Paris to Madrid by Rail

Paris to Madrid by Rail

8 Days From



Paris to Madrid by Rail

8 Days Starting in Paris and ending in Madrid

Visiting: Paris, Nimes, Barcelona, Madrid

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

15-99 years

Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:

Cultural, History, Rail Tours

$2674 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$76

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Explore some of Europe’s highlights in Spain and France, without the hassle of airport queues or long driving days, with this rail-only eight-day trip from Paris to Madrid. This is the future of lower-impact travel! Only using public transport, you’ll get a unique insight into Paris, Nimes, Barcelona and Madrid, with a local leader who knows all the best hidden spots. You’ll taste croissants, tapas and churros, wander through hidden walkways for excellent panoramic views only locals get to see and witness the interesting past of human creative genius with stops at popular landmarks like Pont du Gard (which you can even swim under), Sagrada Familia, Arena of Nimes and Maison Carree. Choose to extend your journey and start in the UK, with the optional Eurostar transfer from London to Paris (it only takes 2.5 hours!).


  • Lower your carbon footprint and skip the airport queues on this railway journey through France and Spain, discovering iconic sites and local secrets via trains and public transport.

  • Explore Paris' Montmartre area – a favourite for artists for generations. See where Van Gogh and Picasso used to live and take hidden walkways to secret viewpoints that only locals know.

  • Get off the beaten track with a visit to Nimes in the south of France. Discover the well-preserved Roman monuments from 70 AD like the Arena of Nimes and Maison Carree.

  • Swim under the Pont du Gard – an incredible example of human creative genius. Explore this aqueduct bridge from above and below and maybe even rent a kayak for another perspective.

  • Indulge in buttery croissants in Paris, taste Spain’s favourite dessert (churros) in Madrid and enjoy a tapas dinner in Barcelona where you can rub shoulders with the locals and toast to a sense of community.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Casa Caridad. Donations help them provide basic needs such as food and shelter for people in need in Valencia. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.


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Day 1: Paris

Location: Paris

Accommodation: Hotel

Bonjour! Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights. Your trip kicks off with a welcome meeting at your hotel at 6 pm. After you meet your fellow travellers and trip leader, you might choose to head out for an optional welcome dinner at one of the gorgeous local restaurants or explore the surrounding neighbourhoods and discover why this city is known for its romantic appeal.

Day 2: Paris

Location: Paris

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

This morning after breakfast, you’ll hop on local transport to Montmartre – one of the most romantic enclaves within Paris, over 2000 years old. Discover the squares, churches and why this district has been popular with artists for generations on an included Urban Adventure tour. Starting with a deliciously buttery croissant, your local guide will take you past the homes of Van Gogh and Picasso to a secret spot with awesome panoramic views. Discover the Sacre-Coeur Basilica from a unique perspective and the last remaining vineyard in Paris (maybe grab a glass of wine here if the mood calls). End your walk by joining the locals with an included lunch at a typical French brasserie that serves up all the delicious traditional specialities of the regions of France - sit back and enjoy the Parisian ambiance as well as the excellent food. This afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore Paris as you wish. Maybe head to the iconic Louvre or climb the Eiffel Tower to tick some major sites off the bucket list.

Included Activities:
-Paris - Hidden Montmartre Urban Adventure

Optional Activities:
-Paris - Palace of Versailles
-Paris - Louvre Museum
-Paris - Arc de Triomphe
-Paris - Musee d'Orsay
-Paris - Rodin Museum
-Paris - Napoleon's Tomb & Les Invalides Army Museum
-Paris - Eiffel Tower (from)
-Paris - Da Vinci Code Walking Tour

Day 3: Nimes

Location: Nimes

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning, you’ll have some breakfast then leave Paris behind. Take a fast train to Nimes – a city in the south of France known for its well-preserved Roman monuments, left over from the Roman Empire. When you arrive, enjoy free time to explore and find some lunch and then head out on a leader-led walking tour. Marvel at the exterior of the Arena of Nimes – a magnificent Roman amphitheatre from 70 AD. Imagine the ancient spectacles that took place here and enjoy the panoramic views from the top, before heading to the Maison Carree – a remarkably well-preserved Roman temple. Admire the intricate facade and maybe visit the museum inside to learn more about its history. Continue to Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle – a lively square surrounded by beautiful buildings. This is a great spot to soak in the local atmosphere and people-watch. Walk past Nimes Cathedral, Jardins de la Fontaine and Place d'Assas – a charming square full of cafes and shops. Maybe find the perfect spot to sit and people-watch here, as you wait for sunset.

