The AVE is Spain’s super-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 the Ave train Spain map (with AVE and AVLO connections) that you need to plan your trip.
Best way to bookyour Ave train 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 Many are outdated and offer confusing information and it can be hard to navigate.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 the button below
Table of Contents
Spain Ave train map
Ave routes - Most popular destinations
Madrid – Zaragoza –Lleida – Camp Tarragona – Barcelona (2:30)
Madrid – Ciudad Real –Puertollano – Cordoba – Seville (2:30)
Madrid Granada: 3,5 hours
Madrid – Segovia – Valladolid (0:55)
Madrid – Cuenca –Requena-Utiel – Valencia (1:40)
Madrid – Cuenca –Requena-Utiel – Valencia – Castellón (2:35)
Madrid – Córdoba – Puente Genil – Antequera – Málaga (2:20)
Madrid – Valladolid – Palencia – León (2:10)
Madrid – Cuenca – Albacete (1:20)
Madrid – Cuenca – Albacete – Villena – Alicante (2:15)
Madrid – Guadalajara – Calatayud – Zaragoza – Tardienta – Huesca (2:13)
Madrid – Barcelona (via Zaragoza – Tarragona)
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 beachside 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 – Cordoba – Seville Ave
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.
Ave 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 a day trip you can take from Madrid that is absolutely worth taking especially considering that it is so quick and easy to get there from Madrid’s Atocha train station. We highly recommend making the trip down.
Toledo looks like something straight out of Game of Thrones: a medieval city that sits atop a rocky hill, surrounded by a natural moat created by the Tajo river. Toledo is filled to the brim with historical sites to visit, including the famous Cathedral of Toledo and on every corner, you will find a sword shop, as Toledo has long been famous for it’s metal work.
Ave Madrid to Valencia via Cuenca
This route is pretty interesting and very much underrated. If you wanted to you could plan an overnight trip to the picturesque city of Cuenca located in the northeast of the region Castilla La Mancha. and be there in under an hour. Cuenca is home to the famous hanging houses and is the perfect place to enjoy some of the delicious traditional Castilian food.
The next, and last stop on the trip would be Valencia. Valencia is one of the largest and most beautiful cities in the country. Valencia is the birthplace, and the best place in Spain to enjoy a paella and has tons of sites to see including the City of Arts and Sciences, and the magnificent cathedral of Valencia. It is also the site of the famous Fallas bonfire celebration that is held every year from the 15th of March to the 19th.
Ave Madrid to Granada or Malaga via Cordoba
A straight connection between the capital to the jewels of Andalucía. In just under 2 hours you can hop on a train in Madrid and arrive in Córdoba, home to the magical Mezquita (the Grand Mosque) of Córdoba, and the famous Patios. Córdoba is one of the essential stops when visiting Andalucía.
From there, you can then choose to head to Granada or Málaga. Granada is an hour and twenty minutes away and Málaga is just a 50-minute ride. Both of these cities are spectacularly beautiful and full of history, and Málaga also is on the beach.
Granada is one of the most romantic cities in the world and home to the spectacular Alhambra. Málaga, on top of offering several spectacular beaches, is home to the Alcazaba of Málaga and an ancient roman theater so there is a ton of history and culture to experience as well.
Madrid – Segovia – Valladolid – Santiago de Compostela
This is one of the newest high-speed routes you can enjoy in Spain. From Madrid’s Chamartin train station you can hop on a train that will take you across the peninsula and get you to the northwestern region of Galicia.
The train makes several stops along the way that a worth checking out. First is the medieval city of Segovia. Segovia is spectacularly beautiful and has several historical sites that a more than worthy of a visit. You have to check out the iconic roman aqueduct, the fary-tale-book-worthy Alcazar and the gorgeous Cathedral of Segovia.
The next stop on the trip is the city of Valladolid, one of the largest and most beautiful cities in Castilla y León, located in the heart of the Ribera del Duero wine region.
The last stop on the route is Santiago de Compostela. Santiago de Compostela is famously the last stop on the Camino de Santiago and home to the world-famous Cathedral of Santiago. it is also a gastronomic hub and one of the best places to indulge in traditional Galician cuisine.
Madrid to Cadiz with AVE via Seville
This route will take you through Seville on your way to a very a fantastic yet unknown city: Cádiz. The city of Cádiz is located on a small peninsula that jets out into the waters where the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea meet. It has long been an important strategic location to control naval transit.
Because of this, Cádiz is one of the oldest settlements in the Iberian peninsula, dating back over 3 thousand years. Cádiz has some very nice beaches where you can kick back and relax, as well as several historic sites that are worth visiting including the spectacular cathedral of Cádiz.
Other destinations with AVE in Spain
Aside from these more popular stops along the high-speed train network, there are still a ton of other places worth visiting that the AVE can get you to in a heartbeat. If you are one of those people that prefer to visit places slightly off the beaten path you might want to check out these destinations:
Huesca is located in the northeast quadrant of Spain, near Catalonia. Huesca is part of the autonomous community of Aragón, whose capital city is Zaragoza which has already been mentioned in this article.
