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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 map Spain | Main train connections
Train map Spain | Main train connections

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.

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.

spain-renfe-ave-high-speed-train

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.

 

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-spain

Domestic night trains

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.

 

International night trains

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.

 

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.

  • 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 

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).

  • 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.

Domestic 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

spain

 

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:

RouteWhich train?DurationReservations
Barcelona to Paris (France)Renfe SNCF Cooperation6 hours 20 minsRequired
Madrid to Lisbon (Portugal)Trenhotel11 hours (overnight)Required
Vigo to Porto (Portugal)Celta2 hours 15 minsRequired

Spain rail passes

spain-renfe-train-staff-high-speed-train

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 € 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

Train stations in Spain

spain-madrid-atocha-station-people-waiting

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

 

Names of train stations:

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