Travel by train in Spain: the best routes and tickets

Wed, May 29
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Main train stations in Spain
Popular Routes in Spain
Popular Spanish International Routes
How to book train tickets

Trains in Spain

Spain’s rail network is huge. Its vast train system covers the length and breadth of the country – from the bustling city of Barcelona on its eastern flank to Ourense in the north-west, famed for its hot springs and 12th century Cathedral. International routes also run into France and Portugal, giving you quick and easy access to the rest of Europe by train. If you’re thinking of exploring Spain by train but don’t know where to start, then read on. Here’s our guide to trains in Spain, giving you the most up-to-date train timetables, information on train providers, price comparisons and how to book train tickets quickly and easily.

Spanish Train Map: The High Speed Train Routes

spanish train map

Within Spain, some of the most popular domestic routes are catered by Renfe’s high-speed AVE trains, making it super easy to travel between Spain’s biggest cities. Popular routes include Madrid to Barcelona, Barcelona to Valencia, Seville to Madrid and Zaragoza to Barcelona. This map highlights some of the main train lines, but there are thousands of journeys across Spain taking passengers over dramatic, mountainous landscapes and along coastal seaside towns. Check out the hill-top city of Toledo or visit Granada at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Spain’s modern and efficient rail system is a great way to explore the country easily and sustainably. To book train tickets in Spain, use our simple search tool to plan your trip and book quickly and easily, directly through Omio.

Popular Train Journeys in Spain

We've compiled a list of the most popular routes that are taken throughout the country. These include high-speed, low cost trains from Madrid to Alicante and Malaga to Madrid, as well as the speedy inter-city trains between Barcelona and Madrid. Omio helps you compare prices to different cities, see journey times and click through to buy train tickets for your upcoming holiday in Spain.

Trains from Madrid to Barcelona
Trains from Barcelona to Valencia
Trains from Madrid to Seville
Trains from Madrid to Toledo
Trains from Madrid to Valencia
Trains from Valencia to Barcelona
Trains from Seville to Cordoba
Trains from Alicante to Madrid
Trains from Zaragoza to Barcelona


Train companies in Spain

Spain is well served by multiple train companies offering modern services and comfortable travel no matter where you want to go. The main train provider is the Spanish national rail network,Renfe, which runs over 5,000 trains daily. Renfe has trains that cater to regional rural routes, commuter routes, and high-speed long-distance routes. These include Media Distancia (medium distance) trains, the Cercanias (suburban trains) which have routes around the major cities, and Avant, mid-distance, high speed trains.

Renfe also has two subsidiaries: the high-speed AVE, popular in Spain for its ease and comfort between major cities and which run at long distances; and AVLO, Renfe’s newest low-cost, high-speed train for travelers that want to explore on a budget.

There are now two new major operators now running in Spain. Iryo is co-owned by Italian train provider trenitalia and Nostrum airlines and offers high-speed trains to major cities. Ouigo is a low-cost, high-speed train owned by the french train firm SNCF.

There are international routes run by Renfe in partnership with SNCF. Although this partnership will soon be coming to an end, options for international train journeys will still be quick and easy across the border into France and Portugal. Popular international train journeys from Spain include Madrid to Lisbon, Barcelona to Montpellier and Madrid to Paris, with new routes opening from Madrid to Marseille and Barcelona to Lyon. With the Omio app, you will be able to find all the best routes and trains for your trip around Spain.

Renfe, the Spanish state railway Renfe was created in 1941 to run the nationalised rail network. Renfe operates a wide variety of services ranging from regional, rural lines and commuter links to the modern, high-speed AVE intercity trains. Renfe routes cover around 15,000 kilometres of railway. Media Distancia trains link regional destinations with the high-speed train routes, while Cercanias (suburban trains) operate in and around the country's major cities such as Barcelona and Valencia. Renfe trains also serve international routes to destinations in Portugal and France.To find out more and book tickets visit our dedicated Renfe page.

Renfe AVE trains are a subsidiary of the Renfe network, and work on high-speed lines that connect the biggest cities in Spain. AVE trains are a popular choice for their comfort, ease and modern amenities aboard the carriages. Some of the routes Renfe AVE include Madrid to Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Cordoba, and Malaga. The Renfe AVE route that connects Madrid to Barcelona is the most popular domestic route in Spain.