Optional Activities:
-La Maison Carrée (Roman Temple)
-Roman Amphitheatre of Nîmes

Day 4: Nimes

Location: Nimes

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then head out on a day trip by public bus to Pont du Gard. This magnificent aqueduct bridge spans the Gardon River and is a marvel of Roman engineering. You can walk across the bridge and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Explore the site’s museum for an insight into the history of the aqueduct, explore the exhibits and learn about its significance during the Roman era. The Pont du Gard is located on the Gardon River, and there are designated areas where you can swim to cool off. If the weather calls for it, consider renting a kayak and seeing the bridge from a different perspective. Maybe bring along a picnic or some snacks to enjoy by the riverside. This afternoon, you’ll take the bus back to Nimes, where you can spend the rest of the day however you wish.

Included Activities:
-Visit Pont du Gard (Museum, Bridge and Swimming Time and Free Time for Lunch)

Optional Activities:
-Pont du Gard Kayaking

Day 5: Barcelona

Location: Barcelona

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, dinner

After a leisurely breakfast this morning, you’ll have some free time in Nimes to explore, relax or head to a local café and enjoy the local delicacies. After, take a local train to Barcelona – the capital and largest city of Catalonia in Spain. When you arrive, you’ll head to a group dinner at a local tapas restaurant. Enjoy an array of delectable small plates that represent the very heart of Spanish cuisine. From perfectly grilled chorizo to refreshing gazpacho, these dishes celebrate the diversity and the richness of local ingredients. Sharing dishes with your group and with the locals fosters a sense of community that lies at the centre of tapas culture. Raise your glass to the beauty of Spanish food and friendship as you get to know the locals and feast on endless delights.

Day 6: Barcelona

Location: Barcelona

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

After breakfast this morning, you’ll head out on a leader-led walking tour of Barcelona. See some of the city's main sights, including a visit to Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The architect worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Along with the Camp Nou football stadium, it’s possibly the city's most iconic landmark. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture that Barcelona is known for, and his work is dotted all over the city. Maybe check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace, or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo this afternoon. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, home to a long, mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. Tonight, maybe finish the day with a sip of red wine from a porro – a traditional glass pitcher.

Included Activities:
-Sagrada Familia Admission

Optional Activities:
-Barcelona - National Art Museum of Catalonia
-Barcelona - Museum of Gaudi
-Barcelona - Museum of City History
-Barcelona - Picasso Museum
-Barcelona - Barcelona Cathedral
-Barcelona - Ethnological and World Cultures
-Barcelona - Contemporary Art Museum
-Barcelona - Casa Batllo (advance booking required)
-Barcelona - Guell Palace

Day 7: Madrid

Location: Madrid

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Have breakfast at your hotel and then hop on another train towards Madrid. When you arrive, head on an orientation walk that will introduce you to the city's most iconic landmarks. Discover the bustling Puerta del Sol – the symbolic centre of Madrid. Admire the iconic Tio Pepe sign, the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree (the city's emblem) and the impressive Plaza Mayor – a historic square surrounded by stunning architecture. Take note of Mercado de San Miguel – a gourmet food market where you can sample tapas, fresh seafood and local delicacies – you might want to return here later! Try some delicious churros along the way and then continue to the Royal Palace – an architectural marvel and testament to Madrid's royal history – and the Almudena Cathedral. Maybe step inside for a moment of tranquillity and end in the bustling Gran Via. Tonight, maybe ask your leader for the best dinner spots and join your group for a celebratory farewell dinner.

Included Activities:
-Churros Stop

Day 8: Madrid

Location: Madrid

With no more activities planned, your trip comes to an end after breakfast today. Maybe keep the journey going and take a train to another Spanish hotspot. If you’d like to stay on longer, just speak to your booking agent.

Optional Activities:
-Madrid - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
-Madrid - Museo del Prado
-Madrid - Museo Reina Sofia
-Madrid - Museo Taurino
-Madrid - Real Jardín Botánico
-Madrid - Tapas Urban Adventure
-Madrid - Royal Palace

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Paris - Hidden Montmartre Urban Adventure

  • Visit Pont du Gard (Museum, Bridge and Swimming Time and Free Time for Lunch)

  • Sagrada Familia Admission

  • Churros Stop

What's Not Included

  • Insurance

  • International Travel


  • Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.


  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
  • Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
  • If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
  • Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Important Information

  • 1. On this trip we aim to use 'fast' and direct trains as much as possible (e.g. TGV) but there may be times when these services are unavailable, leading to the use of a slower alternative train/s.
  • 2. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

Check out our Q&As

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?


  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?


  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?


  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?


  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.

  • Is this trip right for you

    If you love avoiding airport queues this is the trip for you however as public transport is the predominant form of transport on this trip we highly recommend packing as lightly as possible as you will be expected to carry your own bags of buses, trains, etc. as well as to and from your accommodation.

    If travelling to Paris from London we highly recommend using the fast Eurostar train from London's St Pancras station. At under 2.5 hours travel time and with no airport queues, this is by far the most convenient travel option.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes, Minimum age is 15 years old

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?


  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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