Trains in Spain

AVE train in scenic landscape

Thanks to the fast, modern and comfortable trains in Spain, journeys between Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville are more enjoyable than ever before.

From the magnificent Andalusian mountains to the divine cuisine of the Basque Country, the best way to experience Spain's vibrant culture is on a rail adventure!

Train types in Spain
Reservations for trains in Spain
Domestic connections in Spain
International connections to and from Spain
Spain rail passes
Train stations in Spain
Pass benefits in Spain
Spelling of cities in Spain
Example train route in Spain

Map with main train connections in Spain

Train types in Spain

 

The majority of trains you'll take on the Spanish rail network are run by RENFE the country's national train company. High-speed and night trains connect Spain to other European countries. You can search for Spanish train times in the Interrail timetable as well as on the RENFE website.

 



Local spanish train Regional and Intercity trains in Spain

 

Media Distancia (RE)

  • Connects larger cities with smaller destinations over medium distances.

  • Fast trains making frequent stops along their routes.

  • Reservations are required on most services.

 

Cercanías (RE)

  • Suburban trains serving Spain's largest cities such as Barcelona and Valencia.

  • No reservation required.

 



AVE high-speed train at train station Domestic high-speed trains in Spain

 

Avant (AVN)

  • High-speed services for short journeys along short to medium routes.

  • Faster and more comfortable than Media Distancia with similar coverage.

  • Reservations are required.

 

AVE (AVE)

  • Covering Europe's largest high-speed rail network, these trains travel on speeds of up to 310 km/h (193 mph).

  • Takes you from Madrid to Barcelona in under 3 hours.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Altaria (ALT)

  • Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid to destinations in the south of Spain.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Alvia (IC)

  • Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid and Barcelona to destinations throughout Spain.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Arco (IC)

  • Limited long-distance services in the north of Spain.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Euromed (EUR)

  • High-speed, air-conditioned trains running along the Mediterranean coastline of north-eastern Spain.

  • Connects key cities in the Levante region: Barcelona to Valencia in just over 3 hours then onwards to Alicante.

  • Reservations are required.

 



International high-speed trains in Spain

 

Renfe SNCF Cooperation (RSC)

  • Trains co-run by the Spanish and French railways.

  • Routes include Barcelona to Paris and Madrid to Marseille.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Celta (IC)

  • Intercity trains that link Spanish train station Vigo Guixar with Porto in Portugal.

  • Reservations are required.

 



Map with night train routes in Spain Night trains in Spain

 

Trenhotel domestic (HOT)

  • Connects major cities within Spain.

  • Operates on several routes including:

    • Barcelona to Granada

    • A Coruña to Madrid

  • You need to reserve a seat or bed in advance.

 

Trenhotel international "Lusitania" (HOT)

  • Connects Madrid with Lisbon (Portugal).

  • You need to reserve sleeping accommodation. To ensure you get a place, it's best to do so 2 or 3 months in advance.

 

Trenhotel international "Sud Expresso" (HOT)

  • International night train connecting Irún and San Sebastian to Lisbon in Portugal.

  • Reservations are obligatory. Make you reserve as early as possible to avoid missing out.

 

InterCités de Nuit (NT)

  • International night trains connecting Spain to France, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland.

  • Operate on the following routes:

    • Port-bou to Paris (France)

    • Port-bou to Luxembourg City (Luxembourg)

    • Port-bou to Strasbourg (France)

    • Irún to Paris (France) 

    • Irún to Nice (France)

    • Irún to Geneva (Switzerland)

  • You need to reserve sleeping accommodation prior to taking this train. Places are limited, especially during peak season from May to September, so it's worth making your reservation as soon as possible 

Reservations for trains in Spain

 

How can I make reservations for trains in Spain?

More often than not, you need to make advance reservations for trains in Spain. Fees vary depending on the type of seat or bed you choose. You can make reservations up to 3 months in advance:

 

Online - through the Interrail Reservation Service

  • Service available to everyone who has an Interrail Pass.

  • With an Interrail Spain Premium Pass you can use the Interrail Reservation Service to make FREE e-reservations (you print them yourself), provided you make them at least 3 business days in advance.

 

At a local railway station

  • At the ticket desk of a Spanish railway station.

  • You can make your reservations on the day of travel or days in advance.

 

By phone - through the RENFE Call Centre

  • You can call +34 902 320 320

  • Available 24/7

  • Expect Spanish language call agents. You can ask to be put through to an English speaker.

  • You'll need to collect your reservations and pay for them at a major train station in Spain. Do this by taking your order number to a ticket office within 72 hours before your journey.

  • The RENFE Call Center will not post or email you the reservations.

 

You can get more detailed information about train reservations in our reservation guide.

