Day Trip to Madrid!

YES! You can do Madrid as a day trip from Barcelona, especially if your focus is on the city's three top-class museums: the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. Alternatively, you can spend the whole day at the newly reorganized Museo Arqueológico Nacional (MAN), which has an incredibly impressive collection of art and artifacts from prehistoric Spain to the modern era.

The comfortable high-speed AVE train from Barcelona's Sants station (easy reach from Bailèn 41, see below) arrives into Madrid's downtown Atocha station in 2.5 hours without any of the hassle of airport lines and boarding processes. From Atocha, the three art museums are all within an easy walk. Even better, you can buy a "Paseo del Arte" ticket for €25,60 that allows you into all three AND lets you skip the lines.

The MAN is a few blocks past the Thyssen-Bornemisza. You have your choice of two extremely pleasant routes: along the Paseo del Prado or through the Parque de El Retiro.

All the museums have nice cafes, so you don't need to venture out of your cultural setting.

Some two dozen AVEs depart Barcelona every day for Madrid, starting as early as 5:50 am. Return trips are as late as 9:25 pm. Fares vary, depending on travel times and class of carriage, but a roundtrip ticket can be purchased for as low €90 . . . much cheaper and a lot less hassle than booking a hotel room in Madrid! The club car also offers reasonably priced sandwiches and beverages.

NOTE: The Prado is a sprawling museum with a huge collection; make sure to use its new user-friendly website to plan your trip.

GETTING TO BARCELONA SANTS FROM BAILÈN 41: Walk down Bailèn one block to Casp, turn left, go another block and then turn right on Passeig de Sant Joan. Take a left before you hit the Arc de Triomf and enter the Barcelona -Arc de Triomf metro/rodalies station.
Head downstairs and go to the left, away from the subway entrance and towards the rodalies train. Use your metro ticket to pass through the turnstile, then turn right and descend to Platform 2. Take any train from that platform; they all stop at Sants, which is the second stop. Exit the train at Sants, head upstairs and go the AVE section. Allot about an hour for the trip from Bailèn 41 to boarding the AVE. Enjoy!