AVE, Spain's high-Speed Railway System

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Spain train map - AVE - High speed train

The AVE is Spain’s uber-comfortable, high end high speed railway system. Most of the peninsula is connected by these trains and its the easiest and quickest way of getting around in Spain. Now AVE is even coming out with a low cost service so everyone can enjoy the high-speed life style. Find out more below, including a Spain train map (with AVE and AVLO) connections.

Alta Velocidad Española translates to “Spanish High Speed”, but the initials are also a play on the word ave, meaning “bird”. in August of 2017 the AVE network became the second longest in high speed railway in the world behind China’s with over 3,240 km of track. 

The trains run of tracks owned by ADIF that manages most of the countries rails.  The first high speed line opened in 1992, connecting the cities of MadridCórdoba and Seville. The majority of the tracks in Spain use a broad gauge network. This was done originally as a strategy so that potential invading forces could not use the railway to travel through the peninsula.  The AVE uses standard gauge permiting direct connections to the French railway network at the Perthus Tunnel.

AVE Trains in Spain

How to book trains in Spain?

There are several ways to book trains in Spain, including through the official website of RENFE. But most of these, including RENFE’s website, are frustrating to say the least. Many are outdated and offer confusing information and it can be hard to navigate.

However, our guides have found that there is one site that is easy to use, has up-to-date information, and offers a variety of solutions that for every kind of Budget.

Omio is the best way to book trains, buses, and even flights in Spain. It is the aggregator with the most comprehensive info for traveling in Spain specifically. Check out their site by clicking here: 

Experts choice

AVE  map 2020

Here you can check out the full AVEtrain network map across Spain and find the best rout for you:

– AVE Madrid-Barcelona (Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida-Tarragona-Barcelona) * algunos trenes continúan hasta Girona-Frontera francesa
– Avlo Madrid-Barcelona (Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona). This is our recommended connection for this Barcelona to Madrid vacation
– AVE Madrid-Sevilla (Madrid-Ciudad Real-Córdoba-Sevilla). This is the first AVE connection opened in Spain. This is connection is perfect for this Madrid to Seville vacation trip
– AVE Madrid-Granada (Madrid-Córdoba-Granada)
– AVE Madrid-Valencia (Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia)
– AVE Madrid-Valladolid (Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid)
– AVE Madrid-León (Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid-Palencia-León)
– AVE Madrid-Málaga (Madrid-Córdoba-Málaga) This is the perfect way to enjoy a city-break in Malaga

– AVE Madrid-Huesca (Madrid-Guadalajara-Zaragoza-Huesca)

– AVE Madrid-Albacete (Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete)
– AVE Madrid-Alicante (Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete-Alicante). This is very much used in Spain for locals with secondary homes in Alicante. 
– AVE Madrid-Castellón (Madrid-Valencia-Castellón)
– AVE Málaga-Barcelona (Málaga-Córdoba-Zaragoza-Tarragona-Barcelona)
– AVE Barcelona-Sevilla (Barcelona-Tarragona-Lleida-Zaragoza-Ciudad Real-Córdoba-Sevilla)
– AVE Barcelona-Granada (Barcelona-Tarragona-Lleida-Zaragoza-Córdoba-Granada)
– AVE Valencia-Sevilla (Valencia-Cuenca-Ciudad Real-Córdoba-Sevilla)

The AVE is Spain’s high-speed train system and one of the best ways of traveling across the Iberian peninsula. The main hub for the AVE trains is Madrid and from here you can get to most of the large cities in Spain: Barcelona, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, etc. and in many cases faster than traveling by plane.

The AVE trains are comfortable and luxurious and the perfect way to take day trips a little out of car driving range.

Popular Routes


Madrid – Cordoba – Seville

This was the first AVE rout connecting the capital to two of the most beautiful cities of Southern Spain.

Córdoba, home to the famous Mezquita, is just 1 hour and 45 minutes from Madrid, making it a great place for a day trip if you are staying in Madrid. Seville is just slightly further south and about a 2-and-a-half-hour train ride. Seville is vibrant and romantic, filled with excellent bar and restaurants an many cool things to do and see. If you planning on traveling down to Seville form Madrid, you might want to set aside a weekend.

Madrid – Zaragoza – Tarragona – Barcelona

This is the most popular AVE route. It connects Madrid and Barcelona with several stops along the way the most important being at Zaragoza, the amazing “windy city” of Spain, between Madrid and Barcelona, and just south of Barcelona at Tarragona, a popular and beautiful beach side city. 

There is a Madrid- Barcelona plane shuttle that will get you to Barcelona in an hour, but the train is much less of a hassle and in general a more romantic experience than the plane. 

Madrid to Toledo 

Another great day trip option. Toledo is a spectacular medieval city, just south of Madrid and the high-speed train will get you there in just half an hour. Toledo is absolutely worth a visit, and seeing as it is so quick and easy to get there from Madrid’s Atocha train station, we highly recommend making the trip down.

Madrid – Cuenca – Valencia 

This rout is pretty interesting and pretty underrated. If you wanted to you could plan an overnight trip to Cuenca and be there in under an hour, see the cities famous hanging houses, enjoy some of the delicious traditional Castilian food, and the next morning be in Valencia in under an hour as well.

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