Domestic connections in Spain

 
Map with popular connections in Spain

Here are approximate times between Spain's most popular cities when taking direct high-speed trains.

 

Route
(high-speed train type)

Duration

Barcelona to Madrid
(AVE)

2hr 30min

Barcelona to Malaga
(AVE)

5hr 50min

Madrid to Malaga
(AVE)

2hr 23min

Madrid to Granada
(Altaria)

4hr 30min

Madrid to Seville
(AVE)

2hr 30min

Madrid to Santiago de Compostela (Alvia)

5hr

 

If you wish to take a high-speed train, you have to reserve your seat in advance. By travelling with slower regional trains you do not need to make reservations.

 

For example, there's a direct regional train ride from Barcelona to Madrid that takes 9 hours 4 minutes. That's 6 and a half hours longer than the high-speed train journey.

International train connections to and from Spain

 

You can travel to and from Spain from popular cities in the following European countries:

Country Cities Which train? Duration Reservations
France Paris to Barcelona Renfe SNCF Cooperation 6 hours 20 mins Required
Portugal Lisbon to Madrid Trenhotel 11 hours (overnight) Required
Porto to Vigo Celta 2 hours 15 mins Required

Spain rail passes

 

A rail pass gives you the freedom to explore all of Spain's beautiful cities without having to buy separate train tickets. We offer 3 passes for train travel in Spain!

 

Interrail Pass options for Spain

 

Interrail Spain Pass

  • Offers you rail travel in Spain

  • Discounts available for youth, senior and families

  • Extra benefits include bus routes plus discounted ferry crossings to the Balearic Islands, Italy and Morocco

  • Prices from € 131

 

View Spain Passes

 

Interrail Spain Pass

  • Offers you rail travel in Spain

  • Allows you to make free advance train reservations

  • Discounts available for youth, senior and families

  • Extra benefits include free bus routes plus discounted ferry crossings to the Balearic Islands, Italy and Morocco

  • Premium benefits include free city bus tours and discounted taxi services

  • Prices from € 172

 

View Spain Premium Passes

 

Interrail Global Pass

  • Offers you rail travel in 30 European countries including Spain

  • Discounts available for youth, senior and families

  • Extra benefits include free bus routes plus discounted ferry crossings to the Balearic Islands, Italy and Morocco

  • Prices from € 200

 

View Global Passes

Image of Spanish RENFE train attendant standing in the doorway of a high speed train

Train stations in Spain

 
People sitting on a terrace at Atocha Railway Station in Madrid, Spain.

What are the main train stations in Spain?

Spain's 4 main hubs have connections to many domestic cities as well as international destinations. They are:

  • Madrid Puerta de Atocha

  • Barcelona Sants

  • Irun

  • Port-bou

 

Railway stations in Spain have a range of useful facilities:

  • Lockers for storing your stuff

  • Cash machines and foreign exchange desks

  • Cafés, restaurants and shops

  • Tourist information offices

  • Elevators, escalators and access for disabled passengers

 

Spelling of cities in Spain

 
Image of people using ticket machines and a departure board in Barcelona station

As ticket machines and departure boards in Spanish train stations show city names in the local language, don't be surprised to see spellings like:

  • Alacant = Alicante

  • Sevilla = Seville

Example train route in Spain

 

Map with example route in Spain An Interrail Spain Pass allows you to travel all over this diverse country, creating your own story.

 

Route

Barcelona > Valencia > Granada > Sevilla > Madrid > Toledo > Salamanca > Santiago de Compostela > San Sebastian

 

  1. Barcelona: Spain’s most cosmopolitan city offers surrealist architecture by Gaudí.

  2. Valencia: A charming old town with pleasant beaches and of course, the best paella!

  3. Granada: Spellbinding thanks to the allure of the Alhambra set before the mountainous backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.

  4. Seville: Wander the winding cobbled streets of the Andalusian capital and include visits to Seville Cathedral and the Alcázar.

  5. Madrid: Get lost at the Rastro flea market, explore the Prado Museum and soak up the lively atmosphere of Chueca.

  6. Toledo: A stone’s throw from the capital, offering a rich history with churches, synagogues and mosques stood side by side.

  7. Salamanca: Buzzing with a student atmosphere and dressed up in beautiful traditional architecture.

  8. Santiago de Compostela: Filled with Medieval charm, the finishing point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.

  9. San Sebastian: Proudly boasts some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches – ideal for sunbathers and surfers alike.

 

Pass suggestion

  • Interrail Spain Premium Pass

  • Travel days needed: 8 days within 1 month

  • Reservations: FREE with the Premium Pass, when made in advance

  • Prices from € 312

 

View Interrail Spain Premium Passes

Related pages

 
Back to top