The one-of-a-kind greenhouse within the old station premises is what makes Atocha so special and dear . It is not an exaggeration, the immense greenhouse in the station is unique in the world, and if it isn’t yet listed in the travel guides, it most certainly should be.
The part of the station where the greenhouse resides dates back to 1851, it was painstaking restored as part of the 1992 expansion and adapted to host a simply amazing urban jungle, including a pond with 22 species of fish and turtles. In the summer months, when the dry heat of Madrid seeps through the glass roof, hundreds of tiny sprinklers let off a sort of steam, not quite water, giving the place a genuine look of outdoors jungle.
This makes Atocha not simply a traveler’s space, but also a haven to stop by and have a coffee, read a book, or simply enjoy the view in a very well kept tropical climate.
Currently, the Madrid Atocha Train Station is laid out more like an airport terminal than what one thinks of as an old- style train station. This very logical layout isn’t overly confusing.
Part of the magic of train travel in Europe is their high-speed rail system (AVE/Alaris). Currently there are only a few high-speed routes in Spain. One of them will get you from Madrid to Sevilla in just two and a half hours! The other one will take you from Madrid to Valencia in 3 and a half hours!