I am traveling a portion of the Camino in May 2014 on foot from St. Jean to Pamplona. The rest of the group is traveling beyond Pamplona on foot to Santiago. Can you advise how to take the train from Pamplona to Madrid? Does the train pass near the airport? I am leaving on May 14, 2014 to return to US. Many thanks for any input and guidance. Linda
Unfortunately it doesn't look like the train passes close to the airport, so you'll have to get into the city first to catch the train before heading out. From the Atocha station in Madrid it takes about 3 hours direct to Pamplona. its easy enough to get into the city though. You can take the Expres Aeropuerto shuttle from the airport to Atocha station in 20 minutes costing about 5 euros. The ticket from Madrid to Pamplona will cost roughly US$90. If you are taking the train directly to Pamplona when you arrive, it might be a good idea to have that ticket in hand before you get there. You can buy it through Rick Steves' website at the following link: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/buying-tickets
It's quite easy to get to Pamplona from Madrid. In addition to the shuttle, you can take the Metro for 2 euros to Atocha or Charmartín, which are the train stations. You take the line 10 (Pink) to Nuevos Ministerios, where you take the 6 (Grey) one stop to get to Cuatro Caminos, where you transfer on the 1 (Light Blue) to Atocha. The train is not near the airport, but will take 40-60 minutes depending on waiting time and the occasional strike. When I travelled from Pamplona to Madrid, I took the bus, which took 4-5 hours and cost 22 euros one way. Are you spending any time in Pamplona? Lovely little town, lots of Hemmingway influence remains.