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Trains in Spain

 

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

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.

Train map Spain | Main train connections

Regional and Intercity trains

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.

 

Domestic high-speed trains

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.

 

Alvia (IC)

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

  • Reservations are required.

 

Intercity (IC)

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

Night trains

InterCités de Nuit (NT)

  • International night trains connecting Spain to France.

  • Operate on the following routes:

    • Port-bou to Paris (France)

  • 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 

Popular connections in Spain

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

 

Route Duration

Barcelona to Madrid
(AVE high-speed train)

2hr 30min

Barcelona to Malaga
(AVE high-speed train)

5hr 50min

Madrid to Granada
(Altaria high-speed train)

4hr 30min

Madrid to Malaga
(AVE high-speed train)

2hr 23min

Madrid to Santiago de Compostela
(Alvia high-speed train)

5hr

Madrid to Seville
(AVE high-speed train)

2hr 30min

 

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.

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

Route Which train? Duration Reservations
Barcelona to Paris (France) Renfe SNCF Cooperation 6 hours 20 mins Required
Vigo to Porto (Portugal) Celta 2 hours 15 mins Required

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. 

 

At a local railway station

  • At the ticket desk of a Long Distance railway station (not commuter stations). Find a list of long distance stations here.

  • You can make your reservations on the day of travel or for up to 3 months in advance.

 

By phone

It is only possible to pre-reserve a seat by phone, by calling +34 91 232 03 20 (Renfe phone sales).

  • This is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. 
  • You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Interrail Pass. 
  • You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. After this time your pre-reservation will expire.

Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.

 

If you have a disability or reduced mobility and you want to travel by train in Spain, you can request help from Atendo Service. You can contact them by phone:

  • Phone number: +34 91 214 05 05
  • Opening hours: 24/7

 

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

 

Get your Pass for Spain

Interrail Spain One Country 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 € 148

 

View Spain Passes

Interrail Global Pass

 

  • Offers you rail travel in 33 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 € 185

 

View Global Passes

 

Tips and tricks for Spain

The main train stations

 

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 names in Spain

 

That's not a mistake on your train map! Spain has several cities that are named differently in English and Spanish. Such spellings include:

  • Alacant = Alicante

  • Sevilla = Seville

  • Zaragoza = Saragossa

City tours and other discounts

 

If your Interrail Pass is valid in Spain, you can get a discount on many different city tours.

 

And we've got many more discounts for you. 

 

See all benefits for Spain

 

Get inspired

 

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    1 Month: Madrid to Rome This journey takes you from the capital of Spain to the capital of Italy, through several of Europe’s most iconic cities, and along some dramatic scenic routes.