x 120 x 40cm. Also, your bike must travel without the pedals and with the handlebar rotated 90 degrees.

PetPetPets

iryo allows pets that do not exceed 10kg in weight, as long as they travel inside a carrier with a maximum size of 60 x 35 x 35cm. You'll need to buy a ticket for your pet in advance. In addition, guide dogs can travel at no additional cost.

WheelchairWheelchairSpecial Assistance

There are seats for people with reduced mobility on iryo trains. Step-free access is also available both when boarding and when getting off the train.

LuggageLuggageLuggage

With AVE, you can travel with up to 3 pieces of luggage that do not exceed 290 cm and 25 kg. In total, the maximum measurements of each piece of luggage are 85 x 55 x 35 cm. Musical instruments also count as hand luggage as long as they do not exceed the dimensions 30 x 120 x 38 cm and are stored in a case.

RestaurantRestaurantFood and drink

If you’d like to stretch your legs and grab a coffee during your journey, AVE trains have an onboard bar carriage serving drinks and snacks. If you’d prefer to stay in your seat, AVE staff sell food and drinks from a trolley that will pass through the train during the journey.

WiFiWiFiEntertainment

On AVE trains, you can take advantage of PlayRenfe – their free WiFi and entertainment service. Giving you access to exclusive content and fast connection speeds, PlayRenfe can be downloaded from the app store on your phone. Once you’re connected, you can access the PlayRenfe portal, where you’ll find exclusive live sport, news, films and TV series.

ChildPassengerChildPassengerTravel with children

Children under 3 years old travel for free with AVE, as long as they do not occupy a seat and have their free child ticket. Children from 3 to 14 years old can take advantage of a 40% discount on ticket prices.

ModeOfTransportBikeModeOfTransportBikeBikes

On all AVE trains, each passenger can take one bicycle or scooter on board, as long as it’s folded and carried inside a case. Also, the pedals must be removed and handlebars turned 90 degrees. Lastly, if the sum of the dimensions of the case is less than 180cm, it is considered as hand luggage. However, if it’s bigger, it will be considered as special luggage (max dimensions 120 x 90 x 40 cm).

PetPetPets

With AVE, you can travel with a pet as long as it weighs no more than 10 kg and travels inside a cage or carrier (60 x 35 x 35 cm). Your pet must have their own pet ticket, unless you’re travelling with a Premium ticket, in which case the pet ticket is free. Guide and assistance dogs travel for free.

WheelchairWheelchairSpecial Assistance

AVE offer a free assistance and care service for people with reduced mobility. To request the service, passengers should contact AVE directly.

Cheap train tickets from Madrid to Essen

Book in advance

Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Madrid to Essen by booking early.§

Be flexible with your travel times

Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.

Choose a slower or connecting train

On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!

Look out for special deals

Take a look at our handy guides to find out when train operators release their special deals and offers to see if you can find cheap European train tickets for your journey.

For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.

Journey details

Want to know more about your journey from Madrid to Essen? We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions by our customers to help you plan your journey.

How long does the train from Madrid to Essen take?

The average journey time by train between Madrid and Essen is 20 hours and 14 minutes, with around 4 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.

What's the fastest journey time between Madrid and Essen by train?

The fastest journey time by train from Madrid to Essen is 13 hours and 58 minutes.

Is there a direct train from Madrid to Essen?

No, there are no direct train services from Madrid to Essen. Travelling from Madrid to Essen by train will require a minimum of 3 changes.

What time does the first train from Madrid to Essen leave?

The first train from Madrid to Essen leaves at 06:15. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.

What time does the last train from Madrid to Essen leave?

The last train from Madrid to Essen leaves at 21:10. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.

What's the distance between Madrid and Essen by train?

Trains travelling from Madrid to Essen cover a distance of around 857 miles (1379 km) during the journey.

Looking for more information?

If you’re looking for the return train journey, check out trains from Essen to Madrid.

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