Iryo, co-owned by Italian train provider trenitalia and Nostrum airlines, is the first private high-speed train company operating in Spain. Its state of the art Hitachi-Bombardier ETR 1000 can run up to 223 m p/h. Iryo’s trains currently serve Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Cordoba, Malaga, and Seville with frequent journeys at affordable prices.

AVLO is the new low-cost, high-speed (Alta Velocidad) trains on Renfe’s rail network. AVLO trains serve a number of destinations across Spain including Madrid, Barcelona, Figueres and Girona. Ticket prices are intentionally cheap, beginning at €7 (around $7.70) for adults and €5 ($5.50) under 14s. These trains can run up to 186 mph and there are no weight restrictions on cabin bags.

Ouigo offers cheap tickets on its low-cost, high speed train lines. Owned by SNCF, the newly established Ouigo routes aim to make high-speed travel affordable. Its double-decker coaches offer greater capacity on its trains, and there are options to pay a little extra for XL seats. The Spanish cities currently served by Ouigo trains are: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Tarragona, Zaragoza, Albacete and Alicante, although more routes are due to open in future.

Popular destinations in Spain

Whether you want to go hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, explore Spain’s historic Roman towns or swim in clear azure waters, Spain has rich and diverse cultural scenes that will cater for all your holiday needs.

Main train stations in Spain

All big Spanish cities have major train stations that connect to other parts of the country as well as international cities. Below is a list of the major stations you will come across on your travels. We’ve gathered some useful information about each one to help you travel comfortably across Spain.

Madrid Atocha

Address: Atocha, 28045 Madrid, Spain Amenities:
Free Wi-Fi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Line 1, Airport Express, Regional Buses, Regional Trains, Taxis

Barcelona Sants

Address: Plaça dels Països Catalans, 1, 7,
08014 Barcelona, Spain
Free Wi-Fi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Line 5, Regional buses, Taxis

Sevilla Santa Justa

Address: Calle Joaquin Morales y Torres,
41003 Sevilla, Spain
Free Wi-Fi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Line 1, 2, regional buses, trams and taxis.

València Nord

Carrer d'Alacant, 25,
46004 València, Spain
Free Wi-Fi (30 minutes)
Luggage Lockers
Disabled Access
Public Transport to the City Center: Bus 19, Metro 3, 5, 9, regional trains, taxis.

When arriving into Spain

When you visit Spain, you should be aware of the following information to facilitate your trip. While traveling around the beautiful country of Spain, you may wish to try some of the traditional cuisines and dine out at an authentic restaurant. Visitors should keep in mind that in Spain meals are eaten at a later time than in the U.S. Lunch is usually served at around 2:00 p.m., while dinner is usually eaten late, at around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. This is very important to know since most restaurants might not open or serve food until 8:00 p.m. Therefore, if you wish to satisfy their hunger before dinner time may always go to a tapas bar for some small finger food before dinner.

How to book train tickets in Spain

  • When booking train tickets to Spain, it is best to book far in advance to secure the cheapest tickets. Just simply put the route and date you're looking for, then our search will find all the available options.
  • You will have the choice to pay in different currencies, add on any personal discount cards, as well as decide how to travel (i.e. slower for a lower price or by picking the fastest travel time). Once booked, you will have access to all the tickets needed for your journey directly on a mobile device – no printer needed!
  • Most Renfe tickets within Spain support mobile tickets so all you need to do is make sure your phone is fully charged. If your journey is not supported by mobile tickets then it is best to print off your ticket before you board your train.
  • Booking train tickets in Spain is easy with Omio. Just let us know where you want to go, and we’ll find the journey that suits you best!

Spain: popular international routes by train

The main international routes for the trains in Spain usually depart and arrive from Madrid and Barcelona. A couple of the most popular international routes connected to Madrid go to Lisbon and Paris. On the other hand, the most popular international routes from Barcelona are to Montpellier and Perpignan in France. If you want to visit Spain from other countries around Europe, you'll find that the Omio app and website are useful and convenient tools for booking tickets.

Popular Train Routes from Spain

Spain not only has a great national train network but it is well connected to many parts of Europe. Depending on where you are in the country it can take just a matter of hours to get to cities such as Bordeaux, Paris and Lisbon all from the comfort of a train seat.

For more information on traveling with children, luggage allowances and refunding tickets please visit our Renfe page.

More Information about Trains in Europe

For more inspiration on places to visit, travel tips and things to do in Spain, visit the Omio magazine The Window Seat.

Most popular train connections

HomeTravel by train in Spain: the best routes and tickets

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