Huesca is the name of both a city and a province. The city of Huesca (where you will find the AVE train station) is charming and picturesque and is definitely worth, at least a day exploring.
The province of Huesca on the other hand enjoys a unique natural beauty that is absolutely worth exploring. Huesca is home to the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National park. The National Parks of Spain enjoys the highest category within the country’s park system because of their unique beauty, history, and ecosystems.
Ordesa y Monte Perdido is one of the most visited of Spain’s National Parks. The park is located in the Pyrenees and attracts over half a million visitors every year. It‘s that beautiful. It is the oldest protected natural space in Spain. It became a national park all the way back in 1918. The park is also a Biosdera reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site.
León is one of the most underrated destinations in all of Spain. León is the Capitol of the region of Castilla y León. It is located in the northernmost portion of the region and shares a border with Asturias.
León has been a settlement since 24 AC and it became the capital of what was then the Kingdom of León in 910. It is safe to say that it is a city with a rich history, and it is chock full of sites to visit including several Gaudi-designed houses, a gorgeous Basilica, and a spectacular cathedral. Definitely worth a visit.
Another beautiful city in the region of Galicia. Galicia in general is very different from the rest of the country, with very specific and delicious gastronomy and is more lush and green than most of Spain.
A Coruña in particular is one of the most beautiful cities in the region, with tones of history and some of the best food you will taste in all of Galicia.
Types of train in Spain
AVE : Renfe´s high speed train in Spain which reaches impressive speeds of up to 310 km/h, brings you faster than you can imagine to your desired destination in utmost comfort (see times below)
Medium distance: As the name says it, these trains run medium distances at slow speeds
Avant: Typically operate short-medium distances but at high speed
Alvia: These trains are used for long distance journeys around Spain and are slightly slower than AVE trains. Their max speed is 250 km/h
Cercanias: Commuter trains that get you fast to nearby towns and also cheaply (ticket price varies according to distance you travel). If you are looking to do some sightseeing in towns near Madrid, this train will get you there.
Feve: A slow, narrow gauge train which travels to some of Spain´s most beautiful untouched towns (3 different routes: Santander – Oviedo; Bilbao – Santander and Oviedo to Galicia). Be sure to take a camera if you travel with this train because there will be some stunning scenery
Train hotel: The train hotels can travel relatively fast at speeds up to 220 km/h and have all the comforts one can imagine from beds to dining areas. Renfe operates these types of trains on national and international routes
Tourist trains: There are two types of tourist trains which are Al-Andalus & La Robla Express. Al-Andalus is described as a “luxurious rolling palace” which runs exclusive tours of Andalusia. On the other hand, La-Robla Express offers a more affordable 2/4 day luxury tours in the North of Spain (see Renfe website for more information)
Does it make sense to take the train from Madrid to Barcelona?
As you can see from above, if you take the AVE high speed train from Madrid to Barcelona, it will only take you 2 ½ hours. Busses running from Madrid cost much less than the train (20-40 Euros) however takes 8 hours on average to reach. In some cases, if the ticket is booked in advance, flying can be cheaper than taking the AVE train. Nevertheless, even though the flight is 1 hour 20 minutes, the overall time to get to your desired location in Barcelona can indeed take longer due to: security, baggage, delays and getting to and from both airports which are located out of the city center. We can therefore recommend with confidence that taking the AVE train is a good option! Be sure to have a look at our fun activities and tours in Barcelona if you visit the wonderful Mediterranean city in Spain.
Does it make sense to take the train from Madrid to Seville?
The train journey from Madrid to Seville (vice versa) only takes 2 ½ hours which again makes the train a good option. The bus would take you 6 hours and 25 minutes – if you book yourself on the fastest one. Generally speaking, if you prefer comfort and speed and don´t mind paying a bit extra, then the high speed train is highly recommended. Taking the train also offers fantastic views of the Spanish countryside!
Can I buy a travel pass for my trip around Spain?
If you are visiting Spain for a period of less than a month, then it might be more economic to purchase Renfe´s Spain Pass. This pass, which is exclusive to non-Spanish residents, can be used on all AVE long distance and medium distance trains. You have the option of purchasing a pass which enables: 4, 6, 8 or 10 trips. Below you can find both the standard and first class fares.
It is important to mention that this pass is only valid for 1 month after the first trip. You can buy it in advance as it is valid for 6 months from the date of purchase. You must also be aware that the pass does not include seat reservation. Purchasing the Renfe pass is an economic option if you intend to travel a lot during your vacation in Spain.
Security and other practical infomration on trains in Spain
- There is a security check (X-ray baggage check) before boarding the trains, therefore it´s never a good idea to show up last minute. We recommend showing up at least 30 minutes before departure, especially if it is a station like Madrid Atocha or Barcelona Sants.
- You can purchase tickets at the station however it´s always best to get them online. Trains get fully booked fast especially on weekends so it saves times and disappointment if everything is done through the website : www.Renfe.es
- If you are travelling in large groups, Renfe offers attractive discounts between 20%-40% (consult their website for more information).
- Renfe permits each passenger to take up to 3 pieces of luggage however all at your own risk.
- Children under 4 years of age travel for free provided they don´t occupy a seat.