Tren de Arganda
“The Arganda train whistles more than it runs,” says a proverb. Straight out of the pages of a children’s book, these two-century-old steam locomotives haul vintage carriages a 2.5-mile route from Arganda del Rey to Laguna del Campillo, a short train ride south of Madrid, and cross the wrought-iron bridge that was once at the center of the Battle of Jarama during the Spanish Civil War. The train runs every Sunday in spring and autumn.
How it goes: Stay in Madrid at the NH Madrid Atocha (doubles from £69 per night; 00 34 9153 99400; nh-hotels.com)
need to know
Due to the extreme temperatures in Spain, some of these services, particularly those with open carriages, do not always run in the height of summer or the dead of winter, but otherwise do not require all that much advance planning.
The train system
Renfe is the national train operator, with a network of long-distance, regional and commuter trains (known as cercanías) covering all regions of the country. Trains are comfortable and generally punctual, with Wi-Fi and power outlets on most longer routes. For medium and long-distance trains, it is advisable to book in advance online or at a station. Cercanías rarely cost more than a few euros, but you can also buy 10-ride tickets, which reduce the price even more.
Those planning a longer stay in Spain might consider the Renfe Spain Pass. It is available to non-residents, is valid for four, six, eight or ten medium or long-haul trips and is valid for one month. See renfe.com
All travelers 12 years and older must have proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or a negative antigen test within the last 24 hours or a recovery within the last six months