Cervantes’ Train is a one-day railway journey to Alcalá, a leisure proposal for neighbors and visitors from Madrid or the outskirts. Thus, you can comfortably get to the city where Don Quixote’s author was born and discover, for a few hours, the strong points of its seventeenth-century atmosphere.
Travelling with Don Quixote
To fully enjoy Cervantes’ Train, travelers are, from the meeting point of Atocha railway station, accompanied by a small theater company dressed in traditional seventeenth-century costumes. Characters of the wonderful Cervantes novel would by all means be present: Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and his wife, Teresa Panza, Dulcinea, a student, a blind bard reciting tales and legends and even the very same Miguel de Cervantes —who, during the distance covered to the city, recounts his life and adventures to passengers, without losing any single relevant detail, speaking in an easy tone.
Cervantes’ Train has been launch as an initiative of City Council initiative and Renfe. Taking place every Saturday, during spring and fall seasons, departures are scheduled at eleven in the morning and returns at half past seven in the afternoon.
Even before going up the train, characters from Don Quixote play their roles, attired with typical Golden Age clothes. The blind bard narrates countless stories in such a way that, since the first moment, passengers enjoy a dynamic journey to Cervantes period.
All along the tour length to Alcalá de Henares, barely half an hour, all of them, the author, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and the rest of characters, narrate and dramatize some passages of the work. Also jokes and witticism are used to entertain passengers; giving a lance and a Quixote’s leather oval shield to a tourist so to run after every actor as if it was a game; or, for instance, flattering and compliments full of humor from Don Quixote on ladies travelling on the train. Besides, typical gastronomical products of Alcalá’s confectionery are shared out, as ring-shaped pastries or sugared almonds of Clarisas de San Diego, to sweeten the trip, both go and return.
Three Hours Visit
Arriving to Alcalá railway station—situated a few minutes walking from historical city center—, passengers are welcomed by guides of the municipal touristic company. The whole group—visitors, actors and guides—visit the main monuments and places of the city, telling their history and stories in the course of around three hours.
Itinerary includes the following places: the old Hostería del Estudiante, the Roman mosaics of the Regional Archaeological Museum, Cervantes Birthplace Museum, calle Mayor, Oidor Chapel, Plaza de Cervantes, Plaza de San Diego and Cisnerian University, Corral de Comedias, Archbishop’s Palace and calle de la Imagen—in which Cervantes house; Calzonera, that belonged to the writer’s uncle; Carmelitas Convent; and the house of the president Manuel Azaña are placed.
In several of the visited points, as Antezana’s Hospital or University, actors dramatize small passages of Cervantes works or set up sceneries of the world the notable writer lived in, in order to illustrate guides explanations about tour locations.
57.000 Journeys about Cervantes
Since Cervantes’ Train journeys started in 2002, more than 57000 travelers have gone up to its touristic route. Visitors enjoyed a pleasant visit—not too extensive—set in Spanish Golden Age around a city that, in many instances, turns to be a real discovering for this journey participants.
After the visit, when the time comes to find a decent place for lunch, tourists could benefit from significant discounts —due to their participation in the Train—in around thirty restaurants of the city, in which typical menus from Cervantes period could be tasted, such as “illustrated fried breadcrumbs”, “duel and damages”, “blocked-donkey” or meringue and nutty costradas, as well as all kind of tapas and different dishes with a good value for money.
Afterwards, travelers spend their free time coming back to visited places or any other corner they prefer before going up the return train. There, again accompanied by characters of Don Quixote and regaled with sugared almonds, passengers are able to participate in the raffle of a luxurious exemplary of the ingenious knight or another Cervantes work, as a souvenir of a day completely spent into Miguel de Cervantes universe.
- Renfe: Cervantes’ Train
- Tourism in Alcalá: Cervantes’ Train
- Address: Atocha railway station: Plaza Emperador Carlos V, Madrid
- Spring: Saturdays and Sundays from Apr. 19 to Jun. 21
- Autumn: Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 11 to Dec. 6
- 2 Adults + 1 Children: 40 €
- Adult: 20 €
- Children (aged 4 to 11): 15 €
- Tel: 902 320 320
Access from Madrid
- Renfe Cercanías railroads C-1, C-2 and C7A.
- Bus nº 223 (departure from Avenida de América Interchanger).
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